Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Mother Teresa

I suppose you've heard the news about Mother Teresa. You know, where a bunch of her private letters were published in a book and they reveal that her faith in God was pretty shaky. Time Magazine has a long piece on the topic, which I have not read in its entirety. Rather than believe that Mother Teresa didn't believe in God, Raymond L. Flynn, former Ambassador to the Vatican, thinks that her crisis of faith was really the work of the devil. Humph!

For what it's worth, here's my two-cents on the topic. The Catholic Church typically assigns nuns to their duties and posts. Mother Teresa worked in the slums of Calcutta, India, where she experienced the horrendous miseries of humanity. It is not clear whether the church assigned her to this position (although that is the most likely scenario), or she chose it herself. The point is that this sort of position should never be a life-long commitment. Mother Teresa was likely suffering from clinical depression from her work. We understand that soldiers need a break from the battlefield. Why would a nun not need relief from the rigors of tending to the tremendously poor? Burn-out and post traumatic stress disorder, along with depression, are the likely result. The Catholic Church should have stepped in and ordered Mother Teresa to take a break - assigned her elsewhere for a while - whether she wanted to leave Calcutta, or not. Somehow, the fact that she stuck with her work without becoming a complete wreck shows a mental fortitude that most of us can't touch. If for no other reason than this, she should be sainted.

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