Of course I'd heard of this nun and her remarkable work, but then the Catholic church has millennia of such people. Anyway, as she gets off the plane to lend her aid, she is beset by reporters from around the world with cameras and microphones:
"Mother Teresa, what do you say to the victims of this disaster?"
"Forgiveness" came her immediate reply. My jaw dropped. Is she kidding? The survivors, the blind, the widows, the orphans, the burned should forgive Union Carbide? That's when I started paying attention to her.
She has been attacked by the left for being pro-life, and I have read the attacks on her which are profoundly ignorant. But for all the coverage I noticed something I have never seen anyone mention before.
One attack is she has met with so many wicked people, and publicly said nice things about them. Despots seemed to invite her to visit for it promised a photo-op and a generous endorsement. Here is a short list.
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos
Baby Doc Duvalier
The Enver Hoxha gang.
The Argentine Junta
The Clintons when president.
Now, what as far as I know has not been noticed is what happened to every one of those wicked people and groups shortly after they met with Mother Teresa? Disaster. Every single one that her detractors mention, and more. For most some kind of exile, for some death, for the Clintons it was irretrievable reputation loss over the Lewinski thing. They are the laughing stock of the world as cheap shake-down artists. St. Paul said speak nicely to evil folk and it is like showering hot coals on their heads. (Romans 12, and then in 13 he talks about submitting and respectful to govt.) If you did not like those despots, then nothing more sure to bring them down than a visit by the nun.
I can't be nice to people who are wicked. I know my rejection gives them power, but no, my fate is to talk back. I don't recommend it, learn from Mother Teresa, not me. She's got the better way. Be nice to bad guys, says Saint Paul. But that is within the context of Jesus' teaching, do not be like them. Mother Teresa was not like them.
Another criticism is she did not use her donated wealth to upgrade the health care to hospital standards. Name one person who donated money to her hoping she would. As if the people donating money to her had no idea what she was doing. Of course they did. They wanted to make sure she had enough to keep going.
Her charism was to be physically present to the abandoned and dying. That is it, no more or less. A cleaning, a meal, and if any of her critics wanted to start a charity that would pick up her beneficiaries and take them to a hospital, St. Teresa of Calcutta would have welcomed it.
Further, there was a Catholic nun that took the donations and built series of hospitals around the USA dedicated to helping the poor, dying, injured. It was a a charity, pay what you can. Nobody ever turned away. A model for health care world wide. Her name was Mother Cabrini. I was born in a hospital she created. The Providence Sisters did the same thing. Their charitable acts were legion. Mother Cabrini was declared a saint as well. Where are all those hospitals now? Gone. All gone. How come?
Because with collectivization in USA, get big or get out, they were run out of business (or should I say run out of charity?). Now we have spiraling medical costs, people bankrupted by overstated medical costs, baleful health statistics, "death panels", and ever deteriorating health care.
Now Catholics have over 500 years of exemplary health care charity in India, but not a single Catholic hospital today, as I understand it. They are allowed to have colleges and associations, but no hospitals. Perhaps it is a regulation thing effectively forbidding it, like in USA. So to ask her to create a hospital when it cannot be done would be like demanding a miracle. Funny, her detractors wanted her to do miracles.
However, she expressed the hope that they could be won round. “We are trying and persuading them because they are valuable, good people and have experience,” she said. “But if they do not follow the central guidelines, we will be left with no option but to de-recognise the orphanages run by them and shift the children to other places.”
What her life prophesied is when you got nothing else to offer, you can still offer love. That's hard.
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