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Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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irishrosem

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Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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I just read Susan Jacoby's article, "Road to Sainthood Paved with Good Publicity," about the book due out compiling Mother Teresa's correspondences and thought some of the members here might like a head's up. Quote:The collection of her letters, edited by the Reverend Brian Kolodiejchuk (one of the chief promoters of Teresa for sainthood) reveals an inner life that belongs in a psychology textbook. I have no doubt that excerpts from the letters will appear in future case studies of well-known individuals who combine masochism with narcissism.In 1951, Teresa wrote that Jesus's crucifixion was the only aspect of his life that compelled her. "I want to drink ONLY," she emphasized, "from His chalice of pain." In another letter, she declared, "I want to love Jesus as he has never been loved before." What is striking about both statements is their vanity and self-centeredness. The book might better be titled, Stalking Jesus.
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Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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Wow! This is fascinating stuff, Rose. I'll read the full article right now, but from those few statements Mother Theresa could very well have some psychological problems. Thanks for posting this. Drink from his chalice of pain? eerie words
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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Ya think? But atheism is no more a religion than not playing chess is a hobby. - Robert Sawyer - Sci Fi AuthorI'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)"The Sentient may percieve and love the universe, but the universe cannot percieve and love the sentient. The universe sees no distinction between the multitude of creatures and elements which comprise it. All are equal. None is favored...It cannot control what it creates and it cannot, it seems, be controlled by its creations (though a few might decieve themselves otherwise). Those who curse the workings of the universe curse that which is deaf. Those who strike out at those workings fight that which is inviolate. Those who shake their fists, shake their fists at blind stars." - Michael Moorcock in the "Queen of the Swords"
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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Yes, yes, may God save us all from nuns who dedicate their lives to helping the poor. If only Mother T had been a little more like Susan Jacoby, how much better the world would have been! My Blog - with hidden tunes
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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Is the act enough to overlook the actual personality? I mean, if someone helps the poor, do we just accept potential abnormal behavior? What if I help the poor, but feel the need to film all my sexual acts with females and then post them to the internet...does the helping the poor thing counteract my obviously abnormal behavior?Now that is a stretch for an example right...so should we delve instead into the Catholic Priests?Oh...and BTW, would anyone like some homemade porn? But atheism is no more a religion than not playing chess is a hobby. - Robert Sawyer - Sci Fi AuthorI'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)"The Sentient may percieve and love the universe, but the universe cannot percieve and love the sentient. The universe sees no distinction between the multitude of creatures and elements which comprise it. All are equal. None is favored...It cannot control what it creates and it cannot, it seems, be controlled by its creations (though a few might decieve themselves otherwise). Those who curse the workings of the universe curse that which is deaf. Those who strike out at those workings fight that which is inviolate. Those who shake their fists, shake their fists at blind stars." - Michael Moorcock in the "Queen of the Swords"Edited by: misterpessimistic at: 8/30/07 4:03 pm
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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Niall: ...who dedicate their lives to helping the poor.I guess that comes down to what we mean by "helping the poor." Teresa was no saint, in my book, despite her reputation to the contrary. I think rather than trying to fast-track her canonization, the church would be better served in understanding why a figure so enamored with suffering is so revered among its followers. And I do think that if Teresa was more like Jacoby then certainly the women she was supposedly "helping" would have definitely made out better. At least, they would have been able to receive the birth control that could have helped prevent them from spiraling further into poverty.
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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misterpessimistic: Is the act enough to overlook the actual personality?Flip it around. If someone dedicated their entire life to swindling the elderly, but had a lovely personality, where would we stand? I think most of us would rather see more sociopathic philanthropists than well-adjusted miscreants. For that matter, I think most of us would rather see more sociopathic philanthropists and less well-adjusted people who don't contribute much at all to society, even if they aren't going out of their way to hurt it.What if I help the poor, but feel the need to film all my sexual acts with females and then post them to the internet...does the helping the poor thing counteract my obviously abnormal behavior?Show me Mother Teresa's collection of snuff films, and then I'll start to worry. In the meantime, what we're talking about are statements of personal belief she made (probably taken out of context), which don't appear to be directly indicative of any particular action.
irishrosem

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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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I think a philanthropist works to ease human suffering; I don't think a philanthropist encourages and then capitalizes on human suffering. Nor do I think a philanthropist enables human suffering by assisting one of poverty's closest allies, overpopulation
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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irishrosem: Her approach to birth control and abortion let women who couldn't possibly care for the children they already have, continue to birth more children into even more debilitating poverty. Her aversion to divorce, even for women in abusive relationships, led to her support of a divorce referendum in Ireland that would have made divorce illegal in all situations.I certainly won't argue that her approach to a number of issues didn't ultimately do as much damage as they did good. But I don't see any serious logical connection between her apparant fixation with Christ's suffering and her positions on abortion and divorce. Those seem to be fairly typical conservative Catholic positions, but certainly not all conservative Catholics are as drawn to Christ's suffering. You might be able to make an argument out of her fixation for suffering being her principle attraction to Catholicism, but short of some evidence providing intermediate points of connection between the quoted statement and the political positions, I'd say that there are just as likely other factors that contributed more to her political views.Either way, the fact that she serviced the poor does not make her above reproach, especially for freethinkers, which is what I think Niall inferred above.Of course not. But what I see in a couple of the statements made above was not critical assessment -- it was blanket rejection. I'd prefer an approach that balances approach with an assessment of the good she actually did achieve, and which, in both cases, also takes under consideration as much of her intent as we can confidently assess -- not one that dismisses action out of hand in favor of a psychological assessment based on a single quote, devoid of context.
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Re: Susan Jacoby on Mother Teresa

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Irish, we're talking about Christians here. We're the ones who keep putting up giant statues of a man being tortured and murdered. Teresa may well have what you regard as an unhealthy interest in suffering, but you might as well criticise Marx for being a communist. These problems you imagine you have with Teresa are problems you have with orthodox Christianity. And just so we're all clear about something here, Teresa did not stop anybody from getting birth control. She was a Catholic in an overwhelmingly Hindu region. Had she not been there, the women of Calcutta would not have had better access to birth control. In fact, the only difference would have been that those who her order cared for would not have been cared for. Jacoby might like that Teresa had also handed out birth control pills and provided abortions for people, but Teresa did not agree with these things. If Jacoby cannot be bothered to provide contraceptives and abortions to the people of Calcutta, then she certainly has no business criticising Mother Teresa for failing to. According to some estimates, there are a million homeless people in Calcutta. There are plenty of sick people that need treatment. Teresa only scratched the surface there, and elsewhere in places like Rome, London and New York.Jacoby types away on her keyboard about Teresa's supposed failings (i.e. being a Catholic). She, like all of us, would do much better to emulate her virtuous acts, or failing that to promote the emulation of Teresa's virtuous actions. I've walked past several homeless beggars today. I work across the road from a methadone clinic. And I'm done very little to help these people. Usually, I walk past them or look the other way.That is not what Teresa did. She searched for people like this and helped them, when nobody else would.Finally, here perhaps is what I mean by helping the poor, I mean picking them and carrying them in a wheelbarrow to a hospital to get treatment, I mean giving food to those who had none, I mean finding home for homeless children and caring for the mentally ill and I mean setting up AIDS hospitals. I'll never understand why certain groups have decided to pick on the woman. My Blog - with hidden tunes
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