Thursday, February 11, 2016

The canonization of an illusion

I recently read a review (1) of an apparently carefully researched book (2) on the activities of Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The book examines critically the reality behind the myth. A German tv documentary expressed similar concern (I don't have a reference at the moment). A recent article also examines Mother Theresa's legacy. (3)

There are other heroes whose image appears to have been manufactured. One of them happened to be a strong backer of Mother Theresa. His name is John Paul II, or Karol Wojtyła, before he became the pope. The widely propagated image of the late pope is that of communism's adversary. Unfortunately, this is a manufactured image, not reality. There are many puzzling episodes in his life. The same is true for his ideas/ideology. He was catapulted into sainthood with a turbo-speed. But as time goes by it is becoming more and more clear that reality contradicts the propagated image. The story is much bigger and is linked to the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in Poland, which was also a fake.

(1) Tim Challies, Book Review - Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict, August 16, 2005.

(2) Aroup Chaterjee, Mother Theresa: The Final Verdict, Meteor Books (2002).

(3) S. Bedford, Mother Theresa's troubled legacy, New Internationalist, September 2014. In conclusion, the author writes "Over the years, Forbes India, Britain’s Channel 4 TV and journalist Christopher Hitchens have all investigated the millions of dollars unaccounted for by Missionaries of Charity. But their reports have not been enough to spur public action: awareness can only go so far against the idea of the consecrated."