Part III: The Debate, What Went Right/Wrong with Mother Teresa?
[Editorial Note: The following is an edited version of the discussion that took place spontaneously on Mago Circle from March 1, 2013 for about two weeks. It was an extensive, heated, yet reflective discussion, now broken into four parts to fit the format of the blog. We thank each and all of the participants for your openness, generosity, and courage to stand up for what you believe and think! Some are marked as anonymous. As someone stated, something may have been “written in the heat of the moment” and some might like to change it at a later time. So we inform our readers that nothing is written in stone. As a matter of fact, the discussion is ongoing, now with Magoism Blog readers. Please comment and respond as you wish.]
[C]: Unfortunately, Mother Theresa is not understood here in some of these comments:
To be in any way critical of Mother Theresa using what was the state of the world in her time & the poor & dying as tools of compassion, even more so when left to die visibly barely cared for, as a teaching method must not be looked at as unfeeling on her part as it was her greatest sorrow to use them so horribly as means to an end, but they were what she had at hand. Was never her intention to use any money to save them, would negate their very suffering purpose as well. She did not believe we all had learned the lesson yet in her time so she had to pretend to be solving the problem while continuing the problem. You see, the money was a byproduct of no importance to her, used just to get the peoples’ attention by using what they valued, let the Church have it for other things for it had served it’s purpose by bringing her sought after awareness of the poor & dying into view. In pretending to like & accept attention to herself, honors, & even challenges to these choices, all for one purpose to fool, to get the poor & dying attention, is why she was so distressed near the end by the means she had to use to reach that end! And perhaps her sheer loss of hope at having to stoop to such measures which reflects on the sad state of the rest of us. Wondering here where the money went doesn’t understand anything of what she was trying to do.
[C]: Thank You Naa Ayele Kumari for plowing through my thoughts enough to ‘like’ even! Could I be understood that Mother Theresa’s intentions were ‘higher’ than just taking care of the poor & dying in institutions, but to have the people understand there should be ‘feelings’ for them so they would never ever even have to be cared for in such ‘style’? She sacrificed these many nonpeaceful deaths to display, to show, to the whole world the direction it was heading, for the saving of the future multitudes of suffering & deaths if no one understood & cared soon. She dreamed these future lives would be right & good & their deaths would be the same attended by loved ones of their own, no need for group interference. She did not wish to just contain such tragedy, but to eliminate it from the whole earth forever. In the smaller scale view of some today the institutions are a necessary step, however Mother Theresa thought this a false step on a horrible path in the wrong direction, & she knew this, & dreamed beyond! To send away, to cage, the suffering, old, & sick in any society is a crime against Mother Nature no matter what the excuses or how pretty the packaged institution is presented!
[Z] Did not foresee the discussion would provoke such indepth and rich responses. It feels that we are getting close to the bottom of the matter that has not been brought up for so long, not in my life time. Profound interactions that make us aware of the aspects of how our thinking and living can be based on the kind of values we hold. I treat each and all of you in the hand of our goddesses.
Anne Wilkerson Allen: I think the Mother always moves us back toward compassion. Whether we have a sense of deity or not, we can all understand contextually how she was used and that her “beliefs” left her with such poverty of spirit that her entire life is under the microscope.
I wonder, will the media ask what the Church has done with all their Billions or simply focus on a dead nun indoctrinated by the system?
Diane Horton: No, I am sorry. [C], that is an incredible rationalization of Mother Teresa’s actions. Unbelievable actually. For you to justify her not using the extraordinary amount of money sent to her by saying that she chose to use these horrible deaths to bring attention to the sick and the dying and evoke compassion in people – that is the most megalomaniac position possible! Did she assume the role of God then?? That is outrageous! To think that she had the means to relieve these poor people’s sufferings and chose not to in order to USE them is even more heinous to me! I cannot wrap my head around how you think that is a good thing. She already HAD evoked compassion for these people. That’s why the money poured in! And all the “pretending” and lying you said she did for the greater good? NO. Compassion and empathy are a basic human response to suffering. “She sacrificed these nonpeaceful deaths” REALLY?! She had no right. And she was wrong. I can see no lofty ideal she was displaying there.
Diane Horton: Forgive, me. I could not let what was said there lie. I won’t say anymore. Everyone has their own perspective. And each perspective together makes the whole. Blessed Be.
[C]: On this great journey towards enlightenment there exist many side paths that result in unfortunate horrible consequences to some (even to extinction) to teach us lessons, & to then beseech us to let it go so as to be able to go on. What if we try not to ‘overfemale’ Mother/Father Nature (let’s call this the real director in charge of our evolutionary purpose, not humankind made, or pretend ‘gods’ of male or female division when there can be no such division to be whole humans, for are we not beyond personifications to represent our individual beliefs? Or let’s pick just ONE called by the name Mother/ Father Nature if we must) who always was & always will be right here with us watching our progress & hurting sometimes at our wayward side tracks that result in her/his necessary adjustments? She/He forgo the sensitively issue of compassion primary in any way, for she/he did not get us this far by way of compassion primary, remember ‘survival of the species’? Mother Theresa was a willing vessel for a higher good beyond the limited vision they had for her. Her despair was that more, especially those close to her, did not even ‘get it’ at her end. To perceive to want change by money improvements was an intentional ‘misguiding, & all be it a deception, when what she sought was life long compassion to keep people from these conditions in the first place. She was wise enough to know that most humankind were as yet in her time not caught up with her vision.
[C]: Never any offense meant, but imagine Mother Theresa’s life, they died anyway right in front of her, so she gave their life greater purpose, least ways that was her intention. Did it work after all that sacrifice, theirs, & her very soul in her estimation? No, we are, & so many others in the whole world are, back to attacking the messenger, Mother Theresa, which is always a sign of fear & weakness, the messenger is always sacred, for they were brave enough to carry the message, only allowed to attack the message!
Diane Horton: No, [C]. Those people died because Teresa chose not to use the multiple, ample, abundant tools she had to keep them from dying, or to make their last days comfortable. I call bullshit on this one.
Max Dashu: I strongly disagree [C]. “Keeping people from these conditions in the first place” requires social action, against the caste system, injustice, misogyny. That is not the path she chose. And re my comment on the money, it looks to me as if a large portion of it went to the anti-abortion campaign MT was so devoted to. Wherever it went, little of it went to alleviating suffering.
[C]: Forgive me, Diane Horton, for I have long been on this dangerous, uncomfortable road, & I pause to seek your help too! I ask you, was the suffering of those dead & dying of enough value to bring about the change we all seek, or was it but a drop in the bucket, with no visible solution in sight, no matter how much money involved, & do you not think Mother Theresa realized this with her utter regret at her endtime?
Diane Horton: I have no idea what Mother Teresa might have realized at the end of her lifetime. There is constant suffering and dying on this planet whether it be in Calcutta, London, New York, Tokyo or millions of other places. The suffering and miserable death of anyone is important and of enormous value, and we are all called as humans to do all we can for those in acute need, whether next door or across the globe becaue we are them and they are us.
[C]: Max Dashu, you speak of the ‘middle time’ attempts at corrections not the end solutions. Do you not see? Until ALL people realize they truly will need no rules if they could just catch on to the realism that we are all but ONE, (would be like biting your own foot), governing & your ‘social action’ , rebelling, etc,+++ of large groups & the individual, will hover over them in this ‘middle time’. Not that they are not well meaning attempts, but that they are distractions, precious time consuming unnecessary, mistakes in our evolutionary journey to enlightenment.
Max Dashu: If MT realized that she was one with the suffering poor of Calcutta, then why did she fly off to get medical care for herself but not provide any for them? As for end solutions, i don’t see acting to end suffering as “distractions” but the compassionate identification with another self within the One.
[C]: As for the value of the Unborn & or Born Child? They both are of far greater value than, both parents, & all who came before, for they are all of them on both sides forever back in time, & ‘More”. This ‘More’ is what we are all about, our very purpose is to evolve into the greatest ‘More’. Each ‘ONE’ of the whole ‘ONE’ is worthy of life first before all other considerations. The Child is our highest gift of greatest value! Remember what Mother Theresa said about abortions for she was trying to say this very same thing in another way. There she would have seen an immediate ‘middle time’ attempt needed by preventing abortions until people realize what they are doing, & the consequence of losing value for life & purpose Period.
Diane Horton: The “unborn” cannot possibly be of greater value than the already born since they are still part of the body of the mother, if indeed we are all ONE. We must , by definition, all be of equal value and equal importance. There is a basic misunderstanding of Oneness you have expressed.
[C]: Mother Theresa sought medical attention for herself to protect the very time, energy, & pain investment of their sacrifice, for she was the beacon that attracted the attention, & to give up the struggle for them until she seen ALL people ‘get it’ she would not do.The messenger, in this instance, Mother Theresa, is sacred, or we will wear out, or run out of, & have no more messengers, protect them, or we know not what we do…In regard to the term ‘distractions’; if one looks to the larger picture of protection of the future multitudes, for the obviously, definitely, surely, dying few that can help humankind with the evidence of their sad dying, & gave them such a sacred life purpose at their end could not have been an easy decision, however put on the scale of life it was a wise one, IF we ALL heed it.
Donna Snyder: Diane and Max are clearly in the right path to truth here, and to the furthering of honesty and compassion. To sacrifice the lives of people in misery to prove that we are all one is cruelty and non sense, mere propaganda, and wicked. No one, much less a saint, preaches compassion through denying compassionate treatment easily within reach.
Diane Horton: You subscribe to a system of hierarchical importance, that is evident. I do not. Mother Teresa being sacred is not to the exclusion of you being sacred or my being sacred. There are messengers among us, but we all also carry our own special and unique message. You will always know what to do if you listen to the “still, small voice within you”, the voice of Spirit.
[C]: Diane Horton, The Unborn Child is of equal value as the Mother plus the Child has the ‘More’ component as well, do you see? This is not based on a time element or a body mass measurement, or location inside or outside or upside down. Time is a rationalization to make order, & so is Place. There is only the NOW & the HERE. How can I help you understand? Yes, we are ALL but the ONE! Agreed… Visually maybe, let’s try this, (& please forgive the pronouns’ for they are only to make logic & order-Ok?) Suppose you had a revolving ball & inside it is twined a male & a female ONE. Now there is no separate ONE ball in fact ’cause there is the only ONE singular ball, but let’s just use this for a moment. As this ball rolls along in a revolving circle it picks up a larger mass of a ‘More”’ component which is instantly a part of the whole ONE plus ‘More’, without this ‘More’ component this ball can not gain enough push & shove to move on. Do you destroy the ‘More’ component & hence stop the ball form rolling on to enlightenment?
Diane Horton: I said that. The babies, the children, the grown-ups, the animals, the trees, the plants, the birds, those beings of the ocean and the waters, the land, the sky, the sea – we are all ONE. All is Spirit, all is Energy, All is Divine, All are ONE. We all have a sacred life purpose. MT didn’t “give” the dying a sacred life purpose, they had one all along; they had been living it. You are not “less than” anyone or anything. You are the microcosm of the macrocosm. The molecules of the stars are in your very DNA. Therefore, in cosmic, over-arching Reality, there is no hierarchy.
Donna Snyder: Thank you, Diane, for your eloquence and patience.
Anne Wilkerson Allen: I should have explained that we are feminists, Sally, before inviting you to the group. We believe that a woman should have sovereignty over her body just as men have sovereignty over theirs. We believe that reproductive choices are a matter of women’s health and do not support the propaganda forwarded by supposedly celibate clerics and politicians. I appreciate your kindness and love and compassion, but we do draw the line and consider it a matter of choice.
Max Dashu: I also think that acting on deep structures of oppression prevents immense suffering from rape, starvation, beatings, economic exploitation, and unnecessary deaths, which have structural causes. Rape is not inevitable and is far, far less widespread within egalitarian cultures, for example. I do agree that we are all called to do all we can for those in acute need. That includes giving painkillers to those in excruciating pain, which MT forbade as a matter of policy, as an editor of the Lancet who visited the Calcutta hospice was shocked to find. Volunteers who objected to this policy were sent away. I abhor this, and at the same time i recognize the self-sacrifice of MT and her nuns in their work. But don’t see it as enlightened, rather as allegiance to pernicious doctrine, which imo must also be faulted for her deep spiritual malaise.
[Z] I appreciate all discussants. Hope this brings out a learning to all of us albeit on different levels. I am pleased that we go all the way to lay things out for many to see and follow the key issues addressed. Thank you again.
[C]: Imagine Mother Theresa distraught to her very core 24/7 not just to the constant pain suffering, & death around her, but to the lack of caring from the whole world-drastic measures for drastic times! Did the sacrifice of those she cared about penetrate other than to question her method, & question where the money went, then all that human sacrifice was in vain, what a shame for it was not a question of pain, or gain today, but of compassion prior in life so no such institutions for the dying purpose ever have to be again not to accept them & build more.
Rick Williams: Just another example of the “PROP Up Agenda” of the MACHINE…
- (Art) Wombniverse/The Red Sea by Liz Darling on
- (Art) Wombniverse/The Red Sea by Liz Darling on
- (Prose) Language as Serpent by Lizzy Bluebell on
- (Poem) Sisters of the Deep Waters and Making Space by Lucy Pierce on
- (Book Review) Susan Hawthorne’s Dark Matters: a novel by Harriet Ann Ellenberger on
- (Poem) Solstice Gift for Baby Jesus by Andrea Nicki on
- (Art) Elk Woman, Gentle Born by Lucy Pierce on
- (Prose) Gratitude Expressed by Deanne Quarrie on