A book of letters written by Mother Teresa reveals for the first time that for more than half a century she was deeply tormented about her faith and suffered periods of doubt about God. At one point she refers to herself as a “hypocrite” for talking about her personal love of God when she felt none. In 1959 she wrote: “If there be no God – there can be no soul – if there is no soul then Jesus – You also are not true.”
Some commentators are now saying that Mother Teresa, because of her long-standings doubts and apparent loss of faith, should not be canonized a saint by the Catholic Church. But surely the real question is does she need to be canonized at all.
Many millions of people around the world revere Mother Teresa for her work with the poor in Calcutta. Would canonizing her make their reverence any more real? And isn’t the whole current process of canonization riddled with inconsistencies?
There is a full court press on in the Vatican to have Mother Teresa canonized perhaps as early as this year. (For her the five year waiting period was scrubbed). Yet the process for Archbishop Romero, who was murdered for his faith in South America, appears to be stalled.
Come to think of it, why does Rome canonize so many prelates, priests and religious and so few outstanding lay Catholics? Some years ago there was a rumour that former Governor-general Georges Vanier and his wife, Pauline, were up for canonization but nothing came of it.
Matter of fact, if you are a celibate you have the inside track to saintood, but if you are married, chances are you’re out of luck.
What sort of message does this send to the modern world? Does canonization in 2007 matter to anybody except an inside clique at the Vatican? And, if that’s so, would it make any difference if Mother Teresa were not canonized?