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?



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    To achieve canonization (whatever that does for you!), you have to have a group of pushy devotees. Few layfolk manage that, but religious orders make great claques.

    Actually, Mother Teresa’s interior darkness makes her a more appealing candidate.

  2. 2
    bernie12 Says:

    You have raised an interesting issue with the case of Mother Teresa. I see no reason to have her on a fast track, especialy in light of her issues of faith . In the case of Archbishop Romero , we are told he was summoned to the Vatican more than once because of his option for the poor and then made to cool his heels for days before they gave him a drssing down So don’t hold your breath waiting for his canonization. It seems there should be a more rigorous process if the Vatican wants to go through such a process and be above the pressure of special interest groups.

  3. 3

    Tim – thanks for the interesting comment. I really wonder if the world’s view of Mother Teresa would change substantially if Rome put her through a somewhat archaic canonization process.

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