Sunday with Mother Teresa

An announcement from Minnesota Atheists:

Mother Teresa: Closet Atheist or Teflon Saint?

Sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Bedlam Theatre, Minneapolis

Around the world Mother Teresa has become an unassailable icon of charity, love and endless toil for the benefit of the “poorest of the poor.” Her image as the savior of the poor people of Calcutta earned untold millions in donations, multitudes of awards, including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, and a fast track to sainthood.

Persons who have questioned her mode of operation and publicized the true nature of her contributions have been widely and vehemently vilified. Now, with the release of some of her private writings, some are calling her a “closet atheist.”

Minnesota Atheists’ associate president Cynthia Egli will speak on the controversies surrounding Mother Teresa’s life and work and answer the question, “Should the Catholic Church canonize Mother Teresa?”

Complete schedule (everything is free and open to the public):

Noon – 12:30 p.m. – Social time.
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Presentation.
1:30 – 1:50 p.m. – Break.
1:50 – 2:00 p.m. – Brief business.
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Open discussions.

Bedlam Theatre,
1501 6th St. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454

This venue is exactly at the Cedar-Riverside light rail station in the West Bank area of Minneapolis. There is a huge FREE parking lot behind Bedlam Theatre.


  1. autumn says

    Sadly, I do not think that she was ever a “closet atheist”. Given her insistance that birth control was the work of the devil, regardless of how it may have improved the lives of the “poorest of the poor”, I think that she was never even a serious doubter of Roman Catholicism. She was simply a literate and thoughtful person who wrote her feelings down, and who among us hasn’t had feelings of doubt about any number of our cherished beliefs.

    Nobody seriously calls Thomas Aquinas a “closet atheist”, do they? He wrote far more provocative stuff than Mother Teresa.

  2. Hank Fox says

    Ugh. I vote against identifying Mother Teresa as an atheist, however conflicted. She’s not one of MY people.

    She might have been a complete unbeliever … but her entire life was an axe to the neck of freethought.

    Reminds me of all those Republican creeps who kiss up to Ann Coulter and revel in hate speech against gays until they’re caught giving BJs on the side. I’d doubt the gay community is interested in reaching out to them, either.

  3. Owlmirror says

    “Should the Catholic Church canonize Mother Teresa?”

    I don’t get the point of debating this. It feels like arguing whether or not a club of small children somewhere should vote on whether or not some other child is free of cooties.

    While magical thinking should be argued against in general, why would the kids listen to anyone outside their club? I certainly see no point in forcing the issue.

  4. Rey Fox says

    Minnesota Atheists meeting, Nov. 18th, 2007.

    Resolved: The Catholic Church should neither canonize nor not canonize Mother Teresa, but rather, take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.

    Noon – 3:00 PM: Beer and ping-pong.

  5. andyo says

    Yeah, I agree with Hank Fox and owlmirror above. Why are the “atheists” even debating this? I am what the religious (and probably most of you) call an atheist, and I think this discussion from the atheist’s part if Mo Teresa was “one of us” is not constructive.

    I also wouldn’t want to relate to someone like her. If she was an atheist, she was one of the most hypocritical ones, bringing unnecessary suffering KNOWINGLY to a lot of people and taking shady donations. No, thank you. The catholics can keep her. The catholics can use her.

    There is no real point in “debating” her canonization by us, but we can say that we hope she’s not. It’s only good for the mafia church to have more saints, in the same way that it’s only good for a company to have more salespeople who work permanently for free. So they’re most likely putting up a dog and pony show in the meantime to say they “investigated”. Same as with all the others.

  6. comfortably numb says

    Christopher Hitchens tells all in his book “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.” She was a piece of work. Here’s Hitch writing in Slate:

    MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been–she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself–and her order always refused to publish any audit.

  7. says

    Minnesota Atheists’ associate president Cynthia Egli will speak on the controversies surrounding Mother Teresa’s life and work

    Teach the controversy!! :)

    They had some thing on NPR where they were discussing her diaries and her deeply secret and personal doubts – which she had asked to have burned on her death. Anyhow, it was fascinating because it sounded like a really good first person account of a psychotic trying to sort out delusion from reality and losing. She belongs in a textbook, not on a pedestal!

  8. Stephen says

    It’s amazing to me that people still swallow the media presentation of Mother Theresa. There are so many people in India doing good things for the poor and actually attempting to raise the standards of living in India (something that Mother Theresa never even tried to use her millions in donations for), and yet we sanctify her of all people? It’s sad.

  9. Robin says

    What really confuses me is why rank-and-file Catholics are still buying into the Mother Teresa hype.

    I can see why the church hierarchy wants to canonize her as soon as they can. After all the child raping in their midst, they really need a media-friendly saint.

    I’m sure they could do better than Mother Teresa.

  10. says

    Is there anywhere convenient on the tubes where a lazy person who doesn’t know much about Mommy T can get a good summary of the anti-her position?

  11. Margaret says

    I don’t know if she believed in a god, but she certainly believed in using religion to oppress people. When (not “if”) the Catholics add her to their pantheon, they should put her in charge of sadism, masochism, and hypocrisy.

  12. Uber says

    The entire catholic notion of ‘saints’ is ridiculous to begin with and enough to remove that sect from any serious consideration by anyone remotely rational.

    I think that she was never even a serious doubter of Roman Catholicism.

    I think it is certain that she was, and noy just RC but the entire enchilada.

  13. Dustin says

    and who among us hasn’t had feelings of doubt about any number of our cherished beliefs.

    Me. I don’t have cherished beliefs.

  14. Sili says

    Ah, but Dustin – is that not in itself a belief? And by your insistence I’d posit that it is one you cherish.