Don Boys, Ph.D.
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This week Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed a dedicated, compassionate nun named Teresa, a saint of the Catholic Church. However, the Bible never gives anyone the authority to make anyone a saint. The pope and the church have usurped authority they do not have a right to possess. Of course, God makes saints through faith in Christ based on nothing else. No baptism, no works, no sacrifice; just faith in Him. Sainthood has nothing to do with how you behave but what you believe.
In early September of 1997, a London talk show host asked me, “Well, Dr. Boys, does that mean Mother Teresa is not in Heaven?” I gulped, thought for a second, and said, “Well, I can’t know any person’s heart but if Teresa trusted the Roman Catholic Church, baptism, or her good and admirable works to get her to Heaven, she is not there.” The hostess and the audience members gasped!
I had been asked to do the show dealing with Princess Diana since some Christian groups in England were saying that the recently deceased Diana was now in Hell. After dealing with where I thought Diana was, the host hit me with the Teresa question since the Catholic nun (known as the Saint of the Gutters) had just died. It is one thing to suggest that an adulterous, drinking, former princess was in Hell but something else to suggest that one of the most kind, sacrificing, and famous do-gooders of history might not be in Heaven!
I told the host “Good people don’t necessarily go to Heaven and bad people don’t necessarily go to Hell.” She was astounded and said, “Would you please explain that?” I was thrilled to do so. I made it very clear that people go to Heaven only by placing personal faith in the shed blood of Christ.
I was on a roll so I said, “In fact, there are people in Hell tonight who, while on this earth, lived a better life than some people in Heaven.” She was shocked again and said, “Will you please explain that?” I was thrilled to do so–again. I explained that some people are genuine Christians but are very nominal in their daily living while there were non-Christians who are more noble, kind, decent, and generous but have never experienced the New Birth. I emphasized again that people go to Heaven because they trust Christ as Savior.
There is no doubt that evangelical and fundamental Christians can learn something from Teresa who ministered to the unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. No one should be more concerned for the poor, disadvantaged, hurting, sick, and hungry people of the world than Christians. I think we could be more involved than we are although many of us give to world missions, feed the hungry, provide clean water, medical missions, go to mission fields, etc., but we could certainly do more without diminishing the essential message that only Christ saves.
Teresa did not appear sophisticated; however, she or her handlers were very astute in using the media for her own end—raising money for her cause. She had connections with rich, famous people (sugar daddies) who funded her charity according to Christopher Hitchens in The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. (Hitchens, an atheist, did an incredible television movie titled “Hell’s Angel” that exposed Teresa. He also claimed Teresa was “a fanatic, a fundamentalist and a fraud.” Well, not like the Fundamentalists I know.) Some of those “sugar daddies” were disreputable, unscrupulous people such as Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (who plundered Haiti), Communist Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, Charles Keating, and other scoundrels.
One egregious example is her relationship with Charles Keating of the Lincoln S&L fame or more correctly, shame. When his savings and loan company failed in 1989, it left about 23,000 people holding worthless bonds and cost the federal government over $3 billion. Keating was convicted in both federal and state courts in the early 1990s of fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy and served four and a half years in prison.
Keating gave more than a million dollars to Teresa and flew her around in his jet. During his trial, Teresa wrote Judge Ito telling him what a good guy Keating was and asked for leniency in sentencing. Teresa advised the judge to “do what Jesus would do.” I’m not sure what Jesus would have done, but the judge put Keating in the pokey for four and a half years!
Following the trial, Teresa received a letter from the Deputy District Attorney telling her that the money Keating had given her was stolen from hard working people and suggested that she return the money. I would have suggested, “After all, that is what Jesus would have you do.” The good nun never answered his letter (nor returned the stolen money). After all, it was for the “poor.”
It seems the nun was an opportunist, especially when it fit her agenda. Her agenda was to raise money for her charity by toadying up to rich and famous people. She raised a fortune but never built a hospital for children in India but did build convents in more than 150 countries! There has never been an accounting for the fortune she raised.
CNN reported on Teresa’s charity declaring, “It’s true there’s no transparency–and very little information available–on the group’s bookkeeping. CNN’s request to interview the current head of the organization was declined.” But the sainthood continued.
The Catholic Church requires two “miracles” to confirm “sainthood” and one of the two alleged miracles is bogus. Monica Besra said she was healed of cancer by praying to Teresa; however, her husband admitted on video that she was healed by medicine not prayers to Teresa. In fact, some physicians claim that she did not have cancer but a cyst caused by tuberculosis. Furthermore, in an interview with Time magazine, Besra’s husband said, “It is much ado about nothing. My wife was cured by the doctors and not by any miracle.” But it seems Pope Francis was determined to have a miracle even if the facts are otherwise. Now, Besra’s husband has denied making the allegations.
The Washington Post reported of Teresa, “Her saintly reputation was gained for aiding Kolkata’s poorest of the poor, yet it was undercut by persistent allegations of misuse of funds, poor medical treatments and religious evangelism in the institutions she founded.” Moreover, the British medical journal Lancet published a critical account of the care in Teresa’s facilities in 1994, repeating what many others has reported. Many former volunteers have testified of patients receiving no pain medicine and nuns washing needles in cold water to be used again!
To her credit, Teresa was a long-time anti-abortionist and, after winning the Nobel Prize in 1979, she said in her acceptance speech that the “greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.” She also angered Bill and Hillary Clinton when she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington in February 1994, where she argued that abortion was a mother murdering her own child! Bill and Hillary “sat there, in the glare of the hot lights, all eyes in the crowd fixed upon them, as they tried not to move or be noticed, conspicuous in their lack of response, clearly uncomfortable as the applause raged on.”
Teresa had theological problems as well as problems with principle. She was asked if she ever converted people (or only feed the hungry, lifted the poor, etc.) and she replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him.” That is heresy. No real Christian believes that.
But then, maybe I was correct on that London talk show when I suggested that she was not a Christian but only a Catholic. Just as there are many Baptists who are not Christians.
My critics will be angry that I did not call her Mother Teresa but she was not my mother. My mother was Emma and while she was not an activist in the slums of Zanesville, nor did she lift the sick and poor from the gutters, she was a godly woman who knew Christ as her savior. I am convinced she is in Heaven.
I’m not sure of “Saint” Teresa’s present location!
Boys’ new book Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! was published recently by Barbwire Books; to get your copy of Muslim Invasion, click here. An eBook edition is also available.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 15 books and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)