Churches Mourn Mother Teresa

Anglican Journal, October 1997 | Go to article overview

Churches Mourn Mother Teresa


`India will miss its mother; its people feel orphaned'

ECUMENICAL NEWS INTERNATIONAL

Geneva

Church leaders, politicians and the Indian government have expressed their deep sense of loss at the death of Mother Teresa and their praise for her work with the poor and marginalized. Mother Teresa died at the age of 87 early last month in Calcutta, the city where she began her work with the starving and the dying.

"Mother Teresa marked the history of our century. She courageously defended life, she served all human beings by promoting their dignity and respect, and made those who had been defeated by life feel the tenderness of God," Pope John Paul II said at a mass the day after her death.

In India, flags flew at half mast as the government announced that Mother Teresa would be given a state funeral on September 13.

Just as Gandhi had led the fight in India against poverty, hunger and injustice in the first half of the century, so Mother Teresa had carried on that fight in the second half, the prime minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, said. "We will serve her constituency by building a memorial to her in every Indian village and by pledging to remove poverty and suffering."

The All India Catholic Union described the work of Mother Teresa with the aged and the dying as a "moral beacon in this age of violence and internecine wars." It also paid tribute to Mother Teresa as a "brave crusader for causes dear to her heart," referring to her campaign against abortion and her support for the cause of the poor, the destitute and the homeless.

However the Telegraph of Calcutta has published, since Mother Teresa's death, a strongly critical article about her, stating: "It was the misery of Calcutta that built up and continued to sustain her reputation, that induced the rich and powerful to give her money and patronage. But Calcutta has little reason to be grateful. It was she who owed a tremendous debt to Calcutta. No other city in the world would offer up its poor and dying to be stepping stones in a relentless ascent to sainthood. Calcutta gave her a halo. …

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