Mother Teresa will officially become a saint on September 4, nearly two decades after her death and only after “confirmation” that she performed two miracles. It’s that last bit that raises eyebrows because, let’s face it, how can anyone confirm a miracle? We’ve written at some length why the two miracles attributed to Mother Teresa hardly qualify as such.
The New York Times‘ Laurie Goodstein recently spoke with Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, the “postulator” in charge of putting together the case for Mother Teresa’s sainthood.
What makes your mind reel is how Kolodiejchuk responds to this question: “But what proof is there that this was really a miracle, and that there was no medical or scientific explanation?”
They’re quite strict on these things. In Brazil, a postulator I knew on another sainthood cause received the news that the miracle case he had put forth was rejected, so it’s not automatic. In the India case for Mother Teresa, there were 11 doctors consulted, and only one was Catholic. The rest were Hindu. You don’t ask the doctors whether they think it’s a miracle. You only ask them, “Can you explain this medically?”
Doctors’ ignorance shouldn’t be proof of a legitimate miracle. Bear in mind these weren’t even necessarily the best doctors in their field; they were just the ones who worked on that patient. At no point does anyone consider that maybe, just maybe, these doctors have a gap in their knowledge.
One other interesting note: Kolodiejchuk said his team consulted Christopher Hitchens‘ book The Missionary Position — which investigated Mother Teresa’s legacy and found much of it problematic.
In fact, Christopher Hitchens was called as a witness, in Washington. When we were preparing the actual case, myself and the people helping watched his movie “Hell’s Angel” and read his book “Missionary Position.” We have to take them seriously. But some of it is just mistaken information.
Whether Hitchens would agree with their definition of “mistaken,” we’ll never know. I’m guessing he’d have a lot to say in response.