St. Teresa of Calcutta, saint of darkness

Mother Teresa was canonized on Sunday, officially declared to be a saint.  It isn’t necessary to be a Roman Catholic to appreciate this woman, who ministered to the poor and the dying on the streets of Calcutta.

Her example and the sense of holiness she conveyed persuaded many, such as Malcolm Muggeridge, to become a Christian.  Nevertheless, it is said that she experienced spiritual doubt and depression, a “dark night of the soul” that lasted some 50 years.

She wrote, “If I’m going to be a saint, I’m going to be a saint of darkness, and I’ll be asking from heaven to be the light of those who are in darkness on Earth.”  According to a priest involved with her canonization, she experienced both the physical poverty of the poor and the spiritual poverty of the “unloved, unwanted, uncared for.”

I have heard this period of darkness referred to as evidence that Teresa “was not perfect,” but I think it makes her holiness more believable.  The life of faith is not “perfection,” nor constant joy; rather, it often involves what Luther called “tentatio”–struggle, conflict, agony of conscience–and her descriptions of her depression shows that her faith was in Christ and not her own good works, which she had in such abundance.

In honor of her canonization, I will link and excerpt the speech she made at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, in which she gave a compelling critique of abortion.  Afterwards, she received a standing ovation, with President and Mrs. Clinton, also on the dais, staying in their seats.

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Bush proven right on stem cell research

Fifteen years ago, President George W. Bush banned the use of federal money for extracting stem cells from human embryos.  At the same time, he doubled funding for finding alternative sources.  Today, virtually all stem cells used for medical treatments and research come from adult sources and do not involve the destruction of human life.

President Bush’s controversial decision has been vindicated, and it exemplifies the application of moral principles to scientific research.  So says Christopher White in Crux. [Read more…]

“Our spirituality and abortion are one”

The goal of the “pro-choice” movement used to be to make abortions “legal, safe, and rare.”  But why “rare”?  That implies that there is something wrong with abortion.  Pro-choicers today are now proudly “pro-abortion.”

The strategy now is for women to openly talk about their abortions as a good thing.  Just as sentiment about homosexuality changed when gays “came out” and Americans discovered that they their number included many people whom they knew and cared about, openness about abortion, it is thought, will help get rid of the stigma against it.

A number of new initiatives are coming out from the pro-death folks, including “abortion concerts” in 30 cities on September 10.  Then there is the “We Testify” program, which uses religious language in having women “testify” to the “spirituality” of their abortions. [Read more…]

Why won’t bishops discipline Joe Biden? 

Vice President Joe Biden performed a gay wedding earlier this month, getting special certification from the District of Columbia to allow him to do so.  He also supports the right to an abortion.  Both put him squarely against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and yet he remains an active member in good standing.

Westminster Seminary theologian Carl Trueman asks, why doesn’t the appropriate bishop discipline him?  Is there anything a Catholic politician could do that would get him in trouble with the church?

Trueman is Reformed, not Catholic, so he sees church discipline as one of the marks of the church.  Since, as we have seen, Catholics can go to Hell, perhaps church discipline is not so important in that tradition, though one would think such a possibility would be a matter for pastoral care.  How would other church bodies, such as Lutherans, come down on this? [Read more…]

Doctors push back against assisted suicide

Vermont has a law allowing for physician-assisted suicide.  State agencies are interpreting the law so as to require doctors to tell their patients about this option.  Also, doctors who don’t want to kill their patients must refer them to another doctor who will.

A number of Vermont doctors have decided to fight these requirements and are suing the regulators that are forcing them to violate the Hippocratic oath. [Read more…]