Subramanian Swamy, above, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party MP who has attacked Mother Teresa for her efforts to ‘Christianise’ India, is now calling for her to be stripped of India‘s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India).
According to this report, his call last week came after Indian authorities busted a baby-trafficking racket in a shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order set up by the late Albanian-Indian missionary in 1950.
He said his stance wasn’t merely influenced by the baby-trafficking scandal, saying he saw it as the last straw in a long line of criticisms levelled at Mother Teresa over many years.
He cited her loyalty to the late American financier Charles Keating, who was convicted of swindling millions of dollars from small investors in the 1980s — Teresa’s charity benefited greatly from Keating’s donations, and she even wrote to a California Superior Court judge seeking clemency for Keating on account of his being “kind and generous to God’s poor,” according to a letter published by Christopher Hitchens in his book, The Missionary Position.
Keating was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison, but only served a third of the sentence before his conviction was overturned on a technicality. He died in 2014, two years before the Catholic Church pronounced Mother Teresa a saint.
If you have multiple examples of criminality by Mother Teresa, why should she be a person who should be celebrated in our country? We are not rubbishing the entire [Mission]. We are rubbishing the so-called ‘saint’ status of Mother Teresa.
Their review, published in the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, listed a number of allegations.
They included Mother Teresa’s tendency to glorify human suffering at the cost of providing proper care to the poor, her ties with dubious political figures (including the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier), her dogmatic stance on abortion, contraception and divorce, and her habit of being:
Very generous with her prayers, but rather stingy with millions of her foundation in the sufferings of humanity.
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal state (which includes Kolkata) and a political rival of the BJP, accused the BJP of being “malicious” in trying to tarnish Mother Teresa’s reputation.
A spokesperson for the Missionaries of Charity described the allegations as “nonsense.”
On Saturday, Indian police shared a clip of a nun confessing to the sale of three babies.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi criticised the manner of ongoing investigation amid attempts to systematically malign the charity set up in 1959. The police, he said, are:
Treating the whole of Mother Teresa’s organisation as a criminal gang.
The top church official also asserted that the nun is innocent and she had told her lawyers that the confession claimed by the police was extracted under pressure.