Got it wrong, again
FREE Catholic Classes
i>Time magazine called it "Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith." Bill Maher made fun of it, suggesting she was a crypto-atheist, and others gleefully concluded that this documented the clay feet of the woman who the world long ago anointed a saint. The London Telegraph reported that Mother Teresa "was tormented by a crisis of belief for 50 years," and that interpretation was echoed by numerous news outlets.
The stories were provoked by excerpts from the new book Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, edited by Missionaries of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk and published by Doubleday.
The book reports on, and quotes from, letters between Mother Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years. These letters reveal poignantly and pointedly her long-term spiritual struggle with the sense that God abandoned her.
The reports were disturbing to many. Our Sunday Visitor, as well as many parish offices, received questions from fellow Catholics wondering how a woman so widely considered a saint could have had such a crisis, and wondering if belief was possible when one so obviously holy encountered this.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, this is an excellent time to reflect on the dangers of drawing any lessons about the faith from the secular media. It is also more proof, if proof is needed, that Catholics have been poorly catechized about many of the teachings of their own church.
The secular media often lack nuance and context in reporting on matters that require some theological depth. With regard to Mother Teresa, there is widespread confusion between belief in God and the feeling that he is near.
Letter excerpts suggest that on only a couple of occasions Mother Teresa actually doubted, or was tempted to doubt, that God did not exist. Apparently, that kind of doubt didn't last.
Mother Teresa stands in good company among the saints who had similar struggles, though perhaps her struggle lasted longer than that of most others. St. Therese, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross all famously endured such struggles. Indeed, Jesus himself, quoting the psalmist, cried out in his sense of divine abandonment on the cross.
It's a bit arrogant, then, of one online commentator to say of this controversy: "It seems to me that the Catholic Church is finally grappling with the complexity of the concept of sainthood." The Catholic tradition has long recognized the complexity of sanctity; it's the critics who are operating with caricatures in mind.
Finally, as the book's editor, Father Kolodiejchuk, noted, the fact that Mother Teresa struggled this way is one more indicator of her heroic holiness. Who among us could dwell among the poorest of the poor, the most desperate people on the face of the earth, sharing their lives intimately for half a century, without wondering often, "Where is God in all this?"
Yet, she never gave way to despair, and continued her work of sacrificial care for the poor. This can only be understood as a saintly woman's heroic and persistent act of a will that had abandoned itself to God, even when it seemed abandoned by him.
Our Sunday Visitor
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 24, ...
- National Catholic Prayer Breakfast hears call for 'Catholic great ...
- Daily Reading for Thursday, April 25th, 2019 HD Video
- Appeals court: House not required to accept 'secular prayer' at start ...
- Pope Francis gifts 6,000 rosaries, asks for prayers on name day
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, April 24, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 HD Video
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, April 22nd, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, April 22nd, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.