Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Scandal of Mother Teresa's Sainthood
In 2003 close to 300,000 people crowded into St. Peter's Square and it’s surrounds, to celebrate Pope John Paul II's beatification of Mother Teresa, known as the ‘Saint of the Gutters’.
Pope John Paul, himself on his last legs told the gathered crowd in a weakened voice “In her, we perceive the urgency to put oneself in a state of service, especially for the poorest and most forgotten,the last of the last”
Some 450 doe-eyed nuns from Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity flew-in from Calcutta to witness the three hour ceremony.
Like everyone there that day, the Nuns witnessed a sham on a grand scale, as did a fellow Indian mother of four, there in Rome as a special attendee.
The fast-tracking of Mother Teresa’s sainthood, is widely known, less so the fact the posthumous miracle she is credited with - simply did not happen and is little more than a crudely constructed fabrication.
Fabrication, that became the last crucial pieces in the Catholic Churches beatification ‘jig-saw’ of the Albanian nun, orchestrated by a frail and dementia ridden pontiff who wept aside the set 17th century red tape, and began making Teresa a saint in record time. Rather than decades, even centuries - the process would take just years.
The final part of the jig-saw was evidence of a miracle following the candidate’s demise.
On Sept. 5, 1998, the first anniversary of the nun's death, Monica Besra (above) left her family to seek help from the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India. Suffering abdominal pain caused, she believed, by a tumor.
But the purported tumor vanished when nuns from the mission placed Teresa’s picture & an accompanying locket, on her abdomen, the site of her pain.
In August 2001, Monica's post-death miracle was supplied to the Vatican as part of the fast-tracking of Mother Teresa's canonisation.
None of this happened the way the Church portrayed it.
Before all of this allegedly happened, Monica Besra was suffering from tubercular meningitis and from an ovarian tumor, which was discovered during an ultra-sound investigation. This came about after was admitted to the government hospital in Balurghat, suffering similar severe pain. She was subsequently treated by Dr.Tarun Kumar Biwas and the gynaecologist Dr. Ranjan Mustafi. After she left the hospital, the treatment was continued in the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital and ended successfully in March 1999. A final ultra-sound investigation showed that the tumor had disappeared.
The Hospitals superintendent supplied Sister Betta from the Missionaries of Charity with Monica's medical records containing sonograms, prescriptions and physicians' notes etc that provided ample evidence it was medical treatment that cured her, and not a magical photo through which a dead nun emanated curative properties from beyond the grave.
But, rather conveniently the ‘good’ nun Sister Betta, lost those official medical records shortly after receiving them.
Despite openly admitting at one stage they had solicited Monica Besra’s hospital records, abruptly The Missionaries for Charity then changed their story, and ignoring a mountain of evidence to the contrary, including statements from their own mission, they now claim they never received the official medical records in the first place.
What they did ‘discover’ in their place amongst the 34,000 pages of meticulously accrued miracle documentation, are claims that several doctors had certified that the healing was ‘scientifically inexplicable’.
One ‘small’ problem with this transcript, is the Balurghat Hospital who treated Monica Besra has no records of these doctors and further, none of these anonymous witnesses could be traced.
Balurghat Hospital Doctors are adamant in the validity and robustness of their diagnosis and statements from officials from the same hospital back this up, with claims the Catholic order has been pressuring them to say Monica's cure was miraculous.
Remarkably, amongst all those 34,000 pages of ‘official evidence’ for Teresa’s miracle cure from beyond the grave, there was not a solitary sentence from anyone who was actually involved with Monica Besra’s medical treatment.
"This miracle is a hoax."
Monica's husband Seiku, has had enough of all the publicity concerning his wife’s so-called miracle and freely speaks out against the hysteria, which still sees devotees flocking to his door-step expecting a similar instant cure.
“My wife did feel less pain one night when she used the locket, but her pain had been coming and going. Then she went to the doctors, and they cured her."
"My wife was cured by the doctors and not by any miracle." he forth-rightly tells anyone who will listen, not that the Catholic Church has to this day ever spoken to crucial witness like him.
Monica Besra is a 38-year-old tribal woman from Dulidnapur village, a mother of four.
She is illiterate and speaks her tribal mother tongue only, a few words of broken Bengali & English.
The official statement she purportedly supplied to the Papal chief investigator Brian Kolodiejchuk (via one of the sisters at the mission) happens to be written in fluent English and shows familiarity with details of Catholic doctrine she was, or never could to this day, be privy to.
Until recently Monica had been cashing-in on her new found fame, but it appears her flame has dimmed, and the devoted & often desperate miracle-seekers beating a track to her house, had reduced to a trickle.
Last year Monica turned her attention to a far richer source than the often poor & now infrequent miracle seekers, when she began making public murmurings that she was not in-fact the benefactor of a miracle cure and that she was used by the Catholic Church for their own selfish purposes, then callously abandoned to a life of penury.
Her threats to ‘spill the beans’ had the required effect.
Fearing her admissions would expose the stage-managed nature of the deceit, The Vatican arranged for ‘hush money’ to be paid to her via, of all entities, the local Mother Teresa Charitable Welfare Society.
When this pay-off was exposed in the Indian media the Society was forced to comment saying simply it was ‘a donation’.
A substantial one, and as 'icing on the cake' , places for the Besra children at a private Catholic School.
Monica Besra, then went back believing in the miracle.
So what does The Vatican & the Indian missionaries behind this scandal , have to say about the controversy still surrounding Monica Besra’s miracle? The missing files? Failure to speak to key witnesses? The role of medical science etc.
Well they no longer comment on the subject, so the final say is fittingly left to Monica herself:
"I took the medicines they gave me, but those who love Mother will believe”
Footnote: For more on Mother Teresa you may be interested in my previous blog entitled ‘The Loathsome Cult of Mother Teresa’