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Mother Teresa was not so saint-like

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,634 times Debate No: 38784
Debate Rounds (4)
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I have tried to debate this several times but I have had difficulty as a result of opponents forfeiting rounds, so I am looking for a good and thorough debate.
It's an Interesting topic as you don't hear it that often. I will be for the notion that mother Teresa was in fact quite immoral and unjust in her actions and ideas and therefore doesn't deserve the title of "saint". Round one is an acceptance round only, followed by rounds of back and forth argument/rebuttal. Good luck and happy debating.


Challenge accepted. I will be against the notion that Mother Teresa was not immoral in her actions.
I will debate that she, actually, was a saint.

Saint - A person acknowledged as holy or virtuous.

Will have a nice and intense debate. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the debate. However I would like to clear one thing up first. Remember this debate is not on whether or not mother Teresa was anointed a saint or not because we all know that she was. It's about whether she was a saint-like person or not. My opponent gives the definition of saint as " A person acknowledged as holy or virtuous." However the use of "or" in this definition cannot be valid. My opponent cannot attempt to win this by just showing that she was acknowledged as holy, as that is not what a saint is. If that was the case then every priest, nun etc would be a saint. Of course a saint must be holy but we are dealing more with the virtuous aspect i.e morals etc, hence "saint-like".

Now onto my arguments:
1. Issues regarding donations:
Mother Teresa's view was that if someone offers charity for the poor it should be accepted for their sake regardless of the giver. Charles Keating, an American banker known for the infamous saving and loan scandal, had donated up to $1.25 million to Missionaries of Charity. Despite pleas to return the money, Mother Teresa remained silent as a result of her "view". When Keating was brought to court mother Teresa asked the court to show mercy on him because he contributed a lot to her charities. This is a very selfish act as she is saying that if a man has done wrong then it's okay for people to forget about it because he has given a lot to charity. It also shows that she didn't care where the money came from or the implications of it, just as long as it was received.

2. Issue regarding use of donated money:
A report in a German magazine showed that in 1991, of all the donations aimed towards the Missionaries of charity, only 7 percent was used for the charity. ( I don't need to explanation the immorality of such a claim, it is self explanatory.

3. Immoral speakings/teachings:
In a time where countries like India were greatly suffering from a vast high birth rate and multiple diseases such as HIV, mother Teresa still condemned the use of any kind of contraception. Her policy was that aids is bad but not as bad as condoms are bad. This shows immorality as she preached for the prevention of some of India's main problems getting any better.

4. Quality of medical care:
In 1991, Robin Fox, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet visited the Home for Dying in Calcutta and described the medical care the patients received as "haphazard". He observed that sisters and volunteers, some of whom had no medical knowledge, had to make decisions about patient care, because of the lack of doctors in the hospice. Teresa was responsible for these conditions as she constantly visited the facilities and would therefore be very aware of the conditions and quality which existed. The order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, so that people who could otherwise survive would be at risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment. Mother Teresa did after all refer to the facilities as "Houses of the Dying".
In contrast to the conditions at her homes, it is well known that Mother Teresa sought medical treatment for herself at renowned medical clinics in the United States, Europe, and India. This is hypocrisy at it's highest and also an extreme contradiction to her perceived title of being "for the people". Many of this is shown in Christopher Hitchen's "Hell's Angels" documentary ( ).

5. Sincerity of helping people:
I feel that Mother Teresa's own words on poverty proved that her intention was not to help people. At a 1981 press conference she was asked: "Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?" She replied: "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people." ( How can she get away with boasting such an inhumane idea? Also writer Aroup Chatterjee stated that in Papua New Guinea none of the eight facilities that the Missionaries of Charity ran had any residents in them, and were purely for the purpose of converting local people to Catholicism. This is also a selfish and unjust act as it shows that Teresa had a higher interest in converting people to her religion than in helping the homeless or poor off the streets. This also shows that the public image of Mother Teresa as a "helper of the poor" was very misleading.

These examples are hardly the action or work of a saint-like person. I could go on but I won't as my aim is to try to prove why "Mother Teresa was not so saint-like", showing every possible example of this is irrelevant. I feel I have showed ample evidence of her immorality, insincerity, unjust ways, selfishness etc. for my pro side. I look forward to your response.


"My opponent cannot attempt to win this by just showing that she was acknowledged as holy". I wholeheartedly accept that no one can win by debating on the same point. And also, no one can win in the first round of the debate. So be calm and do not get excited so much.

My counter arguments are pretty straight forward. Your argument numbers are followed by my counter argument numbers.

So, here I go :
1) "
Mother Teresa's view was that if someone offers charity for the poor it should be accepted for their sake regardless of the GIVER." She was absolutely right in her view. Her ambition was to serve the God by being kind and helpful to the poorest of the poor, no matter in what circumstances they are in. I do not understand why my opponent is trying to distract the debate from Mother Teresa to Mr. Charles Keating. She respected her aspiration and worked towards it. Her work was to serve the poor as much as possible, then why would she bother about the money? If the money is flowing in, its good for the charity and ultimately for the God's poor. It was not her fault if the money had been donated by a fraud or an honest person. The money was used diligently and wisely. And, remember one thing, once is donated to the charity, the fund is not returned back to the owner.

2) "A report in a German magazine showed that in 1991, of all the donations aimed towards the Missionaries of charity, only 7 PERCENT was used for the charity." :

- First of all, Please give the proper link. It does not seem to be in complement with your argument you made. Kindly do not put the link just for the sack of 'more resources used'.

- Well, back to the topic, I wanna tell all the viewers that the antagonist does not know 7 percent of how much money. In fact, no one knows about the exact donations and spending of the charity because it did not disclose its donation and spending at any point of time.
In 1998, an article in the German magazine Stern estimated that the order received about US$50 million a year in donations. Other journalists have given estimates of US$100 million a year. There may be hundreds of more assumptions confronted. We do not know how much the money is donated but what we know is that the charity had been receiving some donation. I, now, will tell you where the money had gone apart from that 7%. In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor :-

-> She, in 1952, With the help of Indian officials, converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday). Those brought to the home received medical attention and were afforded the opportunity to die with dignity.
-> She opened a home for those suffering from Hansen's disease, commonly known as leprosy, and called the hospice Shanti Nagar (City of Peace). The Missionaries of Charity also established several leprosy outreach clinics throughout Calcutta, providing medication, bandages and food.
-> In 1955, she opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children's Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless youth.
-> By the 1960s she had opened hospices, orphanages and leper houses all over India. Mother Teresa then expanded the order throughout the globe. Its first house outside India opened in Venezuela in 1965 with five sisters. Others followed in Rome, Tanzania, and Austria in 1968; during the 1970s the order opened houses and foundations in dozens of countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.

- She also founded :-
-> The Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963.
-> The contemplative branch of the Sistersin 1976.
-> The Contemplative Brothers in 1979.and
-> The Missionaries of Charity Fathersin 1984.
-> She also gave the helping hand to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims, 1984. ( ;

3) "Mother Teresa's policy was that "AIDS is bad but not as bad as condoms are bad".

- She is correct again. My opponent might not be knowing but thegovernment of India had established thefirst national family planning program in the world in 1952 only. At this time, condoms were privately manufactured and sold commercially at high prices which could not be afforded by all, thus only available to wealthier individuals. India had become very poor at that time because the Britishers had taken away all the prestige from the country.

- At that time, couple's knowledge of reversible contraceptive methods was limited. And we all know that half knowledge is very dangerous.

- Some people had an allergy from the latex, an important component in condom.

4) I would like to tell the viewers that the antagonist has provided an absurd information in his 4th argument. It can be proved by the following points :-
- The paragraph my opponent has chosen is from an article which has multiple issues. The article needs additional citations for verification. (

- My opponent has used the word
Lancet. To give a brief idea about what lancet is. The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. There have been many controversial articles published. You can use the link. ( If there are many controversial article, then how can we allege that Robin Fox is correct in his journal?

- Also, the Christopher Hitchens launched an aggressive attack on Mother with a documentary and book aimed to inflame: Hell’s Angel and The Missionary Position. These polemics did not reflect the truth, but did manage to fool a number of people.

5) I think the opposition has done a very heinous thing by doubting the India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna recipient, Mother Teresa. He is debating that she did nothing in her life but baptized others to Catholicism. He is questioning the quality and the ability of Mother Teresa. If she would have been selfish, self-interested, self-centered, egoistic, greedy or narrow-minded, she would have not received such an honour. She received the Bharat Ratna because of her selfless love towards the poor, her intense work for the poor. Also, not to forget, she has also been awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1979. Her Missionaries of Charity got started with only 13 nuns and continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV and AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages and schools.

Now I ask you a question and this question is open to all the viewers on this site. Can you, can anyone on, do at least a percent of the work she did in her life-time? I think 2-3 life time would also be very little to do such a humane work. She was a great help to the Indian society. She helped the poor to be strong. It was her who said "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." That is the statement that joined millions of people in unity.

I think, I have sufficiently countered you. Its up to you bro. Waiting for your response.

Debate Round No. 2


In response to your points:
1) How can you say that it doesn't matter where the money came from as long as it went to the charity? Charles Keating was directly related to the American saving and loan scandal. He had done wrong.( Despite the lack of sincere money in which he donated, mother Teresa accepted it with open arms as it was to her benefit. The fact that she did not refuse and vouched for him in court purely because he donated large sums of money shows a great immorality in itself. It shows that she cared more about money than justice. Her reasoning for vouching for him was a weak and selfish one. Instead of looking at the big picture of justice she judged a man on how much money he donated, i.e how much she was benefited. It was entirely up to her whether to accept fraudulent money or not. If she did not know that the money was fraudulent initially then she certainly did at some stage as tried to manipulate the court to go easy on him because he gave a lot of money. She could have returned the money back at any time yet she didn't. By doing this she essentially preached against justice being served. Also I might add that it was well known that the charities, or Mother Teresa, were in no way stuck for money.

2) There may have been a complication with the resourced link, this should clear it up (

You say "no one knows about the exact donations and spending of the charity because it did not disclose its donation and spending at any point of time"
This is true but it is not the amount of money donated where the lack of morality lies, it's the 7%. Although we do not know the exact figure, we can assume that it is at the very least a relatively large sum of money however this is irrelevant. If only $10 was donated to the charity that year, only 7% of that going to the charity is as extremely immoral as if it was $100,000 donated. No matter the sum of money, the extremely immoral and unjust intention to only give 7% is still there.
My opponent then makes a timeline of claims on where the other 93% of money allegedly went to, however these claims are invalid here as the report of the 7% was ONLY for the year of 1991, as stated:
"A report in a German magazine showed that "IN 1991", of all the donations aimed towards the Missionaries of charity, only 7 PERCENT was used for the charity."
Saying what supposed good things she spent on in years such as 1952, 1955, 1960s and 1970s is invalid here. However if only 7% of money donated was given to the charities in 1991 it could be logically concluded that a similar occurrence happened in other years. At the very least, it would show mother Teresa's plain immorality, unjust and selfish ways.

3): "Mother Teresa's policy was that "AIDS is bad but not as bad as condoms are bad"

You say that Mother Teresa was right in her view and that "At this time, condoms were privately manufactured and sold commercially at high prices which could not be afforded by all, thus only available to wealthier individuals. India had become very poor at that time because the British had taken away all the prestige from the country."

Are you saying that it was good for Mother Teresa to condemn contraception simply because it was expensive? Firstly she only condemned them because of her religious beliefs, not because they were expensive or because some people were allergic to latex or that people had half knowledge on them (although those reasons would be ridiculous in their own right) As you said, India had become very poor country. This poverty mainly resulted from the mass amounts of overpopulation as a result of a lack of contraception. This also resulted in a mass amount of diseases such as HIV and AIDS. This was and for the most part still is one of India's main problems. How can mother Teresa preaching against the solution to one of India's main problems be justified? . Despite whatever religious views she had surely it is not worth the lives of thousands. She was perceived as helper of the people however this is very misleading. She actually preached against saving a lot of people's lives essentially, knowing that she had a very strong authorisation i.e people would listen to her. This is disgracefully immoral and selfish. If she was really for the people, she would have swallowed her pride if it meant preaching to save multiple lives, prevent deaths/diseases, prevent overpopulation etc. It suggested to me that she cared more about spreading her religious ideals rather than saving lives.

4) I would like to tell my opponent that the first part of my number 4 argument is very valid as it is backed up in Hitchen's documentary. It would be a bit of a coincidence if it was somehow the exact same "false" information on both citations don't you think?

You say that there have been many controversial articles in the Lancet however notice that on the wikepdia page in which you reference, there is not only nothing about this claim but there is nothing about Mother Teresa in general under the heading "Controversial articles". Also Robin Fox was the editor of the Lancet in 1991. It is highly unlikely that the editor would lie about such claims. This plus the fact that the same information is told in Hitchen's documentary means that we can pretty much rule out the possibility of a lie in either case.

Your reference which supposedly shows how Hitchen's documentary didn't reflect the truth does no such thing. It just tries to cover it up by saying the supposed good deeds that she did. It portrays no hard evidence that what is portrayed in Hitchen's documentary is false. If you watch the documentary on the other hand, you'll see that it does in fact have strong references, citations personal interviews, primary sources etc.

5) I did not once mention the Bharat Ratna. However yes of course I am doubting her awards. It is very easy to award someone for a) appearing good on the surface and b) when they feel they should/when there is a mass regard for the individual. Mother Teresa sometimes appeared to be good on the surface of her actions (some of them) to the public however as they say, ignorance is bliss. When you much of her work, actions, speakings you see a very immoral, unjust and selfish figure, as I have shown.

You say "If she would have been selfish, self-interested, self-centered, egoistic, greedy or narrow-minded, she would have not received such an honour"

This is not necessarily true at all. The problem was that many people believed that mother Teresa must be good because of her holiness. They either didn't see a problem with a lot of her deeds because a) they felt that she must be moral because of her holiness or b) they were simply not aware of the underlying immorality of many of her actions. This, mixed with a gullible public demand for Mother Teresa meant that it was very easy for her to be mispercieved and given such an award. Hitler and Stalin won many honorary awards might I add but I'm sure you're not going to argue that they deserved them. It's all to do with manipulation, ignorance, gullibility and a biased nature.

I have already argued and made points about the problems with Missionaries of Charity. It is interesting to mention AIDS and HIV. It's very hypocritical that Mother Teresa preached against the use of contraception yet held houses for people with such diseases. If I was a patient in one of these I would be disgusted.

You have not sufficiently countered me, you have merely tried to cover up my arguments by making claims of how supposedly good she was yet my arguments refute your claims under the headings of "Issues regarding donations", "Issue regarding use of donated money", "Immoral speakings/teachings", "Quality of medical care" and "Sincerity of helping people".


You did not answer my last round’s question. This is because you do not have the answer to it. You can do nothing but to criticize the noble persons.


- First and foremost thing I would like to tell you that stop giving the links of the articles which are yet to be verified. This is the second time I’m telling you the same thing in our 3rd round. Do not try to distract the viewers. Check your resources and go through the same thoroughly before posting.

- You said that she cared more about money than justice. Actually, it is, she cared about the justice to the poor than the money she was receiving from the donations made. Below are the points to prove me -

-> Daily, she visited families living in slums, nursing those weak with hunger and dying of tuberculosis. She started an outdoor school for destitute children, and focused on returning dignity to the poor, despite all the indignities they suffered. With the help of volunteers, including her former students, she soon expanded her work for “the unwanted, the unloved and the uncured for.”

-> There were literally millions of people in need in India. Droughts, the caste system, India's independence, and partition all contributed to the masses of people that lived on the streets. India's government was trying, but they could not handle the overwhelming multitudes that needed help.

-> While the hospitals were overflowing with patients, Mother Teresa opened a home for the dying, called Nirmal Hriday ("Place of the Immaculate Heart"). Each day, nuns would walk through the streets and bring people who were dying to Nirmal Hriday, located in a building donated by the city of Kolkata. The nuns would bathe and feed these people and then place them in a cot. These people were given the opportunity to die with dignity, with the rituals of their faith. This was manifestly more respectable than dying on the streets.

- In India's slums, huge numbers of people were infected with leprosy, a disease that can lead to major disfiguration. At the time, lepers (people infected with leprosy) were ostracized, often abandoned by their families. Because of the widespread fear of lepers. Mother Teresa eventually created a Leprosy Fund and a Leprosy Day to help educate the public about the disease and established a number of mobile leper clinics to provide lepers with medicine and bandages near their homes. Mother Teresa had established a leper colony called Shanti Nagar ("The Place of Peace") where lepers could live and work.

From the above points, it’s crystal clear that she was not hunger of the money she received. She, actually, was hunger of protecting the people and helping the poor.

How can you say that the donations were for her beneficial? Can you prove it?

2) One of the sisters in the charity told that “We lived a simple life, bare of all superfluities. We had three sets of clothes, which we mended until the material was too rotten to patch anymore. We washed our own clothes by hand. The never-ending piles of sheets and towels from our night shelter for the homeless we washed by hand, too. Our bathing was accomplished with only one bucket of water.”

From the link you provided, I could find out the following positive points -
- Father Sebastian Kuzhipala worked with Mother Teresa in her last 10 years and admits that “Missionaries of Charity misses Mother’s charisma. Other than being very simple and having high moral values, Mother Teresa was a strict disciplinarian, a smart organizer. She understood the influence she had over people but used that for the right purpose.”

- Sister Glenda clarifies that professional help is never avoided. “Look at Buddhni Bakshi,” she says pointing to a bald teenage girl sleeping on a stretcher. “She was abandoned by her parents because the wound in her head used to stink badly. When she came here, we did tests at a local hospital that showed a tumour in her head. We spent Rs. 4 lakh for the surgery and now she is fine,” adds Sister Glenda. The initiative to get professional help, say former volunteers, is a change.

- Former volunteers and people close to the Mother House revealed that the Vatican, home to the Pope, has control over the “monetary matters” ever since Missionaries of Charity came under its fold in 1965. The control got stronger after Mother Teresa died in 1997. This shows that Mother Teresa was not indulge in the donation matter.


I think, you do not know about the British Raj in India and how Britons looted India.
- Before 18th or before the British rule, India was called as "golden sparrow" because of it wealth, spices, precious metals and wisdom ( science, mathematics, geometry, astronomy and astrology).

- Do you know what happened after that?? Then came the Britons and they looted everything (everything literally means everything) from India. They ruled India for 187 years and made her the poorest of the poor country. You might be knowing that Kohinoor diamond was also looted from India only.

- You must see the link below and see the catastrophic situation of the Indians (pic).

- The people who did not have the money to put on the clothes, the people who did not have enough money to get 3 meals a day, the people who did not have shelter to live in, do you think, that the such people would buy those high priced condoms for sex??


- Please explain “there is not only nothing about this claim but there is nothing about Mother Teresa in general under the heading "Controversial articles."

- I wanted to show you that there are various controversial articles in Lancet. And hence there is a high possibility that the editor may lie.

- You said – “If you watch the documentary on the other hand, you'll see that it does in fact have strong references, citations personal interviews, primary sources etc.” I oblige you to give the reference in the next round.


- My opponent makes a breath-taking and a very laughable statement by doubting the Bharat Ratna recipient.

- You might not know how important “Bharat Ratna” is for the Indians.

- Go through the link – ( for once and you will understand why I said your statement laughable.

- It’s not a game of dice to get that honour as you can see the link above.
Debate Round No. 3


QandA forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited the final round of the debate. I would like to remind him that he, in his 1st round, had said that he wanted a thorough debate without any forfeiture. I regret to say that he has not kept his words. The forfeiture of this round means that he could not answer my questions. I repeatedly questioned him in the 2nd and in the 3rd round respectively but I did not receive any of the answers from the pro.

Anyways, I would like to post some of the sayings of Mother Teresa :-

"Keep the joy of loving the poor and share this joy with all you meet. Remember works of love are works of peace. God bless you."

"I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?"

"God wants me to give myself God in the poor.”

"The child is the beauty of the God present in the world - that greatest gift to the family"

“Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”

“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”

“Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”

“Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing.”

“Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simple duty, for you and for me…”

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do.”

I would also like
to post some of her photos :-







You can also listen to her audio biography here (Just 2:30 min in length) :

Mother Teresa's task was overwhelming. She started out as just one woman, trying to help the millions of the poor, starving and dying that lived on the streets of India. She was confident that God would help her in this task. Because of her self-less love for the people she was also recognised as the "Living Saint of Calcutta", "Angel of Mercy", "Saint of Gutter", "Saint on Earth".

That's all from this debate. Had a great time with this debate. One of my longest debate till now. Lots of research work we both did. Some very good points poured from both the ends. But the winner would only be one which would be chosen by the viewers. VIEWERS OF THIS DEBATE, GET READY TO CAST YOUR VOTES. Hope the better debater wins.

Thank You..!!
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Manan_06 7 years ago
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