The Halo Halo! column from the February 2016 issue of the Socialist Standard
‘Second miracle puts Mother Teresa on path to sainthood’ said the article in the Guardian (18 December). Well, that was lucky wasn’t it? They’ve been keeping their fingers crossed hoping for that second miracle, needed for her to become a saint, ever since she died and the first one took place.
But she did have a few critics. The article noted that a 2013 report carried out by researchers at the Universities of Montreal and Ottawa criticised her ‘rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce’. It also noted that ‘the vast majority of patients who visited Mother Teresa’s mission for the dying had hoped to find doctors to treat them, but instead found unhygienic conditions, a shortage of care and no painkillers’.
So what did these miracles entail? Well, the Vatican isn’t giving too many details of the second one. All they’re telling us is that an unnamed Brazilian man was unexpectedly cured from brain tumours after his priest prayed for Mother Teresa’s intervention with God. And they surely wouldn’t lie about a thing like that, would they?
We do have a few more details of the first miracle, although the late journalist Christopher Hitchens, who looked into it, was not entirely convinced. ‘A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of Mother Teresa, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumour. Her physician, Dr Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn’t have a cancerous tumour in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine’, he wrote in 2003.
‘Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery’ he added.
What, then, are the requirements of a genuine, kosher, Catholic approved miracle? Fortunately we can consult the online Catholic Encyclopedia for an explanation of such arcane theological matters.
‘In analysing the difference between the extraordinary character of the miracle and the ordinary course of nature, the Fathers of the Church and theologians employ the terms above, contrary to,and outside nature’ they inform us. ‘Every miracle is not of necessity contrary to nature for there are miracles above or outside nature’. And they helpfully point out ‘The term contrary to nature does not mean ‘unnatural’ in the sense of producing discord and confusion. The forces of nature differ in power and are in constant interaction. This produces interferences and counteractions of forces’.
Well, they can’t be accused of trying to baffle us with science. You couldn’t imagine a more unscientific load of claptrap. This is like being baffled with pure, unadulterated bullshit.
Cicero, the ancient Roman lawyer who had looked into this hogwash, even before Christianity came along, explained it much more simply – ‘There are no miracles. What was incapable of happening never happened, and what was capable of happening is not a miracle’.