Speaking of the rigorous pre-Vatican procedure for beatifications, eminent Catholic historian William Thomas Walsh, who died in 1949, wrote the following: “No secular court trying a man for his life is more thorough and scrupulous than the Congregation of Rites in seeking to establish whether or not the servant of God practiced virtues both theological and cardinal, and to a heroic degree. If that is established, the advocate of the cause must next prove that his presence in Heaven has been indicated by at least two miracles, while a cardinal who is an expert theologian does all he can to discredit the evidence—hence his popular title of advocatus diaboli, or Devil’s Advocate. If the evidence survives every attempt to destroy it after months, years and sometimes centuries of discussion, he is then beatified, that is, he is declared to be blessed.”As a result of these changes and in virtue of their manifest errors, the canonizations are John XXIII and John Paul II raise serious concerns as to the validity of modern canonizations.
We will later note the new 1983 process of canonization dispenses with the Devil’s Advocate, and eliminates the stringent juridical method in favor of an academic approach. The discarding of the “thorough and scrupulous” procedure praised by Mr. Walsh cannot help but introduce doubt to the integrity of the entire new process—especially in the case of “fast-track” canonizations.
Mr. Walsh further noted the following about the traditional process: “The final stage of canonization, the last of twenty distinct steps, may take even more years or centuries. It must be proved beyond any reasonable doubt that two additional miracles have been performed through the instance of the servant of God, since the beatification. When and if this is done, the Pope issues a bull (a sealed letter) of canonization.”
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No one questions that she rendered care and assistance to the poor of Calcutta and championed the rights of the unborn. The problem lies in the matter of faith, the first and most important of the heroic virtues necessary to be proclaimed a blessed. It would seem that there would certainly be cause for examination of some statements of Mother Teresa that imply that salvation is possible in all different creeds and beliefs. I will rephrase the problem: Can someone who affirms or implies that the Catholic Church is not the only true Church – as she did – be beatified?
She is lauded as a great ecumenical teacher of prayer. Those who praise her spiritual meditations read like a line-up from an Assisi Prayer Encounter: a Jewish Rabbi, a Zen teacher, a Tibetan Buddhist master, a Protestant minister, and the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others. The latter, Bishop Anthony Pilla, calls the meditations “kernels of truth … deep in wisdom and spiritual insight”:
Here is one of those “kernels.” Mother Teresa stated:
“Some call Him Ishwar, some call Him Allah, some simply God, but we have to acknowledge that it is He who made us for greater things: to love and be loved. What matters is that we love. We cannot love without prayer, and so whatever religion we are, we must pray together.”
This is not an isolated statement taken out of context. It is one of many such testimonials indicating Mother Teresa’s general attitude of indifference to what creed a man professed.(1) In this meditation, she shows an unorthodox notion of God, as well as a distorted notion of love.
So, Mother Teresa presented a false supposition – that these “gods” are all the one true God Whom the Catholic Church adores. This assertion is completely wrong. It stands in opposition to simple natural reason and directly contradicts Catholic dogma.
It is hard to believe that Mother Teresa was beatified after making this kind of statement, which objectively reflects her typical thinking. It is likewise difficult to understand how Catholic authorities can praise such an assertion as a “kernel of truth.”
Therefore, when someone loves the true God, Who is all-good, this is a good thing. But if someone has affection toward something evil, toward something that he calls god but is really a devil, this is not a good thing. It is an evil passion, not a good love, and the person needs correction, not empathy. There are, in fact, limits set in love. St. Thomas Aquinas taught this clearly: Passions “are evil if the love is evil, and good if it is good” (3)
This teaching is missing, however, in the meditation of Mother Teresa on God.
• First, she assumed the false supposition that God is the same for Muslims, pagans and Catholics.
• Second, she simplified the notion of love, and implied that one can love both the good and the evil, that the object of one’s love is an indifferent subject. All that matters is love. This contradicts the teaching of basic Catholic Catechism that instructs us to love the true God above all things.
A nun, even a very popular one, who would state these two errors would normally not be a blessed or a saint, since to achieve this honor her teachings on matters of Faith could not contain error, even a slight error. This is crucial not only because it involves the honor and integrity of the Church, but also because a blessed must be model of salvation for the Catholic faithful.
Let us pray that those who now honor Mother Teresa as a saint will not follow her "kernels" that lead others to error and outside of the Ark of Salvation.
Lord help us and save Thy Church in this time of grave confusion!