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Mother Teresa fingered
October 15, 2002 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Mother Teresa fingered This is actually a rather shocking story because the criteria for a miracle at Lourdes, for example, are very strict. That's why there are so few of them.
posted by alloneword (48 comments total)

 
As far as I'm concerned Mother Teresa is a saint based simply on the good works she did in her life. The rest of this is simply an excuse to squabble about religion, which is not exactly breaking new ground around here is it?
posted by jonmc at 8:04 AM on October 15, 2002


/start thread

why is religion so goofy?
Me, I worship Pancakes.
What an exceptionally heartless dead lady.
My car stereo didn't work for about a year.
Never mind open attacks on the Catholic Church, that's just too easy.
bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
HEY CHRISTN, SHUT UP.
My karma ran over your dogma.
i think some people are confused and making generalizations
xmutex, can you please insult another billion people?
Seriously, can't we come up with a "god" that doesn't act like either an abusive parent or a tantrum-riddled five year old?
Think this thread's been used up.
why is religion so goofy?
Me, I worship Pancakes.
What an exceptionally heartless dead lady.
My car stereo didn't work for about a year.
Never mind open attacks on the Catholic Church, that's just too easy.
bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
HEY CHRISTN, SHUT UP.
My karma ran over your dogma.
i think some people are confused and making generalizations
xmutex, can you please insult another billion people?
Seriously, can't we come up with a "god" that doesn't act like either an abusive parent or a tantrum-riddled five year old?
Think this thread's been used up.
/end thread

I don't think we need to go over the same ground again, do we?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:05 AM on October 15, 2002


I think some people are confused and making generalizations.
posted by trioperative at 8:06 AM on October 15, 2002


I'm with her skeptical husband on this one, and the reason there are so few - if any - miracles is because there is no such thing. I've never seen anything that can be down to luck - but then i have a very cynical view on things. Can and do tumors disappear on their own accord? I don't know
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:06 AM on October 15, 2002


There is already a Saint Teresa, actually St. Teresa of Avila who is the patron saint of headache sufferers
posted by mkelley at 8:07 AM on October 15, 2002


..thats can't be put down to luck....
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:08 AM on October 15, 2002


Mother Teresa fingered

Well there's an image I don't need in my head this morning.
posted by bondcliff at 8:08 AM on October 15, 2002


I was a little thrown off by the title of this thread, it's a little crude. not_that_funny
posted by mkelley at 8:10 AM on October 15, 2002


Anyone else getting the "Time Asia" popup with the cover of the two naked Asians getting it on?

Mother Teresa would be soooooo proud.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2002


Well, I have the testimony of a former very active member of her Order who worked for her for many years and ended up in the office Mother Teresa maintains in New York City. She was in charge of taking the money to the bank. She estimates that there must be $50 million in that bank account alone. She said that one of the things that began to raise doubts in her mind was that the Sisters always had to go around pretending that they were very poor and they couldn't use the money for anything in the neighborhood that required alleviation. Under the cloak of avowed poverty they were still soliciting donations, labor, food, and so on from local merchants. This she found as a matter of conscience to be offensive.

Hitchens bags on Mother Teresa.
posted by Pinwheel at 8:22 AM on October 15, 2002


I want to stop this jamboree, people coming with cameras every few hours or so."

I know this is a ridiculous thing to talk about, but I was quite taken by the husband's use of the word "jamboree". Was this the translator's choice? I don't know enough about the area surrounding Calcutta to know if there is a possibility that this man speaks British English.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:23 AM on October 15, 2002


[quonsar scrubs hands in sink]
posted by quonsar at 8:25 AM on October 15, 2002


I don't really have a problem with the "miracle" itself, but I don't think Mother Theresa should get miracle credit if it happened after she had died. Maybe whoever made the medallion should get the props. Once Mother Theresa died, her "stats" should be final...
posted by stifford at 8:26 AM on October 15, 2002


Ummm... Gravy, I know enough about basic history to know that most of India and its surrounding areas were ruled by the English for a significant period of time. The liklihood of English culture rubbing off on Calcuttan culture is probably very high.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 AM on October 15, 2002


This actually isn't so much about miracles as it is about how the Catholic Church defines a saint. Somewhere along the line, they decided that regardless of your good deeds, faith, etc, you couldn't be a saint if you hadn't done some miracles. (Incidentally, like a lot of things this attitude is totally unsupported by the Bible) Problem is, now there are a lot of people like Mother Teresa. Everyone knows they should be saints, but they didn't really do any miracles. The church can't really say nope, Mother Teresa can't be a saint, since she obviously deserves sainthood, if anyone does. So the church looks desparately for miracles so that they can make her a saint. Even if they suspect that a miracle didn't happen, they'll say it did anyway, because they need those miracles to give her sainthood. Of course, some might say that the policy should be changed, but the Vatican's never been very quick to change things..
posted by unreason at 8:27 AM on October 15, 2002


XQUZYPHYR: I'm not getting any popups from the Time Asia site......almost feel a little cheated
posted by mkelley at 8:29 AM on October 15, 2002


why is religion so goofy?
Me, I worship Pancakes.
What an exceptionally heartless dead lady.
My car stereo didn't work for about a year.
Never mind open attacks on the Catholic Church, that's just too easy.
bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
HEY CHRISTN, SHUT UP.
My karma ran over your dogma.
i think some people are confused and making generalizations
xmutex, can you please insult another billion people?
Seriously, can't we come up with a "god" that doesn't act like either an abusive parent or a tantrum-riddled five year old?
Think this thread's been used up.


Hitler's Moustache!
posted by oissubke at 8:31 AM on October 15, 2002


monkeyjuice:

I'm with her skeptical husband on this one, and the reason there are so few - if any - miracles is because there is no such thing. I've never seen anything that can be down to luck - but then i have a very cynical view on things.

i have heard of cancers miraculously going into remission. i am a catholic (and i do resent some of the baiting that goes on here from time to time, but few consult my feelings when their intellectual masturbation is concerned). but i do tend to think that miracles are likely within the realm of science -- either explainable now or eventually to be. but they are rare. it seems to me that the church was reaching here, or at least that is now borne out. i don't know why people need to be sainted to be considered good people, either, but the church does not consult my feelings when their doctrine is concerned either.
posted by moz at 8:32 AM on October 15, 2002


British english - I love it, ha. Just don't say that in the peripheries of the UK or you risk being lynched. It is also rather annoying, here we speak well english english.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:42 AM on October 15, 2002


but i do tend to think that miracles are likely within the realm of science -- either explainable now or eventually to be.

Then they wouldn't be miracles, would they?
posted by bondcliff at 8:42 AM on October 15, 2002


Pop-up in full effect. Naked asians.

As far as the title, I think it was meant as pseudo gangster speak, like "Tony the Tomato got fingered for that jewelry store hit last week". It means to lay blame or be implicated. The "finger of blame" being pointed at them.

At least, I hope that's what was meant.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:43 AM on October 15, 2002


"I've never seen anything that can be down to luck"

- In most instances you can put it down to poor timing.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:44 AM on October 15, 2002


Nice gratuitous crudeness, allinone.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:44 AM on October 15, 2002


There is already a Saint Teresa, actually St. Teresa of Avila who is the patron saint of headache sufferers

11 Teresas, one Terese, 3 Theresas, and 2 Thereses. Maybe they should add a rule that people named after saints can't become saints themselves ;)
posted by Foosnark at 8:48 AM on October 15, 2002


Not THAT Mother! The other Mother! The one that's NOT Teresa!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:53 AM on October 15, 2002


bondcliff:

Then they wouldn't be miracles, would they?

sure they could be. By definition, a miracle is "[a]n event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God." but many things may appear inexpicable though they are not. (for example, liquids condense when they are made solid, but water -- seemingly inexplicably -- does not. one or two other compounds follow that same exception, i think.)
posted by moz at 9:10 AM on October 15, 2002


(that's not to say we've held the conversion of water to ice as a supernatural phenomenon in the past.)
posted by moz at 9:11 AM on October 15, 2002


What a Luddite! Still using a .plan file! If she were a real saint she'd have a weblog!

Somewhere along the line, they decided that regardless of your good deeds, faith, etc, you couldn't be a saint if you hadn't done some miracles.

It's more an epistomological thing. It's not like the Catholic Church makes someone a saint. Rather, they're trying to guess whether God has made them saints. There's probably lots more saints than the ones the church officially recognizes, but they only go out on a limb and say someone is definitely a saint if there's lots of evidence. Thus the requirement for miracles, etc.
posted by straight at 9:14 AM on October 15, 2002


I know this is a ridiculous thing to talk about, but I was quite taken by the husband's use of the word "jamboree". Was this the translator's choice?

Yes.
There are colorful Bengali words that have the same meaning which is what the husband will have used.
posted by justlooking at 9:17 AM on October 15, 2002


Thanks, Ynoxas. It is how I meant the title. I trealised th eother bit afterwards. What can I say? Honi soit qui mal y pense as the Essex catchphrase goes.
And I used to be a religion writer, so I have a complicated attitude towards miracles. The point about the testing at Lourdes is that it is so rigorous that the number of unexplained healings declared "miraculous" is about what you'd expect from blind chance.
And you don't have to perform a miracle to become a saint. The Forty English martyrs were let off the practical part of the exam before their mass canonisation in 1970.
posted by alloneword at 9:19 AM on October 15, 2002


Wasn't there an article posted here a while ago (I searched and couldn't find, but I'm stupid) that laid out how Teresa wasn't such a nicely, saintly person afterall?

why does JP2 seem to have such a woody for saint-ifying people?

And aren't Drs. Tarun Kumar Biswas and Ranjan Mustafi a little irked that they spent all that time at university and medical school to do all that work on Monica Besra only to have Teresa get the credit?
posted by tolkhan at 9:23 AM on October 15, 2002


many things may appear inexpicable though they are not. (for example, liquids condense when they are made solid, but water -- seemingly inexplicably -- does not

Actually, I think we've covered that one moz, your argument notwithstanding.
posted by walrus at 9:25 AM on October 15, 2002


The forty English martyrs weren't let off. Martyrs don't require miracles.
posted by arisbe at 9:26 AM on October 15, 2002


(that's not to say we've held the conversion of water to ice as a supernatural phenomenon in the past.)

Perhaps not, but I distinctly remember a Calvary Chapel church service I attended once where the pastor used that very factoid as proof that the universe was created by direct divine intervention, and that "evolution" was thus impossible...
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:35 AM on October 15, 2002


Maybe they should add a rule that people named after saints can't become saints themselves
And let's not even talk about the many St. Johns-- from Saint John the Baptist to St. John Bosco. Hereafter if your name is John you must choose the primrose path.

I know the history of the British Rule over India (I did after all read The Raj Quartet and saw "The Jewel in the Crown" as well) but I am just wondering if a man who lives in a small village outside Calcutta would speak English. If not, that certainly is a whimsical word choice by the translator.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:39 AM on October 15, 2002


Mars Saxman: I distinctly remember a Calvary Chapel church service I attended once where the pastor used that very factoid as proof that the universe was created by direct divine intervention, and that "evolution" was thus impossible...


"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith and without faith, I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel Fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? I couldn't have possibly evolved by chance. It proves you exitst, and so therefore you don't. QED."

"Oh dear, I hadn't thought of that," says God, and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"My, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black = white and is promptly killed at the next zebra crossing.

-Douglas Adams
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:05 AM on October 15, 2002


Actually, I think we've covered that one moz, your argument notwithstanding.

walrus: you're right. that was why i cited the example, in fact: it seems inexplicable, knowing the bit you do know about liquids turning to solids, but it's really not.
posted by moz at 10:14 AM on October 15, 2002


I know this is a ridiculous thing to talk about, but I was quite taken by the husband's use of the word "jamboree". Was this the translator's choice?

Yes.
There are colorful Bengali words that have the same meaning which is what the husband will have used.


While most sources quote its origins as obscure, I've found one source saying "jamboree" is Hindi, which would make it a perfectly acceptable local word. Its first English use in 1864 or 1868 would support this. Some other words with Hindi origins: pajamas, punch (as in the drink), khaki, sandals, verandah, and shampoo.

English - the bastard language of the universe.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:37 AM on October 15, 2002


I wonder what the Bollandists will have to say about all this in a century or so. The late nineteenth-early twentieth century Bollandist Hippolyte Delahaye's overview of medieval hagiography is still quite an interesting book (and perhaps startling to some, as he throws around adjectives like "stupid" on a frequent basis).
posted by thomas j wise at 10:51 AM on October 15, 2002


The Forty English martyrs were let off the practical part of the exam

You must have been a great religion writer! Keep 'em coming...
posted by languagehat at 11:50 AM on October 15, 2002


Off-topic

While most sources quote its origins as obscure, I've found one source saying "jamboree" is Hindi, which would make it a perfectly acceptable local word.

C'est Possible.

But it is a very big stretch. In spite of the incessant assault of Hindi soaps on the national network, most Bengalis from West Bengal still speak terrible Hindi. In fact, kids are encouraged to learn English, rather than Hindi.

Dangram will really be .. out there. 460 miles from Calcutta in the Indian context is really very far. Unlikely that anyone wearing a lungi in a place like that speaks any English or much Hindi.

On the other hand, Murmu doesnt sound like a Bengali last name - more like a tribal last name. I am not very knowledgeable about Hindi literacy / popularity among the tribes. However, 'Jamboree' is not a Hindi word in common use.

But we are getting stuck in an obscure argument about an obscure word which has nothing to do with the thread ...


posted by justlooking at 12:17 PM on October 15, 2002


God Bless The Good Doctor Pepper.
posted by xmutex at 1:16 PM on October 15, 2002


Once Mother Theresa died, her "stats" should be final...
posted by stifford

The funniest thing I've read in days. So many elements of good comedy writing, in one very small package. I'll be thinking about this for a while.

Hats off to stifford... poignant insight and wonderful humor.
posted by cadastral at 1:21 PM on October 15, 2002


Ghost: What is your source for the alleged Hindi origin of "jamboree"? All reputable dictionaries I've consulted say "obscure," and the fact that the OED (original edition) gives it as "U.S. slang" certainly militates against its being a Raj import.

justlooking: Don't apologize; this is much more interesting than the umpteenth go-around of "Religion: Silly or Inspired?" Good guess on Murmu; the first Google hit says: "Deepa Murmu was an educated tribal woman committed to the nation's literacy programme."
posted by languagehat at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2002


Hitler's Moustache: Spread the Meme!
posted by UKnowForKids at 2:24 PM on October 15, 2002


>but i do tend to think that miracles are likely within the realm >of science -- either explainable now or eventually to be.

That doesn't really make sense. Either miracles are part of the ordinary natural word (then no longer being miracles) or are supernatural interventions. If the latter then it makes one wonder why a creator would have to intervene at all. It suggests a very limited god using the eraser end of the pencil now and again. Your post sounds like a priori assumption that god exists and science will find him, thus making religion and miracles "scientific." That's a pretty big assumption.

As far as the "anomalous phenomenon eventually explained" hypothesis goes: sure. 18th century scientists and laymen did not believe that rocks could fall from the sky. Meteorites also had occult associations, usually as omens of disaster. So when meteorites became part of the scientific noosphere was science forced to drag all the occult omens with them? Of course not. So if miracles do get explained they cease to be miracles, they become nature.
posted by skallas at 9:09 PM on October 15, 2002


languagehat: As you pointed out (and I obliquely mentioned in my post), all reputable dictionaries give an obscure origin, with a 1860s reference. The "US slang" part I haven't seen in any of my dictionaries (I do not have any edition of the OED). I Googled for "jamboree word origin", and inside two minutes I found a site of foreign words in English that quoted jamboree as Hindi. The rest of the words on the site, at least on quick review, appeared correct ("robot" as Czech with Russian roots is reasonably correct, though it should give R.U.R. its due). Lacking any evidence to the contrary (such as your citation), I suggested there may be a connection there. Considering the credibility of my source was quite low, I thought I qualified my comments with the "origin obscure" reference. If "jamboree" is a common Hindi word, I'm sure linguists would have made that connection before now. But "origin obscure" sometimes means "origin in dispute", and jamboree may have evolved from a similar word in Hindi. My only intention was to suggest there was a possible connection, not to start another "posh".
When I read the earlier comment on "jamboree" being English, I thought, gee, wouldn't it be amusing if that was a local word, borrowed into English. Didn't mean to sound definitive on the issue.

justlooking: Since I was trying to ensure this thread didn't cover the same ground the other Mother Teresa thread covered this week, I wouldn't say the word discussion was out of place. This has certainly been a better read than the last one, with very little about MT at all.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:27 AM on October 16, 2002


Ghost: I hope I didn't come across as accusatory; I just wanted to know if you knew something I didn't. I figured it was pretty much the way you just explained, but you never know -- there might have been a recent article in Language on the subject. (By the way, I found your first comment in this thread extremely satisfying, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for making it.)
posted by languagehat at 7:15 AM on October 16, 2002


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