Recently I was discussing with a friend (a US citizen who happens to follow the Conservative/Republican party) the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Barack Obama (US President). During the conversation my friend made the comment "He's no Mother Teresa" - a comment so absurd (and right) that my complete train of thought was interrupted. That comment is what has me, today, writing about the Catholic Church's embarrassment commonly referred to as "Mother Teresa".
I fondly point out the interest that priests have for little boys and girls in reference to the "saintliness" of those who have "a direct line to god". It is not often that I think of the shameful, though not as horrid, Mother Teresa. If you haven't read Christopher Hitchens' book, Missionary Position, I highly recommend it (as does this review). Mother Teresa was not a friend of the sick and the poor - she did little to take away their suffering as she spent countless dollars on the development of convents bearing her namesake. Rather than provide medical treatment or take care of the needs of some of the world's most impoverished people, she used the money for proselytizing - for building the Catholic faith.
For that reason (and many more), Barack Obama is "no Mother Teresa" - even if his goals do not appear to be about reducing suffering and reinvesting in science, they are definitely not about the expansion of the Catholic Church or about using the most vulnerable for the advancement of ones cause.
During her acceptance speech, Mother Teresa told the world that "the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion". She suggested that people should be using natural means (only) for birth control. She fails to realize that one of the greatest threats to peace is poverty and the greatest threat to survival is lack of adequate food, clean water and proper sanitary systems. She willingly enabled people to reproduce when reproduction was making the problem worse. Receiving sexual education and family planning advice from a self-proclaimed virgin is not a stretch of an idea for a church that offers marriage counselling by (supposedly) celibate and single men.
Mother Teresa: Something else that the church needs to apologize for.