That pious old fraud who spent her life shilling for the Vatican, Mother Teresa, turns out not to have been quite so pious after all: it seems that for most of her life in Calcutta, Teresa had serious doubts about the existence of the god known only as God. As CBS reports:
Shortly after beginning work in Calcutta’s slums, the spirit left Mother Teresa.
“Where is my faith?” she wrote. “Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness… If there be God — please forgive me.”
Eight years later, she was still looking to reclaim her lost faith.
“Such deep longing for God… Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal,” she said.
As her fame increased, her faith refused to return. Her smile, she said, was a mask.
“What do I labor for?” she asked in one letter. “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”
(And why shouldn't she doubt? She'd spent her entire life doubting the existence of all the other gods.)
I can feel pity for the emotional pain she was going through, but her doubts make her actions even more unforgivable. Teresa, it seems, feared that she was a hypocrite. Not only was she a hypocrite, but one of her last wishes was for her letters revealing her doubts to be destroyed. That's hardly the action of somebody humble and unconcerned about her reputation, that's the action of somebody who wanted to protect her reputation after she was no longer around to look people in the eye and lie to their face about faith.
To pervert charity, as she did, in the name of saving people's immortal souls is bad enough, but to do it when you are sure that there are no immortal souls is far worse. If she had actually used the millions of dollars she had collected for charitable purposes, then she would be worthy of being made an icon of charity and compassion. But she didn't: the money disappeared into the Vatican's investment portfolio, enriching the church, while leaving the hospital she ran in a worse state than when she took it over.
I don't expect these revelations will make any difference whatsoever to the move to make her a saint. Her immoral perversion of charity has been known -- not widely known, but known -- for many years. But sainthood isn't about what Teresa actually did in real life, it's about creating a myth of Christian charity and compassion to inspire the next generation of believers who can be fleeced. It's no coincidence that Christianity holds up the sheep as the ideal to aspire to: fearful, stupid, prone to mindlessly following the leader. Goats, which are intelligent and independent-minded, have a poor reputation in the Bible.