Is Mother Teresa A True Christian?
By D.W. Cloud
Way of Life Literature, 1219 N. Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277
What a rare thing it is to find a public figure who has no enemies, who is acclaimed by practically all men! Yet among the poor and outcasts of Calcutta lives such a woman, a woman whose name is probably recognized by more people than the names of Ronald Reagan or Billy Graham. She is, of course, Mother Teresa.
"Born Agness Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in what is now Yugoslavia on Aug. 27, 1910, the diminutive nun arrived Jan. 6, 1929, in India, where she started assisting the needy and eventually established the now-global Missionaries of Charity organization" (San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 28, 1989).
HER GOOD WORK
That this woman is a kind, self-giving woman, we have no doubt. Having lived in Asia for 12 years of my life, having been to India many times and having spent some weeks in Calcutta itself, I would never doubt that Mother Teresa is an unusually self-sacrificing person.
Many of Calcutta's ten million residents live in the lowest squalor, some reports estimate as many as one million people are grow up, live, and die on the filthy streets of that massive city. I believe that. The place is awfully oppressive to one's spirit, especially for the newcomer.
Even after twenty or more visits, I have never ceased to be depressed by wretched Calcutta. I'm not alone in this feeling, either. It is told that Winston Churchill, after his first visit to Calcutta, said he was happy he had made the trip--happy, that is, because having been there once and having experienced it, he would not have to return!
Yes, Calcutta is an awful place in many ways and the condition of multitudes there are wretched. For a woman to give her life to care for these people is commendable.
Acknowledging that Mother Teresa is a good woman from the human perspective, though, has not answered the original question inscribed in the title of this article: Is Mother Teresa a regenerate Christian in the biblical sense, a woman and an organization with which Christians should associate and work?
MAN'S ESTIMATION OF MOTHER TERESA
Mother Teresa has certainly had a fair share of commendation! The secular world has honored her with the Nobel Peace Prize (1979) and accolades on every hand--by heads of state, by scientists, by the press and peoples of practically every nation on earth. In 1980 she was given India's highest decoration, the Bharat Ratna. In June 1985, she received from President Reagan the highest United States civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom award (The Christian News, July 1, 1985), p. 15). In October 1985, she received the "warmest ovation of the United Nation's 40th anniversary celebration" (Birmingham Post-Herald, October 28, 1985).
It goes without saying that Mother Teresa is commended by her own Roman Catholic Church, with its 800 million professing adherents. She was awarded the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971.
And joining in the applause are most Protestant groups. Almost without exception the major Protestant bodies, such as the more than 300 member bodies of the World Council of Churches, have risen up and called Mother Teresa blessed. An example is the statement made in the official periodical of the Church of North India, a member of the World Council, and representative of 700,000 Christians in over 2,000 congregations in India.
The cover of The North India Churchman, for November 1979, featured a photo of a smiling Mother Teresa, and inside this issue editor V. Henry Devadas says this: "We are delighted that Mother Teresa has been awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. We offer our hearty congratulations to Mother Teresa and thank God for her ministry of charity to the poorest of the poor in our country. May her example of dedicated service to God and man inspire each one of us."
Mother Teresa also appeared on the cover of the January-April 1990 issue of the Sowing Circle, a publication of the Bible Society of India. The accompanying article describes Bible Society General Secretary B.K. Premanik's visit with Mother Teresa:
"Millions of Christians around the world went down on their knees as they learnt about Mother Teresa's ill- health. ... A simple, unassuming, white- clad woman but her life speaks volumes about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. ... Her picture has been printed in some of the Bible Society of India scripture materials. We appreciate her selfless service to the people, the down-trodden in particular. We pray that the Lord would continue to strengthen her to demonstrate the love of Christ and that the Christian community will learn from her example."
It is not that surprising to see the world, Catholicism, and liberal Protestantism offer unqualified applause to Mother Teresa. More significant and difficult to understand is the applause being given to her by those claiming to be Bible-believing Christians. This, though, is evidenced on every hand.
Several times while visiting Calcutta I have met evangelical Christians--students of evangelical seminaries, workers in evangelical mission organizations, tourists--who had only praise for Mother Teresa and her work. These seemed not to have had the slightest thought that Teresa might be an unsaved adherent to an apostate church, that she might be helping people physically even while leading them to eternal damnation because of the false gospel she espouses.
An example is seen in World Vision, which claims to be an evangelical Christian mission. What does this organization think of Mother Teresa and her work? A report on the Jesus '81 rally at Anaheim Stadium appeared in the Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1981, as follows:
"In the June-July 1984 issue of World Vision, an article by Joseph Ryan, director of World Vision's Northwest Regional Office, tells of his visit to Mother Teresa in India who founded and leads the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Charity. Noted for her efforts to help the poor, this famous woman impressed the World Vision visitors with her humble spirit and simple words in which she said her work was `all for Jesus'" (Foundation, Volume V, Number 3, 1984).
Billy Graham was quoted by the Associated Press for May 1985 as pointing to Mother Teresa as a hero model for American youth (Calvary Contender, Nov. 15, 1985). She was extolled in an editorial in the January 1982 issue of Light of Life magazine, the most popular evangelical periodical in India.
The charismatic world also honors Mother Teresa:
"Mother Teresa was also featured, together with other famous Christians, in an award-winning television special entitled `Don't ask me, ask God.' Hosted in 1984 by charismatic leader Pat Robertson and broadcast on 150 television outlets as well as the Christian Broadcasting Network cable system, the first airing had more than 15 million viewers and ranked as one of the top five television specials of the season" (EP News Service, Aug. 25, 1984).
At a Sign and Wonders Conference in Melbourne, Australia, March 3, 1989, John Wimber praised Mother Teresa (Protestant Review, March 1989).
Many other examples like this could be given. It is obvious that Mother Teresa is being accepted as a true Christian by multitudes from practically every spectrum of Christendom.
Let me repeat, I am not doubting the goodness and greatness of Mother Teresa's work from a temporal, human, earthly perspective. Yet the most important question in regard to any religious work is whether or not it is acceptable to God, whether it is grounded and settled in the Truth. Is Mother Teresa a regenerate Christian? To what eternal destiny is she leading those to whom she is ministering? This is the important question, no matter how unpopular it might be even to consider making such an "old- fashioned" kind of judgment.
AN EVANGELICAL CATHOLIC?
There are not a few who would say Mother Teresa is a "liberated" Catholic of the post-Vatican II period and that she is not only ministering food, medicine, and human kindness, but the true Gospel of eternal salvation as well. Is this so? We have not far to go to find the answer. Mother Teresa openly and gladly admits that she is a thorough-going Roman Catholic, a faithful follower of her church, an obedient sister of Romanism (except that she believes that women should be ordained to the priesthood!).
While the declarations of the Vatican II council of the 1960s did bring changes to the Catholic Church, it did not change the foundational dogmas of that organization. Vatican II not only upheld the false teachings of Catholicism, it actually strengthened them.
The hundreds of bishops attending Vatican II reaffirmed such Roman heresies as papal supremacy; the Roman priesthood; the mass as a re-sacrifice of Christ; a sacramental faith plus works gospel; Catholic tradition on equal par with Scripture; Mary the Queen of Heaven and co-redemptress with Christ; auricular confession; pilgrimages to "holy shrines"; purgatory; prayers to and for the dead; etc.
All of the these Roman Catholic doctrines are reaffirmed in the book Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents. This book is published by the Roman Catholic Church and contains the Imprimature: Walter P. Kellenberg, D,D., Bishop of Rockville Centre, August 12, 1975.
"Imprimature" is the official stamp of approval for Catholic publications and means "let it be printed."
Consider some quotes from the Vatican II documents:
THE MASS, A SACRIFICE OF CHRIST--
"The Mass, the Lord's Supper, is ... a sacrifice in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 108).
"In this sacrament Christ is present in a unique way, whole and entire, God and man, substantially and permanently. This presence of Christ under the species `is called real, not in an exclusive sense, as if the other kinds of presence were not real, but par excellence'" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 114).
THE HOST TO BE WORSHIPED--
"All the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament the worship which is due to the true God, as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church. Nor is it to be adored any the less because it was instituted by Christ to be eaten. For even in the reserved sacrament he is to be adored because he is substantially present there through that conversion of bread and wine which, as the Council of Trent tells us, is most aptly named transubstantiation" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp. 109-110).
"It is necessary to instruct the faithful that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Saviour and that the same worship and adoration given to God is owed to him present under the sacramental signs" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 221).
MASSES FOR THE DEAD--
"The Church offers the Paschal Sacrifice [the Mass] for the Dead so that...
the dead may be helped by the prayers and the living may be consoled by hope" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 197).
CATHOLIC TRADITIONS ON EQUAL PAR WITH SCRIPTURE--
"Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. ... Thus it comes about that the Church does not draw her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Hence, both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal feelings of devotion and reverence" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 682).
SALVATION THROUGH SACRAMENTS AND THE CHURCH--
"[Christ] also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical [ritualistic] life revolves. Thus by Baptism men are grafted into the paschal mystery of Christ. ... They receive the spirit of adoption as sons" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp. 23-24).
SALVATION THROUGH BAPTISM--
"By the sacrament of Baptism, whenever it is properly conferred in the way the Lord determined and received with the proper dispositions of soul, man becomes truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ and is reborn to a sharing of the divine life" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 427).
POPES DISTRIBUTE SALVATION--
"God's only-begotten Son ... has won a treasure for the militant Church ... he has entrusted it to blessed Peter, the key-bearer of heaven, and to his successors who are Christ's vicars on earth, so that they may distribute it to the faithful for their salvation ... The merits of the Blessed Mother of God and of all the elect ... are known to add further to this treasury" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 80).
THE POPE IS SUPREME HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND AN INFALLIBLE TEACHER--
"The Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, namely, and as pastor of the entire Church, has full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 344).
MARY, THE SINLESS MOTHER OF GOD, PERPETUAL VIRGIN, BODILY ASSUMED INTO HEAVEN AS QUEEN OVER ALL--
"Joined to Christ the head and in communion with all his saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ ... Because of the gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. ... The Immaculate Virgin preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp. 378,381-382).
MARY, CO-REDEMPTRESS WITH CHRIST--
"As St. Irenaeus says, she being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with him in their preaching ... `death through Eve, life through Mary' ... This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp. 380-381).
MARY, HEAVENLY INTERCESSOR--
"Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp. 382-383).
MARY, TO BE WORSHIPED BY THE CHURCH--
"Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son, as the most holy mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ: she is rightly honoured by a special cult in the Church. ... The sacred synod teaches this Catholic doctrine advisedly and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and that the practices and exercises of devotion towards her, recommended by the teaching authority of the Church in the course of centuries be highly esteemed, and that those decrees, which were given in the early days regarding the cult images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp. 384-385).
INTERCESSIONS OF AND PRAYERS TO DEAD SAINTS--
"The union of the living with their brethren who have fallen asleep in Christ is not broken. ... Now that they are welcomed in their own country and at home with the Lord, through him, with him and in him they intercede unremittingly with the Father on our behalf, offering the merit they acquired on earth through Christ Jesus. ... Their brotherly care is the greatest help to our weakness" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 77).
"The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed. They often are. In fact, in purgatory the souls of those who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions are cleansed after death with punishments designed to purge away their debt" (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, p. 75).
Further quotes are given in the author's book Is the Roman Catholic Church Changing? available from Way of Life Literature, 1219 N. Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. $2.50 + $3 S/H. This book also includes a study of the New Catholic Catechism..
For our purposes here, this is sufficient. It is plain that the Catholic church continues to uphold doctrines which are blasphemous and contrary to the Word of God. One can say, if he so pleases, "I don't care what the Catholic Church teaches or what Mother Teresa believes. I still believe she is a good Christian." But having faced the facts, one can never deny that the Catholic Church and Mother Teresa follow unbiblical teachings and a false gospel.
Mother Teresa is a thorough-going Catholic, a faithful daughter of Vatican II. She is a great worshiper of Mary; she believes the cracker of the mass is Jesus Christ.
Consider that in June 1986, Mother Teresa spoke at the second annual Rosary for Peace gathering. She said, "Generously give your child to be consecrated to God. The greatest gift God can give to a family is to have a son to be a priest at the altar, at whose absolution a sinner full of sin becomes a sinner without sin. Pray that one or two of your children be consecrated that you may grow in holiness. Make your family one heart full of love, the heart of Jesus through Mary" (The Tidings, Los Angeles, California, June 20, 1986).
At the same meeting she called on the audience to pray the rosary "which we pray everyday, in the streets, around the world, wherever we are" and have adoration of the Eucharist in their parishes. ... She called Mary "our model, our way of being with Christ." She asked that the rosary be said for peace..." (Ibid.).
MOTHER TERESA BELIEVES ALL ARE CHILDREN OF GOD
Mother Teresa believes all men are children of God. In her speech before the United Nations in October 1985, she said, "We gather to thank God for the 40 years of the beautiful work of the United Nations for the good of people. No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us--we are all children of God. ... When we destroy an unborn child, we destroy God" (Christian News, Nov. 11, 1985, p. 17).
Mother Teresa said that AIDS sufferers are "children of God" who "have been created for greater things" (The Christian News, Jan. 13, 1986, p. 10). Of AIDS patients, she said, "Each one of them is Jesus in a distressing disguise" (Time, Jan. 13, 1986).
The April 7-13, 1990 issue of Radio Times tells the story of Mother Teresa sheltering an old Hindu priest, and said, "she nursed him with her own hands and helped him to die reconciled with his own gods." This is exactly what the Sisters of Charity do in Kathmandu, Nepal, as we shall see from the interview with Sister Ann.
In the biography Mother Teresa: Her People and Her Work, she is quoted by Desmond Doig as follows: "If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we ... become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are ... What God is in your mind you must accept."
Mother Teresa participated in the "Summit for Peace" in Assisi, Italy, in November 1986. This blasphemous prayer meeting was arranged by the Pope and was attended by leaders of many different religions, including Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Shinto, Sikh, and North American Indian--all of whom united in prayers for world peace (Time, Nov. 10, 1986, pp. 78-79).
MOTHER TERESA SPEAKS TO PRIESTS
As further evidence of just how radically unbiblical Mother Teresa's views are, consider some quotes from her speech at the Worldwide Retreat for Priests, October 1984, in Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican City:
"At the word of a priest, that little piece of bread becomes the body of Christ, the Bread of Life. Then you give this living Bread to us, so that we too might live and become holy. ... We and our people are hungry for God, hungry for holiness. I have seen this same hunger even among Hindus and Muslims" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy: God's First Call to Priests Today, edited by Tom Forrest, C.Ss.R., foreword by Msgr. John Magee, South Bend, Indiana: Greenlawn Press, 1987, p. 108)
"I remember the time a few years back, when the president of Yeman asked us to send some of our sisters to his country. I told him that this was difficult because for so many years no chapel was allowed in Yemen for saying a public mass, and no one was allowed to function there publicly as a priest. I explained that I wanted to give them sisters, but the trouble was that, without a priest, without Jesus going with them, our sisters couldn't go anywhere. It seems that the president of Yemen had some kind of a consultation, and the answer that came back to us was, `Yes, you can send a priest with the sisters!' I was so struck with the thought that only when the priest is there can we have our altar and our tabernacle and our Jesus.
Only the priest can put Jesus there for us. ... Jesus wants to go there, but we cannot bring him unless you first give him to us. This is why I love priests so much. We could never be what we are and do the things we do without you priests who first bring Jesus to us" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, pp. 109,111)
"So let us ask the help of our Lady! She is a Mother full of grace, full of God, full of Jesus. Let us ask her to be our Mother, guiding us and pro- tecting us. ... It is true that we are already being helped by our tremendous devotion to Mary. She is our patroness and our Mother, and she is always leading us to Jesus. She has shown us so many beautiful ways of bringing Jesus into the hearts even of Hindus and Moslems and Buddhists by bringing her presence and her love into their lives" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, p. 75).
"One day she [a girl working in Calcutta] came, putting her arms around me, and saying, `I have found Jesus.' ... `And just what were you doing when you found him?' I asked. She answered that after 15 years she had finally gone to confession, and received Holy Communion from the hands of a priest. Her face was changed, and she was smiling. She was a different person because that priest had given her Jesus" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, p. 74).
"In remote places, our sisters often prepare hundreds of children to go to confession" (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, p. 111).
"We must bring Jesus back into these homes by consecrating them to his Sacred Heart, by bringing prayer into the people's lives, and teaching them to say the Rosary. Priests always used to do this before, and they have to start doing these things again, so that these families can have peace and joy and holiness through their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. ... This is one of the reasons you are called 'another Christ" (p. 112) (Be Holy: God's First Call to Priests Today, edited by Tom Forrest, C.Ss.R., foreword by Msgr. John Magee, South Bend, Indiana: Greenlawn Press, 1987).
It should be clear that Mother Teresa is anything but an Evangelical Christian. She is a self-sacrificing woman who is following a false religion.
Still further evidence of the spiritual bankruptness of Mother Teresa's work is seen in the following interview with one of her co-workers, Sister Ann. The previous references to Vatican II and Catholic doctrine is an important background to understanding the full weight of some of the statements made in this interview.
From the interview, you will readily see that this work, no matter how plausible from man's earthly vantage point, is conducted by unregenerate religious people, promotes a cursed false gospel, encourages the lost heathen to have hope in their false gods even as they lay upon their death beds. In God's eyes, therefore, the entire endeavor is a cursed one, and no Christian should support, assist or praise a work cursed by God!
Admittedly, these are hard words, but the Bible contains many hard words and it is one's attitude toward the hard sayings of the Scriptures that distinguishes the obedient Christian from the disobedient. Did Jesus not say, "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God"? (John 8:47).
INTERVIEW WITH ANN OF MOTHER TERESA'S MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY
The following is transcribed from a taped interview conducted by missionaries David and Linda Cloud with a Catholic nun, Sister Ann, who worked in Kathmandu, Nepal, with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. The interview was conducted November 23, 1984, at Pashupati, the chief and "holiest" temple area in Kathmandu. Ann was overseeing the feeding and medical attention of the destitute and elderly who live there, waiting to die by Nepal's holiest river, the Bagmati. Many Hindus in Nepal believe that to die in this "holy" place, especially if they die with their feet in the water, helps them to be freed from the cycle of reincarnation as taught in the Hindu religion.
The area in which these people live is located next to the river, very near the area where the crematory pyres are lit. One can smell the acrid odor of burning flesh as the bodies are consumed in the "sacred" flames of this awful heathen ritual. We conducted the interview within 200 feet of the river in a tiny room of a Hindu temple which has been converted into use as a home for widows, the destitute, and the aged.
The Bagmati River flows from the Himalayan mountains through Nepal into the vast Indian plains, where it joins the Hindu's "holy of holy" river, the Ganges. According to Hindu belief, the Ganges "remains eternally pure and inexhaustible," and "the ashes of 35,000 cremated human corpses are swept into the Ganges every year in the belief that the river purifies the soul and relieves it of its endless cycle of death and reincarnation" (Pulse, Nov. 21, 1984).
This place where the Sisters of Charity work is considered the holiest place in Nepal. It is a large temple area, at the center of which is a massive golden bull. This bull is located in a temple which is so "holy" that non-Hindus are forbidden to enter it. The temple complex is covered with unspeakably vile idols of Shiva and other Hindu gods and the people who are attended by the Sisters of Charity are praying to these gods. Following is the interview:
CLOUD: Who are the people who live here and you help care for?
ANN: They come who have no one to look after them. They have sons and daughters, but they don't look after them, so those are the people that come here and stay. This government of Nepal has provided this house for them.
CLOUD: So you are working with Mother Teresa?
ANN: Yes, we are the same. We are her daughters!
CLOUD: Same order?
ANN: Yes, same order, same branch.
CLOUD: So how long have you been working here [in Kathmandu]?
ANN: Not yet one year; just eleven months.
CLOUD: You are not the leader?
ANN: No, no. Here before me there is one more sister, but I am her assistant.
CLOUD: But how many sisters are here in Kathmandu?
ANN: Seven, with our superior.
CLOUD: So your work is mainly right in this place [Pashupati temple area]?
ANN: No, we have two schools for the poor children, and two of us go morning and evening there. And we have children in our own house, altogether 13 of them. Then we have medical clinic in the villages. I go in the morning there, and in the evening I come here.
CLOUD: Did you ever work in Calcutta?
ANN: Yes, yes. We have to work in Calcutta for three years. That is six months aspirancy; one year [tape not clear here], and two years novitiate. So three and a half years we have to work there.
CLOUD: How did you become a Catholic? Were you born Hindu or something else?
ANN: No, no, my great grandfathers were Brahman, but after that they took conversion. They were converted by the Jesuit fathers.
CLOUD: And then how did you become a Christian?
ANN: My parents were Christian when I was born. So my great grandfathers took conversion, then after that my grandfathers took conversion, then after that we continued as Christians.
CLOUD: Here, along with your work, do you go to the mass?
ANN: Yes, daily we have mass at our house, at the convent.
CLOUD: And who leads?
ANN: A father comes from Jhawalakhel [where the main Catholic school is located and operated by Jesuit priests]. Every week one of the different fathers comes. All are American Jesuits. Every day we have mass. Morning we have one hour of prayer--half hour meditation and half hour of mass--one hour altogether. Then again in the evening we have one hour of adoration of the blessed sacrament [the consecrated wafer of the mass]. Then again afternoon before our lunch we have twenty minutes break and the station of the cross; then we have our lunch; then again we have another half hour for spiritual reading. We read some spiritual books to strengthen us. And then we start our work again.
CLOUD: These people living here are dying and their bodies are being burned over at the river. What do you tell them to prepare them for death?
ANN: We are not allowed to teach anything about our religion, because we are strictly forbidden to talk religion [she is speaking of government restrictions]. So we don't talk directly, but indirectly, according to their way. So they speak Bhagwan, no? [Hindu concept of the gods behind the idols.] So we tell them they are going to face the Bhagwan; prepare yourself. If you have hurt him in different ways or if you have offended him by your sin, try to make up with him. Say sorry to him. So they say, "Yes, we are sorry for what we have done." And they have their own confession in their own ways, you know.
CLOUD: Their own gods and things?
ANN: Yes, so we also take the name of Bhagwan and tell them in that way.
CLOUD: Do you believe if they die believing in Shiva or in Ram [Hindu gods] they will go to heaven?
ANN: Yes, that is their faith. My own faith will lead me to my God, no? So if they have believed in their god very strongly, if they have faith, surely they will be saved.
CLOUD: Do you believe there are different heavens? Like one for them and one for us?
ANN: No, there is only one heaven...
CLOUD: Why do you do this work?
ANN: Because we serve God in them. We find God in the midst of the suffering. The human society has thrown them out, so they are like in a despair, so we serve God in them.
CLOUD: Today we hear there are many changes in the Catholic church. Do you believe there are changes?
ANN: What changes?
CLOUD: Do you believe that Mary is the mother of God?
CLOUD: And about the pope, what do you believe about him?
ANN: He is the head of the church, the vicar of Christ.
CLOUD: And about the mass, what is your belief about the mass?
ANN: The sacrifice which was once offered at Calvary is renewed in the every day mass at the altar. It is an unbloody sacrifice. That [the cross] was offered in a bloody manner; this [the mass] is an unbloody manner.
CLOUD: So there is a sacrifice in the mass every day, like offering Christ again?
ANN: Yes, again.
CLOUD: But only the priest can do this?
ANN: Only priest.
CLOUD: But today it does not seem that the Catholic Church is trying to convert anymore. I know that John Paul II is saying now that those of other religions are saved.
ANN: We are not trying to do it forcefully; we have never done it forcefully. We don't give things to make them come, like out of greed. Because they are poor, and they need help. So when we give them help, then out of gratitude and out of their show of love, they try to change. But we say your religion is your religion forever. So if you are changing to please us, don't do that. But if you think God is calling you, then that is O.K. But when they have asked us and questioned and questioned, they try to change. Our Mother Superior is very keen about not converting forcefully.
CLOUD: But you do not believe they are lost anyway, right?
ANN: No, they are not lost. They are saved according to their faith, you know. If they believe whatever they believe that is their salvation.
CLOUD: Are any people lost? Are all people saved in the whole world?
ANN: Lost; we cannot judge, you know. What is going on in their soul we cannot know. Maybe a certain man lived a very scandalous life outwardly, but what is happening in his soul we don't know.
CLOUD: Do you think there is a real hell?
ANN: Hell is there, yes.
CLOUD: Do you believe in purgatory?
ANN: There is a purgatory; also hell is there.
CLOUD: When you die--you yourself--what do you believe will happen to you?
ANN: I will not go to hell. Maybe for a few days I may be in purgatory. For we also have our imperfection. Though we are sisters; we are religious; we don't have any outward, big sin, but some sin is there.
CLOUD: And that is the purpose of purgatory?
ANN: That is the purpose of purgatory.
CLOUD: Who do you pray to? Do you ever pray to Mary?
ANN: Yes, she is our mother.
CLOUD: Do you ever pray to other saints?
ANN: We have some saints in whom we have confidence. We can pray to them also. Like my own patron saint is Saint Ann, the mother of our lady, Mary. So I pray to her to guide me on the right path when I do my work.
Mother Teresa and her co-workers claim to love Jesus and to have faith in Him, and we know they sincerely desire to help people, but in reality theirs is a mixed faith. It is the cursed Catholic gospel of faith plus works, law plus grace. If Mother Teresa and her workers had true biblical faith in the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ, they would not daily attend the Catholic mass, which they freely testify to be the "re- sacrificing of Christ." When Sister Ann called the mass an unbloody sacrifice, she was only repeating the official teaching of her church and of Vatican II.
If we really love Catholics such as Mother Teresa and her co-workers, we will preach to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only Gospel whereby they can be saved from eternal destruction. I preached that blessed Gospel to Sister Ann that day by the banks of Nepal's most holy river. I opened the Bible to Hebrews and explained to her of that once-for-all Sacrifice which has been accomplished by the Lamb of God. This is the urgent need of Catholics. Those who ignore their doctrinal errors and affiliate with them as if they were regenerate, Bible-believing Christians are doing them a terrible and eternal disservice.
Amen and Amen! I trust you know this Risen Lord as your eternal and sure Salvation. Those who do must be careful to obey His Word about marking and avoiding those who teach false doctrines. We should preach the Gospel to Mother Teresa and her co-workers, but God does not allow us to join hands with them in their work or to praise them as if they were preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
[David W. Cloud, Is Mother Teresa a True Christian, Way of Life Literature, 1219 N. Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277.]