Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mother Teresa on abortion

We all love to jump on the bandwagon of praising an historic figure for their contribution to society. The media do it best. Headlines often draw modern day comparisons to Mandela, Mother Teresa, Gandhi and so on. It is easy to preserve the memory of a person by continually speaking of their greatest achievements. It is even easier to be picky about which achievements one chooses to illuminate. Mother Teresa was a wonderful woman; she helped the poor and suffering in countless developing nations. We often hear warm and fuzzy quotes thrown around like: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies" and "If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love" or even the more religious: "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world". But if we respect and idolise the woman, surely her other less 'popular' views should be respected too?

Take Mother Teresa's strong stance against abortion, contraception and divorce. She publicly campaigned against the promotion of these choices and was highly criticised for what many thought was a "sentimentally moral cause". In 1994 she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C to thousands gathered and particularly to the then US President, Bill Clinton.

This is what she said:
"I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. ... Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
"Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!"
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
There are many who are, to use the generic terms, 'pro-life' and many who are 'pro-choice'. As we all know, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But here is to hoping it is an educated one. Sometimes this may seem like a lot to ask as it is easier to point fingers and hide behind ignorance or outright arrogance.

Mother Teresa has garnered the admiration of so many people around the world for her good works, now, perhaps we could spend a few moments to read, consider and perhaps further research her more 'controversial' beliefs.

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