She testified to the effectiveness of NFP, though it involves a break from Western reliance on artificial intervention: “So clear – those people in the street, those beggars – and I think that if our people can do like that how much more you and all the others who can know the ways and means without destroying the life that God has created in us.” There is no excuse for westerners, she proposes.
Further, NFP is consistent with the Church’s teachings on chastity and the importance of self-mastery: “The other day one of them came to thank and said: You people who have vowed chastity you are the best people to teach us family planning. Because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other.”
Mother Teresa’s remarks place natural family planning abstinence in continuity with the celibacy vows of priests and religious sisters and brothers. The Church calls all people to chastity, to integrate their desires with appropriate love of self and others.
Seen in the light of a consistent call to self-giving, her excoriation of abortion is not a “dogmatic” scourge upon women that her ideological detractors claim it to be, but a call to see the value of the person in a places, at all times, even within the womb. It is perhaps surprising that the nun renowned for caring for the aged and dying used her fame to speak for the other side of life, those still being made inside their mothers.
She saw the West as suffering from its own type of poverty, a poverty that could not see the value of human life. Her work and her words in their own ways testified to great worth she saw in each person, and she instructed those who would listen to do the same: “I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there” (1979).
This essay was first published on my usual home, The Truth and Charity Forum of HLI. Then the editors at Ethika Politika liked it and requested a few revisions and to republish. Here are links to both.
“When St. Anthony of the Desert went out to the Egyptian wilderness to be alone with God, he probably didn’t think that he was setting an example for mothers. But I believe that he did. St. Anthony gave up the comforts of society in order to face himself and let God purify him. Perhaps this is not so different from the path of mothers and families and, by extension, all people striving to live in accord with truth and God.”
“And for what good? To be at the service of life, the greatest earthly good, and also at the service of the Lord, who created life. To bind oneself to a family, to a spouse and to children is really like a religious vow: It gives up a great many goods in order to grow in the good of commitment and formation. To do it well, it will take everything we have, and then some. It will lead us into the desert of our souls and present the furnace of solitude. It is here that we will stare darkness in the face and fall back onto Christ.”
-Finding our true vocation is a lifelong process I think. What has your journey been like?
“The film [Nazu Medicine ]ponders “how could these doctors” have carried out such unethical experiments, treating human beings like mere lab rats, often leaving them disfigured or dead. Near the end, one astute commenter concludes that given the environment in early 20th century Germany (and America) that was saturated in pro-eugenics ideologies and the scientific (though actually pseudo-scientific) emphasis on the superiority of the Arian race, that the doctors under the Nazi regime were actually following through on their ethics, not violating them. He points out that many of them bought into the German rhetoric of superiority and viewed themselves as saving the world through purifying it, which was the highest aim of eugenics as a theory.”
“A Christmas Carol has been famously reproduced so many times it can seem trite. But there is an enduring wisdom to its pages that keeps the tale significant: it offers insight into human nature, the value of the person, the true worth of money, and the purpose of society and even life. As simply an honest man of good will, not himself a Catholic, Charles Dickens draws many timeless principles into his narratives, which dovetail nicely with elements of Catholic social teaching. A Christmas Carol’s general agreement with Catholic thought reveals how these principles really are evident to the human mind, if it reasons well.
The story opens on Christmas Eve with Scrooge in his office with Bob Cratchit, his employee. Scrooge receives a few visitors and his response to them serves to demonstrate just how far astray from human values he has erred and simultaneously highlights what his proper attitude should be.”