Mother Teresa gets her second miracle, now on the fast track to sainthood


by Jerry Coyne

The Big News this morning is that Pope Francis has, miraculously, come across another miracle performed by Mother Teresa—or rather by her spirit. This gives her the second miracle she needs to go beyond beatification to full canonization, becoming Saint Teresa. The Vatican clearly put the old fraud on the fast-track to sainthood ever since she died, and now they get their chance. In the old days, it took decades or centuries from candidacy to canonization, but now, trying to court popular sentiment, the Vatican has accelerated the process.

But remember that even Mother Teresa’s first miracle was totally bogus. As I wrote in Faith Versus Fact:

The Vatican itself, which requires a miracle to beatify someone, and two miracles to make them a saint, is none too scrupulous about the medical evidence needed to elevate someone to the pantheon. The beatification of Mother Teresa, for instance, was the supposed disappearance of ovarian cancer in Monica Besra, an Indian woman who reported she was cured after looking at a picture of the nun. It turns out, though, that her tumor wasn’t cancerous but tubercular, and, more important, she’d received conventional medical treatment in a hospital, with her doctor (who wasn’t interviewed by the Vatican) taking credit for the cure.

(See also the objections of Indian rationalists to this “evidence.”)

Now, just in time for Christmas, the Pope has recognized a second miracle. The BBC reports:

Pope Francis has recognised a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for the Roman Catholic nun to be made a saint next year.

The miracle involved the healing of a Brazilian man with several brain tumours in 2008, the Vatican said.

Mother Teresa died in 1997 and was beatified – the first step towards sainthood – in 2003.

. . . “The Holy Father has authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to proclaim the decree concerning the miracle attributed to the intercession of blessed Mother Teresa,” the Vatican said on Friday.

She is expected to be canonised in Rome in September.

. . . There are few details about the recovery of the Brazilian man, whose life the Vatican says was saved in the second miracle.

His identity has not been disclosed to maintain the discretion needed for the investigation, the Catholic New Agency has said.

It says he was unexpectedly cured from brain tumours in 2008 after his priest prayed for Mother Teresa’s intervention with God.

Read more by clicking on the name of the source below.


  1. Given that, in her latter years, she wrote that she had lost her faith, and because her real name was Agnes — will she be known as St. Agnostica?

  2. Another mean old missionary given Vatican celebrity status, with associated image polishing, for the purpose of impressing and recruiting sheeples, by claiming credit for Catholic magic miracle medicine!

    Refusing pain-killers to the dying and leaving them to suffer is despicable!

    Still in the RCC a despicable missionary is worthy of sainthood – as a promotional exercise!!!

  3. It says he was unexpectedly cured from brain tumours in 2008 after his
    priest prayed for Mother Teresa’s intervention with God.

    From what I know of her, her response would have been that he should glorify in his suffering and give thanks for it as it made him more like Jesus. For this reason I feel that this miracle should have been rejected as being her work.

  4. What is the morality of a person who can cure someone, but chooses not to. The Catholics have lost track of the records of their saints, but they estimate 11 to 12K. If all of those saints, plus god, mary, jesus et al are capable of curing cancer, and choose not to, I would suggest they are grossly immoral.

  5. @OP – Mother Teresa, for instance, was the supposed disappearance of ovarian cancer in Monica Besra, an Indian woman who reported she was cured after looking at a picture of the nun.

    Ah! Prayer to a picture of the nun!!
    Bible 2nd. Commandment
    Exodus 20:4-6 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my Commandments.

    Catholic 2nd. Commandment
    Deleted. See also idolatry in the Catholic Church

    (There is idolatry in the Papal system so the second Commandment has been deleted or sometimes it has been absorbed into the first. All remaining Commandments are therefore shifted along one count.)

    By the image of the crucifix, the statues of Mary, and their Rosary beads! – those faith-interpretation-blinkers can work wonders with words and with historical claims!

  6. The Catholic church breaking the ten comandments?
    It’s a shame God doesn’t really exist, and the way many religious organisations set the example strongly suggests those at the top can’t possibly believe any of their claptrap.

    Here’s the sketch of when they find out it’s all true after all.

  7. Tim Smith
    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    The Catholic church breaking the ten comandments?

    The catholic establishment does not “break” commandments! It just “reinterprets” them using faith-thinking”!

    It does the same with scientific methodology to make the “troooo science” of evolution, more pseudo-scientifically Catholic!

    It also redefines “reason” to make it dogma-compliant, illogical, and sufficiently circular to be based on preconceptions of doctrine. – Simply denying that there are any contradictions between dogmas and evidence.

    If science refutes doctrine and dogma, the RCC just redefines the scientific terms to support dogmas, and teaches the sheeples the new theistic meanings while excluding the original meanings of the words!

    Hence the neodarwinian scientific theory of evolution by means of natural selection, is referred to as believing in “evolution”, which in RCC speak, is theistic evolution (which is god-did-it – not a scientific theory) !

  8. So the twisted old cow is fit to be a saint ? Well that about fits in with RCC theology, bullies all the way up till you get to that twisted bastard at the top, He of original sin !

  9. Its amazing that the church gives itself license to invent any bogus crap they like to make someone a saint, there is no rigor to it so it is worthless, and yet the millions swallow it whole. Its a form of mass rape of helpless victims.

  10. Given that, in her latter years, she wrote that she had lost her faith, and because her real name was Agnes — will she be known as St. Agnostica?
    Brilliant, one really misses the likes button at a time like this.
    I thought it was actually quite sad what happened to her towards the end of her life, Hitchens recognized that she was used and paraded by the church as beacon of light full of the sweet love of Jesus when in
    Fact then penny had already dropped long before her death and her faith had gone and she realized it was just one big money making publicity generating con..
    I read somewhere they even tried to exorcise her?
    I don’t think she was an agnostic reading the below not exactly saint material.
    “If there be no God — there can be no soul — if there is no Soul then Jesus — You also are not true.”

  11. messed that up- just the agnostic joke from justasec at the top and MT at the bottom should be in quote

  12. Portuguese?
    And sorry not good enough to make much sense, not that I generally do in English either.
    Bullshit, however, is pretty much a universal language though isn’t it.

  13. I think that at this point we should not be surprised by the methods used by the Roman Catholic Church to “sanctify” its members. All the great pantheon of “saints” of that Church is nothing but pure fraudulent mythology created to fool the masses. Some of these “saints” were just religious agitators whose actions caused a lot of suffering to many people. People who worked for mother Teresa as volunteers to help taking care of the sick, have questioned some of the methods used by the lady in question.

  14. David R Allen

    Hi, David,

    I want to read Hitchens’ book about her. I just lost whatever modicum of respect I had for the current Pope, or almost all of it. At least he expressed concern about climate change (Big deal; that means simply that he isn’t a complete imbecile.)

    Let’s drop the idealism thing.

    Enjoy the holidays.

  15. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything

    Please don’t go on with this line Alan4. It was big in the Reformation, and, according to some it resulted in the iconoclasts destroying 90% of the artwork in England. It is heartbreaking to walk around the old churches and cathedrals, and see the thousands of headless statues, and the remains of erased murals, and to speculate what further works were simply removed and destroyed. It’s the same over much of Europe.

    There’s no knowing what this line of thought could induce s***head fanatics to get up to.

  16. eejit

    There’s no knowing what this line of thought could induce s***head fanatics to get up to.

    Oh dear! This reminds me that the objection to worshiping idols is also important in Islam and the results of this causes me much distress when I hear about yet another architectural treasure that is destroyed and lost to humanity. These will be viewed in books only from now on.

  17. eejit
    Dec 28, 2015 at 6:38 am

    There’s no knowing what this line of thought could induce s***head fanatics to get up to.

    There are those who go around destroying art-work illustrating the “wrong” god-delusions, and then there are those who go around attacking rational scientists for correcting their deluded stupidity!

    Sanal Edamaruku, an Indian skeptic, went to Mumbai and revealed that a “miraculous” weeping cross was really just a bit of statuary located near a leaky drain whose liquid reached it by way of capillary action. The local Catholic Church demanded that he retract his statements, and when he refused, they had him arrested for blasphemy.

  18. But…art, architecture, literature, regardless of the reason for their creation, the use they are put to, or the source of their funding, are part of our human heritage, and have shaped our culture and identity, and when we lose a work of art, a library, or when a scientific theory is suppressed, we lose part of ourselves, often for ever. Evil works also have their importance, no-one would think of destroying the Coliseum, because of the vile use for which it was designed and funded.

  19. eejit
    Dec 28, 2015 at 10:44 am

    But…art, architecture, literature, regardless of the reason for their creation, the use they are put to, or the source of their funding, are part of our human heritage

    I agree, but it is important to recognise this art was created by dominant theocrats and aristocrats, funded by riding on the backs of impoverished oppressed populations. It is also important to debunk claims glorifying the diversion of such communal resources, into egotistical statements of wealth and dominance. – You know:- Like the pope sitting on a golden throne in a palace, calling for charity for the poor! – Or the attacks on Sanal Edamaruku, for spoiling a lucrative pilgrim trade attracted to admire a proclaimed fake miracle!

    It is also worth noting that destruction of religious art, is usually the activity of rival religious groups, – NOT atheists!

  20. cathedrals

    If memory serves, you especially like cathedrals? PBS’ NOVA recently aired a good program about Gothic French. Tallest structure failed, in “arms race”; relevant today.

  21. How was it the Teresa earned a Nobel Prize??? I think the RCC has its tentacles everywhere it its attempt to control everyones life. Now the Pope is going to “elevate” her to sainthood. That is stupidly ridiculous. All of those accolades given to Teresa cheapen the Nobel Prize and the entire RCC. Better if Hugh Hefner earned those awards!

  22. Roedy
    Dec 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    She was TWISTED and dishonest.

    Ah! But you need to remember that faith-heads who write the fairy history stories, are just as Twisted and dishonest. These “saints” actively promoted Catholicism, so that makes them wonderful!!
    They probably also confessed all their sins to priests and were “forgiven”, and deleted from the record, so that makes them perfectly free of sin and responsibility! (Allegedly)

  23. I think Beauvais fell down twice. Most of them develop structural problems from time to time, and in the middle ages many had to be rebuilt. Still in all, there’s something about them…I hate to use the word “spiritual,” maybe awe provoking might fit th bill!

  24. I wonder, do modern day parishioners worry about a chunk of stone rendering them unconscious, have faith god will protect them, or both (cognitive dissonance).

    Found a transcript of the show:

    The part concerning architects transposing bible numbers to the building plans almost sounds like borderline woo. Perhaps the fine line is the culprit for today’s confusion on what’s what.

  25. eejit

    I hate to use the word “spiritual

    I hate to use that word too but I know exactly what you’re referring to. I love those old cathedrals and when in Paris I (the ex-Methodist atheist materialist lady) go to the Sunday mass at Notre Dame just to feel that “spiritual” feeling dredged up from the dark dank corners of my memory. I sit there thinking about how that memory was established in the first place and what is it about that place that is zapping it right back to the front of my mind in the present. I also think about the architecture and the super sacrifice of the deluded masses that paid for the structure. The old guild system of construction is historically interesting to me. It all comes together to conjure up that “spiritual” feeling in that moment, sitting there in that gorgeous structure with the massive organ booming out behind the congregation in front of that huge stained glass window and everyone around me with eyes glazed over as if under a spell. The columns and oh those flying buttresses…the whole effect is nothing short of magical. Of course, to me it’s just an investigation into the factors that contribute to indoctrination and straight up brainwashing.

  26. One of the moments I remember was ten years ago at Mont St Michel, in Normandy. The whole island is rightly on the World Heritage List. We walked into the cathedral and there was a full High Mass, performed by a group of monks and nuns who go around the world singing the authentic liturgy in churches which have been secularised or abandoned. If you have it, belief must supply comforts, albeit illusory, which are not available to the rest of us.

  27. I see his past has caught up with another god-deluded faith-thinker!

    Those who can make people believe absurdities, can make them commit atrocities!
    Rwanda’s High Court has sentenced a pastor to life in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide.

    Jean Uwinkindi organised and participated in attacks on the minority Tutsi ethnic group, the court ruled.

    Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by militias from the majority Hutu ethnic group.

    The 64-year-old Hutu pastor was the first genocide suspect to be sent back to Rwanda for trial by the Tanzanian-based UN tribunal.

    The tribunal shut down this month after sentencing 61 individuals and acquitting 14 others.

    Uwinkindi – the former head of a Pentecostal church on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali – had opposed his transfer.

  28. bonnie
    Dec 29, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I wonder, do modern day parishioners worry about a chunk of stone rendering them unconscious, have faith god will protect them, or both (cognitive dissonance).

    They probably have cognitive dissonance about the security of themselves and family members who trust priests and bishops! – But how would they know about what has been covered up?
    .A former Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to police in 1993 with letters of support for the then Bishop of Gloucester who was being investigated for sex offences, it can be revealed.

    .Ex-archbishop George Carey said Peter Ball was in “torment” as a result of a police investigation, letters released by the Crown Prosecution Service show.

    Ball, 83, was jailed for a string of offences against young men in October.

    The Church of England apologised “unreservedly” to Ball’s victims.

    He was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in a public office and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently.

    ‘Church cover-up’

    In one of Lord Carey’s letters he told police it was “improbable” he was guilty.

    He also wrote in a letter to Barbara Mills – then the director of public prosecutions – that Ball’s health was fragile and the decision to prosecute should be made “as speedily as possible”.

    The letters have been released by the CPS in response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the BBC and others, after it emerged that members of the establishment had written personal letters on Ball’s behalf.

    .Ball was eventually told he would not be prosecuted but received a caution instead. He resigned as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993, a position that followed a previous period as Bishop of Lewes.

    .However in October 2015, following repeated claims of a church cover-up, Mr Ball pleaded guilty to abusing 18 young men in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He was jailed for two years and ten months.

    One of his victims was Neil Todd, whose attempts to take his own life triggered the police investigation in 1993 which prompted hundreds of letters of support for the Bishop.

  29. It is the classic “knowledge” of delusional “faith-thinkers”, who are prepared to give made-up testimony on behalf of fellow faith-heads, on subjects about which they clearly know nothing.

    @BBC link;

    In his two letters Lord Carey said he had no wish to influence the legal process. He makes no reference to the allegations of sexual abuse or Mr Todd, who finally took his own life at the end of 2012.

    The letters also include one to the police from a senior judge at the time, Lord Justice Lloyd, who said that Ball was “the most gentle, upright and saintly man” he had ever met.

    “He has obviously suffered far more already than any of us can imagine… He tells me if it goes on much longer, he feels he may well go off his head,” he said.

    While making it clear he did not want to influence the criminal process Lord Justice Lloyd wrote: “I find it difficult to accept that such an awful fate could have befallen so good a man.”

    The Old Bailey heard in October that while he was a bishop, Ball had used his position to groom and exploit his vulnerable victims.

    Another of the 12 letters released by the CPS was from the former Conservative minister and Sussex MP, Tim Renton, who wrote to the director of public prosecutions in 1993 that “Peter has suffered terribly over the past six weeks,” and urged that he should not be prosecuted.

    The Conservative MP for Lewes, Tim Rathbone, wrote: “I find it literally inconceivable that he would ever become involved with anyone in the way the newspapers have described or insinuated.”

    James Woodhouse, the former headmaster of Lancing College in Sussex wrote that Ball was “acutely distressed” by some aspects of 20th-century culture, including “sexual permissiveness”.

    In his letter the warden of Radley College, Richard Morgan, said he had dismissed the allegations against Ball as “impossible” since the bishop had lived a life of “discipline”.

    The cognitive dissonance and double-talk is spectacular “No wish to influence the legal process“, while writing letters like these to the legal authorities with moralising tones!!!!

    a senior judge at the time, Lord Justice Lloyd, who said that the most gentle, upright and saintly man” he had ever met

    Well there we have it! A senior judge putting him forward as a saint – just like Mother Teresa!!!

    Surely getting away with it for so long, must count as a miracle!

    The CPS said it had taken the decision to release letters from “significant people” of influence at the time but not other “non-senior” individuals.

    So there are more letters, still hidden!

  30. Seems the bar is set pretty low for sainthood.
    1) Someone has to say you’re “nice”. (Doesn’t matter if there are people who say you aren’t so “nice”.)
    2) You need to perform two “miracles”. A “miracle” can be something that’s quite mundane, such as a curable medical condition being cured, so long as you obfuscate the facts to make it look less mundane; and it has to be somehow connected to the prospective “saint”, but that can be second- or third- hand, or just by hearsay.

    At least in the good old days, the RCC had the patience to wait a century or so for the actual facts to be forgotten and any actual eye-witnesses to shuffle off their mortal coil.

  31. It seems the law just keeps catching up with these “saintly” Catholic figures!
    A former chaplain and ex-principal of a Roman Catholic children’s care home have been jailed for abusing boys.

    Anthony McCallen and James Carragher were convicted of a total of 35 sex offences against 11 boys between 1970 and 1991 at the former St William’s Children’s Home in East Yorkshire.

    McCallen, 69, was jailed for 15 years and Carragher, 75, for nine years.

    Leeds Crown Court heard it was the third time former head Carragher had been jailed for offences at the home.

    Sentencing the pair, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “Each of you targeted some of the most vulnerable boys. You groomed them and abused them for your own sexual gratification.

    “The victims were effectively trapped and there was no escape from you.

    “They were confused, frightened and in turmoil.

    “It has blighted their lives and each of you had contributed significantly to their misery.”

    He said the 11 victims suffered “severe long-term, continuing psychological harm as a result of what you did”.

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