So Mother Teresa will be becoming an official “saint” on Sunday. The prospect of her canonization would mean a very little to those, who are outside the church, many of whom deride her. Indeed, she was the subject of the famous diatribe which is by Christopher Hitchens, who described her as “a fanatic, a fundamentalist and a fraud.”
In our view, she deserves the sainthood for a number of reasons, and even those not wholly committed to the angelic orders further revere her example of commitment, to help the poorest of the poor.
Let us understand what it means, in Roman Catholic terms, to become a saint. There are over 10,000 saints in the church, and these figures acquire the sainthood through a process, which has been in use since the 10th century.
Before that also the people have become saints by popular acclaim — a process that was obviously not rigorous. There is a step-by-step, which starts with the death of somebody who was further regarded by many as “holy.” The local bishop investigates the life of the person for the signs of THIS holiness. After this, a panel in the Vatican further investigates the potential saint, and — if successful — the person becomes “venerable.”
This is followed by “beatification,” which involves at least one miracle. A miracle which suggests that the person lives in heaven now, and therefore can be intercede with God on someone’s behalf. The idea is not that the church makes someone “blessed,” hence beatified; the idea is basically that God has already done this, and the church is now acknowledging the fact of it. At least another miracle is required for the actual sainthood.
There is a well elaborate process involved in the making of saints, and the church listens to those who have their opposing views, such as Hitchens on Mother Teresa. The late writer did not like her because she took money and awards from some creeps — including the horrible Duvalier family of Haiti.