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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Did Mother Teresa Protect a Pedophile Priest?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Patron saint of predators?
  • Patron saint of predators?

That's the subject of the latest SF Weekly cover story, which examines Jesuit records suggesting that Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the international Missionaries of Charity order and winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, asked Catholic Church officials to overlook a sex-abuse accusation made against one of her favorite priests by a teenage boy from the Bay Area.

An unsigned letter in the thousands of pages of church documents turned over to plaintiffs suing the Jesuits over the actions of convicted pedophile and former priest Donald McGuire asks that McGuire be allowed to continue working, despite a 1993 complaint against him by a family from Walnut Creek. As we explain in our story, there are indications throughout the letter that it was written by Mother Teresa, though it cannot be verified absolutely as coming from her hand.

Other letters obtained by SF Weekly also cast a shadow on the reputation of deceased priest John Hardon. Like Mother Teresa, Hardon is now being formally reviewed for sainthood by the Vatican. However, letters he wrote reveal that he had no objection to McGuire reading pornography and taking showers with a boy who traveled with him as his assistant. Hardon's letters also indicate that he personally communicated the sex-abuse allegations against McGuire to Mother Teresa.

Will the new revelations affect the canonization prospects of either Mother Teresa or Hardon? That's hard to say, but the disturbing revelations in the documents merit attention and investigation. Read and let us know what you think.

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Peter Jamison

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