By Don Boys, Ph.D.
Twenty years ago, two of the most famous women in the world died within days of each other and were buried the first part of September–Princess Diana and “Mother” Teresa. When Diana was buried on Sept. 6, England stopped. Shops closed, all sports events were cancelled, and air travel was only permitted at extreme altitudes. The nation, yes even the world wept. As her coffin was closed, she was clutching a rosary given to her by “Mother” Theresa who died six days later.
Many parts of the world were obsessed with the two deaths and as the 20th anniversary approaches, Europe is sweep up in a bizarre mania. “Diana-mania” is spreading from Britain (and advancing in America) to all of Europe as the death anniversary looms. I have written about both women in columns and in my yet to be published memoirs: Reflections of a Lifetime Fundamentalist: No Regrets! The information below comes from those sources.
Within days of Diana’s death, I had one of my best opportunities to present the Gospel while appearing on a British talk show dealing with Princess Diana and Teresa. Immediately following Diana’s death August 31, 1997, a Pentecostal church in London went public with her final destination and it wasn’t Heaven! The show’s producer asked me to discuss her death and asked if Diana went to Hell because she had been visiting nightclubs and bars the night of her death. When I was asked that question during the show, I hesitated a little since this was an extremely hot topic and so close to her death. I said, “Well, no one can be sure what happens in the final seconds of a person’s life. Who knows what sermons a person has heard or what a parent or preacher has taught them that might flash through the dying person’s mind at the last minute. So I can’t know for sure.” My answer was a little soft, and sure, but safe.
After softening up the audience all over Great Britain and the host who was also a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, I steadied myself and said, “Deathbed conversions are highly unlikely since there is only one such experience in the Bible and Christ is the One who won the dying thief hanging beside him, promising him that he would be with Him that day in Paradise.” I ended by saying, “I would not give much chance of Diana’s last minute conversion to Christ. Princess Diana is probably in Hell tonight.” There was a loud gasp from the audience.
I thought my appearance was over but the host said, “Well, what about Mother Teresa?” who had died six days after Diana’s death. I cringed. We had not discussed Teresa’s death in pre-show preparation. Teresa was a Catholic icon who spent her life in the ghettos of India. She was known as the “Saint of the Gutters” and it is one thing to suggest that an adulterous, boozing, former princess was in Hell but something else to suggest that one of the most kind, sacrificing, inauspicious do-gooders of history might not be in Heaven! Of course, no one can be sure about anyone except himself.
The talk show host continued, “Does that mean Mother Teresa is not in Heaven?” I gulped, thought for a second, and said, “Well, I can’t know any person’s heart but if Teresa trusted the Roman Catholic Church, or baptism, or her good and admirable works to get her to Heaven, she is not there.” The show’s host gasped! I felt like a skunk at a ladies’ tea party.
I told the host, “Good people don’t necessarily go to Heaven and bad people don’t necessarily go to Hell.” She was astounded and said, “Would you please explain that?” I was thrilled to do so. I made it very clear that people go to Heaven after placing personal faith in the shed blood of Christ.
I was on a roll so I continued, “In fact, there are people in Hell tonight who, while on this earth, lived a better life than some people in Heaven.” She was shocked again and said, “Will you please explain that?” I was thrilled to do so. I explained that some people are genuine Christians but are very nominal in their daily living while there were non-Christians who are more noble, kind, decent, and benevolent but have never experienced the New Birth by trusting Christ as Savior.
What a show! I reached more people in that one hour than D. L. Moody did in his London crusade–but without his results! In addition to making the plan of salvation very clear, even stark, I tried to emphasize that real salvation results in the change of themorals, mores, manners, and motives of the convert.
There is no doubt that evangelical and fundamental Christians can learn something from Teresa who ministered to the unwanted, unloved, and uncared for and Diana who appeared to be a loving mother. No one should be more concerned for the poor, disadvantaged, hurting, sick, hungry people of the world than Christians. I think we could be more involved than we are; although many of us give to world missions, feed the hungry, provide clean water, medical missions, go to mission fields, etc., but we could probably do much more without sacrificing the essential message that only Christ saves.
Moreover, the Social Gospelers have confused personal responsibility with the churches’ responsibility. A church must never get her eyes off the main goal of taking the Gospel to the world and then training for Christian service those who believe it, while having outreaches for the poor. However, as individuals we should also support outreaches to the poor and needy but we must use discretion since many secular organizations are not worthy of support. My wife and I have supported those individuals we know who deserve support, help for flood victims, earthquake relief, providing portable generators for native churches in Central America, and efforts to bring clean water to desperate African villages. Such activities are not the major job of churches.
Teresa did not appear sophisticated; however, she or her handlers were very astute in using the media for her own end—raising money for her cause. She had connections with rich, famous people who funded her charity according to Christopher Hitchens inThe Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. Some of those “sugar daddies” were disreputable, unscrupulous people such as former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (who plundered Haiti), Charles Keating, and other scoundrels such as Communist Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha who ruled for 40 years. Hoxha was married and although homosexuality was illegal in Albania, he is commonly believed to have had perverted relations most of his adult life. It is said that he used to take handsome Albanian soldiers to bed with him and then have them shot the next morning.
One egregious example is Teresa’s relationship with Charles Keating of the Lincoln S&L shame. Keating gave more than a million dollars to Teresa and flew her around in his jet. During his trial for fraud for bilking 23,000 investors out of their money, she wrote Judge Ito telling him what a good guy Keating was and asked for leniency in sentencing. Teresa advised the judge to “do what Jesus would do.” I’m not sure what Jesus would have done, but the judge gave Keating ten years for fraud. Keating served four-and-a half years in prison.
Following the trial, Teresa received a letter from the Deputy District Attorney telling her that the money Keating had given her was stolen from hard working people and suggested that she return the money. I would have suggested, “After all, that is what Jesus would have done.” The good nun never answered his letter nor returned the stolen money. After all, it was for the “poor.”
Teresa was also involved with Princess Diana who sought consolation when she was divorced. Teresa said that the divorce was unfortunate but was probably a good thing! However, Teresa took the opposite position when Ireland was debating what to do about their prohibition of divorce and remarriage. It seems the nun was an opportunist, especially when it fit her agenda. Her agenda was to raise money for her charity by schmoozing up to rich and famous people. She raised a fortune but never built a hospital, or hospice, or home for children in India but did build convents in more than 150 countries! There has never been an accounting of the fortune she raised.
CNN reported on Teresa’s charity declaring, “It’s true there’s no transparency–and very little information available–on the group’s bookkeeping. CNN’s request to interview the current head of the organization was declined.”
But sainthood continued on the fast track and Teresa is now a beloved Roman Catholic saint.
Is a secular sainthood in the works for Princess Diana?
Boys’ new book Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! was published by Barbwire Books; to get your copy, click here. An eBook edition is also available.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 16 books and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)
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