Sunday, October 14, 2007


Knowing that Mother Teresa had requested that letters in which she confessed to spiritual doubts be destroyed, was it wrong for the Catholic Church not to destroy her letters? My readers were unequivocal in their response.

"As a nun she was always subject to the rule of her church, and owed ... obedience to its hierarchy," Frank Snyder of Fort Worth, Texas, writes. "Thus, while it would be proper for the church (leaders) to consider her personal preferences, they would have no obligation to agree with her if they believed that what she wrote would be of value to others."

Jan Bohren of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., goes a step further.

"The church had no right to destroy the letters," Bohren writes. "Given the letters, Mother Teresa continued to contribute to the health of the human race by showing that she too was human."

Check out other opinions at SOUND OFF: A MOTHER'S LETTERS, or post your own by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2007 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your article about the 24,000 Frequent Flyer Miles. As as former employee of Boeing, I attended many manditory classes in ethics training. This article reminded me of what was taught in these classes and how to "Do The Right Thing". If the top executives in our country would use honesty as a written-in-stone policy as referenced in your article, the business world wouldn't suffer countless ethical violations resulting in the waste of taxpayers dollars spent on legal fees and court costs. Unfortunately, I have to say that a concept such as I vision is but a pipe dream.....but it does give you something to think about and hopefully will make one think about their actions. Thanks for the uplifting theme of this article!!

Anonymous said...

While some people may have been encouraged to learn that even Mother Treesa had doubts, I think the Church was wrong not to follow her expressed wishes to have the letters destroyed.