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Vatican not to exhume Mother Teresa's body

Source: PTI
October 15, 2003 09:31 IST
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Deviating from another tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican has decided to do away with the process of exhumation of the body of Mother Teresa.

"Usually, exhumation of the body is done before the ceremony of beatification, which is a step to subsequent sainthood. But in Mother Teresa's case, this is not being done," church sources told PTI.

According to Canon Law expert, Fr A C Jose, exhumation of the body is done to establish the identity of the candidate and also to ascertain the condition of the candidate's mortal remains.

"If there is no evidence of corruption of the body, as recorded in a number of cases, then it certainly adds to the cause of the candidate's sainthood," he said.

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While pointing out that exhumation of the body can be done even after the candidate had been conferred sainthood, the sources, however, said that this will not be done in the case of Mother Teresa.

Pope John Paul-II has already deviated from the church tradition of the customary five-year wait for the Diocesan Inquiry into the life and virtue of Mother Teresa, putting the Nobel laureate nun, who died in 1997, into the fast track to sainthood.

"Exhumation of a candidate's body has to be authorised by the local bishop who also appoints for the purpose a committee mainly comprising members from the diocesan team looking into the candidate's life and virtue for the cause of sainthood," Fr Jose said.

Besides supervising the exhumation, the committee's duty also includes examination of the place where the candidate is buried and the place where he or she is to be re-interred after exhumation.

Meanwhile, Missionaries of Charity sources have denied media reports that blood, drawn from Mother Teresa's body after exhumation, would be handed over to the Pope at Vatican.

"We can confirm that there is no question of drawing blood from Mother's body after exhumation. Her body had not been exhumed at all," Missionaries of Charity sources said.

"Mother Teresa's blood was perhaps drawn from her when she was under treatment at a hospital in Kolkata," they said.

According to the sources, the nuns have carried with them to Rome strands of Mother Teresa's hair, pieces of her now-famous blue-bordered habit, her rosary and other articles used by her.

"Like the other sisters, Mother used to trim her hair regularly so that she could cover her head. After trimming, she would quietly throw away the clipped hair. The sisters had picked up a few strands from that," the sources said.

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