We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.Attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)
This might be a good time to remind readers that this blog is not about taking down sayings I don’t like or disagree with; I am only asking whether or not the person to whom a quotation is attributed actually said or wrote it.
The usual web search turned up the usual list of suspects without citations. Not a usual suspect, but without a citation, was this 2004 article in the National Catholic Register. That means the saying has been around for at least that long, and widely enough attributed to her that the Register didn’t think it needed a source.
I wasn’t able to find it on Google Books in any books older than the Register article.
It’s not listed on my go-to site for checking sayings attributed to St. Mother T. (By the way, I’ve grown leery of the second half of that site; I’d prefer to judge for myself how significantly something has been paraphrased.)
To keep a potentially long story short, the saying sounds like something from her 1979 Nobel Prize acceptance speech:
And I feel one thing I want to share with you all, the greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child. For if a mother can murder her own child in her womb, what is left for you and for me to kill each other? Even in the scripture it is written: Even if mother could forget her child – I will not forget you – I have carved you in the palm of my hand. Even if mother could forget, but today millions of unborn children are being killed. And we say nothing. In the newspapers you read numbers of this one and that one being killed, this being destroyed, but nobody speaks of the millions of little ones who have been conceived to the same life as you and I, to the life of God, and we say nothing, we allow it. To me the nations who have legalized abortion, they are the poorest nations. They are afraid of the little one, they are afraid of the unborn child, and the child must die because they don’t want to feed one more child, to educate one more child, the child must die.(emphasis mine, to highlight the most relevant portion)
Is it possible that she said the original quotation somewhere else? Certainly, but I can’t find it. I think it’s more likely that someone took the highlighted sentence and attached something to it.
If you can find out that she said or wrote the whole thing, and you can give a primary source, I’d love to know about it.