TOKYO — Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mother Teresa Friday criticized the "terrible number of abortions" in Japan, and said that an affluent nation permitting so many abortions "must be a poor country."
The 70-year-old Catholic nun hailed as a living saint called abortion "the killer of peace" and said it was an indifference toward life that moved humans to destroy each other.
Dressed in the same simple clothes she wore as she received the 1979 prize for her work with destitute Indians in the Calcutta slums — a white hood and sari robe — she declared:
"We are not just a number in the world. It is so necessary to recognize the presence of that unborn child, the gift of God ... And today we look through the world and we see that little unborn child has become the target of death, the target of destruction, of destroying, of killing."
SHE REJECTED the pro-abortion view that war is caused by too many people with too little territory and too few resources.
"Abortion is the killer of peace in the world, the greatest destroyer of peace," Mother Teresa told the Tokyo International Conference on Reverence for Life. "If a mother could destroy her own child, what would it make for all others to kill each other? There's nothing to prevent them."
Mother Teresa was invited to the conference by the Family Life Society of Japan, which promotes family planning that forbids abortion or artificial birth control. ..
Takako Homma, president of the society, said that last year there were about 680,000 abortions in Japan.
MOTHER TERESA insisted that limiting families by natural means has been highly successful in her Mission of Charity and that children, if allowed to be born, can be given compassionate care and placed into loving homes.
"We have no income, we have no government grant, we have no church maintenance, we have no salaries," Mother Teresa said of the order she founded in 1948. "And yet up to this day, I have never refused a single child (admission to the mission orphanage). There's always been one more plate of rice, one more bed, one more face to be loved."
The only morally logical way out, she said, is "fighting abortion by adoption." She gives children to adoptive parents every day, she said.
The same should be done in Japan, she urged.
"I don't know whether you have people hungry for a piece of bread," Mother Teresa said. "I believe you are a very rich country. But if you allow abortion to be done, then you are a poor country because you are. afraid of the unborn child. The child must die."
BEFORE speaking to delegates from Asia and all over the United States, Mother Teresa visited the Sanya, a Tokyo slum where drunks in gutters and doorways are a common sight. She said that indifference for unborn children is also reflected in a disdain for the poor.
"Everytime a child is aborted, there is great poverty," she said. "And we have that poverty right here. God loves that child, God loves that man lying there in the street ...
"I was surprised this morning that there was not a single hand to lift a man from the street. The same thing, I'm surprised that so many innocent children, unborn children, have to die because there is not a helping hand to save that child."