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Mother Teresa suffered from "God's silence", says Pope

LORETO, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Saturday that even the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta “suffered from the silence of God” despite her immense charity and faith.

Mother Teresa smiles in this undated file photo from Italy. Pope Benedict said on Saturday that even the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta "suffered from the silence of God" despite her immense charity and faith. REUTERS/Stringer

The Pope, addressing a youth rally in central Italy, referred to a new book that reveals that the Roman Catholic nun was deeply tormented about her faith and suffered periods of doubt about God.

It is significant that the Pope mentioned Mother Teresa’s torment about God’s silence as not being unusual because there was some speculation that the letters could hurt the procedure to make her a saint.

“All believers know about the silence of God,” he said in unprepared remarks. “Even Mother Teresa, with all her charity and force of faith, suffered from the silence of God,” he said.

He said believers sometimes had to withstand the silence of God in order to understand the situation of people who do not believe.

Due out on September 4, the book, “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light” is a collection of letters written to colleagues and superiors over 66 years.

The ethnic Albanian nun, who dedicated her life to poor, sick and dying in India, died in 1997 aged 87.

Mother Teresa had wanted all her letters destroyed, but the Vatican ordered they be preserved as potential relics of a saint, according to a spokeswoman for Doubleday, the U.S. publisher of the book.

Mother Teresa has been beatified but has not yet been made a saint.

Time magazine, which has first serial rights, published excerpts on its Web site last month.

When the German-born pontiff visited the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz last year, he publicly asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, mostly Jews, died there.