Lawyer tells Republican candidate to stop using Mother Teresa's image in election ad

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
James Crump
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
The Republican candidate in his campaign video: (Dr Chuck Dietzen YouTube)
The Republican candidate in his campaign video: (Dr Chuck Dietzen YouTube)

A Republican election candidate has been sent a 'cease and desist' letter for using an image of Mother Teresa in a campaign ad.

Dr Chuck Dietzen, who is running to represent Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, was sent the letter by Jim Towey, a lawyer who served as legal counsel for Mother Teresa prior to her death in 1997.

A campaign video, posted to YouTube on 2 April, includes a picture of Dr Dietzen and the late missionary, taken with his camera while he worked at her orphanage.

In a voiceover, Dr Dietzen says: “When I worked in Mother Teresa’s orphanage, she told us, ‘never abandon your patients.’ I’ve lived by those words ever since.”

Mr Towey wrote to inform the candidate that Mother Theresa never gave permission for her picture to be used.

“During her lifetime, Mother Teresa strictly prohibited any political use of her name, image or likeness, or any other representations that sought to associate her with any political cause or campaign,” said the letter, obtained and published by the Indianapolis Star.

“Your YouTube campaign ad, which begins with footage of Mother Teresa is in direct violation of her wishes, as well as the wishes of the Missionaries of Charity who exclusively control the commercial use of her name, image and likeness.”

Mr Towey told the outlet that the missionary “was adamant in her lifetime, that she didn’t permit this, not in the US, not anywhere.”

Sister Immaccula, MC, a regional superior for the Missionaries of Charity, a branch of the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, reiterated Mr Towey’s claims.

She told the outlet: “Mother didn’t want anyone to use her name or picture — anything — for any kind of political campaigns.”

However, Dr Dietzen’s campaign decided to not pull the ad after their lawyer, Jim Bopp, questioned Mr Towey’s authority.

Mr Bopp said he couldn’t find proof that Mr Towey still represented the Missionaries of Charity, and asked for him to provide some.

Mr Towey refused, adding that neither he nor the charity would be pursuing any further action against the candidate.

“The Missionaries of Charity made a simple request,” he said. “And it looks to me like they’re wanting to lawyer up, and that’s unfortunate.”

Read more

Mother Teresa becomes saint after Pope Francis declaration at Vatican