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Tell us the truth about the children dumped in Galway’s mass graves

Posted on June 7th, 2014 at 17:34 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News -- Write a comment


Father Fintan Monaghan, secretary of the Tuam archediocese, says: “I suppose we can’t really judge the past from our point of view, from our lens. All we can do is mark it appropriately and make sure there is a suitable place here where people can come and remember the babies that died.”

Let’s not judge the past on our morals, then, but on the morals of the time. Was it OK, in mid-20th century Ireland, to throw the bodies of dead children into sewage tanks? Monaghan is really saying: “don’t judge the past at all”. But we must judge the past, because that is how we learn from it.

Monaghan is correct that we need to mark history appropriately. That’s why I am offering the following suggestions as to what the church should do to in response:

Do not say Catholic prayers over these dead children. Don’t insult those who were in life despised and abused by you. Instead, tell us where the rest of the bodies are. There were homes throughout Ireland, outrageous child mortality rates in each. Were the Tuam Bon Secours sisters an anomalous, rebellious sect? Or were church practices much the same the country over? If so, how many died in each of these homes? What are their names? Where are their graves? We don’t need more platitudinous damage control, but the truth about our history.

Pray tell, father — just how recently should acts of such crassness and cruelty have taken place so that we are allowed, in your divinely-inspired opinion, to judge the perpetrators?

  1. I don’t believe there were perpetrators, exactly. The whole Dickensian pre-modern system of life: extreme poverty and ignorance, forbidding new ideas including women’s rights, contraception and abortion. This meant a deluge of unwed mothers who were sent off to convents to have their unwanted babies.

    There the assistance during childbirth consisted basically of holding down the mother. Inevitable high mortality in children and women. Unclaimed bodies of dead babies were a burden. (In Canada, there was a fuss when it was revealed that such babies – some murdered – had been buried in butter boxes in unmarked graves.)

    Everyone was in on this. They all knew what was going on. Nobody cared enough to change it. Part of how the partriarchy kept people in check.

  2. Cogently and elegantly put, Sue. I would not disagree with anything you say about the poverty and ignorance of the time. And yet there were indeed perpetrators. Someone held those mothers down in childbirth. Someone decreed that the amount and quality of food provided was inadequate to sustain life. Someone judged that this little life was not worth saving. Someone decided that the resulting tiny corpses should be thrown into a septic tank and somebody did the throwing.

    Saying that everyone is responsible becomes indistinguishable from saying that nobody is responsible.

    And the elephant in the room is that brand of religion which permitted such unspeakable cruelty – perpetrated on women and children by nuns and their ilk – in the name of their loving God.

    Think of the iconography – the sweet fat cherubim, the sanctified holy mother – and think of the reality this episode reveals. Bon Secours. Really?

  3. @porpentine: It’s the western equivalent of honour-killing; sending pregnant girls out of the family onto the streets (unlucky) or into the convents (somewhat luckier).

    Clearly these and other nuns were involved, and those women sometimes took advantage of their wretched little fiefdoms to make their victims’ lives intolerable (was still going on in the ’80’s to my certain knowledge).

    The hierarchy is up to its exotic underwear in guilt. They also have any records that remain about past crimes.

    The rotten-to-the-core Irish (and other) governments paid for this system of “faith-based” social work (and education). “Nice” people turned away.

    On the hypocrisy: complete mind-control, systematically applied from ealiest childhood by their education system. Adults raised in this system literally cannot see what they are supporting, they still go to mass and still pay their dues. North Korea has only being doing this for a few decades, the catholic hierarchy have centuries of experience. They know it works.

  4. They’re killing babies!

  5. @chas: Possibly. Probably just not doing anything to help them live. The much-admired Spartans also had a system for keeping their population down 🙂

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