Girl Slaves of Catholic Magdalene Asylums to Receive Compensation, but Not from the Church

Twenty years ago, shock washed over Ireland. After the Catholic Church sold a parcel of a North Dublin convent’s grounds to a commercial developer, and the construction dig began, 155 bodies were discovered in unmarked graves. The place had been a Magdalene asylum for “wayward girls.” Apparently, inmates who met an early end had been buried in secret — many without a death certificate, without notification of parents or other family, and all without the dignity of even the simplest grave marker.

Initially conceived as rehabilitation centers for prostitutes, the Magdalene asylums — also known as the Magdalene Laundries for the “women’s work” slave labor expected of the residents — eventually grew into houses of horror. The girls, some not even teens, were forced to work seven days a week without pay. The short-term treatment intended by the founders eventually gave way to long-term incarceration. Though conditions varied from one asylum to the next, a strict code of silence was in place for most of the day throughout the Magdalene system. Long prayer sessions were mandatory.

Worse, for over a hundred years, beatings and sexual abuse are thought to have been endemic.

And you didn’t have to be a sex worker to “qualify” to be saved by God’s representatives on Earth. By the 1870s, asylum candidates

… extended beyond prostitutes to unmarried mothers, mentally retarded women and abused girls. Even young girls who were considered too promiscuous and flirtatious, or too beautiful, were sent to an asylum by their families.

Others reportedly ended up in a Magdalene asylum for being “slow learners.” They might never receive a lick of non-religious education again. The nuns were known to forge “school reports” and send those to the girls’ relatives, to conceal that their charges had been turned into slave laborers.

Recalls one former resident:

“We never saw daylight or heard music, and it was normal for girls to fall ill and never be seen again. Sometimes, we used massive industrial irons to press sheets for local hotels. They were raging hot and you had to concentrate hard to make sure your hands didn’t get caught. The steam nearly took your skin off. In the end we got used to getting burned — it was part of everyday life.”

If it didn’t take much to be sent to one of these hellholes, getting out wasn’t so easy.

Without a family member on the outside who could vouch for them, many incarcerated individuals stayed in the asylums for the rest of their lives, many taking religious vows.

Given Ireland’s historically conservative sexual values, Magdalene asylums were a generally accepted social institution until well into the second half of the twentieth century. They disappeared with changes in sexual mores — or, as [historian Frances] Finnegan suggests, as they ceased to be profitable: “Possibly the advent of the washing machine has been as instrumental in closing these laundries as have changing attitudes.”

Those 155 bodies? After they were discovered, in early 1993, they were cremated quickly, and reburied in a mass grave. That raised a lot of suspicion. Why weren’t forensic investigators allowed to work the scene? What were the Church and the civil authorities hiding?

The latter, at least, are now offering an apology to all the Magdalene survivors — as well as a financial olive branch. That’s because the Irish state was complicit in the scandal, having botched its oversight and having profited from the girls who worked the laundries washing and repairing prison uniforms and the like.

Ireland will pay several hundred former residents of Catholic-run Magdalene laundries at least 34.5 million euros ($45 million) to compensate them for their years of unpaid labor and public shame, the government announced Wednesday following a decade-long campaign by former residents of the workhouses.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter apologized to the women — an estimated 770 survivors out of more than 10,000 who lived in the dozen facilities from the 1920s to 1996 — that it had taken so long for them to receive compensation. The move marked the latest step in a two-decade effort by Ireland to investigate and redress the human rights abuses in Catholic institutions.

The women will also qualify for state-funded pensions and free medical care.

Not all of them think that’s enough contrition — or enough money. Maureen Sullivan, who co-founded Magdalene Survivors Together, says that justice is still not being served.

“I was 12 years of age — I was a child. My education was taken from me, my identity was taken from me. We [had] no outside communication, our letters were checked. … We had no play time. All that was taken from us and none of that has been taken into consideration, and I think that’s what we’re annoyed about.”

Ireland’s Catholic Church, meanwhile, continues to wash its hands of the affair.

The Irish government has at last made a serious gesture. The Church could show it has a conscience after all by doing the same.

P.S. If you want a haunt-your-dreams glimpse of what life was like in the Magdalene Laundries, get your hands on a copy of The Magdalene Sisters, the critically acclaimed movie by Peter Mullan. Highly recommended.

(Images via the Sun)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • ShoeUnited

    My heart is falling apart for these women.

    Fuck. My anger and sadness leaves me without any words to rant. Just…


  • WallofSleep

    Never has there been a criminal organization more dastardly, more despicable, more heartless, more uncaring, more murderous, more exploitative, nor more unapologetic.


  • randomfactor

    Seems to me the Irish government needs to recoup the expense by collecting taxes on the church until the debt is paid off…and forever after.

    • RCM1212

      Also this “business” was straight profit. Not only did they not pay workers, they never paid a cent in taxes.

      I don’t remember all the details but when my Grandpa was in the army he was somewhere in Europe, on top of an abandoned building. He looked down below and saw a walled off courtyard not visible from the street full of pregnant nuns. They were being hidden from the public.

      This story reminds me of that. They probably cremated all the bodies to hide pregnant girls and babies.

      Why does Catholicism even still exist?

      • Jane Parry

        How can these people even consider themselves as ‘christians’? Christ would never act that way towards women, (nor men either) no matter their “sin”. He offered forgiveness and love and “freedom”, not make them “slaves” of any kind. We indenture ourselves to Him because of His love for us.

        • Matt

          nice ‘no true scotsman’ argument you have there, lol.

          also, the bible is fine with slavery so you clearly need to re-read it:

          Colossians, chapter 3, verse 22:

          “Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,
          not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart,
          fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, work heartily… “

        • Houndentenor

          Surely an omnipotent god would have stopped this kind of thing a lot sooner.

          • Jane Parry

            He has given men and women “free will” in the earthly realm. And there is coming a time when all the evil ones will be taken to task and judged accordingly. You should understand that we are all spirits living in an “earth suit”, a carnal body, that will one day rot away. The spirit part of you will remain, and be dealt with accordingly. You don’t have to believe me, but I know it to be true. I feel that you would rather it not be true, and that once dead…it’s all over…but it isn’t.

            • Rich Wilson

              I feel that you would rather it not be true

              I would suggest that you are the one who is basing knowledge of truth on what you want to be true.

              My disbelief in heaven and hell has nothing to do with what I want. It has to do with my personal relationship with evidence.

              • Jane Parry

                I just told Hat Stealer that I will leave, as it is thought I came here to proselytize atheists. I didn’t. I didn’t know this was an “Atheist blog site”, as I just followed a post. But I have personal knowledge of what I say also. But you have closed your mind to anything which you cannot “reason” out in a way you understand it. You cannot mix carnal and spiritual understanding. It must be one or the other. You have chosen the carnal, and I the spiritual. I wish you well, as I did Hat Stealer.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  But you have closed your mind to anything which you cannot “reason” out in a way you understand it.

                  Your Christlike arrogance and claim to psychic powers are again noted.

              • Divan Roets

                Yes exactly, as nice as it would have been to be under the wing of a benevolent God I just can’t lie hard enough to myself to *POOF* make God appear into existence and love me forever and ever…

              • Tom

                “Personal relationship with evidence.” I am so stealing that :-)

            • Houndentenor

              I find no evidence that any of what you say is true except that one day our bodies will rot (or decompose in some way). Please prove that there is such a thing of a spirit independent of the body. All I hear is a rationalization of why your “god” allows children to be raped and tortured, something no benevolent being, omnipotent or otherwise, would tolerate.

              • Divan Roets

                So true Houndentenor, there is overwhelming evidence and good work done by Neurologists that explain how our feelings and being are all confined within the activity of our brains, and there is NO evidence that suggests in any way that your person can leave your body and operate without the electro-chemistry that makes up our sentience. No person of faith can explain how the ‘soul’ is able to exist, it has to be a tangible thing for it to be possible. In any case how would a weightless or whatever soul outside of its body be able to mimic all the trillions of interneuronal synaptic interactions that make our brains work?! No evidence, no soul…Agh! It does not even help saying things like this, people just don’t want to face the facts…

                • Houndentenor

                  And why would people with brain tumors or strokes sometimes have such extreme personality changes? How could memories disappear after accidents if all of that wasn’t physiological?

                • Rich Wilson

                  And do people with multiple personalities have multiple souls?


                • Divan Roets

                  Ha ha, good question! and a good video link, thanks.

                • Houndentenor

                  My undergrad psych professor didn’t believe in multiple personalities and told us that most of the scientific community was highly skeptical. He also noted that cases of multiple personalities were found in best-sellers and not peer-reviewed journals. That was a long time ago so maybe someone with recent training in psychology or psychiatry can give more current info, but I have been skeptical of that ever since.

                • Rich Wilson

                  ‘multiple personalities’ was my shoddy attempt to describe the video in 25 words or less. Just watch it :-)

                • wmdkitty

                  Yeah, I haz a skeptical, too.

                • Divan Roets

                  Mmm we are going off topic but i too have wondered whether multiple personalities really exist(without splitting the brain), partly because the electrical activity in the brain won’t be divided, its all connected to work the same pattern recognition. I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense, I’m not a psychiatrist/neurologist(I’m a botanist in part).

                • Nancy Shrew

                  It’s called “dissociative identity disorder” now, which is really a more accurate name.

                • Divan Roets

                  Because God intervened in a mysterious way…

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Hey, one can imagine a soul existing. What a theoretical soul can’t do is affect the body and mind without being detectable.And if it doesn’t affect choices, then it’s irrelevant to our actions, and punishing or even rewarding it for what a person does is psychotic.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              I feel that you would rather it not be true

              Your Christlike arrogance and presumption to know the mysteries of the universe and the hearts of others are noted.

              If “Free Will” was true in the Christian sense, a person could simply choose to not be brain damaged, since that affects one’s ability to make choices. Or choose to not be autistic, or to not hallucinate, or to not feel any given emotion.

              Call us when you can demonstrate how anything outside of physics – for example, magic souls – affects anything we do.

              A cop who allowed a crime to be committed so that he could punish the criminal would not be considered in any way moral. So too your god.

            • smrnda

              How do you know this? Why is it not obvious to me?

              Plus, if I was in charge of a day care, and I let a 5 year old kick a baby’s face in, and said “well, when he’s 18 he’ll be charged with a crime” I’d be negligent. Free will doesn’t imply an all powerful god cannot ever intervene. It just means he’d rather hold out vague promises of a better afterlife in exchange for doing nothing.

        • Rich Wilson

          As long as the women aren’t Canaanites.

        • Hat Stealer

          Christ treated his own mother horribly. He also offered
          terrible advice to his own (male) followers. Frankly, he was a colossal dick.

          Believe me, you’re not going to get away with the ‘no true Scotsman/ Jebus wuves u/Unnecessary Overuse Of CapitaLization’ set of arguments here. You’re dealing with people who have actually read the Bible, and have heard the same inanities you’ve just uttered time and time again.

          • Arminius

            Of course. Because if I disagree with you about how to interpret the Bible I’m wrong.

            It must be great to be right all the time. And of course, being right, your point of view I’m sure is the Open Minded one. And of course Atheists have never committed any atrocities. So they have the moral high ground.

            • Rich Wilson

              And of course Atheists have never committed any atrocities. So they have the moral high ground.

              That was never stated.

              When two people disagree on something, each will consider the other wrong. That’s a normal stage of debate, no matter who’s on which side.

            • Feminerd

              Atheists have never committed atrocities in the name of atheism, no. Atheists are still people, and some people are colossal assholes. Atheists are by no means immune to this, er, unfortunate aspect of humanity.

              I was never Christian. Even were I not atheist, I’d still reject Jesus as a totally ridiculous and obviously incoherent religious myth. I did that a long, long time before I was atheist, because I was raised Jewish and we talked about how Christianity just didn’t make any sense and twisted the OT prophecies into saying things they didn’t actually say before I was 10 years old. So instead of learning how Jesus was super awesome, I learned about how Jesus’s followers totally suck- the Crusades, the pogroms and expulsions across Europe (yeah, Jewish focus here, shush), the Inquisition, the focus on suppressing knowledge and scientific inquiry, the burning of witches, the torture, the stealing of Jewish babies, etc. I saw how at every turn, conservative Christians invoked Jesus to fight against equality and egalitarianism- they pointed to the Bible to justify oppression of women, slavery, oppression of free Blacks, and now oppression of gay people.

              So yeah. Atheists have the moral high ground. It may partly be due to a history of being hidden and unable to express power, but thus far not one single crime that I can think has been committed because atheism said so. A lot of crimes have been committed because God or Jesus said so.

            • Hat Stealer

              Remember the part where I talked about ‘the same set of inanities, uttered over and over?’ You might as well be any one of the other thousand people on this forum who have posted some version of the ‘but atheists have done terrible things too!’ argument. It’s not interesting, it’s not original, and it doesn’t suddenly become right the thousandth time it’s posted.

            • Divan Roets

              As Ricky Gervais once said: “A c*nt is a c*nt and no God can change that.”

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Your being too stupid to respond to what people actually say must make life very difficult and frustrating for you. Poor angrums.

          • Divan Roets

            Ja and not only people who have read the bible, people who actually were christians before the grew up.

        • Divan Roets

          You see, one of the many problems with religion is that it enables such abuse. Even ‘real’ or ‘good’ christians can be warped by questionable morals. For example, a nice enough looking christian may still discriminate against gay people, contradicting his own bible’s supposed neighbourly love/forgiveness VS stoning homosexuals.

      • Gus Snarp

        Why does Catholicism even still exist?

        Particularly in Ireland. I’ve never thought laws against religion were acceptable, better to educate people, teach them to think critically, and remove the pernicious influence of religion in government and education and many will reject religion on their own terms, as is happening in Ireland today.

        But in the case of the Catholic Church in Ireland, it has committed so many horrific crimes against children, not just abuse as in many other countries, but the horrors seen in the Magdalene Laundries, including slave labor, negligent homicide, cover ups, and similar situations in homes for wayward boys, orphanages, and schools, that the institution of the Catholic Church in Ireland ought to be not only forced to pay restitution, but to be forbidden from ever running any facility that serves the public and especially children. Their hospitals, schools, orphanages, whatever, taken from them and administered by the State. Perhaps they should even be disbanded and stripped of all property. Churches and lands sold off with the proceeds to benefit all those who have been harmed.

        • Dogly

          I keep waiting for total exposure of abusive nuns. These “Sisters of Mercy they are not departed or gone…..”

        • Pofarmer

          Keep in mind, over 90% of the “public” elementary schools in Ireland are also Catholic run.

        • RCM1212

          What I mean is why are people still Catholic?

          • Gus Snarp

            That too. I just also see strong cause for legal action as well in Ireland.

      • Miss_Beara

        Why does Catholicism even still exist?

        I ask myself this with great frequency.

        • wmdkitty


          • Anthony Rosa

            Because some people actually believe in God, and that the Catholic church’s mythology represents the truth behind the world?

            I’m certainly not quitting atheism just because of some of the horrible, anti-feminist things some atheist organizations are doing. Why would a Catholic quit believing in God just because some people in the organization are evil, especially when people being evil is a tenant of your religion?

            • tccstend

              Thank you….using human perfection as the measure for joining or participating in any group or activity would guarantee that nothing would EVER get done.

      • onamission5

        To hide pregnancy, and to hide deliberately inflicted mortal wounds. With the way the girls were treated, it is a short stretch to assume no small number of the girls tossed into those unmarked graves had been either murdered or driven to kill themselves.

        • tccstend

          It’s heart breaking. The amount of psychic fury among the nuns is stunning. On the other hand, the way women were viewed and treated in the world generally would twist and blacken the hearts of most ordinary women. It would take extraordinary women to rise above the damage inflicted by a society that treated all women as inferiors and in many cases, slaves. And that wasn’t just the Catholic Church or even only Christians….that was the whole society.

          • Vicki

            The Catholic Church will come to an end when Jesus Christ returns to judge the hypocrits from all churches.

            • Astreja

              Vicki, dead people can’t judge squat. If there ever was a Jesus I think he’s currently stone dead, regardless of what the Gospels say. It’s up to mortals to deal with the RCC.

    • Dana Seilhan

      Yes. I don’t believe every church should pay taxes (for one thing, it’d be an unfair burden on small churches from minority religions, while the larger Christian churches would just pay them and shrug it off), but the ones that have been a drain on society certainly should give something back.

      • Brad Nelson

        Perhaps because churches are run as a business, and business is good, they should pay tax. Otherwise, it means that the world’s largest scam is getting away with even more.

      • Divan Roets

        Organised religion IS a drain on society…Brainwashing people into believing supernatural nonsense affects people cognitive abilities and breeds contempt among people with opposing points of view.

  • Dorothy

    the movie’s on youtube. it’s pretty graphic and sad but a don’t-miss

  • WallofSleep

    Ya know, socons and the “moral” majority like to carry on and on about how Hollywood and popular media glorifies violence, murder, rape, and perversion, but Hollywood ain’t got shit on the RCC when it comes to that. Not by a fucking long shot.

    • compl3x

      You just reminded me of this:

      • WallofSleep


        Sorry. Heh, I saw that little image, and as abstract as it is I still immediately knew that was “Number of the Beast”. Thanks for the laugh.

      • spacecowboy

        pre-modern call of duty made me respect my grampa a bit

        maiden inspired me to learn to shred

        origin taught me the awesomeness of life

        the bible? well hey jesus was a total bro, sucks about his fanboys though…

        • Aspaceformyheart Awesomeblog

          Yes, Jesus was a total bro indeed.

          Luke 14:26
          New International Version (NIV)
          26 “If
          anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and
          children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person
          cannot be my disciple.

          I guess that’s why I hate him so much; his desire that I hate my brothers is such that I could not pay him any higher compliment than my loathing and disgust.

          • Student of History

            Yeah, way to pick and choose and remove from context so that you’ve got a reason to spew hate. That verse makes no sense without the previous ten verses, talking about those that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Generally speaking the Pharisees, people who lorded it over others, made a good show in public and were disgusting reprobates and hypocrites in private. People you SHOULD hate, if only because it gives you that little bit of extra strength to carry your burdens and not be like them. And no one group is solely guilty of this, people like that are everywhere. Also, yes people flock to Catholicism… mostly because ‘better the devil you know.’ But while all of you are over there, sitting in self-righteous judgment over billions of people that YOU HAVE NEVER MET. Some are guilty of things like the above article, but most are not. Many are indoctrinated and/or know nothing about it. And most of the rest follow the good and pray, because they have nowhere else to go and no one else to guide them. Don’t blame them for that, and stop giving cheap shit reasons for that hate.

            • Carmelita Spats

              Jesus was a jerk. He invented the notion of eternal
              torture for his “enemies”. He destroyed plants to make a point. He went around doing magic tricks just to get attention, like an annoying Facebook girl. He resurrected a man only to have him die again. He LIED about
              “demon possession” instead of instructing his fan-girl-disciples on MENTAL ILLNESS. He told his followers not to wash their hands before eating. He was a 33-year-old virgin. He was a tribalistic, racist, rabbi. He understood
              and upheld the Mosaic Law (not one jot or tittle…etc.).
              Jesus was a scumbag.If he comes back to Earth, I hope someone re-crucifies the zombie because it’s the only way to keep him from eating brains. There is NO context that justifies GENOCIDE. The Jesus character had no trouble worshiping himself as the sadistic Yahweh.
              Yahweh, Jesus and the Pigeon are a Trinitarian murderous crew.

              Yes, Captain Obvious, there are PEDOPHILES in
              society and they want access to children. The difference between a party clown and a Catholic priest is that the party clown will offer you his BACKGROUND check BEFORE you contract him for a kid’s party. Case in
              point: Here is Penny the Clown. Penny offers you her background check as an added “plus” to get you to hire her…Her background check and fingerprints are on file:


              Jewish party clowns also come with background checks:


              There is no Party Clown Vatican where a 65-year-old
              maladjusted clown (who claims celibacy) can hide after sticking his penis into the mouths of five-year-olds like Mexico’s notorious Father Marcial Maciel
              had a habit of doing. If you are a perverted party clown, there is nowhere to run. I wish we could say the same thing about perverted priests.

              Runaway priests:

              Mug Shots of the Kiddie Fuckers:

              I don’t need to know BILLIONS of wide-eyed Eucharist
              munchers. I have enough with my extended Mexican Catholic family and I’ve known them personally since I was knee-high to a disturbing dogma. It is MY
              responsibility to educate them on the organized criminal organization they support financially. They will have NO excuses because they have me to guide them. Besides, part of being a Catholic is the obligation to an INFORMED conscience. “I was just following orders” is NO EXCUSE. Praise! If I can get the eucharist munchers in my family to stop cannibalizing on Sundays, opening wide for a mouthful of Savior while Mexican children are sexually tortured by priests, I will consider my life to have had tremendous meaning. I don’t run away from a challenge.

            • Dar Kur

              These girls had families, Student of History. It was the ignorance of their god-fearing ways that compelled them to imprison their innocent and their troubled. It doesn’t happen in an enlightened environment. The whole state of Ireland was aware and did nothing…it was right, by God. “Priests know best”, etc. Most pray. Those are the most dangerous. They’ve lost all ability to think critically due to their acceptance of delusion. The powerful profit from them as they manipulate them. en masse.

            • onamission5

              Your homework for today is to look up the word “enabling” as it applies in a psychological sense, and then to try and figure out why I asked you to do that.

            • Rain

              Generally speaking the Pharisees, people who lorded it over others, made a good show in public and were disgusting reprobates and hypocrites in private. People you SHOULD hate, if only because it gives you that little bit of extra strength to carry your burdens and not be like them.

              Quoted for irony: “But while all of you are over there, sitting in self-righteous judgment over billions of people that YOU HAVE NEVER MET.”

              So did you ever meet any pharisees? Or do you just hate them because Jesus says so. Or is it self-righteous judgment.

            • ShoeUnited

              There are some arguments that Jesus was a Pharisee as his arguments are parables are the same as Pharisaic arguments. And that the only reason people were taught to hate the Pharisees was because in the early days of the church, members needed to prove that Jesus wasn’t just another Pharisee.


          • Jane Parry

            You need to look up the original wording that was “translated” to hate. It means to “love less”, not to Hate as we know hate to be. Jesus is just saying that we should love Him more than our fathers and mothers and kinsman and children. He loves them all enough, for us. If we are to hate anything, it’s “sin”, which separates us from the blessings of God. The Word says that God so loved the “world”…. not just the Jews, or the “good” people…but everyone in the world… that He sent His Son as a Redeemer, to free us from the bonds of sin and it’s consequences. We just need to believe and accept it.

            • Gus Snarp

              Doesn’t much matter. A religious leader asking his followers to love him more than their own families, even their own wives and children, is immoral. If you didn’t have 2000 years of accumulated cultural baggage supporting him, you’d recognize anyone today asking that of their followers as a potentially dangerous cult leader.

            • Hat Stealer

              If God was omnipotent, then he wouldn’t need to redeem us by killing his kid, he could just do it. Then again, I don’t know why I’m trying to reason with a person who’s so deeply invested in their own bullshit that they feel a need to proselytize and offer poor logical fallacies on an atheist blog. Some people think it’s worth it; I generally don’t.

              • Jane Parry

                You are right! It is next to useless to try to “proselytize” a die-hard atheist. You will have to come to the conclusion on your own, that you are wrong. And it you truly want to know the Truth, you have but to ask with a honest heart. But God needs no-one to make excuses for him and his actions, or in what you may see as his lack of action. And believe it or not, he knows if you are sincere in ‘wanting to know him’ , or sincerely turning your back on him. You have made your choice…and I have made mine. I really wish you well while you are here, because it doesn’t look good for you when you leave. And I will leave your “Atheist Blog”, as I didn’t realize that’s what it was when I followed a post.

                • Hat Stealer

                  Scare tactics aside, the name of the blog is ‘The Friendly Atheist.’ What did you think it was- a Jehovah’s Witness newsletter?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Your claim to know the will of God by saying that others are likely to end up in Hell is noted. So, according to the Bible, see you in Hell, false prophet.

          • Dana Seilhan

            I think he meant “those who are willing to give up their families and friends and their whole life for me” because he knew some of his followers would run into problems in those areas… family and friends thinking they’re crazy, the government trying to kill them, as did indeed happen later, even after Jesus was crucified.

            The problem is none of this stuff was originally written in English, and a lot of the English translations are written in archaic language due to the time period in which they were translated.

            (Example: “Wherefore” does not mean “where.” It means “why.”)

            • Gus Snarp

              Yeah, still the language of a dangerous cult leader.

  • James

    “and I think that’s what we’re annoyed about.””

    The absolute size of a heart and breadth of compassion that a person who was incarcerated like this at the age of 12 to be able to say “annoyed” about this. I simply cannot imagine.

    • Stealth Avenue

      That was exactly my thought.

  • Rich Wilson
    • WallofSleep

      I remember watching that live. A real bold and brave move on her part which she caught a lot of shit for, and IIRC seriously handicapped her career.

      I didn’t really understand what she was getting at with that last bit at the time (“Eh, musicians like to be provocative, whaddaya gonna do?”), but I was not aware of the RCC’s vile depredations at the time either.

      • Rich Wilson

        She was in a Magdeline asylum. Pretty personal for her. And SNL has never re-broadcast that.

        • WallofSleep

          Holy shit dude, I never knew either of those things. Thanks for sharing that. I have a whole new appreciation and respect for her.

          • Rich Wilson
            • WallofSleep

              “These women where trapped in a Church run, state approved system of slave labor and sexual [abuse?] that continued until 1996“.

              Check that goddamned date. Not 1896, not even 1966, but nineteen-motherfuckin-ninety-six!

              In 1996 we had CDs, DVDs, cellphones, hundreds (if not thousands) of man made satellites orbiting the earth, and this kind of shit was still going on?

              And these kinds of assholes said “Jesus Wept” the other day when DOMA was declared unconstitutional, yet nary a similar peep is made nor a tear shed over shit like this?

              Thanks for the links, Rich. And thanks for the OP, Terry. I’ve learned a few more things today, and none of it makes me happy.

              • jemand2

                Honestly something like this probably still exists, in some country where the catholic church still has more power….

                • flyb

                  The Philippines would be the first place to look. The Catholic Church still has a stranglehold on the government and the people there.

              • Stev84

                Though from what I understand, by that time the worst was over and these institutions weren’t quite as bad as a few decades earlier. At least the slave labor part. The widespread introduction of washing machines eroded most of their market.

            • Zugswang

              Rich, do you happen to know of any people or orgs in the US that are currently working to shed light on the American laundries?

              • Rich Wilson

                Sorry, I don’t. What I know I’ve posted here, and I learned it quite by accident. Something completely unrelated reminded me of her SNL performance (I think something Madonna did). I missed the first time but always wanted to see it, so I figured maybe in the age of Youtube it would be available. I also found a blog post about it that I can’t find now, that talked about Sinead being in in an asylum.

                I would be curious to know what Madonna thinks about it all now. At the time her ripping a pic of Joey Buttafuoco the next week was really just a big “fuck you” to Sinead O’Conner.

            • Miss_Beara

              Holy crap.

              Most were from devout Catholic families that did not question Church rulings.

              Her mother called the police to report the rape and was stunned when
              police came and arrested the girl. A judge deemed the attack her fault…

              The Catholic Church has thus far denied any responsibility for the treatment these victims suffered…The Catholic Church has locked away information regarding the Laundries, making it inaccessible to victims, their families, or the press.

              The religion of “pro life” is nothing more, like all of the others, than a religion of control and power.

      • Gus Snarp

        So many of us then, so many still today, had no idea what that really meant, what horrors the Church had wrought in Ireland, what she had experienced. It surely hurt her career, made her the butt of so many jokes, when had we all but known the truth behind her act we should all have cheered when she did that.

        She was so brave and so strong making that statement, and none of us knew. So sad.

        • Hat Stealer

          For some reason, we never seem to learn about Ireland here in the United States. I, like most Americans I imagine, only learned of the terrible state Ireland was in after my formal schooling was over. It seems like we just ignore it.

          Perhaps it’s because Ireland is a nice little example of what unjust colonialism coupled with a corrupt religion will do to a place. Up until very recently, British colonialism and Catholicism were seen as ‘good,’ driving forces in society. Many of us know better know, but it seems the tendancy not to talk about it is still there.

      • Houndentenor

        Because the RCC media machine made it out to be “anti-Catholic bigotry” like they do any time the RCC is criticized, no matter how fair the criticism.

    • Gus Snarp

      Thanks for posting that. I had forgotten. Had we all but known what she was trying to tell us, what so many still ignore today.

    • Matt Eggler

      I’m glad you posted that. I was just thinking about it the other day, of what a big deal it was then and how it stalled her career – but with how far the Catholic Church has fallen if it happened now most people probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

    • Gus Snarp

      Had to watch it again. So powerful.

      I wonder what the producers knew was coming. Was she completely off script from the beginning and they just let it roll, wondering where she was going? What was going on in the control booth throughout this?

    • UWIR

      I remember hearing about her ripping up a photo of the pope, but not hearing anything about why she did it. I’m not clear on how much was her not explaining it and how much was people just not caring. I read that the next next, Joe Pesci said that he would have hit her if he had been there. It’s amazing that someone can get away with threaten someone else with violence for complaining about sexual abuse.

      • smrnda

        Apparently Joe Pesci in real life isn’t that far from his persona in Goodfellas or Casino. He’s just a hired thug for an organized crime boss.

  • WallofSleep

    And I swear, if that pedo-protector Bill fucking Donahue opens his vile mouth to make excuses for this shit…

    • Dana Seilhan

      I think he has, but don’t quote me on that.

  • Matt Eggler

    I swear, isn’t it painfully obvious by now to any person possessing even a mediocre intellect that the Catholic Church is a hideously corrupt, immoral and heartless institution undeserving of any respect but only deserving of contempt.

    To all the Catholics out there; I know it is hard to sever the emotional bonds you have, but honestly – you are so much better than that. Even you must see that the Catholic Church is woefully undeserving of your love and loyalty. You deserve better. It is time for you to leave.

    • smrnda

      Look into the “Hephzibah House” in Indiana in the US for a Baptist run gulag for girls. A lot of other denominations have pretty dirty hands when it comes to religion sanctioned child abuse. I think religious organizations should just be prohibited from running residential facilities for minors.

      • Feminerd


      • Stev84

        Take the whole “troubled teenager” industry in general. They run many slave camps in the US and abroad. And when one is shut down for abuse, they just move elsewhere.

        • CelticWhisper

          Many of the “troubled teen” programs (WWASPS) have Mormon connections.

          • Erik

            Yep, just look at Westridge Academy in Utah. Not Mormon-owned, but heavily supported and funded by the Mormon church. That place is a nest of abuses against children, including rampant sexual abuse and torture. Many kids are sent there for simply coming out as homosexual. They are grouped in with the same “troubled youth” who are sent there for drug abuse, gang affiliations, violent behavior, or just simply rebelling against their parent’s religion.

            Source: I was an inmate (they called us students) there from 2001-2002.

            • Dan

              I was also a student of West Ridge, and using the term “inmate” is a stretch of the truth at the very least.

              • blasphemous_kansan

                Do you have any other problem with Erik’s description of the facility, other than his usage of the word ‘inmate’?

                If not, then the term seems pretty accurate.

              • Gus Snarp

                So can the “students” leave of their own volition? If not, then they’re pretty much inmates.

        • smrnda

          Parents also need to be held accountable. If you think sending your daughter to a ‘get tough’ boot camp is a way to handle the fact that she’s been sexually abused, you ought to be in prison for child endangerment.

      • TealRose

        Yes, and it’s STILL going on in the States, and these places are not even checked by the government as they are ‘church’ centres/schools. Crazy and wrong.

    • Frog_in_a_Blender

      I could not agree with you more. I was raised in the Catholic church and spent three years in Catholic school. I did receive a good education and was not sexually abused, though physical and psychological abuse were common. My younger brother was not so lucky, as he was subjected to some pretty severe psycho-sexual abuse at the hands of his first grade teacher. My family finally left the church shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision because my father, an OB/GYN and FACOG, had been fairly vocal in his support for abortion rights.

    • Jane Parry

      I was in Catholic school to eighth grade. Things I found out during my time there (from others, of course, not from the religious leaders) led me to denounce my catholic faith. I had been so brainwashed, though, that I believed if I couldn’t be a good ‘Catholic’, then I was doomed to hell. It took a long time to realize that God still loved me, even if I was NOT a catholic. That denominationalism did not set the rules for God to accept me. Thank You, Jesus…

      • Malkavian

        it gets even better when you can accept hell doesn’t exist

        • Jane Parry

          Oh but it does. And you don’t want to end up there. Truly, you don’t. And you don’t have to. It’s your choice.

          • Rich Wilson

            ICD-10 T74.3

            He doesn’t want you to go to hell. All you have to do is accept his love, then you won’t burn in hell. Totally your choice though.

          • Gus Snarp

            So have you been to hell? Do you have some evidence for it?

            • Jane Parry

              No I haven’t been to hell, but I have been to the “other” place. It was short lived because the doctors brought me back, but I didn’t want to leave. But I promised Hat STealer and Rich Wilson I’d leave this Blog…so please don’t call me back. Thank you.

              • wmdkitty

                So… you hallucinated. That’s not evidence.

                • Jane Parry

                  Tell me how dead people hallucinate? Nevermind, I really don’t expect you to know. Bye. No more answers.

                • Feminerd

                  Dead people generally don’t. Dying people, on the other hand, do. When our brains are oxygen deprived (as happens when the heart or lungs stop working), they start parsing all sorts of stimuli … oddly. Our eyes quit working right, so we see the “light at the end of the tunnel” as our pupils begin to get stuck open. Our bodies input all sorts of weird things at just the same time the brain lacks the necessary nutrients to work properly, so it misfires and randomly activates certain areas, including memory centers (life flashing before the eyes, etc).

                  In other words, it’s perfectly normal to experience hallucinations when dying or even technically dead. That doesn’t mean there is an afterlife, though. It just means our brains are glitchy, which we already knew.

                • wmdkitty

                  You weren’t dead, you nitwit!

                • Rich Wilson
                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Brains don’t die all at once.

                  Your Christlike attitude is again noted, as is your childish demand that everyone shut up when you want the last word.

          • Hat Stealer

            An excellent example of what Christianity does to a person. The notion that eternal torture is ever just or right is a sick idea, held only by sick people. Throw in the belief that this eternal torture scheme was cooked up by an all loving and all knowing daddy, and you’ve got an even better recipe for hilarity.

            • Divan Roets

              And if you look in the bible you will read that God created good AND evil…WHY? So He can predispose people to eternal torture?

          • dick

            prove it, Jane. You claim it, and the burden of proof is on you.

            • Jane Parry

              Sorry, but this is not a court of law and I don’t have to prove a thing. You don’t have to believe me, that is your choice. I’m at perfect peace with what I believe. But what if I AM right, and you’re mistaken? I can never convince you, and will not try. You are free to choose in whom and what you believe, and so am I. Not a problem, to me.

              • Carmelita Spats

                Idiot…YOU are making a claim, “Hell exists” so it is
                incumbent upon YOU to provide evidence for your claim or else shut the fuck up and keep ALL of your imaginary friends restrained inside your head. No evidence? Then we can treat you like a schizophrenic who is at peace with what she believes. Quote,“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”Besides, what if you have selected the wrong god? So many “faiths”, Jane….They can’t all be right but they can all be WRONG.

              • Rich Wilson

                But what if I AM right, and you’re mistaken?

                What if you’re wrong about Muhammed, or Joseph Smith?

                That’s called Pascal’s wager. Sorry some of us are a bit snarky. We get that a lot, and “you can choose to not go to hell” comes with an implicit holier than thou which is really quite annoying. I know you don’t think you mean it that way and you’ll point out that you’re also a sinner, but- it’s kind of like telling us about the Great Pumpkin, or Kissing Hank’s Ass

                Or best yet.. oh, I’ll have to find it. If anyone else has a link to the Mr. Deity (or Way of the Mister) about the Keynesian vs. Supply Side Economics?

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Funny how your religion didn’t mention Hell until it became necessary to invent a way to make the marks feel they’d win in the end. One would almost think it wasn’t part of the Abrahamic tradition and was cribbed from other nearby, older religions to encourage compliance. Huh.

    • Divan Roets

      I agree Matt, but i will go as far as to say any person deserves better than many of the warped ideas within their own respective religions that in itself only deserve a meager amount of respect.

    • Rob

      HE was obviously asleep at the wheel on this one… AGAIN.

  • Zugswang

    What drives me up a wall is how few Catholics in the US know that this even happened (along with so many other recent atrocities such as forcing unwed Australian mothers under heavy sedation to give up their children), and when I ask them about it, I get the same look I might get asking a group of kindergarteners about The Federalist Papers.

    • Rich Wilson
      • Zugswang

        Each new day makes me increasingly glad to be a Catholic apostate…

        • Librepensadora

          me, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Drakk

      We ought to make more of an effort to disseminate information like this. Might help to kill the RCC.

      • WallofSleep

        “We ought to make more of an effort to disseminate information like this.”

        Indeed, but the question is how? For all the wingnut whining about “teh librul, anti-christ media” here in the states, stories like these about the RCC get very little coverage. Yet if it were any other global, non-religious organization involved it would be a full-on media shit storm.

        • Zugswang

          I think a lot of ex-Catholics (even if they’ve simply moved to another faith) were made partly by shedding light on these atrocities. I can think of three people I know personally who have left Catholicism and who sent their official letters of apostacy precisely because of the intransigence of the church in properly addressing issues of child sexual abuse.

          Not everyone will listen or even believe (at least, not right away). It’s difficult to undergo the kind of paradigm shift that turns the source of your morality into ashes in your mouth. but people should at least be made aware of it. Hell, I was initially skeptical simply because of the sheer scope of it all; it was like the machinations of some half-insane, grandiose comic book super-villain.

          But the more evidence that comes out, the harder it is to deny. Those who have the mental willingness to look behind the curtain of their present perceptions of reality will eventually know the truth for themselves. Not everyone will be able to do this – hell, the majority might still deny. But it works for those who will at least look.

          That is the best we can do, but it’s a very good start.

    • spacecowboy

      it’s held more or less a secret even amongst catholics, especially for catholics living outside Ireland… being one myself, I never knew about it until I read an article from only a decade ago

      yeah, depressing stuff, that

    • Stev84
      • Gus Snarp


  • LesterBallard

    My love for the RCC continues to grow..

    • Frog_in_a_Blender


      • Drakk

        He’s being sarcastic, or he means it kind of like how “Christian love” is?

        • Frog_in_a_Blender

          I hope you’re right.

      • WallofSleep

        I don’t know LB, but I’ve read enough of his commentary here that I can safely say he’s employing sarcasm.

  • Caprica

    It’s not often I shed a tear when reading articles these days but I have no doubt, if I had been born during the time of the Magdalena order, I would have been incarcerated as well. I loathe the catholic church. It is past due time that they paid for their abuses. And still people flock to them.

  • smrnda

    The problem with this is nobody in the church is being punished. If we take the church as it takes itself, with the Pope being the de facto head, the Pope should be doing a life sentence for aiding and abetting the torture of children. I’d have some respect for this Francis guy if he willingly volunteered for such treatment. As they always say, the captain goes down with the ship.

    • Dana Seilhan

      Not just children. Why does nobody ever care about the adults? Adults are abused by religion too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those loudly-self-proclaiming child-haters but it disturbs the HELL out of me the way compassion has an expiration date for so many people.

      I’m thinking here of the Indian doctor who died in an Irish hospital because her uterus had ruptured and the hospital wouldn’t offer an abortion because they were scared of getting in trouble. At least (as far as we know) most prisoners of the Magdalene laundries *survived.*

      • smrnda

        True, I was only thinking about this particular instance. Historically, the Catholic church has been complicit in so many murders of so many people that it would probably outdo the body counts of any general of conqueror in history.

        I’m also against the existence of religion run ‘facilities’ for adults, mostly since in the States, religious programs got advertized as ‘drug treatment programs’ that a court can send you to, and then they abuse and exploit the adults. Check out the mis-named ‘Teen Challenge.’ They take your government aid and make you sign admitting its a ministry, not a drug treatment program, but they promote themselves as a drug treatment program to get court referrals and government money. Not sure it this has been shut down, but that’s one organization I know of for sure.

  • onamission5

    Do also see Sex In A Cold Climate, if you can stomach it after watching The Magdalene Laundries.*

    *Which, according to those survivors who were willing to talk, was a watered down version of what really happened to them. The movie’s director admits as much, too. Conditions were worse then the movie portrays.

    I am glad that those survivors who are left will be compensated, but it’s not enough. I don’t know that anything would ever be enough.

    • MD

      Watered-down? Shit!

  • DoctorDJ

    Another biting documentary on the Magdalene Laundries is “Sex in a Cold Climate” available at

    Just another reason to abhor the catholic church.

  • Robster

    At least the Roman Catlik church wasn’t telling the inmates that they should eat and drink bits of the baby jesus on Sunday or taking their money or not paying tax or something serious….

  • wmdkitty

    Excuse me, I need to go vomit.

  • Pofarmer

    I wish Catholics were more aware, Nd actually cared, about what was done in their name. Instead, you get accused of ” attacking the church”. Bah,

    • WallofSleep

      I’ve known a scattered few (I don’t travel in catholic circles, but I’m sure there’s more) who were absolutely livid over the many pedo scandals, even more livid over the cover ups and excuses being made about them, and stopped tithing to their local diocese and instead began tithing to charities unrelated to the RCC. A step in the right direction for them, I suppose.

      Personally, I have no interest in deconverting catholics, but if they cease their fealty to the oldest and most vile criminal syndicate this world has ever seen, that makes me happy.

      • Pofarmer

        There are far, far too many who just take the Church’s message of love, love for all you sinners at face value though. “Why, how could an organization so worried about my soul do bad things.? “

      • Jayn

        I’m a Catholic married to a Lutheran, and while I’ve never been that observant crap like this is why there’s been NO debate over which church to attend or raise any children in. I’ll always be Catholic, but I won’t defend or support the RCC.

    • Dana Seilhan

      Oh yeah. Bring any of this up and you’re a “bigot.” No, bigots hate people for *who they are.* I hate *what people do*.

      • Miss_Beara

        I guess giving them evidence of horrific goings on in the name of the Catholic Church is a definition of ‘bigotry’ to them. It is not bigotry, it is reality.

  • WallofSleep

    I swear, la Cosa Nostra studied well the tactics and organization of the RCC. Their only failing* was not having the backing of a god and the state.

    *aside from being reprehensible, criminal fucks, that is.

    • Feminerd

      Hell, at least la Cosa Nostra was honest in their criminality and greed! They never claimed to be the “good guys”.

      • WallofSleep

        You may have a point, but I’ve got zero love for gangsters of any kind. And seriously, honesty and organized crime mix as well as oil and water.

        La Cosa Nostra ain’t a single bit better than the RCC, not by any measure. The just don’t have the reach, power and influence that the RCC does. Small blessing, I suppose.

        • Feminerd

          Yeah. I was being facetious. Organized crime has no good side to it, none at all. Just suffering, pain, death, and corruption. Well, and crazy piles of profit to the lucky few at the top, I guess.

          • WallofSleep

            Hey, it’s all good. This bit of news just got my hackles up. I think I’ll just cool my heels with a few cold beers and a “violent” video game. Laters.

            • CelticWhisper

              I recommend classic Doom, played via GZDoom with the Brutal Doom mod. Great for blowing off steam.

      • Jane Parry

        Yes, and as long as they filled the Coffers, they could go to confession once a year and be forgiven their past sins…only to go back out and commit them all again for another year and still be in “good standing” with the church.

      • UWIR

        I’m sure they had their rationalizations. “If we didn’t do it, someone else would”, “We’re just keeping order”, “The people we steal from are criminals, too”, “Coasian theory says that a reassignment of property rights does not impact the ultimate distribution of resources”, etc.

        • Feminerd

          Oh, sure. Most people rationalize their bad behavior. There’s also been lots of interviews with Mafia guys and other organized crime people (less Cosa Nostra, for obvious reasons) and most of them are pretty clear they’re in it for money, street respect, and money. They never pretend it’s for anyone’s good but their own.

    • Spuddie

      Technically they did.

      The RCC modeled itself after the Roman Empire. Pontiff was an ancient Roman title. La Cosa Nostra used the same model.

      It is only the American version of it when it was part of “The Syndicate” which took a different tack. They used corporations as a model.

    • Mario Strada

      Trust me, Cosa Nostra and the Church of Rome have been entangled more than once. They didn’t learn from them, they were them.

  • Angry Voter

    I heard there’s oil under the Vatican and that they’re switching to Bitcoin too – did you get that NSA?

    When will the drone strikes for freedumb start?

  • DougI

    It’s shameful this criminal institution is allowed to operate in the open and still receives special treatment from the government. We only know about the slavery, I can’t imagine the number of rapes and beatings that happened behind those walls. All those years, the Catholic church happily profited and adorned the Vatican with more art and gold.

  • johnsmith9875

    Catholicism, the original mafia.

  • Tim

    This makes me sick.

    And do you know why the laudaries closed? Was it because the evil that went on in them was exposed or because the power of the church wained?

    No. It was because automatic washing machines became affordable to ordinary irish households so the laudaries were no longer profitable,.

    Fucking dreadful

  • edlyn

    just look at the faces of the women in the photo. they all look glum.

  • Socoral

    Oh look, religion was shit then, it’s still shit now. A hip new pontiff can’t save the ruins of the Catholic religion.

  • tony

    Irish guy here. This should give people an idea of the scope and breath of power wielded by the Catholic Church during most of the 20th Century in Ireland. The Vatican was so appalled by Peter Mullan’s film on this subject that they sent an emissary to Ireland hoping to refute these claims. He reported that the film was but the tip of the iceberg. Workhouses for the poor, abuses by the Christian Brothers in the schools they ran and insidious manipulation of print media through the Irish Independent and many of their own publications. Thankfully the current generation of Irish people who are being forced to emigrate have grown weary of organised religion and we are slowly becoming a more secular society.

    • Stev84

      I bet his report wasn’t well received and that he destroyed any chance at a future promotion.

  • Pofarmer

    I’d like to get Bad Catholic’s take on this. And that Sinead Oconnor piece was powerful.

  • Dez

    This is another reason why I border on atheist and anti theist. It’s hard nowadays to not speak with complete disgust of the Catholic church and Christianity.

    • Brett

      Theist /= Christian necessarily. Maybe there’s a path to enlightenment for you elsewhere.

      • Dez

        Believing in something with no proof is not enlightened, it’s foolish.

        • Brett

          I can’t say I don’t agree. Just playing devil’s advocate.

      • The Other Weirdo

        In India recently a non-Christian cleric blamed the rape victims for the rape-and-murder they suffered. There is no enlightenment but to realize that all we have are each other. All else is meaningless, overwrought twaddle.

        • Brett

          This is an assumption of a broad generalization and an argument where no argument is necessary. Note the words “maybe” and “elsewhere.” Not “all other religions are perfect and free of atrocity.” When compared to religion, I’d say government in general has been more deleterious. Combine the two… well… forget it.

          We likely agree on most of this issue.

          • The Other Weirdo

            I think you misunderstood my point. You said that theist isn’t the same as a Christian, meaning that it’s important to remember not to judge other theists by Christian standards. My response was a demonstration that more likely than not, it’s an accurate judgement.

            • Houndentenor

              There are a large amount of abuses committed by other religions. We focus on the Christian ones because of proximity. We could talk endlessly about the abuses in Muslim countries and other religions as well.

              • Brett

                Governments, corporations, tribes, whatever. None are without fault. Religion falls into this category IMHO.

              • The Other Weirdo

                Yes, I know.

            • Brett

              These kinds of gross, sweeping judgments of people are harmful, in my opinion. Perhaps it’s here that we differ.

              • The Other Weirdo

                I am not judging them. I leave that delusion to the hellfire-and-damnation preachers. I judge their actions and words.

  • MorganFleurDeLys

    holy shit.

  • acvhub

    This is horrific

  • Brett

    People are the problem with religion.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Religion is the problem with religion. Without people, religion doesn’t exist.

      • Brett

        Sure, but it serves our innate desire to make tangible that which cannot be, but seems to exist anyhow. There’s something inherent in people that causes us to worship (god, celebrities, whatever). Maybe not in you or even me, but people in general.

        The search for whatever that is isn’t the evil, it’s the power associated with those who are followed in such a pursuit. My statement wasn’t meant to be taken quite so literally.

  • Lex

    Money washes away all sins.

  • Geoff Boulton

    ‘The Magdalene Sisters’ is available on YouTube

    • The Other Weirdo

      Made all the more disturbing by the fact that that’s Ms. Marple there.

  • brindlethorpe

    And yet a Catholic acquaintance of mine thinks I am unreasonable because I think he makes no sense in holding that the Catholic Church is morally perfect even though all the people who belong to and run it are not. (How is this not textbook doublethink?)

    • Pofarmer

      Yep. Brainwashing from birth is what it is.

    • Houndentenor

      No reasonable person expects anyone or anything to be perfect. I do expect people to show emapthy and compassion for others. Based on that criteria the RCC is a sociopath.

  • Erik Sniper

    The only good Catholic is an excommunicated Catholic

  • Tainda

    The Magdalene Sisters is a very good movie. Sad, but good. The best part is in the special features where the interview the actual women who were there.

  • Cyrus Palmer

    This is sickening. The entire church should be shut down for this; there is no justification, mitigating circumstances or counterbalencing good.

  • observer

    Oh well, thank God the church did their part to take these girls away from the street and their families, and put them through that hell. God knows what immoral consequences would’ve befallen if these girls were treated like people instead of slaves.

  • Daniel Lambert

    In the 1980′s, I was told about some contractors doing foundation work for a Catholic Abbey who found skeletal remains of babies buried in the basement. I heard no further on this, and wrote it off as rumor. It did, however, make me wonder if this was true, why such a religion that is so pro-life, would be so vehemently against contraceptives if they’re going to be raping their Nuns and yet have no problems with killing their offspring at birth…and I still wonder.

    • Mario Strada

      I have read more than one article about skeletal remains of babies in secret tunnels that joined a nun’s monastery with the priest one. I can’t imagine the misery of having to live that life because at the time there was no choice yet have all the hormonal urges we have today as teenagers and young adults. Finding oneself pregnant must have been horrific and with dire social consequences. As much as killing the babies after they were born is horrific, I have to have compassions for those poor people so long ago.

  • Zachary Cochran

    So horrible. Where in the world is this happening today?

  • Dar Kur

    I hate the argument when this stuff rears it’s head..”It was only a few hypocrites doing this. Most Godly folk are humble and pray, so…whatever”
    These girls had familie. It was the ignorance of their god-fearing ways that compelled them to imprison their innocent and their troubled. It doesn’t happen in an enlightened environment. The whole state of Ireland was aware and did nothing…it was right, by God. “Priests know best”, etc. Most pray. Those are the most dangerous. They’ve lost all ability to think critically due to their acceptance of delusion. The powerful profit from them as they manipulate them. en masse.

    • onamission5

      Yes, this. Abuse of any kind does not happen in a vacuum, systematic abuse even less so. For every case you have multiple actors both passive and active– the victim/s, the abuser/s, and the droves of people who were complicit in allowing the abuse to be perpetuated, whether through negligence or by denial or by whitewashing the abusers or by just not seeing the victims as people. Systematic abuse of this magnitude takes a fully complicit society. It is not a case of a few individuals, it is not a one-off.

      • Houndentenor

        People had to have known or at least suspected that the abuse was going on. They didn’t stop it because they didn’t care. That’s what religion is good for: dehumanizing the “sinners” so that people can rationalize treating them like this.

        • onamission5

          Nods. Yup, my point precisely. Abuse cannot be sustained without enablers. Individual events of abuse can occur when it is one party against another, but in order for abuse to be perpetuated you need a social system of adjuncts and accomplices.

          • Miss_Beara

            The Catholic Church is one gigantic enabling crime syndicate.

  • Bronxboy47

    More Grand Guignol theater from those lovable folks who claim their moral code comes straight from God.

  • Mark W.

    Sounds a lot like the old residential schools in Canada…funded by the government with no oversight, run by the churches to ‘educate’ the aboriginal population, whether they wanted it or not.

  • Antinomian

    What all this leaves ringing in the back of my mind are the US and the various state’s government’s increasing reliance on faith based initiatives in our social services. Who makes them accountable for all the money and people pumped into them and are their results being quantified and qualified openly and honestly.

  • erickMcG

    “Ireland’s Catholic Church, meanwhile, continues to wash its hands of the affair.” <– evil cult

  • Miss_Beara

    This is shocking, disgusting and incredibly heartbreaking. How anyone could still identify themselves as Catholic after all of this stuff coming to light, is vile.

    Here is a disgusting abuse denial article

    • Houndentenor

      I ask myself this every time I talk to a Catholic. The list of crimes of the church is so long it’s difficult to imagine how someone still affiliates with such an organization.

      • Miss_Beara

        They deny it or use the ‘we are all sinners’ line. Some of the comments in the article I posted were of the “it wasn’t that bad” variety or the “I talked to one person about it and she said it was fine, thus everything is fine.”

        • Houndentenor

          Ugh. Yes, because obviously it was worse in some times and places than in others. Others also have a higher tolerance for suffering, and of course there is a subsection of religious people who seem to revel in suffering and abuse (and others in inflicting suffering and abuse on others). We can also sift through data and find an anomaly. I hate when people try to build an argument based on the outliers, but people do it all the time in all kinds of fields.

    • Mario Strada

      I read the article and it was as disgusting as advertised. “But… there was no sexual abuse”. Even admitting there was none, which I find very unlikely, what about the fucking slave labor? What about the forced internment? Is that not abuse? Is that not immoral?

      I found it extremely frustrating that the article had they comments blocked. I had a primal impulse to reach across the page grab the smug priest that wrote that abomination by the nostrils and smack his head against a wall a few times. Thank jeebus for Xanax!

  • Thatcher C Nalley

    I did years of research in writing by book LETTERS FROM THE LOONEY BIN and a lot of asylums in the past buried people without markers. It’s sad :( I am surprised that they were surprised to find the bodies – I mean really?

  • Pofarmer

    Ya know, this really is heartbreaking, and I don’t use that word often. What is even more frustrating, and heartbreaking, is that the evangelicals and fundies in the U.S. don’t realize that this is where the Purity, and Chastity, and Abstinence bullshit ultimately leads, every time. It leads you to demonize the “other” the ones who aren’t like you , the ones who think differently. This is just so saddening. Not many things on the internet affect me, but this story really has.

    • Houndentenor

      The ones who got caught and the ones whose parents weren’t wealthy and/or powerful enough to cover up what they were doing. That’s what this really boils down to all the time. Moral codes like this without empathy or compassion eventually lead to hypocrisy and abuse.

  • Ambaa

    I saw that movie. It was brutal to watch. I was so shaken by it!

    • Divan Roets

      I’ve also seen it, sad, but one of the best films I have ever seen.

  • John Wells

    Quite frankly, I’d be happy if we can just get Catholic priests to stop fucking little boys.

  • Cowboy Coder

    If you think that is bad, try being a native american in the US or Canada – look up residential schools. Some schools had death rates as high as 50% of all students, all of whom were kidnapped by the state from their parents and forced to work at slave labor. All the schools in Canada were run by various churches on behalf of the government. Most of the US ones were secular. Some articles:

  • Dona Lynette Stewart

    Maybe also you would care to comment on indias’ high rate of aborting female fetuses? Indeed, who is responsible?

  • oliver

    Just another case of ‘Evil hides in plain sight’. The ‘Church’ has made to rules and those in non-compliance seem to find themselves in hot water, or in a laundry room. Disgusting and ‘taking the name of the Lord in vain’.

  • Feminerd

    No. Just no. You’re saying things about Jane that are 1) probably not true (I highly doubt she’s a prostitute) and 2) are incredibly offensive to all women. There’s nothing wrong with being sexually active, but when you denigrate people by calling them sluts, you imply that there is and that it reflects badly on their entire personality. We call this slut-shaming. Don’t do it.

  • Erin Sinclair

    I AM OVER the atrocities committed in the name of God by religious idiots. Since you so sincerely believe in Hell, enjoy your very long stay there.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    Now why is it that when sick stuff like this gets out, the rabid RCC defenders who flood the comments once in a blue moon remain stupefyingly silent?

  • kaydenpat

    My mind jumped to “Rabbit Proof Fence” as I read this post. I believe those institutions were also run by churches (Catholic and Anglican).

  • sarah

    The Magdalene Sisters is an EXCELLENT movie all about three different women and their experience in one of these horrific places. Some parts are funny, some parts very sad, and some triumphant. Definitely worth a watch. (Released in 2002 so it’s not completely outdated either.)

  • Gloria Diaz

    The movie was available on Youtube. It’s excellent.

  • despicable

    This is despicable.

    The government that allowed this is despicable, the church that allowed this is despicable. The people and the culture that allowed this is despicable.

    I strongly believe that the church has no business whatsoever in running the state, I however don’t think that separation is sufficient.

    Moreover, the Church has nothing to do with God (whichever god it might be): the church is a massive power house that uses human fear for the benefit of a few. Nothing new here: this is politics, and Everyone knows it !

    Everyone has the capacity to think for themselves (call it free will if you want) so no one should use a state or a church or a person to excuse their actions or lack of actions for that matter.

  • Avgguy

    I am 23 years old living in Los Angeles. I am about to enter an order called the Franciscan friars of the renewal. God our creator is real. Jesus Christ is the son of God and died on that cross at Calgary and after three days rose from the dead. Mary the mother of Christ was assumed body and soul into heaven. In prayer God spoke to me and told me to keep my face like flint to look at the cross as unconditional love and how this life on earth is meant to be lived. I love all of you atheists. And your creator God the Father he loves you even more. Just ask God to show you a sign he’s real ask it with a little humility knowing you are not the most intelligent being in this one universe we know of. As a Christian I try my best not to judge. If I see or hear what appears to be logical and valid of anyone breaking the law I report it and “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” But guess what these Irish nuns don’t define me as a follower of Jesus.

    • Rich Wilson

      Jesus Christ is the son of God and died on that cross at Calgary and after three days rose from the dead.

      Is God using your mobile device’s auto-correct to send you a sign that Jesus was actually crucified in North America?

    • James Nimmons

      youre in the wrong place for such questions. Here…you have to prove claims..and certainly he died at Calgary so we could have hockey!

    • smrnda

      Then do something about shutting down places like this and exposing those complicit, don’t just try to cover your own ass with the “I’m not like them.” You have to duty to investigate and report, not just sit on your rear until the crimes of the church become so obvious that they cannot be denied.

  • Avgguy

    The mistakes of fellow humans who are believers and claim to be followers of Jesus do not effect how I speak to out God in prayer. I will strive to live as Christ loved. To put others ahead of myself. And to bow down on my knees and with my heart knowing we were created by something greater. Peace be with you all and may God bless you and keep you close all the days of your life. I pray that your guardian angels watch over you. St John Vianney pray for us. St Francis pray for us. Mary pray for us.

    • baruchzed

      You sound very passive.

  • James

    Atheists have never committed atrocities in the name of atheism, no. Really? The Russian communists? The Chinese communists? They never committed atrocities on people of faith??? I beg to differ!!!

    • Rich Wilson

      Those were atheists committing atrocities on everyone, atheists and theists alike. They didn’t single out people of faith, and they didn’t do it because no golds told them to.

  • James

    I love it when people try to make us believe that atheists have never brought grief into the world as if atheism is the answer. Bullshit! Atheists have tortured and murdered millions in the name of their faith! Yes I said “faith”! It’s just another bullshit belief system being thrust down the throats of others!!!!

    • baruchzed

      This story is not about atheists. You want to write an article about crimes committed by atheists? Go for it. This article is about crimes committed by the church.

    • Joey Tranchina

      It is no defense of the Catholic Church, or of Christianity,
      to assert that that Atheists are no better.

      I’ll go farther than that: Atheists are no different.
      Because we are all human and the belief or nonbelief
      in preposterous nonsense makes not difference.

  • baruchzed

    Why is the catholic terror organization even tolerated anymore, anywhere? I look forward to the day when the catholic church is no more. It’s nothing more than a global crime syndicate.

  • Itsrealfunnythat

    But its okay because theyre whores…. /sarcasm

  • Joey Tranchina

    The Irish Catholic Church should be forced to melt the gold off of all the fffing churches then be made to give every gram if it to these women.