Still Trying to Get at the Truth of the Tuam Home Story

The Irish Times has an extensive article today raising doubts about the accounts of 800 infant bodies found in a septic tank of the former Tuam home for unwed mothers and children.

Important information, like:

‘I never used that word ‘dumped’,” Catherine Corless, a local historian in Co Galway, tells The Irish Times. “I never said to anyone that 800 bodies were dumped in a septic tank. That did not come from me at any point. They are not my words.”

And from one of the people, then a boy, who found some sort of grave forty years ago:

“There were skeletons thrown in there. They were all this way and that way. They weren’t wrapped in anything, and there were no coffins,” he says. “But there was no way there were 800 skeletons down that hole. Nothing like that number. I don’t know where the papers got that.” How many skeletons does he believe there were? “About 20.”

So just how did news outlets like WAPost come up with a “news” piece which so far has no corroboration of any facts, aside perhaps from the fact that the home existed?

More commentary:

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  • Elizabeth K.

    Thank you, again, for continuing to follow this. I think the WaPo article played very fast and loose with their language: using the word “discovery,” which a normal person would think implies an excavation of some sort, to refer to Corless’ discovery of 800 death records and no corresponding marked graves in the local area. That’s an important discovery–but it’s not a collection of corpses in a mass grave. I’m glad Corless and the other men are getting the chance to make some corrections. It’s important also to remember that Corless pursued this so that there could be a memorial to these children whom she suspects might have been buried here; it’s sad that the story she’s pursuing, which is troubling enough on its own, has been exploited by others in this way.

    Sadly, I’ve seen this type of news story happen time and again in things related to the Church. Sometimes it’s amusing–like when yet another report comes out that those knuckle dragging Catholics aren’t against evolution as a theory. LOL, considering that a priest came up with the Big Bang Theory. . .Sometimes it’s less funny, like in this case.

    • http://batman-news.com ADG

      The Washington Post has never let facts stand in the way of a good story.

      • Elizabeth K.

        True that, ADG. It’s too bad, because the story Corless has uncovered is important and doesn’t need to be sensationalized.

      • fredx2

        Actually, I think it was the Washington Times that had the worst headline, the one that said Catholics dump babies in sewer, or similar

    • Mikazaru

      Still sticking to the WaPo moaning to avoid talking about anything else I see.

      It’s not important at all to remember why Catherine Corless pursued this, just because she doesn’t see this as important for the same reasons as the rest of us doesn’t mean we don’t get a say. This is an indictment of the church, the state and the police forces, and society at large, and just because it’s one that the older generations aren’t proud of doesn’t mean we don’t get to voice our disgust at a vile system powered by contemptible doctrine. I’ve only found out from people older than myself that many more institutions like this, some of them was worse, and it needs to be talked about. You can even hear some testimonies from people who knew about and even gave birth in the homes here https://vodhls.rasset.ie/manifest/audio/2014/0528/20140528_rteradio1-liveline-communalgr_c20587489_20587492_261_.m3u8

      The reason you’ve seen this story time and time again is because time and time again we’ve found the church guilty of horrendous practices (who’s that in front of the UN right now?). In Ireland alone we’ve had all angles of the sex abuse scandal including devious use of the sacrament of confession, the Northern border and the threatening of children into silence, we’ve had the Magdalene laundries, symphysiotomies (keep those Catholic babies coming), serious physical and emotional in convent and brothers schools, illegal searches by clergy of people going over the border for contraception, and not 2 years ago threatening our members of parliament with excommunication just for talking about abortion legislation.

      I get it, this is probably a church that’s a huge part of your identity, and it’s natural to look at it through stained-glass windows. But you’re in the USA, where it’s always been in the minority. This is how it behaves when it’s in absolute power, and you just need to look at places like Africa, Singapore, The Philippines and even Argentina to see that it still attempts to control whatever it can wherever it can. Many people of previous generations including my grandparents have left it for precisely this reason, after decades of support. That’s the reality of it, however uncomfortable it is to hear.

      • Elizabeth K.

        You’re assuming a lot, Mikazaru, about someone you don’t know, and my comfort level or lack of it with the story. It’s also weird that you’re following me and writing these screeds, a not a little creepy, too. However, I do appreciate this information and do hope that the truth comes out about these homes. I can be concerned about both the deplorable conditions in Ireland in the past century for all kinds of people, and the deplorable state of American mainstream media, all at the same time. Best wishes to you; you sound like someone with a lot of hurt and anger, and I’ll be praying for you.

        • Mikazaru

          I would consider it deducing rather than assuming, but in any case. I have very little hurt, but a lot of anger, mainly based around having empathy and compassion that makes it hard to hear about yet another crime against humanity committed by a foreign institution long after we supposedly gained “independence”. Thanks, I’ll be thinking for you.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Thinking isn’t enough. You need facts, and you have none.

          • fredx2

            It would save your nerves a lot if you realized that the media often sensationalizes things and you have to wait for the official government report, (which the media will not report) to get the whole story. You are a fair man, I know you wouldn’t want to unjustifiable condemn someone.

          • Mikazaru

            I’ll wait for the government report, but I’m afraid as usual it will rarely deviate from what we knew or suspected before its publication, and in the case of notable reports like Ryan, has the potential to be immeasurably worse. I’m Irish, this isn’t my first rodeo.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        if you have an indictment, please present your *FIRST* person evidence.

      • fredx2

        Unfortuanately, much of your “evidence” is wrong:

        The government report on the Magdalen laundries found:

        “ii. Physical abuse

        33. A large majority of the women who shared their stories with the Committee said that they had neither experienced nor seen other girls or women suffer physical abuse in the Magdalen Laundries.

        34. In this regard, women who had in their earlier lives been in an industrial or reformatory school drew a clear distinction between their experiences there and in the Magdalen Laundries, stating clearly that the widespread brutality which they had witnessed and been subjected to in industrial and reformatory schools was not a feature of the Magdalen Laundries.”

        The UN? Get real. For example, The UN commission on human rights is made up mostly of nations with the worst human rights records in the world. The UN commissions have become a joke and most people realize this. It was hilarious to hear the UN commissions try to claim that the church’s opposition tp abortion was “Torture” under the Convention against torture. it was funny when the Bishop there replied “Well we think it might be considered torture when you kill a kid in the womb.”

        You now admit this was not a Catholic thing, but was a societal thing common to the area in the 1940′s etc. That is progress. I can’t speak to everything you listed. However, make sure you distinguish between “Things that are reported in the Newspapers” and “Things that are true”

        • Mikazaru

          I should really stop making so many points, as I always seem to be pulled up on only the most peripheral of them. On the laundries, I’m not sure how that proves any evidence I stated wrong, or where I mentioned physical abuse, but to be a sport I’ll dissect it anyway. Most people never claimed the primary source of abuse in the Magdalene laundries was physical. A lot of the abuse was emotional or psychological, the removal of women’s names, the involuntary cutting of hair, not to mention the imprisonment and slave labour (which was always the clear front-runner in the list of “horrible shit that happened related to the laundries”) often for the paltry “crime” of being raped. This imprisonment made the rest of the abuse, which included sexual abuse, very hard to report at the time. I would be loath to declare to any of the survivors (which is not in any way a loaded term) that, as you seem to be suggesting, that the laundries were no big deal. By the way, since you brought it up, when is the church going to pay them the €128m settlement they agreed?

          As for the UN, I agree its membership is incredibly dubious, but nobody can reasonably deny that the Vatican belongs in front of it.

          And I never admitted that this was not a Catholic thing, nor have I shifted the blame to society (although I always believed is wasn’t blameless, even going back to the laundries scandals). What I said was that this is a problem not unique to Catholicism, however as I said before, you get no credit for your crimes lacking uniqueness.

      • Iwishyouwell

        Exactly – they’re just latching on to a few words in a headline and claiming that if those words aren’t true, nothing else is and the Catholic Church never did anything wrong.

  • ray

    From a Facebook comment I made..which is not meant to start a separate discussion but is purely designed to offer some kind of local historical context for this story from an Irish perspective….”Regarding ”mass graves”.Folks in the USA will find it difficult to appreciate the facts on the ground about local history in Ireland….Leaving aside the facts about this particular story in Tuam for a moment……There are layer after layer of tragic stories throughout our history.Everytown in provincial Ireland has at least one ”Famine graveyard” at least one ”Cillin” or infants graveyard and various other historical graveyards adjacent to monastic sites and other historical areas.Bodies being ”discovered” is no surprise or indeed many bodies being discovered is routine.For example 10 years ago as they built a new supermarket in my town they uncovered a large Monk’s graveyard from the 13th century near the site of a Domenican monastry (long disappeared) Hundreds of skeletons were discovered many with ”Camino pilgrimage shells” in the vicinity.Just recently as a new water main was being buried along the main street they discovered more human remains from God knows when….Ireland before the Famine (1845) had actually almost double the population (8.5 million in the 1840s) of today and indeed the population was concentrated in some of the poorest areas courtesy of our kindly neighbours to the East (Britian)..these areas were known as the Congested districts including Connemara,West Galway and most of the province of Conaught where Tuam and district is located…Population density means more graveyards and unregulated burials by poverty stricken people.Infant mortality rates were actually approaching the likes of Afganistan or Ethiopia today kids were lucky to reach the age of 5 as is the case in many parts of Africa today….Another example of what lies beneath the very ground we walk on here in our country ,my housing development was delayed by 12 months as they discovered a 14th century ”Souterrain” (underground storage and refuge construction) on the site on the edge of my large provincial town…Most of these stories about bodies being discovered ,famine graveyards being renovated and the layers of history being ”discovered” never make it further than the humble local press…Which is where the Tuam story was first published over 5 years ago…..it was only when Irish national media smelled a ‘catholic nuns 800 bodies ” narrative to be revealed/exploited that they paid any attention to it…that is an indictment of our media and the world’s media are no better.Last year a protestant ”home” was found to have a ”mass grave with 200 bodies”.With much more substantial evidence on display that for Tuam the bodies were exhumed and reburied with dignity,but there was absolutely zero media interest here or in the USA…So much history ,so many layers, it is difficult for people of the New World and of the modern sanitised urban digital age to get their heads around the daily contact with the past that we live with and grew up with.

    • Elizabeth K.

      Thank you, Ray, that context is really helpful.

      • Doreen Kraatz

        there is no context. there is no excuse for what these nuns did to the children – who died of hunger, violence and neglect. murder we call it today. it need to be investigated to the full extend. and church has to be removed from care, medicine and education. so women dont get enslaved anymore.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          There is no evidence of either violence nor neglect at the Tuam home at this time. There are records of every death- and the majority of them were common diseases at the time.

          • Elizabeth K.

            Exactly. And I shudder to think of a world where the Church was no longer involved in medicine; what an awful world that would be for women and children, especially.

          • Doreen Kraatz

            that would be a wonderful world when religion has to leave hospitals, medical facilities and especialy education. thats when women and children are safe.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            If you care about the truth, then I suggest helping the truth in this matter be better known:

            https://www.icrowdfund.ie/campaigns/tuammemorial/

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            This all started because of an attempt to build a memorial:

            https://www.icrowdfund.ie/campaigns/tuammemorial/

          • Elizabeth K.

            Yup. But the insinuations that could be made and planted forever in people’s heads, in a politically important time in Ireland, were just too delicious to let pass.

          • Doreen Kraatz

            oh of course there is. y do you think those kids died?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            The 796 death certificates ALL had causes of death listed on them. Those causes, before 1960, were common causes of death in every society on the planet- mainly diseases, which would run rampant every time you had overcrowding, and the rate of death was actually smaller than in similar institutions around the world.

            But that’s where we hit the problem- similar institutions. For most of human history, unwed mother’s homes have been severely underfunded, as have orphanages. The city council, which provided most of the actual FUNDING for the Tuam Home, is recorded as claiming that the expense of 26 pounds a year (about $48/year) was too high- and urged the nuns to kick children as young as four out into the streets to reduce expenses.

            That these children ended up in a crypt or in unmarked graves is not surprising at all. There were simply no funds for caskets or memorials.

            We have the opportunity to change that however. I urge you to go to this link and give today to the fund that NONE of the sensationalistic newspapers would tell you about:
            https://www.icrowdfund.ie/campaigns/tuammemorial/

          • Doreen Kraatz

            it was in ireland like that not in the rest of europe. dont mix things up. the majority of the kids died of severe neglect. tuam had a 35% deathrate. other places had deathrates of up to 65%. of course they had funding. the catholic church is the richest organisation in the world. the nuns lived like queens and still do. dont get things wrong. there was and is enough place on a proper burial ground. they just didnt care for human live and still dont. cause ireland was and is dictated by church not by democracy.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “it was in ireland like that not in the rest of europe.”

            Was in Eastern Europe. Was in Spain. Was in Italy.

            “the majority of the kids died of severe neglect.”

            NONE of the death certificates listed “severe neglect” as the cause. Thus my original challenge to you- where is your evidence that these children died of severe neglect?

            “tuam had a 35% deathrate.”

            So did Chicago, Illinois at the time.

            “other places had deathrates of up to 65%.”

            Yep.

            “of course they had funding. the catholic church is the richest organisation in the world”

            Not since Victor Emanuel II took away the Papal States in 1861.

            Since then the Catholic Church has been coasting on past income.

            But that is beside the point- in Ireland, the Church only provided the LABOR, not the funds, for these places.

            “the nuns lived like queens and still do.”

            I don’t know of any order of nuns that lives like queens. Even the LCWR, who have given up such old notions such as vows of poverty and the habit, don’t.

            “dont get things wrong. there was and is enough place on a proper burial ground.”

            In Ireland, in the early 20th century, for people that the whole of civilization would have rather forgotten about, or as modern liberals do, KILL IN THE WOMB outright? No secular government is going to allow that.

            ” they just didnt care for human live and still dont. cause ireland was and is dictated by church not by democracy.”

            Democracies like the United States, where 56 million children just like those from the Taum home were murdered since 1973?

        • fredx2

          You need to read the Irish Times story, The story that came out first was baloney, even I could tell that. The children did not die of hunger. The story said that in 1944, they were emaciated. There are many reasons for becoming emaciated, and among those is disease. We also know there was an outbreak of diptheria at the school, and the head nun was begging for diptheria medication, which the authorities were slow to provide.

          “In 1943, diphtheria outbreaks accompanied war and disruption in Europe. There were 1 million cases in Europe, with 50,000 deaths.”

          There is no evidence whatsoever of violence.

          • Doreen Kraatz

            irish history shows that majority of the people is badly brainwashed by religion. women and children got enslaved, molested and murdered. nothing is done about it. the number of childdeath is so high that it is simple neglect that killed the majority of these children. there is lots of evidence. there are homes with a deathrate of up to 65%.

    • Mikazaru

      With all due respect, what you essentially said there was “The Famine happened, so we’re used to finding bodies. This isn’t a big deal, the media’s just picking on the Catholics.” That is not an insight that anybody interested in anything other than feeble excuses can appreciate. If they found 800 babies in my back garden this story would only have taken a fraction of the time to get off the ground, if anything the fact that it was a convent dampened this story for a few days. The fact remains that, apart from the horrendous culture fostered by the Catholic dogma of the time that created the demand for these homes, the death rate in these homes and the quality of the care received is inexcusable. Like it or not, this is a huge deal, and will continue to be a huge deal for the next few weeks if not months.

      • ray

        Mikazaru,When you have stopped ranting perhaps you will read what I said again.The facts matter to the people of County Galway and to the people of the town of Tuam,maybe not to you so entrenched in prejudice.The ”800 bodies dumped in a septic tank” narrative is starting to unravel as more local people give their testimonies on local radio and press.These graveyard was not hidden,it was in the middle of a busy town and people knew that babies were buried there.The local historian merely wanted to raise awareness so that she could raise funds for a proper memorial.She even spoke at mass last year in Tuam cathedral explaining her appeal.Both she and one of the young boys who ”saw lots of bones” in 1975 are questioning the whole ”800 babies” hysteria.The Irish Sunday Mail who have been hyping the story with tabloid style headlines commissioned a ground scanning radar survey of the site 2 days ago.They published the results in today’s paper and it appears that in actual fact there are signs of burials.Not totally unexpected in a graveyard.Your pitch about ”catholic dogma” is simply expressing bigotry and ignorance.Look into your own history and tell me about the eugenic ideologies that underpinned so much tragic injustice in your nation in the 1930s and indeed today’s horrors which make the worst of Tuam or Ireland pale into utter insignificance.What ever ”dogma” supported Kermit Gosnell and his friends is truly evil and it is homegrown in the USA.

        • Mikazaru

          The assumption of prejudice, ignorance, bigotry and ranting is getting kind of old, not only from you but from every feeble justification of church behaviour that we’re just in this generation really getting to the heart of. If you’re so offended by my pitch of Catholic dogma then tell me why it’s wrong, don’t just accuse me of ignorance and walk on like you did with your other comment, I gave you a huge list there and you didn’t express disagreement with anything I said. Give it a try. I don’t think you’re speaking to the people of Tuam here so that’s a bit irrelevant, and you’ll find I’m not steeped in prejudice, I’m steeped in Catholicism, Irish Catholicism at that, the same one that used to teach in our schools that God loved baptised babies more than unbaptised ones and lied in sex ed class about condoms, but nice try on trying to blame me for Gosnell like it’s even on the same scale.

          As for everything else you’re saying, I’m not sure where it ties in anything I’ve said, but I’ll try and unravel it nonetheless. It’s completely irrelevant what Catherine Corless’ intentions were, as long as our reactions aren’t incongruous with the information at hand we can react however we want. And while some facts are unravelling, these appear to be more at the recanting of witnesses than anything else. When originally questioned as to why Corless believed the bodies were where they were, she replied quite firmly “Where else would they be?” And one of the men involved said the tank he uncovered was “full to the brim with bones”. Now he’s saying 20, but without getting too graphic, 20 babies skeletons couldn’t fill anything to the brim. There were probably never 796 babies there, if I remember correctly 1 of the 100 that Corless checked was actually found to be buried somewhere else, and we know from other homes that it was common practice to sometimes donate the bodies to the local university homes, but these babies, if they were buried, were buried in unmarked graves that weren’t moved when the nuns bodies were moved, and at least some ended up in that sewage tank. If you’re willing to take 100 in a tank, 300 in unmarked graves and 400 missing as a successful avoidance of culpability by Bon Secours, be my guest, but it’s not quite up to scratch with the rest of the world’s morality.

          You’re parading these new revelations as if they’re the resilient facts standing proud as the dust of sensationalism settles, when in fact they’re just based on more recent statements by those involved, statements that are completely in opposition to what they originally told us. I’ll take the new facts as they come, and apologise if necessary, but it’s telling that everyone here is only willing to believe in the second batch of testimony.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Why it is wrong is you failed to wait for any evidence.

          • fredx2

            That’s because the second batch of testimony is people saying ” I never told the reporter that”

            It is obvoius that the first reports were sensationalized in order to make people hate Catholics as much as possible. Even the minimal standards of journalism were not observed in the first stories. What is happening now is that we are starting to get the real statements of people.

            And if you were Catholic, you were never told that God loved some babies more than others.

          • Mikazaru

            Nope, I saw the first interview with Corless, she very adamantly stated “Where else would they be?” As for the man/boy, the “full to the brim” comment was attributed to him, if he’s now claiming that he never said it I would love to know who he’s saying it to.

            It is not obvious at all, there’s only so many times and so many scandals you can claim journalistic bias for, I’ve read a lot of the Irish news stories and both they and the public are giving a fair apportioning of the blame both to the state and society at large, but the church did a lot wrong too and mentioning that isn’t equivalent to whipping up a Catholic hate storm, most people in Ireland made up their minds about the church years ago anyway it would be pointless.

            On your last point, I didn’t but others did http://i.doubt.it/2011/06/25/catholic-koan/

        • Elizabeth K.

          Great point about eugenics, Ray. People are always astonished to learn about the policies supported openly in the U.S. government in the thirties. Gosnell is, in many ways, the logical outgrowth of those advocated by Margaret Sanger. Just from what I’ve read, I don’t think we’re seeing a Gosnell-type situation in Tuam. I think we’re seeing the result

          of poverty, overpopulation in a small area, third-world conditions, etc.. I’d like to know more about what happened in these kinds of places, and I hope Corless will continue her work.

      • fredx2

        You seem to believe everything you read.
        First, the horrendous culture is not a product of Catholic doctrine, since people are readily admitting the same thing happened in England, Wales and Scotland, which are not Catholic countries. It was a societal thing at the time.
        The death rate in the homes was consistent with homes in England, Scotland and Wales, and is entirely ruled by the local Council which paid for the homes and routinely inspected them. The death rate at the home was comparable to other such homes, because of the tough nature of the times, not because it was Catholic, which you seem to prefer.
        The home was found to be one of the best in the country in 1935, and was given a very glowing report in 1949. It appears part of the problem was that during the war years of 1944, the school had a diptheria outbreak. The nun in charge was begging for diptheria medicine. That is probably the source of the “emaciated” stories.
        The fact remains, the church took these kids in when the societhy rejected them.

        • Mikazaru

          I assure you that that’s not true, I’ve read the Bible and was subjected to a lot of Catholic religion textbooks as a child (gotta get ‘em young) and found it for easy to disbelieve them, but I digress.

          The homes may have existed in other jurisdictions, but that indicates very little, stigmatisation of sex before marriage and in particular “fallen women” is not exclusive to Catholicism and is instead a wider Christian folly. In fact it is well known that the Bethany Home was run by the CoI, this was not uniquely a Catholic problem, unfortunately my conscience extend beyond denouncing “unique” transgressions against my fellow person, past or present. Your “checkmate” claim really says nothing more than that Catholicism was not the only one doing it at the time; the fact remains that they pontificated this stigma at every opportunity. To deny not only their influence but indeed their power indicates a severe dearth of knowledge of Irish society at the time, one easily remedied by listening to one of many people in Ireland old enough to remember.

          Regarding comparative performance, at no point did I claim this home was the worst or even below average, its 50% death rate over its period of operation is not uncharacteristic, nor is its shameful practice of improper burial of the dead. It was also one of far too few that (As far as we know) didn’t conduct illegal drug trials on its occupants. Unfortunately being no worse than yourself is not a defence either. The nuns begging for diptheria medicine concerns me not, they were given a sum larger than that of the average industrial wage to take care of these babies (and remember entire households survived on one wage back then), there were numerous concerns raised at government level that they were overpaid, that they were denied additional funds or resources neither surprises nor disappoints me. This is also a perfect time to show that were not the grudging purveyors of charity that you suggest, they were handsomely paid per head and unmarried women were expected to be sent there by both society and church, as can again be evidenced by anybody old enough to remember. Nor is it surprising, since to this day the church exercises whatever control it can whenever and wherever it can, in Ireland and abroad. The fact that their exit was not made easy, despite this being a paid-for public service (yes I’ll readily admit both state and society colluded) is an excellent jewel to additionally evidence this.

          As an aside, it’s worth noting that you, like most defenders, are assuming some weird combination of contradictory defences, that it wasn’t that bad, or that Protestants did it too/society demanded it not the church. If I may offer a little bit of advice, if your goal is not to process the information in an unbiased manner but instead to defend at all costs, stick to the latter, as it is more defencible. Everybody else has agreed on the former.

  • Elizabeth K.

    Another piece worth looking into: it keeps getting repeated that the death rate at the home (and other homes like it) was significantly higher than elsewhere in Ireland, but I’m having trouble seeing how that statistic was arrived at. Eg., by 1945, the republic of Ireland actually had a lower infant mortality rate than either Northern Ireland or Scotland, but it’s still about 4-5 times higher than the reported death rate in the Tuam home. And before anyone screams at me about this one, I’m not syaing it *wasn’t* higher, I’m just wondering if anyone has an explanation of how this particularly assertion can be made., because it seems off.

    • fredx2

      The death rate at the home was higher than for ALL children in Ireland, but from what I have read, it was pretty much the same as for orphanages in Ireland and England at the time. The problem was that childhood diseases spread more quickly in an orphanage, where the kids were sort of massed together.

      • Elizabeth K.

        That makes sense, thank you. I also noticed, in the small amount of research I did, that Ireland’s overall child mortality rate has been much lower over the years than say, in India. I wondered, as well, if all of the children were born at the orphanage; were ill children ever taken to the homes when their families couldn’t care for them?

  • Cathy Smith

    Before passing judgement on the Catholic Church or the Sisters in charge of this home and for more accurate information on the home for unwed mothers please read the following article.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/2014/06/a-clarification-about-the-deaths-of-800-children-in-tuam-ireland-and-more.html

    • Elizabeth K.

      Thank you, Cathy. I think Corless’ description is especially important. One of the things the “800 babies in a sewer!!” narrative obscures is Corless’ really important point about the way unwed mothers were shuttled off into homes, not only in Ireland, but elsewhere. The power of the “fallen woman” narrative from Victorian times seems relevant to understanding these attitudes. Also, I know of at least one instance in my own family in Ireland where a child conceived by one of the daughters was born at home and then raised as a sibling, which seemed like another common approach to pregnancy out of wedlock. I’ve often wondered why this path was taken in some cases and not in others–was it a rural/urban thing? Or was this more common before the twentieth century and the establishment of mother-baby homes?

  • Fallulah

    There is no excuse for the atrocities perpetrated by the Catholic Church. For you to try to justify it is truly evil. Any real moral human being would immediately walk away from this corrupt organization with a history of human rights violations.

    • fredx2

      You really haven’t taken the time to read the article in the Irish Times have you? Apparently the whole story is rapidly collapsing even as we speak.

      And no doubt you believe the Magdalen laundries story. But the government report on the matter said:

      “ii. Physical abuse

      33. A large majority of the women who shared their stories with the Committee said that they had neither experienced nor seen other girls or women suffer physical abuse in the Magdalen Laundries.

      34. In this regard, women who had in their earlier lives been in an industrial or reformatory school drew a clear distinction between their experiences there and in the Magdalen Laundries, stating clearly that the widespread brutality which they had witnessed and been subjected to in industrial and reformatory schools was not a feature of the Magdalen Laundries.”

      • Fallulah

        Wow you really will believe anything.

      • Iwishyouwell

        So not enough women were abused to satisfy you? Also, their incarceration there in the first place was a huge violation of basic human rights.

  • Elizabeth K.

    Hi Pia, I don’t know if you saw this over on Rebecca Hamilton’s Public Catholic blog, but it adds another interesting wrinkle to the story.

    Blog link: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2014/06/is-the-irish-babies-in-the-septic-tank-story-a-media-created-hoax/

    In sum, Forbes is running an article that suggests the story is a “media hoax,” in their words; the writer offers an interesting viewpoint on the “septic tank” by a Professor at Queen’s U Belfast (could it be a burial shaft?) and some interesting context on the nuns which neither condemns nor excuses them. His point has more to do with the way a media story can circle around a falsehood, and how the global media has yet to acknowledge that Corless herself has challenged their central “facts.” I don’t know that I’d use the word “hoax”; it seems less deliberate than that to me, but perhaps I’m being naive.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2014/06/09/that-story-about-irish-babies-in-a-septic-tank-is-a-media-hoax/

  • captcrisis

    The Catholic Church has to accept that it will be a long time before it can once again get a fair shake. Remember that it used to get the benefit of the doubt.

    • Iwishyouwell

      And whose fault is it that it no longer does…? They have only themselves to blame.


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