When the Truth Gets in The Way of News

A few days ago, several of us responded to a WAPost article about a home for unwed mother, infants, and small children. We assumed that the WAPost article was accurate, that it had been fact checked. We were wrong.

I later updated my post with a link to a post by Caroline Farrow which offered some much needed historicity and clarification.

Today, David Quinn has this column the Independent, an Irish newspaper. David’s piece adds some important facts and some thoughtful reflections.

Fact – The facts are currently unclear and some are wholly unsubstantiated:

We have to determine how they died and where they are buried. Notably, the gardai told RTE’s Philip Boucher-Hayes concerning the burials at the home itself, a former workhouse: “They are historical burials going back to Famine times, there is no suggestion of any impropriety and there is no garda investigation. Also there is no confirmation from any source that there are there are between 750 and 800 bodies present.

Fact – Things in Ireland were bad overall:

The institutions were partly a response to extreme poverty. Destitute people often ended up in institutions as an alternative to being on the street. Go to a Third World country today and you will find the streets of their towns and cities teeming with children many of whom belong to the sort of gangs depicted by Dickens in ‘Oliver Twist’.

Keep those countries in mind and you have a vision of how extreme poverty was in Ireland until fairly recently. In real terms, the Irish economy in 1936 was only one twelfth the size it was in 2007. That means many people were as poor then as some of the worst-off people in some of the worst-off African countries today.

The mortality rates and life expectancy for Irish people were also at Third World levels.

On average in the 1920s, almost 6,500 children aged up to four died annually. In 2010, 316 children in that age group died, a decrease of 95pc. And the population of Ireland was much smaller in the 1920s than it is today.

Reflection:

[A]t bottom there was still something completely unacceptable about many of these places which is that for all of their ostensible Christianity, they were rarely Christian… .

I think it was because Christianity in Ireland had by then hardened into something that was all too often more about punishment than mercy and forgiveness. To that extent Christianity in Ireland had become, in the strict meaning of the term, anti-Christ, and the church is still living this down.

Do read his entire column here.

Meanwhile, sounds like there will be some sort of investigation to get to the – ahem! – truth of the matter. One hopes.

If you want to drop the WAPost a line about its reporting (the piece is clearly labeled as a “news” in the URL), try foreign@washpost.com or corrections@washpost.com. The ombudsman can be reached at this number: 202-334-7582.

UPDATE: “Still Trying to Get at the Truth of the Tuam Home Story”

 

 

  • Elizabeth K.

    Thanks for the update, Pia! My mom visited Ireland in the 70′s, and the poverty was still terrible–and this was in our family, with landowners and a strong family system. I remember she took bags of clothes, and how eye opening it was for me to see how different things could have been had my great-grandmother not decided to head for the States. Things are tremendously better now in most places, praise God.

  • http://www.thedonovan.com/the_farm bethdonovan

    Thanks for clearing at least some of that up. This story has really excited people who hate Catholics. It’s pretty upsetting to think that somehow a religious order was basically killing children. I honestly lost sleep after reading about it.

    • Iwishyouwell

      You know what makes people hate Catholics the most? People like you.

      People like you who are fine with the harm and abuse others have perpetrated against the vulnerable, and then amplify that harm and abuse by sneering at those people.

      That’s what makes people hate Catholics.

      I get the historical context. I get that that mindset was still saturating certain Catholic communities even as late as the 80s and 90s. I get that. I know that. I lived that. I can forgive that.

      But you — the likes of you? No. I can’t forgive that, and you are why it is clearer than day that the Catholic Church is as evil as it gets, that it’s the Church of Satan, and that if there was ever anything good about it at all, it’s long, long dead and gone and will never come back.

      • http://www.thedonovan.com/the_farm bethdonovan

        wow. just wow.

        • Iwishyouwell

          Right back at you. You defend and excuse evil to serve your own egotistical, selfish purposes. The blood of every woman and child harmed in situations like this in Ireland and the world over are on your hands. You’re filth. You’re evil.

          • http://www.thedonovan.com/the_farm bethdonovan

            It’s easy to be an ass when you hide everything about you. You are nothing but a troll, an evil troll at that.
            I am completely honest and straightforward as to who I am – who, or what are you?

          • http://pegponderingagain.com/ Peg Demetris

            Don’t feed the trolls beth. They become obvious trolls when the truth beats the lies back to hell where they belong..

          • Iwishyouwell

            Stand in front of God and run that comment by him.

          • http://pegponderingagain.com/ Peg Demetris

            I already have

          • Iwishyouwell

            The real God, not the one you’ve created in your own image.

          • Elizabeth K.

            I second that, Peg and Beth. I’m guilty of handing out troll snacks myself, but this one sounds particularly unhinged. The fact is some people don’t want the facts, and they’re screaming hysterically at those who do. I can’t really understand why someone would *want* this story to turn out to be as vile and awful as the most hysterical headlines would have it, but there you have it. I appreciate Pia’s efforts to continue to follow the story and provide insight.

          • Iwishyouwell

            “Some people”, such as myself know the facts because they have personal experience that gives them a perspective you are not privy to. So, in order to protect your idol, you dehumanize people like me by kicking me to the trash heap as a non-human “troll”. And then, in a spectacular show of hypocrisy, claim that those wonderful Catholics would never kick anyone into the trash, or dehumanize them and that anyone who says they have indeed done so is….a troll.

            And around and around your dehumanizing, idol-driven hatred goes.

          • Mikazaru

            The show of denial on this channel has really sickened me, I’ve already heard that the Magdalene laundries were over-blown, so this probably will be too. Leave it to religious institutions to rewrite history. This is the only “news” channel I’ve read all week where people have spent almost their entire resources rubbishing one newspaper they don’t agree with (ignoring the dozens of other news agencies in Ireland and around the world) and telling their loyal followers “It’s all right, they don’t enough facts to pin it on us just yet” instead of facing the fact that 800 babies, many of whom undoubtedly died due to neglect, are either in that tank, or missing, because we know they’re not buried. Whenever people tell me that the church and Catholic culture no longer prioritises its reputation over the truth or the welfare of its victims, I think I’ll just link to Patheos Catholic.

          • Iwishyouwell

            You know, it wouldn’t matter if it was just one child. Plus, the history of abuse perpetrated by Catholic institutions in Ireland is legend. They have their own versions of the John Jay report, and the various grand jury reports that have been done here in the U.S. and they’re even worse than what we’ve seen here. The history of Ireland’s treatment of families already broken by death of a parent is appalling. The fact is the Church de facto ran that country during that time, and they are guilty, guilty, guilty, across the board of some of the most heinous abuses against families, women, children ever seen anywhere.

            But now they’ll niggle over a detail here, or a detail there, or a number, or find one woman somewhere who wasn’t treated as badly as others and claim her story makes the others stories somehow untrue.

            I’ve never in my life seen such a pathetic and instant circling of the wagons to protect clergy and religious at the cost of the most vulnerable. It’s really hard to believe it’s the 21st century some days.

            And then they’ll go on about abortion and the horror of even one baby being aborted — but the life of an illegitmate child of an unwed girl, along with the life of that girl herself? Not worth a red cent to these people. It’s revolting.

          • Mikazaru

            The only solace I take from this is that regardless of the actions of the outsiders looking in, Irish people are waking up, kinda. Parents are baptising their children purely because the church runs the schools and gets to bypass equality laws, so they prioritise the baptised babies. But there’s an anti-theistic swing that you wouldn’t think a country like Ireland would be capable of in just 20 years, and boy I can’t wait until my generation is in government, we’ll rewrite the most secular constitution you’ve ever seen.

          • Iwishyouwell

            And, actually, the Irish government is responding to the outcry from the Irish re this incident. I think they know they can’t sweep these things under the rug any longer.

            My youngest daughter’s fiance is from Ireland, so I’m familiar with the utter contempt the Irish now have for all things Catholic.

            That attitude, however, will be blamed on something else — anything other than the actions of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Anything. It’s always someone else’s fault, they never have to look into their own cold, dead hearts. Ugh.

          • Jim Dailey

            Your daughter is in love with someone contemptuous of Irish Catholics? Shocking!

          • Iwishyouwell

            Nope, just the Catholic Church. For good reason.

            We are Irish.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Here is the public blog of Cardinal Mahoney the narcissist. You can see the kind of thinking you are describing. It made me want to vomit.

            “Given all of the storms that have surrounded me and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently, God’s grace finally helped me to understand: I am not being called to serve Jesus in humility. Rather, I am being called to something deeper–to be humiliated, disgraced, and rebuffed by many.

            I was not ready for this challenge. Ash Wednesday changed all of that, and I see Lent 2013 as a special time to reflect deeply upon this special call by Jesus.

            To be honest with you, I have not reached the point where I can actually pray for more humiliation. I’m only at the stage of asking for the grace to endure the level of humiliation at the moment.

            In the past several days, I have experienced many examples of being humiliated. In recent days, I have been confronted in various places by very unhappy people. I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage–at me, at the Church, about injustices that swirl around us.

            Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.”

            The rape of children in Mahoney’s diocese is all about his suffering. The anger of their parents is Mahoney’s apotheosis, a special sign from Jesus.

            Mahoney is the victim. But, like Christ, he will forgive us. I do not know whether to laugh, cry or vomit. God save us from the mad priest.

          • db

            Lol your secular Freemasonic idol of equality has killed enough to satisfy a thousand molochs

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Bathos.

          • db

            lol. HOAX. bwahahaha. Now we’ll REALLY see some denial!

          • db

            Shut up, heretic

          • Iwishyouwell

            You’re confused as to what “heretic” actually means, dear. Please educate yourself.

            Also, your actions are confirming everything I believe about Catholics. Every time you turn around, you Catholics prove me right. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. All anyone has to do is dare to disagree with you people and you make our case for us.

          • db

            I assumed you were just another Protestant heretic. Should I have called you an apostate?

          • Iwishyouwell

            No.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Thank you again. I am sorry these evil people are abusing you for telling truth.

          • Iwishyouwell

            Nah, they’re just scared. ~shrug~ We’d all do better to drink more wine….

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            There are 800 children missing. Some of them are entombed in concrete unbaptized and unmarked. Those are the facts. They are there because Nuns put them there. Another fact. It does not have to get any worse than that. What FACTS we know are sufficiently grim and ugly.

          • db

            The problem is that those AREN’T the facts and you haven’t followed through on the story.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Those are the facts discovered by a local historian. Attested to by eye wittnesses. And true enough that there is a legal and forensic investigation to discover more facts.
            Refute me if you can.
            I am a Catholic, baptized and confirmed.

          • Iwishyouwell

            Last time I used my name my daughter was targeted by people like you. You are the evil one. You. You are the opposite of honest. You will destroy anything and everything good in this world to protect your ego and your idols.

          • db

            Hey, dumbass, turns out the story was a hoax. The lady that originally reported it never said anything about a septic tank. So…you lose. lol

          • Iwishyouwell

            Thank you for proving YET again who and what Catholics really are.

            No, there wasn’t a septic tank, and if you’d bothered to read the original reports you would have known that, as I did, before someone had to tell you that.

            So “I lose” what, exactly…?

          • db

            You seized on the opportunity this phony scandal provided your ego to troll some Catholics and it backfired because the story didn’t stick. Face it, you don’t care about those kids, or unwed mothers, or Jesus. All you care about is hating Catholics. After all, that’s the only doctrinal unity you heretics have. Now, stop putzing about with silliness on message boards and get your unworthy posterior back to the Faith.

          • Iwishyouwell

            No. You’re wrong.

            Also, the story is still being investigated. The story is unfolding. There’s no hoax, just a handful of lurid headlines. You’re doing the same thing the people who accepted the lurid headlines as fact did. You’re accepting the “hoax” headline as fact. “Hoax”is as false and misleading as “septic tank”. Try reading all the words in the story next time.

            But, again, thank you for proving to me once again who and what Catholics really are.

          • db

            A few days ago, I was here telling people we didn’t know anything about this story, and anti-Catholics were accusing me of indifference towards these dead babies. Now that the details don’t conform to the anti-Catholic narrative the media had constructed, you’re telling me it’s under investigation. This story was damning enough to send you to a message board to post hateful things about Catholics.

          • Iwishyouwell

            You have no idea what you’re talking about, and you have no idea what my motivations are, and you have no idea my personal involvement with the situation.

            The site in Tuam IS under investigation, as called for by both the Irish government and the Catholic Church in Ireland. For someone who claims to be up to date on the details and facts here, the ONLY thing you seem to have latched onto is an opinion piece with the word “hoax” in the title.

            The truth is that the Catholic Church in Ireland has an ugly history when it comes to these matters, and the truth is that the home in Tuam was notorious for it’s appalling treatment of women and children.

            It’s not anti-Catholic to tell the truth about bad things the Church has done.

            You’re an ignorant, angry little person and I suggest you read up on this story before you go off claiming the entire thing has been proven to be a hoax. It has not, nor has anyone claimed such a thing.

            You can hurl your moronic insults all you like, but you’re wasting your time. I already dislike you and your ilk. You don’t have to work so hard making sure of that. Really.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          I totally support what he wrote.

  • Iwishyouwell

    Excuses, rationalizations, more excuses.

    It. Was. Wrong.

    Period. Full stop.

    It was wrong, it was perpetrated by CATHOLICS, and if that doesn’t make it worse, then it’s clear — stunningly, spectacularly clear — that the Catholic Church is just one more corrupt human organization and has NOTHING to do with Christ. Nothing.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    You can’t screw up over and over and over again, destroying the most vulnerable of people, and then whinge and whine and pewl and mewl that, oh, you’re just people too, boohoohoo, and it’s just what everyone else does, whingeywhineywhingemewlpewlblahblahblah.

    You either call it what it is or you’re as evil as they are.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      Thank you.

  • Mikazaru

    Fact: Infant mortality rates at these “homes” were 4-5 times that of the rest of the country, at 17th century levels. Medical officers at the time were appalled at the standard of care and the covering up of the depravity of conditions. So much for “Meh, it was Ireland”.

    Fact: Quite unlike what you are alluding to in your reflection, it was not Irish culture that shaped Catholicism, it was Catholicism that shaped Irish culture.

    We didn’t invent the word illegitimate to refer to babies born outside of wedlock, we didn’t decide that they, with the rest of their unbaptised brethren, weren’t worthy of being buried in consecrated ground, we didn’t invent the shame associated with pregnancy, we didn’t decide that married women needed to be blessed after childbirth to cleanse them of the sin of sexual intercourse, until the late 70s, no doubt. We didn’t so preach the evils of homosexuality (or campaign against its legalisation as late as 1993) that gay people my parents age killed themselves in droves long before reaching my parents age.

    There are 800 babies buried somewhere, if you want to deny that they’re in that sewage tank then be my guest, because if they’re not then the church will have even more questions to answer, because they’re somewhere, we have the paperwork. There are more babies buried in Castlepollard, the Nazareth school in Tralee, Sean Ross Abbey, St. Joseph’s on the Navan Road, the whole fucking country is build on babies bones.

    Irish society at large has questions to answer for I know. People should have spoken up, people shouldn’t have sent their daughters and grandchildren there, I appreciate that. The government and the various departments involved failed miserably. But they didn’t warp Christianity, Christianity warped them. To say that the blame lies solely or mainly with Irish society is to say that they should have not only ignored, but stood up against not only an incredibly powerful worldwide institution in de facto control of what you describe as a Third World country, but what they were told was an absolute moral authority.

    They stood up for the church, they went along with it and they turned a blind eye. But they did that because of fear, in a totalitarian theocracy that had labour camps up and down the country, in a time when the church had a monopoly on education, and as far as they had been told, on the afterlife. You all denounce them for that, yet in the 21st century, with all the information and freedom you have, you’re all doing exactly the same thing.

    • ray

      Excuse me are you now an expert on Irish history? ”..Fact: Quite unlike what you are alluding to in your reflection, it was not Irish culture that shaped Catholicism, it was Catholicism that shaped Irish culture.” Irish culture and more importantly Irish society in the early 1900s was shaped overwhelmingly by the downstream consequences of 800 years of British imperialism and brutal oppression.Most people were tenant farmers,they lived short brutal lives as rich English landlords exploited the native population.This 800 years of oppression and exploitation left my country in the early 1900s as western Europe’s most poverty stricken society.Emigration levels were astronomic and many other dire features of the contemporary developing world prevailed.Irish culture was shattered,Irish society was destroyed and then we had a brutal war of independence against the British followed by an internecine civil war with family member against family member followed by the Great depression as the young state attempted to survive.Learn some history before spouting your ignorant bigoty please.

      • Mikazaru

        Cool story bro, I’m very well aware of the Famine and British rule, at no point did you say how that makes anything that I said wrong. In fact the only thing you said that in any way even relates to what I said is that Irish society and culture was destroyed, which, while an over-simplication at best and wholly untrue at worst, would reinforce my point that Catholicism warped Irish culture, one you claim was shattered (maybe even vulnerable?) at the time.

        Since you, for all your outrage and word count, didn’t really say anything, let me try and finish off your comment. The only relevance of The Famine and British colonialism is that it fostered a huge amount of anti-British, and by extension anti-Protestant sentiment, one which remains in the North to this day (although thankfully to a lesser degree). This in turn cemented people’s attachment to their own religion, leading to a cultural intertwining of Irishness and Catholicism that you can, again, still see in the North today. I’ve been asked (in jest I admit) if not being Catholic makes you a little bit less Irish, and this is still a sentiment among some less than educated Nationalist acquaintances of mine. 10% of Irish Catholics don’t believe in God and even as an atheist I’ve been asked if I would baptise my kids, it’s truly bizarre.

        In short, unlike what you seem to be alluding to, it was neither poverty nor hatred of the British that led us to abandon our daughters and grandchildren in their time of need, and turn a blind eye to every clerical horror inflicted on us. It was an unblinding obedience to an institution that we had adopted as embodying a central theme, maybe even the central theme, of what it meant to be Irish.

        • db

          What was the religion of those black Barbary pirates that enslaved a couple million Irish and brought them to North Africa? Dirt-worship? I think dirt-worship is responsible for Irish poverty! Seriously, that’s how dumb your argument is. What’s U.S.? Protestant for sure. Ireland could have been like them, millions would be dead from abortion…on top of famine. If you want to attach a body count to Catholic mores, we can surely have plenty of fun going the other way. Catholic Europe was also responsible for the greatest art and architecture the world had ever seen or will ever

          • Mikazaru

            It’s not dumb, there are huge connections between treatment of unmarried women and “illegitimate” and unbaptised children and what the Catholic Church was teaching (and in our case enforcing) at the time. Don’t make false parallels, tell me why Catholic teaching has no bearing on what was going on. And although it make you feel morally superior, comparing abortion to death of born babies doesn’t convince anybody else and we both know it, it just betrays that you’re pontificating instead of engaging. Catholic Europe was of course responsible for good art and architecture, it’s was as a result of being incredibly rich, powerful and corrupt. Jesus would’ve been proud.

          • db

            You mean the highest development of the visual Logos? Beauty is the splendor of the Truth, and Art reaches toward the greater glory of God. Yes, Jesus does approve our good works. Along with that, Catholic Europe achieved a broad measure of peace, ‘Dark Ages’ myths notwithstanding. And there was an arrangement, which you call corrupt but I suggest is a mutually beneficial arrangement, by which the Church became the largest property-owner, especially in Britain. Land-owners that left no heirs would donate land to the Church which would be put to use for the Common Good. There was no concept of private property, but there was an understanding of public use. The Reformation was simply a giant looting operation. They stole the land and everything on it and gave it to the state. Is there room in your worldview for acknowledging THIS corruption?

          • db

            It’s no use. You see the Church as the anti-human monolith of all time, I see the modern world as a godless cesspool since the revolt against Logos called the Reformation, which was followed by a serious of revolutions that decimated the social order.

          • Mikazaru

            I’ve never heard someone so blindly deny church corruption before, without actually denying any of the corruption. Lest I fall down another path discussing the burning and torture of heretics, indulgences, Borgias and the like, I want you to concentrate on what else I said, not my very last throwaway comment, which I never really intended to be a point of discussion. Give me an argument that church teachings that involved shaming unmarried mothers and their children, general puritanical attitudes to sex even within marriage, along with a totalitarian power, didn’t contribute to this. Your consistent dodging of the question seems to suggest you can’t.

            And you’ll find the godless cesspool countries dominate the top 20 in the UN Human Development index, even Ireland transformed itself in the 20 years since it shook of the Roman shackles. I’m sure you don’t see the godless cesspools as nearly as bad as the caste systems of Hinduism or the Islamic travesties or the unadulterated corruption of mega-churches dominating US evangelical Protestantism. I’m just going one religion further.

          • db

            First of all, the story’s a hoax. Forbes exposed it. Indulgences? We have indulgences, yes. Reading the Bible for at least a half hour is a recognized indulgence. The sale of indulgences was not Church-sanctioned, and Bishops and Priests often do things that the Church doesn’t sanction, such as ecumenism with heretics. People sin. By burning and torture of people I suppose you’re referring to the Inquisition. I get tired of saying this, but the Inquisition saved lives. This was a time when people were executed for heresy, and it would very often be secular authorities, who didn’t understand Canon law, doing the judging and sentencing. The Church appointed select priests and Canon lawyers to look at the accusations and see whether the accused was actually guilty of heresy. If not, they’d be released. If so, they’d be given a chance to repent.

          • Mikazaru

            I was in the middle of typing out a reply to what you were saying about Forbes and indulgences, but fuck it, you have refused for the third time (maybe fourth, I’m losing count) to actually tell me why Catholic Church teaching was not responsible for the reprehensible attitudes that people had towards women, pre-marital sex (indeed sex in general) and unbaptised or extra-marital babies (“illegitimate” as Catholic canon less-than-endearingly calls them), and, although I didn’t mention it before, a perverted fetish of punishment of sin. That is what my original comment, along with the resulting conversation with you has aimed to deal with, and you have consistently decided to talk about whatever else I said, so this time I’m not going to say anything else.

            Last shot kid, drawing on your presumably exemplary understanding of 19th and 20th century Irish society, tell me why the constant pontificating of these wholly immoral teachings had nothing to do with the attitudes that prevailed, together with the authoritarian stranglehold that the church had on government, law enforcement, education and wider society, allowing them not only to pontificate but indeed enforce these views.

          • db

            What is the point, now? Are you trying to tell me that you actually have a point? I guess you think that the Catholic teaching has something to do with treatment of unwed mothers, and I’m guessing you think that that treatment was worse than its equivalent in, Arab societies or Protestant ‘Enlightenment’ cultures, etc. Well, it’s just such a trifling argument! Yeah, I suppose Catholic teaching may have led to bad treatment of unwed mothers. I don’t know. Is Ireland the only place that was mean to unwed mothers? And anyway the story’s a hoax, so you can’t use it to prove your point. But it’s just such a dumb point. I mean, shall I blame Protestants in the US for all these Planned Parenthood clinics in ghetto neighborhoods?

          • Mikazaru

            Yes, I’ve had a point for a long time now, it was my original comment and that which you originally objected to (twice), that it was Catholic teaching, in particular towards women, sex, marriage and pregnancy and unfortunate combinations of them, that shaped Irish society, and not, as other people seem to be claiming, the other way around.

            I have already dealt with the throwaway abortion comments of yours before, and of your appeal to moral relativism by trying to hide behind other religions, as I told you I’m aware of their crimes too. In fact I told it to fredx2 here too http://www.patheos.com/blogs/piadesolenni/still-trying-to-get-at-the-truth-of-the-tuam-home-story/ just F3 unique it’s the first 2 hits, that’s how predictable these apologist arguments are.

            Re your Forbes point, the story is not a hoax, or else I just watched a documentary of women lying about getting scalped, being stripped of their names, and having their babies entered into drug trials against their will. If you had any knowledge of recent Irish history, you should have known that if we find enough to go digging, we find some awful shit with the RCC’s name on it. If you want more context on the original claims you can listen to one of the first interviews of Catherine Corless here, where she also quotes the man who found the bodies http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9%3A10285863%3A53%3A28%2D05%2D2014%3A Even the first 5 minutes will show you that she was confident that the bodies were in a tank. It’s also quite a leap to try and replace the tank theory with that of a burial vault, since the latter have no history in rural Ireland and the boy in 1975 managed to break the top of the container with a stone, because it had a tear already. Some “stone” that “vault” was made of. So stop just believing stuff you agree with. If she’s revising her original quotes then so be it, but we’ve moved far beyond the actual burial situation and started looking into their treatment (or lack thereof). On that note, if you want to know what really went on, and why so many people are concerned, listen to the above interview in full (especially the survivor at the end) and then try this on for size http://www.rte.ie/player/us/show/10291533/

            On your last point, you’re right, you don’t know. You have no idea the power that the church had in Ireland until recently, you have no idea what it’s like when your beloved institution is in near-total control of a country, or the fear people live in when the police are more likely to listen to the priest than the government. This week alone I’ve heard so many people talk about the fears of hell instilled in them by brothers, nuns and priests, and one in particular who lost so much sleep just for kissing a boy, scared she’d burn forever for it. Another set up an altar for a sister she found out died before she was baptised, in her bedroom so her mother wouldn’t find out, because she didn’t want to upset her. That’s the kind of control you could exert over an isolated nation when you ran the entire education system pre-1980. This is what we’re dealing with, and this is why the church is so obviously culpable for this.

          • db

            Now you’re just making up what I said to suit your argument. I never objected to your argument of; ‘bad, mean Catholics are mean to unwed mothers.’ And the reason I didn’t object to it is because it’s such a stupid argument that it is unworthy of consideration. Here’s the question you NEVER ask: ‘Compared to WHAT?’ You say Catholics are mean to unwed mothers. Compared to what? You can get stoned for that in Saudi Arabia today. You say Catholic teaching lead to these babies’ deaths. First of all, you seem to know nothing about famine, but, secondly, compared to WHAT? Do you support abortion? If you do, you probably think like fellow poster Plum Dumpling, who got mad at the Church because it objected to her being a whore. But anyone who’s seen pictures of an abortion knows that it’s murder. I brought up abortion because its death toll in the US is far worse than anything that happened under famine in Ireland. Moreover, maybe we should compare infant mortality rates for this period to other modern countries. Do you think Ireland would top that list? If it doesn’t, and a non-Catholic country does, are you prepared to admit the Church did more to stop infant mortality than other religions? I doubt it. You are here because you seized on the opportunity this story provided you, to bash Catholics. Your analysis, that the big, bad Catholic Church is mean to people, and therefore this is all their fault, is lacking, because, like other anti-Catholics, you absolutely refuse to apply your standards for the Church to any other people or religion.

          • Mikazaru

            And the same old chestnuts rear their ugly heads. I thought religious people were supposed to be opposed to moral relativism? What’s happening today in Saudi Arabia in other places is awful, but the “look over there” tactic is getting old. Do you honestly think that defence would be good enough for your God? Scalping pregnant women, giving them false names and imprisoning them there to do manual labour for months if not years is probably not what Jesus wanted, and it’s undoubtedly because of the teachings of the church at the time. And yes I do support abortion, by the way your reference to Plum Dumpling as a whore just for having sex is an excellent example of the Catholic attitude towards these women at the time, so thanks for that exhibit.

            And seriously, what does famine have to do with this, you know the Famine was 80-120 years before the period in history we’re talking about right?

            I’ll apply the same standards to other religions, my distaste is very equal opportunity in that regard, unfortunately although I am willing and able to criticise them all when necessary, you seem disproportionately likely to defend one, so the accusations of my prejudice unfortunately ring hollow.

            Now that we’ve agreed that Catholicism and the church does have a part to play we can move on. Compared to what you might ask? The treatment of women now, in an Ireland that doesn’t take orders from Rome. I know a number of people who, by 1950s standards, would have been locked up in those homes. Similarly schoolchildren don’t receive the savage beatings they used to from brothers and nuns, and no longer get their hands broken for being left-handed (it was considered a sign of the devil). Nor are schoolteachers sent to a new school if they’re found to have molested children, they’re prosecuted in the courts of the land, just like they should be. In immeasurably many ways lack of religion has made us better people.

            As for the infant mortality in general population, there’s thing thing called correlation and causation, we know the nuns were horrible to the mothers and inadequate caregivers to the children, we have no evidence to suggest that the church interfered with Ireland’s gen pop infant mortality rate (except for aggressively opposing Noel Browne’s Mother and Child scheme so I wouldn’t bang on that door too much if I was you).

            And as I’ve repeatedly stated, I’m quite willing to admit that the government, police forces and society at large had a part to play. So do they, the bit that sticks in everyone’s craw is that it is the church and its ardent followers that are the only ones circling the wagons.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            If the inconveniently pregnant women had been able to get a safe and legal medical abortion, there would have been no starved neglected children in the concrete cistern. Contraception and abortion prevent infanticide, you sexpig. Catholic mores create sexually molested and/or dead children. But go on, defend what creates misery. Jesus is waiting with the millstone for your craven bigoted neck.

          • db

            Contraception is the sterilization of what ought to be fertile. It therefore disvalues sex. It’s sodomy. Contraception use becomes common, abortion becomes common, and so, divorce becomes common. Is that why you left the Faith, so you could enjoy sex without consequences?

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            No thank you. I will have all the hot sex I want to have. I will use contraception. If I become pregnant, I will give birth or abort as I see fit. Not as YOU see fit. Not as the State sees fit.
            Asexuals must not make rules for those who have normal sexuality.

          • db

            It’s not normal. You’re just a whore. And if you abort, you’re just a murderer.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Nope. I am a Catholic for Choice, the Mother of 3, GrandMother of 2.

            Abortion is legal.
            Murder is illegal.
            That which is legal cannot also be illegal.
            Therefore abortion is not murder.
            It is worth noting that abortion was not murder when it was illegal.

            Refute me if you can. You have not had luck disproving any other assertion I made. So I expect little.
            Flagged for egegious insult to prochoice men and women.

    • db

      …or maybe virulent anti-Catholicism allows you to ignore engineered famines inflicted on Ireland by Protestant Britain.

      • Mikazaru

        You say anti-Catholic like I should be ashamed. Anyone with a decent grasp on the Christian Bible, European History and Catholic canon should be virulently anti-Catholic, what you’re saying has no more shock factor than if you called me anti-liberal, or anti-capitalist.

        I didn’t ignore an engineered Famine, in fact you’ll find I referenced it below. I also didn’t ignore Brehon Law, The Fenians, The Lockout or a myriad of other event sin Irish history that have minimal bearing on the point I was trying to make.

        I’m aware of the crimes of Protestant Britain, I actually just watched the Prime Time report on the Torture files last night. I’m also aware of the sex scandals of USA evangelical Christianity, of the teen homelessness caused by homophobia in Mormonism, of FGM and general misogyny in fundamentalist Islam, my distaste is equal opportunity. But I commend you on yet another amateur attempt (although I’ll admit the most subtle I’ve seen so far) of trying to paint me as prejudiced.

  • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

    This article makes me want to vomit. You are an apologist for the torture and neglect of children.

    • Mikazaru

      Welcome to the most well-oiled wagon-circling machine this side of Scandalville.

      • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

        Disgusting. However, at least you get to post what you actually think here. On other Catholic blogs and news site message boards, you get maybe one or two posts out telling how you feel and think and they ban you.

        I am a Cathoic, baptized and confirmed. I am so ashamed of the RCC hierarchy. I am beside myself with anger and sadness. And so reminded of the bad treatment I got for being an unwed Mother even in the USA in the 60s.

        The RCC is objectively disordered. Sex is to Catholics as food is to bulimics. I have been writing about and researching the child sexual abuse scandal. I am revolted by what has been done and undone.

        • Ron Turner

          Oh, sure and “some of my best friends are …”

          Take off the white sheet.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            It is interesting that you say that. The KKK burned a cross in my neighborhood in Trenton NJ when my Father was 4 in 1922. Because we were Catholics. And Italians. The neighborhood men made them an offer they could not refuse. Never happened again.

      • Ron Turner

        Know Nothing wannabe

    • Ron Turner

      KKK wannabe


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