74 years of female slave labor in the 20th century, courtesy of the Catholic Church.

It has been revealed that from 1922 to 1996, the Catholic Church kept women suspected of being sexually active outside of wedlock prisoner, using them as slave labor.  It has also come to light that the Irish government was complicit in this.  Just watch the first few minutes of the story.

Ireland has admitted some responsibility for workhouses run by Catholic nuns that once kept thousands of women and teenage girls against their will in unpaid, forced labor.

The apology comes after an expert panel found that Ireland should be legally responsible for the defunct Magdalene Laundries because authorities committed about one-quarter of the 10,012 women to the workhouses from 1922 to 1996, often in response to school truancy or homelessness.

“To those residents who went through the Magdalene Laundries in a variety of ways, 26 percent of the time from state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment,” said Prime Minister Enda Kenny on behalf of the Irish government, according to Reuters.

We are to believe that god’s justice will ignite in response to sincere, genuine love if it’s not love approved by god – you can’t love a nonbeliever or someone of the same gender.  Love, caring, is punishable in god’s eyes, according to the Catholic Church – and we’re warned not to provoke god.

However, if god cannot be provoked to save these women from the cross-wearing monsters who assumed the authority to imprison them as a work force for the Catholic Church, then god is as emotionally inert as the cosmos.  We should be grateful that such a god does not exist, and furious we have given power to any human being, especially those bereft of compassion, because they claim to be working in his name.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • https://twitter.com/BentleyOwen Bentley Owen

    This apology is very late-coming, and kind of slippery. There was a great film made about this scandal in 2002 called ‘The Magdelene Sisters.’ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318411/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1] Difficult to watch, though. You have to be prepared for some serious outrage,

  • Glodson

    There’s also this…this account.

    They were treated as slaves, and shamed into silence with the stigma attached to being involved. They were used and thrown away.

    Fuck this goddamned Church.

  • invivoMark

    Fucking disgusting, but utterly unsurprising.

    And this is the church that Leah Libresco decided to throw her support behind for “moral reasons”.

    • Glodson

      I know many Catholics myself. My mother-in-law, who I highly respect, is a Catholic. Now, she was born into it, but still. I know that when I was faithful, you made excuses. You found reasons to excuse this, to rationalize that. The Catholics who continue to support the Church are part of the problem, they need to hold their leaders accountable. But it is hard to do as people in the faith feed you life. And that undue respect for their authority allows you to turn a blind eye.

      In many ways, it is authoritarianism in the most pure form. God is that authority, so we find ways to rewrite the narrative so it isn’t the Church itself, just bad elements in that that got the religion wrong. Or they go further and justify the actions as helping these women rather than enslaving them. Like how some have put the idea that it was the boys that seduced the priests.

      Faith is ultimately destructive as it does this to our brains. Jesus really is a brain eating zombie.

      • invivoMark

        Sure, I can see that to some extent. I can’t really sympathize, as I’ve never been in such a situation, but I get it.

        I can never understand voluntarily converting to Catholicism. Not unless we’re talking about a sociopath who doesn’t really care about the atrocities those assholes commit and then cover up.

        • Art Vandelay

          Cognitive dissonance in it’s purest form.

          I live in a state where the large majority are politically liberal and devout Catholics at the same time. The “Kennedy Complex”, if you will. They’ll gladly get on their moral high horse over the subjugation of women, the oppression of gays, the atrocities (genocide? can we call it genocide?) in Africa, the systematic rape, torture, and subsequent cover-up of children all over the world. Come Sunday morning though, they’ll gladly submit to the same assholes that they pretend to despise for any shot at that sweet salvation. They’ll gladly fill up that donation basket despite knowing damn well that a portion of that money is being used to impose a warped standard of morality on society and they have no problem with it whatsoever. My entire family not excluded by the way.

          When you teach people that submission is more important than thinking…cognitive dissonance is easy.

  • Jen

    In addition to The Magdelene Sisters movie, I recommend the documentary Sex in a Cold Climate. It’s horrible what those poor girls had to go through! Shame on the Catholic Church!

  • Constance Reader

    It should be pointed out that boys were subject to the same in large numbers, in Christian Brothers homes. Many were sent there after the most petty of crimes, and at the age when a child should be in kindergarten. And as you would (nowadays) expect, many were raped.


  • greg1466

    But that can’t possibly be true! Everyone knows that Christians have always opposed slavery and were the driving force behind ending its practice. Oh, wait…