From 1765 all the way up to 1996 the Catholic Church in Ireland kept women suspected of being sexually active outside of wedlock prisoner, using them as slave labor (I blogged a documentary about it here). These institutions were known as the Magdalene laundries or Magdalene asylums. The Irish government has accepted its complicity with the the asylums from 1922-1996.
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.
As a result, the present Irish government has announced its intention to provide compensation to the survivors.
The Catholic Church, however, will not be contributing so much as a penny.
The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity, and the Good Shepherd Sisters have told the Minister for Justice they will not pay into the scheme, which could cost up to €58m.
It is believed the orders will assist in the assembly of records ,and looking after former residents who remain in their care.
Ain’t that sweet? The groups that used the women as slave labor are willing to look after them to make things right. How sweet…and inexpensive.
Morality is an empty concept absent the weight of conscience, and it’s clear the Catholic Church’s conscience weighs less than helium.