Were The Tuam Children Denied Baptism?

Were The Tuam Children Denied Baptism? June 18, 2014

That was one of the damning charges of the story that rolled out of Ireland a few weeks ago. Short answer? No. For the longer answer comes Kevin Clarke, writing over at America magazine, reporting that this was another overblown part of the alleged story coming from the home of friendless babies.

Take a look.

But, just as the original story, which left many readers with the perhaps now fixed impression of depraved nuns tossing deceased infants into cesspools (I kid you not), was inaccurate, there is no evidence to back up this other troubling and often repeated angle of the story. In fact quite the opposite is true.

Father Fintan Monahan, Tuam’s diocesan secretary, told me this morning that the diocese has in its records thousands of baptismal certificates for the children that were born or brought into the home in Tuam. Beyond that physical evidence of the baptismal record, he asked the diocesan archivist to look further into the issue to see if any evidence of a past policy to refuse to baptize children born out of wedlock could be teased out of the diocesan archives. “We can find no evidence that it was ever the policy,” he reports.

Beyond that, as a priest, he has never heard of such a refusal. It is not a normal practice in Tuam today, he says, or anywhere he can think of in Ireland, and it “would not have been a normal practice [to deny baptism in the past,]” he says.

“I have talked to older priests about [the allegation], and they’re completely baffled,” he says. “I would be very surprised if that was a policy anywhere,” he says, adding, “I’m amazed that [the allegation] has been published.”

Read it all, and spread the news.

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