/ The remains of nearly 800 children found in a mass grave

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Jim C - on 05 Jun 2014
The remains of nearly 800 children have been found in a mass grave next to an Irish orphanage in Tuam, Co Galway run by Bon Secours nuns .

Presupposing that this IS proven to be the responsibility of these nuns, and even if it is at best neglect, is this the next big scandal to come out about the Catholic Church and abuse of children?

I really do wonder what needs to happen before this organisation it treated by law as criminal.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/mass-baby-grave-in-tuam-ga...

Hard to read these two links and believe they might be responsible , and as they are a worldwide organisation, there should there be an investigation at every location they operate.
http://www.bonsecours.ie/thesistersofbonsecours

nw - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

> is this the next big scandal to come out about the Catholic Church and abuse of children?

>

Fcuking should be.

captain paranoia - on 05 Jun 2014
Cameron94 on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

My understanding was that it was a house for single mothers to go rather than an orphanage. Although they were still denied many of the rights/privileges children from 'whole' families would have.
Jim C - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to captain paranoia:

I did search, but missed that, thanks for the link.

Looking at the original link , it did not get the responses this story deserves in my opinion.

Jim C - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Cameron94:

> My understanding was that it was a house for single mothers to go rather than an orphanage. Although they were still denied many of the rights/privileges children from 'whole' families would have.

It was not my words, they were lifted straight from the article.
It said 'next ' to an orphanage.
Firestarter on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Others are commenting on this forum too - 'Ireland and the Catholic Church' thread below.

What else is being hidden I wonder? Absolutely sickening. It looks as if 'the mass grave' might actually be a septic tank .
balmybaldwin - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Cameron94:
I understood it to be talking about why these kids ended up in orphanages - that single mothers were forced to work for their accommodation, and had their children taken away from them... and taken to children's "homes" where hundreds died, and were buried in graves like this. (I could be wrong though)

What is clear is that the state and church have got a lot of explaining to do.

As shocking I think is the fact this grave was stumbled upon nearly 30 years ago, and was treated as an accidentally disturbed grave (they sent a priest to say some prayers and closed it again) rather than a crime scene.


What the church has been found to have done(or ignored) in the past(and possibly still ongoing) all over the world is disgraceful, but it is wrong to tarnish all Catholics with the same brush in the same way it is wrong to blame all Germans for the horrors of WW1. Having said that, an independent, full and thorough investigation is urgently required - however, finding a suitably independent authority in this case is not an easy task, as the government clearly was complicit.
Post edited at 18:38
Jim C - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Firestarter:

> Others are commenting on this forum too - 'Ireland and the Catholic Church' thread below.

> What else is being hidden I wonder? Absolutely sickening. It looks as if 'the mass grave' might actually be a septic tank .

It was the septic tank that got me too. Were they actually flushing their waste onto these children?

They should start digging in EVERY property associated with this organisation worldwide, you just feel that this is the beginning of a very widespread story of child abuse , or worse.


In reply to Jim C:
Whilst that is truly shocking, I don't think there is a case for "treating this organisation as criminal". I don't think that sort of inflammatory broadbrush statement helps at all. The grave should of course be fully investigated, but let's not go over the top and tarnish them all in one fell swoop. I say that from a position of horror, just like everyone, whenever a story comes out. I just don't think you can tarnish millions upon millions of people arouind the world as "criminal".
Post edited at 18:36
balmybaldwin - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
You are correct, but the continued nature of these scandals, and the cover-ups that have been alleged (not aware of anything really "proven") clearly indicate a sinister (possibly) evil culture throughout the Catholic church (it's "corporate organisation and culture - not your average church goer).

One of the biggest problems is the culture promotes the church as infallible, and admission of past mistakes and bringing high ranking members of the church to justice conflicts with this fundamental belief - this is what leads to cover-ups to protect reputations... the church shouldn't aspire to be infallible, it should aspire to be honest, open and just.
Post edited at 18:45
In reply to balmybaldwin:
Ok, let's be clear here.

I think it is entirely possible that religion does more harm than good in this world. But I just don't think broadbrush inflammatory knee-jerk Daily Mail-style calls to "call it criminal" help anyone at all.

I agree the church (and any church or any religion) should be honest, open and just. Which is exactly why I said it should be investigated fully.
Post edited at 18:48
Jim C - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

> Whilst that is truly shocking, I don't think there is a case for "treating this organisation as criminal". ....I just don't think you can tarnish millions upon millions of people around the world as "criminal".

When I say organisation I mean the Catholic Church and their employees, not the ordinary members/ followers, who I assume are as shocked as I am.
( at least I hope they are and vote with their feet)

I personally have no faith, thank goodness, but to say there is no case, is strange, there are thousands of cases,( if you care to look)

In reply to Jim C:
Any organisation is made of evil/corrupt/criminal people and normal/good poeple. I just don't go for the idea of tarnishing everyone who is, by your definition, employed etc by the Catholic Church, as criminal. Sure, hunt out the despicable odious foul people who do these things or who turn a blind eye or who allow them to happen or who cover them up, and they deserve everything they get and a lot more, but don't tarnish the normal ones there, of which there must be some!
Post edited at 18:53
Firestarter on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

I shudder to think mate - these children were supposed to be in care, under the protective wing of a church that belives in the Holy Spirit and everlasting life. And they literally flush the toilet on what they are supposed to believe in, pray for and care for. Hypocritical, evil and beyond redemption doesn't even come close to where these 'holy people' sit in my spectrum.
I like climbing - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Well put. I put this on the other thread:

How can any practising Catholic still continue to be a Catholic ? I suspect they are either scared and brainwashed, stupid or evil.
The Irish government should commission an independent report and then apply proper sanctions against the church.
woolsack - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to I like climbing:

> Well put. I put this on the other thread:

> How can any practising Catholic still continue to be a Catholic ? I suspect they are either scared and brainwashed, stupid or evil.



And how appropriate that Tony Blair should become convert to Catholicism
I like climbing - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to woolsack:

War criminal becomes a Catholic has a certain ring to it !
SFM - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Firestarter:

If I had to guess then probably the enforced removal of children from unmarried mothers and putting them up for adoption...often in the US and Australia. But I we all know about that one already....right?
dissonance - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to I like climbing:
> (In reply to woolsack)
>
> War criminal becomes a Catholic has a certain ring to it !

In fairness the RC church did speak out against that particular war.
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woolsack - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

I do feel that this needs bumping. More people need to click the link and take on board what has been going on.
Firestarter on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to woolsack:

Big bump
Timmd on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:
> I personally have no faith, thank goodness, but to say there is no case, is strange, there are thousands of cases,( if you care to look)

He didn't say there are no cases?

It is awful, no question.

Edit: Oh, I see, a case for treating the organisation as criminal.

The problem with treating the whole organisation worldwide as criminal, is that means the perfectly decent priests and other members are tarnished too. There needs to be accuracy for justice to occur, or truth.

Those poor children.
Post edited at 22:54
deepsoup - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Cameron94:

The whole thing is quite mind boggling.

> Although they were still denied many of the rights/privileges children from 'whole' families would have.

Including a baptism. It mentions in that article that children in such institutions were routinely not baptised. Not that I think being baptised matters a jot, but given the 'sisters' purported belief that there was an immortal soul at stake why would they not baptise the child?

Could it merely have been that a baptised child would be inconveniently worthy of a proper 'Christian' burial?
woolsack - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to deepsoup:



> Could it merely have been that a baptised child would be inconveniently worthy of a proper 'Christian' burial?

Or that it would be suddenly 'on record'

Heads need to roll on this one
Timmd on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to woolsack:

If the people involved are still alive.
I like climbing - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to dissonance:

Even Hitler did some things right too.......
Tom V - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to deepsoup:

I think illegitimate children were maybe not baptised as a matter of course.
That's why you get the little beggars buried on unconsecrated ground in special graveyards like one i visited on on Achil Island.
This sort of treatment would go some way to explaining why the Tuam graves are not all that newsworthy.
deepsoup - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Tom V:
> I think illegitimate children were maybe not baptised as a matter of course.

I think so too, that's what I'm so boggled by!

All the abuse meted out in the laundries, the schools - I'd imagined the nuns, the monks and the priests must have justified it to themselves that they were saving people's souls - some kind of 'spare the rod spoil the child' sort of a deal.

But then, after all that guff about compassion, all the carnage the church has caused over the centuries going out to convert the heathen, how dare they, how f*cking dare they decree that an entire class of children are not even worthy of the splash of magic water and mumbled incantation they sincerely believed was so important for a person's immortal soul. It's almost as shocking as the abuse itself.

Speaking of the laundries - another mass grave story (that hit the news briefly and then just sort of faded away again). No orphans these, adoloscents and adult women imprisoned, enslaved, even perhaps ultimately killed by another order of 'Sisters' with the collusion of their families:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/08/irealnd-magdalene-laundries-scandal-un
aln - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to deepsoup:

> after all that guff about compassion, all the carnage the church has caused over the centuries going out to convert the heathen, how dare they, how f*cking dare they

Absolutely agree, good post

IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Not sure this is as much a church thing as an Irish State… the two get blurred.. I think wait and see..

Sounds like the church may have had little influence on it.
IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to I like climbing:

> Well put. I put this on the other thread:

> How can any practising Catholic still continue to be a Catholic ? I suspect they are either scared and brainwashed, stupid or evil.

> The Irish government should commission an independent report and then apply proper sanctions against the church.

Well done… most stupid post of 2014..

I think the Irish Government may well look at themselves how they missed these kids going missing..
The New NickB - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> Not sure this is as much a church thing as an Irish State… the two get blurred.. I think wait and see..

> Sounds like the church may have had little influence on it.

Come on Iain, who was influencing who, the Catholic Church was so intwinned in the Irish State, it is rediculous to make such statements.
Tom V - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to deepsoup:
I think being treated cruelly in life is something that all people will abhor, more so than not being accorded certain religious rites .
So, while I can understand why people with religious beliefs are upset that the kids weren't baptised etc before burial, I'm less sure why people who profess to be atheists are all that bothered.
The New NickB - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Tom V:

> So, while I can understand why people with religious beliefs are upset that the kids weren't baptised etc before burial, I'm less sure why people who profess to be atheists are all that bothered.

I imagine it is something to do with mental cruelty towards the parents of those children, likely believers themselves.
skog - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Tom V:

> So, while I can understand why people with religious beliefs are upset that the kids weren't baptised etc before burial, I'm less sure why people who profess to be atheists are all that bothered.

Atheist here.

I'm not bothered about what hocus-pocus was or wasn't performed on the children, and not particularly bothered about how their corpses were disposed of. It's about how they were viewed and treated in life.

The thing that is highlighted by both of these things, is the how the people who were supposed to look after them must have felt about them.

They can't claim to have been treating them harshly to save their souls, when their own rules required them to be baptised for this to happen - and they didn't do that. And they can't have considered them fully human if they didn't dispose of their bodies with the same care given to 'proper' members of their organisation.

It's a story about dehumanisation, how these children were clearly considered to be lesser, unworthy, creatures.
dissonance - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Tom V:

> I'm less sure why people who profess to be atheists are all that bothered.

I think most people are more concerned with how they ended up with such a high death rate and also that the bodies were just dumped.
With specific regard to the religious rites my main problem with it is that is shows a rather callous disregard for those kids.
MG - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to skog:
> It's a story about dehumanisation, how these children were clearly considered to be lesser, unworthy, creatures.

Correct. And also the grotesque hypocrisy of claiming (and still claiming) to be a moral force for good, and lecturing and hectoring to billions about how to behave at the same time as allowing, encouraging, and covering up this sort of thing, and endemic child abuse. And obstructing proper criminal investigation and giving mealy-mouthed justifications and so and so on.
Post edited at 08:32
Firestarter on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to MG:

> Correct. And also the grotesque hypocrisy of claiming (and still claiming) to be a moral force for good, and lecturing and hectoring to billions about how to behave ll at the same time as allowing, encouraging, and covering up this sort of thing and endemic child abuse. And obstructing proper criminal investigation and giving mealy-mouthed justifications and so and so on.

Also forbidding any form of contraception, and then treating the resulting offspring as something to be despised, apparently.
I like climbing - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

Well done… most stupid post of 2014..

If you want to support the Catholic church go right ahead.
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deepsoup - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Tom V:
> I'm less sure why people who profess to be atheists are all that bothered.

I already tried my best to express that, but basically what The New NickB, skog, dissonance and MG said. Skog in particular sums it up perfectly.
deepsoup - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Firestarter:
> Also forbidding any form of contraception, and then treating the resulting offspring as something to be despised, apparently.

Contraception is right out, and god forbid we should even mention abortion. Because the Catholic church is, as it has always been, "pro-life". Ho ho ho.
Deviant - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to deepsoup:
Please allow for a slight change in the wording:

Ding dong bell,
dead Catholics down the well,
but someone put some Harpic down,
To take away the smell !
Post edited at 11:31
Toby_W on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

What shocked me most was not that these babies and children's bodies were dumped in a septic tank ~800 of them was it? It was that across all of these type of homes for single mothers and children many of the women became mentally ill due to their treatment (punishment) and the death rate among the children was 40%. There was some mention that they would look at all the other sites, will we find more bodies in the drains, cellars and sewers of each one. How many of these places were there?

Human being are awful and we come up with lots of excuses for it.

Cheers

Toby
captain paranoia - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to deepsoup:

> Not that I think being baptised matters a jot, but given the 'sisters' purported belief that there was an immortal soul at stake why would they not baptise the child?

For people with Catholic faith, dying without being baptised can matter enormously. See my post on 'limbo children' on the other thread:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=589001#x7790373

In reply to Tom V:

> I'm less sure why people who profess to be atheists are all that bothered.

It's called 'empathy'. See the link above. As the New NickB said:

"I imagine it is something to do with mental cruelty towards the parents of those children, likely believers themselves."

You indoctrinate people to believe in Heaven, and and afterlife, and the chance of being united in Heaven after death, and then you take that hope away from their unbaptised children. It's not hard to feel how awful that would be for the parents.
IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to I like climbing:
How is that supporting the church..

MG - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:
> How is that supporting the church..

It's attempting to remove responsibility from the church for what happened. A bit like banks blaming the regulator for not stopping them doing stupid and illegal things.
Post edited at 13:12
dale1968 - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Thank you Henry eighth, saved us.
I like climbing - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> How is that supporting the church..

Sounds like you may agree with some of my points.
Tom V - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to captain paranoia:

Compared to some of the horrific things the children underwent at the hands of the Magdalene Sisters, Christian Brothers etc, not being christened is one of the lesser evils, though I can understand why a devout catholic would think differently.
IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Eh? As in the upper levels.. So we look at the UK system at the time? Any abuse.. f*cking rife..

IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to MG:

> It's attempting to remove responsibility from the church for what happened. A bit like banks blaming the regulator for not stopping them doing stupid and illegal things.

Well I think its those systems that failed. As I said on the other thread, look at the UK, the North Wales cases especially. Child abuse in care homes was rife historically.. Paedophiles entered those professions to prey on vulnerable kids. We can blame the church all we want, but we look 100 miles east and similar abuse was going on in secular homes… We can look 200 miles North and similar abuse was occurring in Scottish children's homes…

I actually can't remember a thread on all the North Wales abuse cases.. Throughout England it was common too.. its why I find all the barriers to adoption so infuriating because kids in care generally do not do well, abuse is sky high, even in foster homes their outlook is far greater because pedophile rings form in these situations.

The New NickB - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> Eh? As in the upper levels.. So we look at the UK system at the time? Any abuse.. f*cking rife..

You will have to explain yourself a bit better if you want a response to the first part of your post.

The second part, nobody is claiming that abuse was exclusive the Catholic Church, but was is being discussed here is something very different. If you disagree, point me to the mass graves, where it appears the vast majority of these children died of malnutrition despite being in the paid care of the organisation.

Kneejerk defence of Catholisism like this is part of the problem.
IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

I don't think I have defended the church, and no it is not part of the problem. In the UK we have separated state and church, and when we look at the same time we see the same types of abuse..

The problem is people wrongly directing their wrath… and also this happened decades ago.. like it did in North Wales, but when it came out about hundreds of kids being abused there, there was no UK mass outpouring of anger..

Once a kid entered the care home system they were hugely vulnerable to physical, mental and sexual abuse. I'm actually not too concerned about unmarked graves because once they are dead, they are dead, its the malnutrition and abuse which bothers me and that happened throughout both our care systems.
Jim C - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

The term 'in care' is too often such a misnomer Iain, there is abuse all over I have to accept.

I am not religious, and I pretty much see the Catholic Church as a cult ( just a very big one) that is my view, others are entitled to revere them if they wish ( at their own risk)

I personally would not let my granddaughter be unaccompanied in the presence of ANY of their employees, ( male or female) as an organisation , they are accepting ( and colluding,) of such a low moral standards of behaviour from their employees, I feel I would be putting my grandchild at undue risk.

Sad to say, NOT innocent until proven guilty when it comes to my family's safety.

Best avoided if at all possible, as the law seems reluctant to intervene to protect, or prosecute victims.


IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:
I think 'they were' is more accurate now. But the priests I knew growing up were quite out spoken and very much free from church pressure. One once read out a letter from the vatican regarding contraception and then basically said 'let your own consciences decide such matters'.. basically saying it was nothing to with the church.. they said he should have been the bishop in Sheffield but was too outspoken.

Another was Tolkein's son, he was our school priest when I lived in Stoke, he was accused of child abuse and unfortunately the Church settled the case for £15k (which is such a nominal amount to settle for I doubt anyone thought there was any guilt, just avoided court fees which would easily amount to that and more) only a few years ago, and the CPS were quite adamant that there was no case to answer.. I was actually disgusted with them for settling that as I don't think for one moment he would have. The claims only came about when the films were released and they thought he had money, which he didn't as he gave it away.

I don't really class myself as catholic now, my family is, but I was married out of the church and will again soon.

I think your statement is too generic though. It'll be interesting to find out why the last pope quit, some suggest it was to rid the vatican of such people. The new pope is coming across as a great bloke.

Universities also typically settle abuse/discrimination cases if they think staff are guilty or not.. cost wise it makes sense as they are often not admissions of guilt just payments to end the process which saves money long term, but I think they stopped when they realised people knew this.
Post edited at 19:10
Jim C - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

. I'm actually not too concerned about unmarked graves because once they are dead, they are dead.

'Unmarked grave' , or possible crime scene in a septic tank Iain ?

I can't believe how you would be 'not too concerned '
I and others are outraged, you are 'not too concerned '

You are trivialising this, it is not just unmarked grave, it is not EVEN unmarked graves, it is a Mass grave, (in a sewer!)

Their disrespect for human life is not at all well conveyed in your comments.
IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:
I thought most were unmarked?

Yes the septic tank isn't good, but were you outraged about North Wales? I searched and couldn't find any of your posts?

If you want to link to one post where I've supported their disrespect for human life? If not how about you stop flinging such shite comments about?
Post edited at 19:57
IainRUK - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:
> . I'm actually not too concerned about unmarked graves because once they are dead, they are dead.

> 'Unmarked grave' , or possible crime scene in a septic tank Iain ?

> I can't believe how you would be 'not too concerned '

> I and others are outraged, you are 'not too concerned '

"its the malnutrition and abuse which bothers me" yeah that clearly shows a disrespect for human life… ffs..

If you'd have left that in I might not have thought of you as such a tw*t…
Post edited at 19:51
janiejonesworld - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

it would seem to me that from a 21st century jurisprudential point of view the catholic church itself should be treated by law enforcement agencies as a paedophile ring like any other. The abuse is so widespread, so systematic so transcontinental that it has to be seen as one of the core values and features of the organisation. Those who are not guilty by commission seem to be universally guilty of looking the other way and actively covering up. Those in charge should have the human decency to fully acknowledge their guilt, dissolve the institution, and start again from ground up as a religious organisation with "Christian' values
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The New NickB - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> I don't think I have defended the church, and no it is not part of the problem. In the UK we have separated state and church, and when we look at the same time we see the same types of abuse..

I said Catholisism, but you have defended the church many times. Not these sorts of industrial levels of abuse and certainly not carried to such a degree within a single organisation.

> The problem is people wrongly directing their wrath… and also this happened decades ago.. like it did in North Wales, but when it came out about hundreds of kids being abused there, there was no UK mass outpouring of anger..

Of course people were angry, but it was a very different situation.

> Once a kid entered the care home system they were hugely vulnerable to physical, mental and sexual abuse. I'm actually not too concerned about unmarked graves because once they are dead, they are dead, its the malnutrition and abuse which bothers me and that happened throughout both our care systems.

The sheer volume of deaths here what is most alarming, I don't think I have heard a single case of a child / baby dying of malnutrition in a UK children's home. The likelihood is that we are looking at thousands, maybe tens of thousand in Catholic homes in Ireland, a country with a 15th of the population of the UK.

That's not to whitewash the very real abuse that has happened here, something I'm very aware of having met both victims and perpetrators over the years, but this something rather different.
Kevin Forde on 07 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Jim C.

As usual, the reality is a little less sensational than the initial headlines. I feel both strangely moved by the Tuam story and compelled to respond to your heated comments regarding it. However, no doubt most people will only remember the unfounded "mass grave of 800 babies in a septic tank" hyperbole currently in the press.

For a more balanced discussion please read http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/tuam-mother-and-baby-home-the-trouble-with-the-septic-...

‘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.”

As described in today's Irish Times article, Catherine Corliss' research has indicated that 796 children died during childbirth or early life at an institution run by nuns on behalf of the Irish state between 1925 and 1961 (i.e. average of ~22 child deaths per year). We do not know yet what the size of the institution was and how many births/stillbirths a year there were, so we don't know what proportion the 22 deaths/year represents, or whether it was abnormally high for Ireland at the time. Certainly, abnormally high death rates are documented in other similar institutions in Ireland during this era.

It should be noted though that this was during a period of typically high infant mortality and rampant TB and other infectious diseases in Ireland (and elsewhere), when there was no national health service in Ireland. In fact, Ireland in the decades following independence in 1921 was one of western Europe's very poorest states.

The State-issued death certificates Corliss has collated for the Tuam case indicate the children as having died variously of tuberculosis, convulsions, measles, whooping cough, influenza, bronchitis and meningitis, among other illnesses. Malnutrition does not feature and there is no mention of abuse in relation to this case (I won't deny that abuse did occur in religious and other institutions, but it doesn't actually feature in Corliss' reported findings).

The "Mother and Baby" homes were institutions (run by religious orders in the absence of any State-run alternative in Ireland) to cater for unmarried women having children, to which there was a huge social stigma attached under the prevailing Catholic ethos at the time in Ireland, and to then arrange adoption of the children. It was a far from perfect situation and was widely abused, but was "of its time".

At the time, children "born of sin" (as the thinking went, I'm not agreeing with it BTW)were not permitted to be baptised as Catholics and the unbaptised were not permitted to be buried in consecrated Catholic graveyards. As a consequence of this theological interpretation, the dead children of unmarried Catholic mothers could therefore only be buried in unconsecrated graveyards, at that time.

The buildings in Tuam operated as the Mother and Baby home had been a workhouse/poorhouse since 1840, i.e. through the period of the Great Famine in Ireland (1845 to 1852) during which time many others can also be assumed to have died at the site.

During Corliss' research she met a local man who claimed that as a 10 year old in 1975 that he and friends moved a small coffee table-sized slab on the site and found a number of small skeletons beneath (perhaps up to 20 he said). This claim remains to be corroborated by actual investigation and the age of any remains found to be proven. No one really knows yet what this structure might have been.

The septic tank angle comes from old Ordnance Survey maps of the area which indicate a "Sewage Tank" existed in 1892 (i.e. 33 years before the Mother and Baby home began operation) in a portion of the same general area that Corliss believes bodies may have been buried post-1925...

Crucially, no-one has to date dug on the site and found any actual evidence of burials there, nor of the nature, number and dates of burial, nor whether there are actually any remains in a former septic tank.

The stories widely reported in the press in Ireland and internationally of a "mass grave" of 800 infants and of "800 bodies in a septic tank" are therefore somewhere between hyperbole and complete fabrication, yet seem to have been uncritically accepted as fact by many worldwide. In fact, no children's bodies have yet been proven at the site, though the local tradition that it was a burial ground suggest that human remains will almost certainly be found there.

The way single mothers were treated in Ireland in that era is certainly abhorrent to our current outlook, but Ireland today is very different to the priest-ridden, Catholicism-dominated society of the early to mid twentieth century. Better medical treatment and universal social services and health care have also greatly altered our recent expectations and experience of infectious diseases and mother and infant mortality. In fact, even the Catholic Church has changed radically since the 1960s.

We must be wary of viewing past event through the prism of the present. Certainly, the accusations of actual criminality by many in this thread seem very premature...

I have no doubt that this site will now be investigated in the very near future and the true, sad story will emerge, but most of what has been written to date is speculation and hyperbole.

Regards,

Kevin Forde
Irish, but non-religious... and not a regular apologist for the Catholic Church!



dissonance - on 08 Jun 2014
In reply to Kevin Forde:


> Certainly, abnormally high death rates are documented in other similar institutions in Ireland during this era.

So the death rate in other catholic homes was also high? I am not sure that really works as a defence.

> The "Mother and Baby" homes were institutions (run by religious orders in the absence of any State-run alternative in Ireland) to cater for unmarried women having children

Lets be clear. The church was being paid large sums by the State to provide this service. It wasnt out of charity from their own pocket.

> The buildings in Tuam operated as the Mother and Baby home had been a workhouse/poorhouse since 1840, i.e. through the period of the Great Famine in Ireland (1845 to 1852) during which time many others can also be assumed to have died at the site.

Which is irrelevant to the specific research showing that about 800 children died but no record of burial exists.
Still its good to know the nuns did move 12 bodies when they closed down the site. Sadly it was just members of their own orders.

> In fact, no children's bodies have yet been proven at the site, though the local tradition that it was a burial ground suggest that human remains will almost certainly be found there.

Well there 800 unaccounted for bodies. Any ideas where they might be?

> We must be wary of viewing past event through the prism of the present.

It was the 1960s not the 1690s and from a organisation which has a habit of lecturing everyone on morality.

> I have no doubt that this site will now be investigated in the very near future and the true, sad story will emerge, but most of what has been written to date is speculation and hyperbole.

Yes because so far the church cooperation has been sweet FA and just buck passing.

Jim C - on 08 Jun 2014
In reply to Kevin Forde:

> Jim C.

> As usual, the reality is a little less sensational than the initial headlines. I feel both strangely moved by the Tuam story and compelled to respond to your heated comments regarding it.

Let's look at my "heated " comments on the subject of the Nuns Kevin:-
"The remains of nearly 800 children have been found in a mass grave next to an Irish orphanage in Tuam, Co Galway run by Bon Secours nuns . "
NOT my words, this is the headline .

"Presupposing that this IS proven to be the responsibility of these nuns, and even if it is at best neglect, is this the next big scandal to come out about the Catholic Church and abuse of children?"
I did not say it was proven, I posed a question, based on a premis that it was proven .

"I really do wonder what needs to happen before this organisation it treated by law as criminal."
A general comment on the Catholic Church which seems to be immune from criminal prosecution. ( sorry seems to be enough)

"Hard to read these two links and believe they might be responsible."
Still some incredulity in there. Might , not IS.

In response to Iain I said :-
"Unmarked grave or possible crime scene in a septic tank "
Again I said possible crime scene.

Notwithstanding the many other shocking previous abuses alleged ( and many eventually admitted) by the Catholic Church , I don't think my comments are particularly "heated", and actually opens the door for the possibility that it might not be true or proven.

As you point out, if the investigation has not been carried out, time will tell if the headlines are accurate or not.

That said other comments on the wider issue of the Catholic Church's employees and management, I stand by.
They are not to be trusted in my judgement.

I accept the points made about other abusers in care , out with the Catholic Church , and not forgetting several household name personalities abusers and others in popular music, all abhorrent , and all should be investigated with exactly the same rigour, and taken to court if the evidence supports that.
Kevin Forde on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Jim,

Sorry if the word "heated" caused offence, perhaps passionate might have been a better choice of word, in hindsight.

I don't defend what was done in these homes, it was a deplorable, inhuman and un-christian way to treat these young women and their babies, and blame for must clearly be laid at the door of the religious orders and the Church, and extended to the State and society that permitted, funded and colluded with these practices.

Politicians, and even some senior Catholic clergy, here are now calling for investigation of the Tuam site, though I feel strongly that any investigation would have be wholly independant of both church and state to be credible.

FYI - actual investigation of the site has actually now commenced, with the results of an initial, privately-funded ground penetrating radar survey being published yesterday, which did indicate a structure under part of the site and some anomalous ground conditions elsewhere, which could indicate burials.

Consequently, it looks almost certain that some actual digging and forensic investigation will proceed in the very near future.

The point of my earlier post was to highlight how little hard evidence, other than the large number of unaccounted-for burials, there is at the moment and that it is urgently required.

Actual intrusive, forensic investigation is vital to answer key questions, i.e.
Are there burials on the site?
From what era?
What condition were they buried in?
What was their state of health (illness/malnutrition/physical abuse)prior to death?
Was a septic tank or similar actually used for burial (if is could be called that)?
What was the death rate at this institution relative to the general population (8-10% infant mortality is being reported as the general rate in Ireland for that era)?

Once there is hard information on these, then key issues like blame, criminality, sanction and restitution can be better informed.

But, however you look at it, it is near-impossible to imagine the Catholic Church managing to shrug this scandal off, as maybe would have happened in Ireland in the past.

And this is just one of a number of such institutions throughout Ireland from that era, which are going to come under similar scrutiny now.

This one is going to run and run...

Kevin

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