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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Ireland, Secularism | 30 comments

800 dead babies: if it could, the religious right would bury this story in the same septic tank.

A mass grave, reporting to contain 800 dead babies, has been located near Tuam, Co. Galway. The bodies were buried in a septic tank on the grounds of a “mother and baby home”, a Catholic institution run by nuns which housed unmarried women and their children.

The home was unfortunately only one of many dotted around Ireland, many of which had a high child mortality rate, sometimes as much as four times the national average. Bessborough Mother and Baby Home, Co Cork, had 44.6% mortality rate, Sean Ross, 33.7%, and Castlepolland, 9.1%.

In the Tuam home alone, 800 babies died between 1925-1961, a 36 year period. Meaning, in this sole home, a child died and its anonymous corpse chucked into a septic tank every two weeks for 36 years. How could Irish society establish and maintain a system which churned out dead babies for so long?

The answer is simple. We turned our backs on these women and children, and turned a blind eye to the cruel and inhumane treatment they received in these institutions. What’s worse is there is a segment of Irish society that is still doing just that: the religious right.

Since the breaking of the story the religious right has failed to report on it. In fact, they have outright ignored it, even after being quizzed about on social media. In one sense this is surprising as the religious right are alleged to be pro-life, so the death of 800 babies should be a concern. But in another sense their abject silence isn’t all that surprising as the deaths occurred in a Catholic run institution.

There is recurring motif among the religious right not to publicly criticise the actions of the Church. Including,

  • Refusal to hand over individuals who were complicit in the cover-up of child abuse
  • Religious orders refusing to pay abuse victims compensation
  • Church’s refusal to open its archives so the abuse scandal can be investigated fully
  • Sheltering priests and nuns who partook in the Rwandan genocide

And now we have them turning a blind eye to a mass grave containing 800 dead babies. Contrast this to their reaction to the Gosnell trial. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murdering three infants (he may have murdered more) who were born alive during late-term abortion procedures. It was reported by almost all major religious news sources including both the Irish Catholic and the Iona Institute. David Quinn of the Iona Institute even criticised mainstream media for not reporting the trial. Yet now they are all quiet when it is the Catholic Church which may have caused the deaths of 800 children.

No doubt they will regurgitate the same pathetic and tired  apologetics, “it was a different time”, “nobody knew”, “a few bad eggs”, “the government and society had a role too”. But none of these are even remotely acceptable.

“It was a different time” – Even the Romans would blush at the cruelty meted out in these institutions. Some of the mortality rates were higher than those in hunter-gatherer societies.

“Nobody knew” – Everybody knew.

“A few bad eggs” – It was institutional and systematic. If it was just one home then this excuse might have merit, but it was several and it was over a long period of time.

“The government and society had a role too” – To a certain extent. The government had a role as the lines between Church and state were non-existent back then and the government relied on Church run institutions. As for society, it shunned these women and ignored their plight. But who generated and propagated the poisonous idea that these women were immoral? The Church. And this is what disturbs the religious right the most. The actions taken by the Church were dictated by canon law, canon law which stills exists.

As it still states in the catechism of the Catholic Church, women who had children out of wedlock were said to be immoral and their children to be illegitimate:

2353. “Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.”

2396. “Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.”

1137.  “The children conceived or born of a valid putative marriage are legitimate.”

These Catholic doctrines created social conditions which stigmatised these women and led to familial and community rejection. This is why society turned a blind eye; we were told they violated god’s law. They were deemed sinful and immoral and needed to be punished. The sexual mores of the Church was strictly enforced and any women who went against the Catholic Church’s view of marriage and parenting was to be removed from society and punished for their transgressions.

And this is why the religious right refuse to report on this. The 800 dead babies is a direct result of Catholic doctrine. These “immoral” women and “illegitimate” children were treated as sub-human.

To the religious right, the reputation of the Church comes before any and all other considerations. It is this poisonous mentality which led to the abuse scandal. Paedophile priests were moved from parish to parish and victims forced into secrecy to protect the name of the Church.

It is a mentality which is evidently still extant among the Church and its supporters. Women and children come second to the reputation of the Church. It is quite clear that if given the chance the religious right would bury this story in the same septic tank right beside 800 anonymous dead children.

  • ThePrussian

    Speaking as an atheist pro-lifer this is an absolute outrage. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

    • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

      It makes you wonder what else they are hiding but we haven’t uncovered yet.

  • Nelson

    Typical christians.
    As long as they do it, it’s forgivable.
    Homosexual priests? That’s ok!
    Dead babies? NO PROBLEM THEY ARE WITH GOD NOW.

    Fucking monsters.

    • Bocque d’Robbeur

      What’s wrong with homosexual priests?

      • Nelson

        There’s nothing wrong with homosexual priests, but since the church is so adamant about homosexuality, why are they not up in arms about their gay priests who also happen to be pedophiles?

        Why do I have to explain this to people? Is it that hard to piece together??

        • Harry McNicholas

          What about priests and ministers who molest Little girls? Are they homosexuals also?

          • Nelson

            You’re not piecing it together properly.
            Of course they are not homosexuals. I was inferring to the FACT that homosexuality is condemned by these people, yet when their clergymen go about it, they sweep it under the rug.

            Do you finally understand??
            You dumb people are something else.

          • Harry McNicholas

            You totally missed my point. I was simply stating that Little girls are also molested by priests. I doubt the molestation has anything to do with the sexual orientation of the child molestor.

    • Dana

      You mean pedophile priests. I know you’re confused and you think they’re the same thing but try to follow along here.

      • Nelson

        You’re on board! You know what’s up with these monsters.
        So many of them too!

        • http://edition.cnn.com Tom Jenkins

          You are one of those that says abortion is OK but we can’t kill the person who MURDERS someone. WHAT A CROCK!!!

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            In your opinion should women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them receive the same punishment as murderers?

          • Nelson

            I don’t like abortion at all, but I can’t tell people what to do or not do.
            They are not murderers either.

            The only crock here is you. You nosy pricks that have to press their irrational beliefs on to everyone.

          • http://edition.cnn.com Tom Jenkins

            All you ULTRA LIBS are alike you only see and read what you want and not what is the truth. You will kill a baby but not the guy who goes out and kills a family because they got in his way or “dised” him somehow. And you always blame the ‘RIGHT'; funny the LEFT is always telling how great they are and then when they are running things it only gets worse.

          • Harry McNicholas

            Uh Tom this is the truth. The Catholic church in Ireland is horrified itself and has an investigation. I have no idea what else you are saying since the wording is terrible. I think you are upset that your great church was caught being a baby murderer.

          • Nelson

            ultra libs?
            Typical retarded republican christian.
            The same fucking spew, ALWAYS.
            I’m not a lib, but nice fucking try. You people are irrational but completely predictable.

          • Harry McNicholas

            Abortion occurs before the baby is born. These were babies and Young children.

  • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Ðavid A. Osorio S

    I almost threw up when I read this! Disgusting as it gets.

  • kraut2

    There is institutionalized evil – and one of the great evil institutions is the catholic church.

    Not only there in Ireland, but there are unmarked and unknown graves in the places of former residential schools in Canada.

    “OTTAWA — Thousands of Canada’s aboriginal children died in
    residential schools that failed to keep them safe from fires, protected
    from abusers, and healthy from deadly disease, a commission into the
    saga has found.

    So far, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has determined that more than 4,000 of the school children died.”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/01/03/at-least-4000-aboriginal-children-died-in-residential-schools-commission-finds/

    Can one imagine the fuss raised when one prisoner dies in prison by his own hand or by a fellow prisoner or guard? And here are the death reported of at least four-thousand children – rather likely more – dying in residential schools under the supervision of priest and nuns. Can one really imagine that evil emanating from these institutions, the pain, suffering, forlornness of those children? What kind of institution can have allowed that and still maintain any status in the civilized world? What distinguishes what they did from what the Germans did in Death Camps? Just the numbers?

    Why is the holy roman stinking sea still allowed to survive instead of being pushed into the waste bin of history, including the present pope who speaks nice and does little, who in light of the cruelty of the catholic church throughout the centuries has lost any and all moral status and ethical competence, who should run screaming naked through Rome begging forgiveness for the atrocities his body of Christ has committed – and still is committing.
    This whole edifice begs for destruction, utter destruction, and any apologist for the roman catholic church should be forced to read the names of those being killed outright or by neglect by that institution – a long list including all the witches, heretics, ketherers that died by the hands of the church – aloud before he is allowed to participate in any civilized discussion.

    This edifice of evil called the roman catholic church has outlived its welcome in polite human society and should be kicked to the curb – with all those who open their mouths in defense.

    • Dana

      Mary Brave Bird (aka Mary Crow Dog), a Lakota woman, told of her time in a Catholic residential school when she was growing up. If I remember correctly from reading her autobiography (it’s been many years and I lost both books in a divorce), she said there were rumors of dead babies in the sewers under the school from priests and nuns messing around with one another and destroying the evidence. It sounds like one of those myths founded in bigotry, like the old story about Jewish people baking challah bread out of children’s bones or whatever that nonsense was, until you start seeing the news headlines.

      • http://www.jlravenstar.com/ J. Raven’s Star

        I thought about this when I read this story. The Indians that I know have spoken of this rumor for years. But no one has listened to them. And I was never able to find any evidence because the church has been so good at covering it up. Reservations are typically very remote from urban centers – plenty of space to hide the “evidence”. Horrifying.

    • Vivisectus

      Moral absolutism inspired by an ideology is bad enough when
      it is mixed with real social power and control: we can see plenty of examples of
      this in recent history alone. But when religious authority is added into the
      mix then institutionalized violence becomes frighteningly easy for people to
      justify and accept.

      These kinds of horrors are not unique to religion, but I would argue that religions are uniquely suitable for them. At least non-religious ideologies claim moral superiority based on the better moral quality of their system, and you can appeal against anything done in their name with rational arguments.

      Against religious claims of moral superiority there can be no rational appeal, as they are based on a simple claim to knowledge about the supernatural: in essence they say ”this is the greatest good because God says it is. This we hold to be self-evident and beyond discussion”. Add the belief in an eternal afterlife, and any evil perpetrated here on earth in the name of this greater good is easy to rationalize away.

      And that, to me, is what makes religiously inspired institutional horrors like these so uniquely frightening: the ideas on which they are based are beyond all human appeal. And to reach quite such a level of inhumanity, you need to at least take on some of the traits of religion, such as the belief that your system represents an absolute good.

  • Pingback: Hogar de la Iglesia tenía fosa común con 800 cuerpos de bebés | Teocidas.com()

  • wellitdont

    Is there a God, I sure hope so, and the cruel b*st*rds who did so much wrong on our poor people will suffer pain and torment for ever and ever, and if there is no God then we should make all wrong doers suffer until death.

  • Steven Elam

    Or maybe they were counseled into abortion to the tune of 51Million since Roe.

    • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

      What has Roe, an American ruling got to do with what happens in Ireland?

  • Vivisectus

    Incidentally, I wonder if these are somehow a different sort of children from the ones that the religious right always seems so concerned about when they are talking about the evils of same-sex marriage?

  • Chris Owen

    If I wanted to bring somebody up as a thorough-going hypocrite, and was looking for the perfect syllabus (“Hypocrisy 101″ if you will) I could do no better than send them to mass every week.
    The disparity between “pro-life” posturings and abortions like this does not surprise this observer in the least.

  • TBD

    I’m physically ill over this. The Church has hidden heinous atrocities for generations. There is no law forcing them to disclose these crimes against humanity. And still there are those that choose to turn a blind eye rather than admit that the Church has a responsibility here to come forward and sweep out the evil from within it’s halls.

  • Michael Cremin

    These Nuns and pedophile Priests came out of Irish Homes. We better take a jaundiced look at the irish society at large and recognize that we failed these victims on all counts. How Cruel and sick can a society be to tolerate this level of inhumanity.

  • Bubba T Flubba

    If the bodies of 800 children had been disposed of in this manner the organisation responsible would have been ripped to shreds in the media and it’s CEO tried for mass murder. The rcc seems to be immune to the force of the law. Can anyone tell me why?