How many of you saw the movie “Philomena”?
For those of you who haven’t it is the story of a young, unmarried pregnant Irish girl, abandoned by her family because of the “shame” she brought upon them and sent to a Catholic “home” to have her baby in secret.
The movie, based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena” by Martin Sixsmith details the horror of the life of these girls in the care of nuns, the baby selling, cruelty, lies and deceit.
An occasional tragic situation brought on by a few bad apples? This is the usual trope trotted out by apologists for the Irish church and “Defenders of the Faith”.
Well this week in Galway, a mass grave was discovered – in an old septic tank.
The septic tank, in Tuam, County Galway, was filled to the brim with the bones of infants. Eight hundred infants. The tank is on the grounds of an institution known locally as “The Home”. The Bon Secours nuns operated “The Home” between 1926 and 1961 and over the years housed thousands of unmarried mothers and their “illegitimate” children.
“The tireless work of historian Catherine Corless has revealed that 796 children, the oldest nine years, the youngest two days old, are in that tank. Causes of death include “malnutrition, measles, convulsions, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia”. The tank is described as “filled to the brim with tiny bones and skulls”.
“Unmarried mothers incarcerated until they signed over their babies, healthy children sold to be adopted by wealthy Americans and disabled infants, who had no sale value, abandoned in “Dying Rooms”, and their bodies dumped by the brides of Christ in a septic tank.”
“This was a nationwide industry founded on human suffering. In a country utterly corrupted by its own twisted version of Catholicism run by a complicit elite, young women who “fell pregnant” were condemned. They had sinned and were left to the mercy of perverts and brutes. Their children were a tainted commodity to be sold or discarded at the whim of people considered “religious”.
A further horror is that it seems highly unlikely this site was the only mother and baby home which starved infants and crammed their tiny bodies into unmarked graves. The dead children must number in the thousands.
Young pregnant girls were forced to work for years after the birth of their children to repay the church for taking them in. They were hired out as cleaning girls and laundry workers. All this while the state was paying the church for their care.
Healthy infants from these “fallen women” were sold, mostly to wealthy American Catholics. Unhealthy, ill or babies which did not attract a buyer were starved and died of infectious disease, malnutrition of pneumonia. Their bodies were hidden away in a septic tank.
This is the church which cares so much for the unborn
Ireland was warned in 1946 by none other than Irish born Father Edward Flanagan, founder of BoysTown in Omaha. Flanagan, visiting the land of his birth was horrified by what he saw, denouncing Ireland’s treatment of children in Church and State care as “a scandal, un-Christlike, and wrong”. He spoke loudly of the evils he saw and was ignored by the church and state.
Today the Irish government and the church would rather not talk at all about the “homes”. I’ve read nothing about the septic tank save in the Irish press and blogs. I guess 800 babies in a mass grave in a septic tank is not enough of a story for the our MSM. Mustn’t get the right wing faithful riled up or feeling put upon.
How many Acts of Contrition would it take to cleanse the soul Father? How long the Penance?
To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “Even Jesus would never forgive what you have done”.
P.S. I actually saw this story on BBC America’s 5 PM news on June 5 – its about time.