Saturday, June 07, 2014

Irish priest says we cannot judge the nuns who dumped the bodies of almost 800 children and babies because it happened in the past.

I am sure that you all remember the story I posted Thursday about The home for unwed mothers, run by the Bon Secours Sisters that was found to have dumped just under a thousand infants and children into a mass grave next to their septic system as if they were nothing more than human waste.

Well as it turns out a Father Fintan Monaghan, a spokesperson for the archdiocese in which this tragedy took place, had a response to this story: 

“I suppose we can’t really judge the past from our point of view, from our lens. All we can do is mark it appropriately and make sure there is a suitable place here where people can come and remember the babies that died.”

Yes of course we cannot judge past events based on modern levels of revulsion can we?

In that case we really have no right to judge the American slave owners who fought a war to preserve their right to subjugate human beings, or Nazis who felt that genocide was an appropriate response to their antisemitism, or how can we possibly prosecute criminals thirty years after they murdered somebody, I mean it was such a long time ago and all.

Remember the nuns ran this home for unwed mothers from 1926 to 1961, which was a year after my birth. That is NOT ancient history!

Not only that but the bodies were first discovered by two boys in 1975, yet the response by the church was to have a priest pray over the mass grave and then cover it back up.

That is fucking reprehensible!

And I am not alone in my anger.

Here is what reporter for the Guardian, Emer O'Toole, had to say about this revelation:

 Do not say Catholic prayers over these dead children. Don't insult those who were in life despised and abused by you. Instead, tell us where the rest of the bodies are. There were homes throughout Ireland, outrageous child mortality rates in each. Were the Tuam Bon Secours sisters an anomalous, rebellious sect? Or were church practices much the same the country over? If so, how many died in each of these homes? What are their names? Where are their graves? We don't need more platitudinous damage control, but the truth about our history.

Atheist or not, to that I only have to say "Amen!"

(H/T to the Friendly Atheist.)


  1. Randall6:34 AM

    But, Gryph - they were no longer fetuses. (feti?)
    Once they're born - fuck 'em.
    The Catholic Church and the Religious Right only care about life as a fetus.
    Hungry children need food stamps? - fuck 'em.
    Poor kids need an education? - fuck 'em.
    A child of an unwed mother living in a Catholic home?
    ...well know what happened to them now, don't you?

    The next time one of those sanctimonious religious sons-a-bitches begins to preach about the sanctity of life - remember: they're dripping with the blood of those little kids.

    1. Anonymous8:04 AM

      They only care about killing a baby for the 9 months that it is developing inside a woman's body. I guess that these babies didn't "count" since they were conceived out of wedlock, which is their idea of a major sin.

  2. Anonymous6:43 AM

    and the saddest most angering irony? Bon Secours translates literally as "good help". May the Universe preserve us all from such good help.

  3. Maple7:13 AM

    We can't make judgements about what happened in the past? Really? Morals have changed that much? That commandment "Thou shalt not kill" was different back then?
    His answer is absolutely as reprehensible as what the nuns did to those poor children.

  4. Anonymous7:23 AM

    It was next to the septic system. Don't make it worse than it already is. A septic system would not work with bodies in it.

    1. You're right. Fixed it.

    2. hedgewytch7:45 AM

      I don't believe Great Britain has a statute of limitations on murder. I am sure there are still people alive who worked there. I am sure there are still people alive who survived it. I am sure that records exist within the Catholic church documenting these actions. There needs to be full disclosure and an open court case. But there won't be. No Catholic Bishop will be accused. No one will go to jail. And those poor women and children will not receive justice.

    3. Anonymous8:03 AM

      @hedgewytch I think the problem is that the Catholic Church liked to settle its own problems internally, not by the police. That's how they covered up the child abuse and rape by the priests. Yes, it's a crime, but they said that they would deal with it themselves. (We know how they dealt with it. They covered it up).

    4. Anonymous9:32 AM

      Gryphen I think you had this right the first time. I have seen numerous reports in the Irish media that this WAS a disused septic tank. But there might be only a few hundred bodies there. Links at the end. The concrete slab that the boys reported lifting would be the type found with an underground cesspool, or even a modern septic tank access. A legitimate burial vault? Never heard of such a thing.

      First some info:

      Back in the old days the sewage going to a septic tank or a cesspool was not really treated like a modern septic system does. What was typically done was a tank used to collect the waste which was called a cesspit or cesspool. The tank was either constructed to leak the liquid out into the surrounding soil, or to hold the liquid and the solids until the tank was pumped out and hauled away for disposal elsewhere.

      Whether the bodies were thrown into a working cesspool, or a cesspool that was no longer being used, work out that Catholic thought process yourself.

      "The long abandoned site made headlines around the world this week when it was revealed that a nearby septic tank contained the bodies of up to eight hundred infants and children, secretly buried without coffins or headstones on unconsecrated ground between 1925 and 1961."

      " She is sure that a sewage tank operated on the site in the early part of the 20th century because minutes of the workhouse’s board meetings published at the time by the Tuam Herald report problems of overflowing.

      Would it have taken up the entire space of what is now known as the unofficial graveyard for the babies who died at the home? “No,” she says. “Maybe a third of the area.” She believes that what Sweeney and Hopkins found was the former sewage tank, which she had previously referred to in her article as a crypt. It seems this is where the story of “800 skeletons dumped in a septic tank” has subsequently come from.

      Even if a number of children are indeed interred in what was once a sewage tank, horrific as that thought is, there cannot be 796 of them. The public water scheme came to Tuam in 1937. Between 1925, when the home opened, and 1937 the tank remained in use. During that period 204 children died at the home. Corless admits that it now seems impossible to her that more than 200 bodies could have been put in a working sewage tank."

    5. Anonymous5:28 AM

      @hedgewytch - Just FYI this occurred in County Galway, in the Republic of Ireland. No longer part of Great Britain. Don't know what the laws are regarding this. It is shameful that this happened, but there is such a long history in Ireland of tragedy and heartbreak in how it's people have been treated. Read about the Magdelene Laundries and it will break your heart. this is just one of the many dreadful things that the Irish (in this case Irish women) have endured.
      I have walked along what's called a "famine road" in Ireland - knowing what my ancestors went through, picturing them leaving home with only a satchel, many of their family dead of starvation, it's truly a heartbreaking place in many ways with a sad, sad history.
      Anyone interested in this story might consider reading "The Law of Dreams" by Peter Behrens. A beautifully written story about Ireland during The Great Famine.

  5. Anonymous7:53 AM

    "Until the ignoble and unhappy regime
    Which holds all of us through,
    Child-abuse, yeah, child-abuse yeah,
    Sub-human bondage has been toppled,
    Utterly destroyed,
    Everywhere is war."

    Sinead O Connor - WAR - SNL

  6. Anonymous8:00 AM

    So according to this priests logic, we can't judge Hitler and Mussolini either.

    1. Anonymous9:39 AM

      Or Stalin or Pol Pot or Pinochet or any of the vilest murders and dictators the planet has produced. Fuck him.

    2. Anonymous11:28 AM

      But gay marriage and contraception and enjoying sex... that the type of sin just sends the catholic heirarchy around the bend.

  7. Anonymous8:01 AM

    Hey Bristol Palin! Hey, Nancy French!
    1. This is how you address the President of the United States, so I assume it is the correct form of address to get your attention. Hey!
    2. Where's your outage? You are always writing about an embryonic clump of cells and how precious that life is. How about after that embryo-fetus-baby is born? Where's your outage?
    3. Oh, is it because it was Christians killing babies that make it all right?
    4. Which is worse, killing babies or priests raping children?
    Where's your outrage about child abuse that is covered up by the higher ups in the Catholic Church? (You do know that Cardinal Law from Boston was among the worst in the business of covering up the abuse, and he lives in the safe haven of the Vatican).
    5. Which is worse? Staying in the service and murdering 3 civilians, or spending 5 years in captivity, held by the Taliban?
    6. Since Bergdahl was a Christian being held by Muslims against his will, where's your outrage about that? You are always going on about the one Christian in a Muslim country who should be rescued when they choose to openly practice a religion other than the state religion?
    7. Do you girls ever think about the poor kids in this country who are undernourished and deprived of a normal childhood? Where is your Christian sense of charity or are you against food stamps and the government helping those who can't help themselves?
    8. What's the point of your selective outrage, anyway? Does it bring readers? donations? make you better people to look down your noses at others?

  8. Anonymous8:29 AM

    Really OT It looks as if Bristol is going to try her custody case on her blog and Facebook. On her blog, she has posted photos of Tripp that were taken on June 2, May 31, May 23, and May 17. Bristol can post a hundred more photos and the case will still be tried in a court, not on Facebook or her blog. (We really don't know when the original photos were taken. The dates are just the dates that Bristol or Nancy originally posted them on Bristol's Facebook).

  9. Anonymous8:38 AM

    One thing this article does not address is the fact that there were hidden pathways between the male and female monasteries, and they are LITTERED with the bones of aborted fetuses and abandoned babies - because, OF COURSE, nuns 'could not have babies'! (BTW: A former nun told me that... :/)

  10. Anonymous8:58 AM

    EVERYTHING that has ever happened was in the past.


  11. Fr. Beldar J. Conehead, DDiv., defrocked since 196111:12 AM

    So, they prefer not to judge the priests and nuns who mistreated the unfortunate unwed mothers in their charge. I guess that's just their compassionate, non-judgmental, forgiving, loving nature. Isn't that special...

    I'm gonna go out on a limb here, tho, and be pretty darn confident they found a way to judge the unwed mothers themselves.

  12. This is why atheists don't have to proselytize. We simply must individually decide how high the revealed evil has to get stacked before their threats of some 'eternal damnation' are no match for our inherent will to regard ourselves at all humane.

  13. Anonymous4:02 PM

    This is interesting. When I lived in Washington state (in the seventies) there was a buzz about an old convent that was demolished, and infant skeletons found in the walls. Speculation was the nuns had babies (by perhaps the priests?)... ??

    1. Anonymous4:38 PM

      Tell more.

      This same shit has gone on here in the good old US of A.

      January 30, 2014
      Fifty-five Bodies, and Zero Trials, at the Florida School for Boys

  14. Anita Winecooler5:51 PM

    You just can't follow the logic. Priests fondled boys and girls, the higher ups found out, they were moved to other parishes or "called back to the Vatican" for work purposes. And victims had nightmares, ptsd, became drug addicts, or committed suicide for years and years these things were known. A lot of the priests died natural deaths while being well taken care of, others were defrocked and allowed to frolick, diddle and even marry and have children of their own.
    The fetuses and newborn babies were purposely killed and hidden under the guidance of nuns who got writers cramp and stopped keeping track. The mothers were taught "trades" like slavery, laundresses, barn cleaners, field workers, seamstresses etc etc. The fathers of these babies got what? A pat on the back? A Medal? or high fives and attaboys?
    About a half hour from where I live sat a home for wayward girls run by the archdiocese of Philadelphia. It was closed down about thirty years ago and is now used to care for elderly, senile priests and nuns who need "assisted living". I wonder what's buried on those grounds? They used to incinerate trash on site and I wonder how many children were hauled out as ash? It had to be more rampant, it had to happen in many unnamed places, but who are we to judge? Now the nuns stand in line and shame women at planned parenthood, I guess it shifts the "guilt" or soothes their conscience in some way.

  15. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Nuns doing that? There are really not that many nuns anymore - please substantiate. Most nuns I (a former RC) that I hear about are doing more social justice work - think Joan Chittester
    and Prejean

  16. So forget about the Holocaust and don't bother with those war criminals.


    What did you suspect from the organization that covered up the molestation of children for so long?

  17. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Hey Father Monaghan ... if you can't judge the past then ... original sin ... the basis of your religion and priestly power ... cannot be judged either! so get you gone priest ... you have just denied your very own vocation and supposedly sacred purpose ... and thus, the sacrifice of your Jesus was completely unnecessary ... don't these fool priests from the Roman Church think before they speak? where is that oh so famous Jesuit logic?


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