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Mon Jun 9, 2014, 10:07 AM

#800deadbabies: A Fresh Catholic Horror

In the last few years, Ireland has been reckoning with a shameful part of its history: the Magdalene laundries. Established in the 1700s and surviving well into the 20th century, these were church-run institutions, overseen by nuns, where women were sent for transgressing against conventional morality or custom, or simply because they were viewed as a burden to society. Prostitutes, unwed mothers, rape victims, orphans, the mentally and physically disabled, or those who were deemed too attractive or too flirtatious, all could and did end up there.

Supposedly for reform and rehabilitation of these “fallen” women, in reality the Magdalene laundries were prisons where the inmates were used for slave labor, mostly doing menial jobs like laundry for no pay. Most of the women incarcerated there were brutally abused and tortured, both physically and psychologically, by church overseers. Over 10,000 women were forced into this system over its lifetime, with the complicity of the Irish state. Some were imprisoned for decades.

Because record-keeping in the Magdalene laundries was deliberately scanty, historians are still uncovering the truth about what went on within their walls. And this week, there was an explosive new revelation.


The looming question, given how widespread the Magdalene laundry system was, is whether there are more children’s mass graves waiting to be discovered. (There are already rumblings of a much bigger burial site at another location in Blackrock, County Cork.) But whether or not this was an exceptional case, the attitudes that caused it certainly weren’t.


Another take on this. I suspect that this is only going to get worse as the light gets shined on this tragedy.

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Reply #800deadbabies: A Fresh Catholic Horror (Original post)
cleanhippie Jun 2014 OP
Warren Stupidity Jun 2014 #1
trotsky Jun 2014 #2
rug Jun 2014 #3

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jun 9, 2014, 12:16 PM

1. #NothingToSeeHereMoveAlong


Or so our apologists for this latest outrage are asserting.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 9, 2014, 12:43 PM

2. Yes, of course.

The facts not in dispute:
* 796 dead infants
* Shamed mothers (because of religious attitudes) in the care of nuns who were overworked and malnourished
* Infant mortality at a rate much higher than the general population

Facts in dispute:
* Were the infants' bodies "buried in a mass grave" or "dumped in a septic tank"

Thus we must not judge ANYTHING about this story. Certainly not whether religious teachings or attitudes had anything to do with it.

It reminds me of the whole Dan Rather/"Times Roman font" bullshit during the 2004 election. The disturbing facts of the story were made secondary to a trivial detail, thus enabling the dismissal of the truth.

A 1944 government inspection recorded evidence of malnutrition among some of the 271 children then living in the Tuam orphanage alongside 61 unwed mothers. The death records cite sicknesses, diseases, deformities and premature births as causes of death.

Elderly locals recalled that the children attended a local school — but were segregated from other pupils and routinely bullied — until they were adopted or placed, around age 7 or 8, into church-run industrial schools that featured unpaid labor and abuse. In keeping with Catholic teaching, such out-of-wedlock children were denied baptism and, if they died at such facilities, Christian burial.

It is well documented that throughout Ireland in the first half of the 20th century, church-run orphanages and workhouses often buried their dead in unmarked graves and unconsecrated ground, reflecting how unmarried mothers — derided as "fallen women" in the culture of the day — typically were ostracized by society and their own families.

Records indicate that the former Tuam workhouse's septic tank was converted specifically to serve as the body disposal site for the orphanage.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jun 9, 2014, 01:43 PM

3. Have you come across any information as to why this grave was not investigated for the last 40 years


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