Sunday, 5 November 2017

TUAM BABIES - TIP OF ICEBERG


Image result for tuam babies

James M. Smith
@IrishCentral
October 31, 2017

When will Ireland discover the full truth of the Tuam Mother and Baby home?

Dan Barry’s “The Lost Children of Tuam” published in the New York Times last week draws a searing portrait of Irish society; the society in which the Tuam Baby Home operated (1925-1961) and the society in which Catherine Corless fights to dignify infant remains interred on the grounds of the former institution (2012-2017).

Ireland seems no closer to the truth of what happened to these and other children born to the nation’s institutional care system.

“The Lost Children of Tuam” foregrounds the need for a truth telling mechanism to cultivate understanding and thereby help survivors come to terms with the system’s legacy of pain and suffering.

The response to Barry’s story on social media is unequivocal. The litany of tweets signal dismay as readers from around the globe struggle to comprehend: “devastating-incredible-shocking-heartbreaking-State sanctioned genocide-harrowing-powerful-haunting-sad-extraordinary-lost for words-powerful-wrenching-stunning-moving-shameful-brutal.

Irish readers, perhaps, are somewhat immune, saturated after twenty years of reports detailing “endemic sexual abuse” of children, of women enslaved behind convent walls, of infants exploited by pharmaceutical companies, trafficked for profit, discarded in death, experimented on in universities.

Some in Ireland plead “enough already.” “Its time to move on!” They ignore stories of Artane, Ireland’s largest Industrial School where abuse was rampant. They pass by High Park where 155 Magdalene women were exhumed in 1993, forgetting that the nuns only expected to uncover 133 human remains. Twenty-two additional bodies dicovered but no police investigation came. The remains were cremated and interred in a “communal plot” at Glasnevin Cemetery.

They evade discussion of Sean Ross Abbey, from which Michael Hess, Philomena Lee’s son, was forcibly adopted to America, growing up to become the RNC’s Chief Legal Counsel and working in President Reagan and President Bush’s administrations.

These names, like Tuam, map a landscape of national self-delusion, whereby the Irish deliberately un-know what was always and already known.

But for the victims, survivors, and family-members of these institutions, the past remains deeply traumatic, unfinished, and not so easily forgotten.  Silence is no longer an option. They demand truth. And, they recognize in Catherine Corless a woman who speaks their language. Dan Barry’s essay captures the essence of this indomitable woman—dignified, determined, and self-effacing. She speaks truth to power, quietly but effectively. She informs on Ireland and thereby subversively reclaims that most pejorative of Irish epithets.

Tuam is but one institution, the tip of a much larger iceberg yet to be navigated.

Other Mother and Baby Homes, and County Homes, where unmarried women also went to give birth to their so-called “illegitimate” children, have “angel” plots, as infant burial grounds are called. Some locations also have graves of women who died in childbirth. No one knows the exact number or their names, and no State body has yet produced the requisite death certificates, a precondition to burial in twentieth-century Ireland. Some graves are marked. Others are not. Similar end-of-life anomalies persist for women who died in the Magdalene Laundries.

The Tuam Home is distinct in one respect: The Bon Secours inexplicably interred infant remains in a series of underground chambers, part of a disused septic tank system. There was a town cemetery directly across the road from the institution. The nuns opted, apparently, to avoid paying the fee.

Tuam had high infant mortality rates, but so did Bessboro in Cork and St. Patrick’s in Dublin. Infant morbidity across all these institutions looked much the same—congenital conditions, contagious diseases, and “marasmus,” otherwise known as malnutrition or, to put it more bluntly, starvation.

The children who survived beyond childhood—some “boarded out,” others adopted at home or abroad, still others growing up in an industrial school—are looking to understand a past constructed to remain abstract and opaque.

For example, the ongoing Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation has yet to advertise in the US, despite the fact that 2,000 plus children were adopted here between the 1940s and 1970s.

Countless hundreds more were likely trafficked illegally to America. A government memorandum from 2012 suggests that as many as 1,000 infants were trafficked from the Tuam institution alone. How can the investigation achieve understanding or arrive at the truth when it ignores such a significant constituency?

Survivors seek to ascertain their birth identity, to know what became of their mothers, and to learn something of their family medical histories. The institutions fractured connections to place, separated siblings, and oftentimes deliberately falsified official documents. And, Ireland’s system of closed adoption, still in 2017, perpetuates a culture of secrecy, shame and stigma about the past.

Understanding is hindered by lack of access to records in the possession of the religious congregations—private actors formerly providing services on the State’s behalf, to Church and State policy archives that are invariably embargoed in accordance with the Commissions of Investigations Act, 2004—the very legislation that purports to facilitate justice, and by the destruction of files mysteriously wrought by “fire” and “flood.”

Many of the mothers and children in these institutions were poor and vulnerable. They did not count for enough in the Ireland of the time to have their constitutional rights protected nor their human rights safeguarded. And, many assert that they are treated little better today.

PAT SAYS:

I believe that Tuam is only the tip of the iceberg and there is A LOT MORE TO COME.

At present, there is a big row happening in Ireland about the repeal of the 8th amendment and abortion.

It seems to me that Irish Catholicism seems to care a lot about UNBORN BABIES>

But it has had less concern about the treatment of BORN BABIES - especially when those babies were the result of non-Catholic sex outside marriage.

There has been - and maybe still a HUGE HYPOCRISY about sex in Ireland.

Babies are at least as important AFTER THE WOMB as they are IN THE WOMB.

Irish Catholicism is hypocritical.


There is the anti-abortion catch cry.

But when they are born - especially to the poor and unmarried mothers somehow the babies do not matter as much!

We look after the babies of DUBLIN 4.

But what about the babies of Ballymun, Ballyfermot and the rough estates of Limerick - STAB CITY!

Hyprocisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy!







42 comments:

  1. MournemanMichael5 November 2017 at 23:44

    Pat You've just made your most accurate analysis to date: Irish Catholicism is hypocritical.
    So much of it truly is irrespective of the merits of those individuals of integrity within clerical ranks.
    MMM

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    1. MMM, you are right.

      The clerics of integrity, bless them, are the exception that proves the rule.

      Historically and currently, Irish Catholicism, is rotten through and trough.

      When will all the Irish people see that the Catholic emperor has no clothes?

      In fact his ugly nakedness is apparent to anyone with moral vision.

      Delete
  2. As someone who has given most of my life up to now to working with a Catholic charity which helps young mothers who need support and real practical help with their babies after birth and their young children, I cannot even start to tell you how angry and upset you have made me tonight. Our work is real, it is being done and it is valuable. My colleagues have not read your comments yet but I know they will also be angry at these constant lies when they read them tomorrow. And you were the one who was on recently explaining to people how dreadful it made you feel to be undermined and blamed in the wrong! Why then do you do the same to other people?

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    1. @00.56
      God bless you and your colleagues and your good work with young mothers and their babies.
      You will feel very alone and undermined here here on the blog today when the onslaught of hatred and criticism starts to pour in..

      But you are not alone. Be assured of that.

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    2. You are not being fair, 00:56. The criticism is of institutional Irish Catholicism, not of either individual Catholics, or all Catholic charities.

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    3. You judge those who expose the evil? That is unjust and cruel side taking. Don't do that without the evidence that they are wrong. You obviously value your righteousness and your religious ideology above truth.

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    4. 00:56 We are talking of MORE THAN BABY STORIES coming out.

      That cannot be excused by any amount of good you and your colleagues do.

      Delete
  3. God help us, not this old chestnut again. Have you ever heard of 'clutching at straws'. I expect this not to be published like my many other contributions. Step forward MMM Catholic hater who likes to stroll around Catholic Cathedrals in Spain and make cheap jibes about it! Yesterday was the anniversary of the gunpowder plot, Buckley, MMM and their ilk would have been happy to support Elizabeth I and her successor James I. Enough said.

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    1. Actually, MMM's 'cheap jibes' were appropriate.

      How does the baroque ostentation of such cathedrals speak of the humble simplicity of Jesus' birth and lifestyle?

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    2. The whole point of today's piece is that Tuam is the TIP OF THE ICEBERG and that THERE'S MUCH MORE TO COME!

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    3. Magna 12.38. The beauty of Seville Cathedral and other magnificent Churches may not speak of the humble simplicity of Jesus's birth - but - they speak of the wondrous gift of human creativity and imagination, presumably reflects the magnificence of our God who graces our world with manifestations of beauty - including our Cathedrals. Of course we must always take care of those in need. The Cathedrals should inspire our gratutude but also our generosity for others.

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  4. Pat, all this has been voiced before. Nothing new in this story. Irish Catholicism like much of Irish society is deeply hypocritical. All our state and church institutions have been found to be deeply flawed and sinful and to have exploited, abused and hurt many people. Scandal after scandal has destroyed our trust in the financial, commercial, medical, ecclesial and political spheres. However, as a Catholic I abhor the failings and abuses of my Church. They are many. But I stay with my Church because I believe in - and endeavour, like my fellow Parishioners to live and bring about the essence of the gospel. I am inspired by many people of true integrity and goodness - parishioners, priests and religious. I despair of the bigger institution but what I see at local level is where I find my hope and nourishment. Irish institutions have a habit all too frequently of hiding their unpleasant, abusive nature and spinning the "truth" to protect themselves.

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    1. The gospel is manmade and anything manmade is part of the problem and often all of the problem. The violence commanded by Jesus in the Old Testament and his belligerent attitude in the New is the seed of trouble.

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    2. Jesus' belligerent attitude in the New Testament?

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    3. 7:32: Tuam is the TIP OF THE ICEBERG!

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  5. Those babies were once unborn babies. How were they and their mothers treated during pregnancy. The whole thing as you say is hypocritical. We can't undo the past. In theory we can make amends and be more realistic and wiser going forward

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  6. MMM, maybe when your daughter has an abortion you will understand.

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    1. MournemanMichael6 November 2017 at 13:03

      It would be helpful Anon@10:36 for you to explain more fully if you are making a point.
      If on the other hand it is a cheap jibe then I apologise at misunderstanding you.
      MMM

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  7. Why does the Church when permitting Catholic leaders to wage a just war never ask how many pregnant women are in the target nation? They never say, This war is not worth it for it will result in the ending of innocent unborn life too much. It is difficult to believe that the Church really thinks all lives are equal for most people think a baby takes priority over a grown up for the baby has harmed nobody.

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    1. Excellent point, 12:00, about so-called 'just' war and its high potential for destroying unborn life.

      Institutional Roman Catholicism has long been inconsistent in its teaching on the sacredness of human life. While appearing to value unborn life, it has thought nothing of the lives (including lives in the womb) that are inevitably killed in wartime through its insidious teaching that war can be just and, therefore, a moral imperative to wage.

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    2. 12:00
      HF Francis has indicated the just war theory needs a major rethink.

      Delete
  8. MMM - you think/believe Pat has made the most accurate analysis to date re: Irish Catholicism. How thrilled you must feel! Accurate? Pat, along with you and his cohort of Church haters are blind to so much good that is carried out in the name of the Church. Yes, there is hypocrisy, but I choose to stay with my Church community and live what we believe to be the essence of christianity. What I see in my community are many men and women and retired religious who give generously of their time in building up their community. These same people -Christians - gather for the Eucharist from which they draw strength for their good work of compassion. I rarely see atheists/humanists involved in such worthwhile involvement but I frequently hear their nauseating, hypocritical anti Church sentiment, as on this blog. I think MMM that you are being smugly gleeful, which is disappointing, as you are normally kinder and more balanced in your observations! (Pat just loves your support). I'd find better icons!

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    1. How do you and your fellow Christians feel about Tuam being the TIP OF THE ICEBERG and there being much more to come?

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    2. MournemanMichael6 November 2017 at 13:29

      Thank you anon @12:29 for your observations.
      I'm at the stage of life of reflecting on both my own insignificance in the cosmos and all the interactions around me. I no more hate the RC church than Donald Trump, but reflecting on both I certainly have a view. I happily leave Trump to analytical exposition from the likes of Kranish and Fisher.They provide valuable insights. In similar vein by putting forward here my experience and understanding
      of religion I seek not to dissuade or criticise for the sake of it, but to join in the debate of all our shared views where we all in our own way seek better understanding of significant truths.
      MMM

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  9. Why do so many contributors make the mistake of equating the Church itself with the fact that there is evidence that many of its members let it down badly by the standard of their care and their decision-making in mother/child institutions of various kinds?
    We get the distinct impression that even the present-day Church and present-day childcare institutions are still being targeted indiscriminately and tarred with the same brush.
    This must stop!
    It is grossly unfair.

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    1. Why cant you get the message?

      While individual church members are good the INSTITUTION produces so much evil as to be NOT FROM GOD!

      Individual members who tolerate this evil are part of the problem!

      Delete
    2. MournemanMichael6 November 2017 at 15:23

      "Tolerate" (this evil)
      Thinking about that Pat, while undoubtedly some literally 'turn a blind eye' to blatant evil, is it fair comment to say that a significant number perhaps 'bury the head in the sand ' from a mixture of anaemic unassertiveness, blindly following the herd and script and sometimes a fear of the consequences of rocking the boat.
      Questioning traditional practice and belief is part of the rich evolutionary development of humankind. Is it not fair comment to include the external apparatus of religion in such development.
      MMM

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    3. I completely get what the frustrated poster @13.58 is saying.
      The "individual member" is very obviously not someone who would tolerate child abuse or bury his /her head in the sand.. He/she doesn't need lectures on "Why can't you get the message?".
      Why would you jump to conclusions that it is otherwise?
      The poster is quite correct and it is very insulting of you to go completely over the top and dismiss the Church as being "NOT FROM GOD"
      Many of my beloved ancestors, including my mother and father (both RIP) treasured their membership of the Church that you describe in those heinous terms just because it has many flawed members.
      Good people, now Saints in Heaven gave their lives for the institution that you denigrate.
      Your judgement is out of balance - - very out of balance and over the top because of your own unresolved issues which we have tried to show you sympathy and empathy with over many blog responses.
      Please be aware that your words here can and DO hurt people when you lash out like that. ("NOT FROM GOD" are the very words you used.)That lack of awareness also applies to some others who closely support your viewpoint today. However, I think you are the one who needs to give good leadership example, not the opposite.

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  10. Pat, you will use any issue in your vendetta against the Church. Like many Catholics I abhor abuse of any kind. I have spoken in condemnation of it publicly. You don't have a monopoly on morality. The vast swathe of the public are horrified at abuse.

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    1. MournemanMichael6 November 2017 at 15:38

      Indeed Anon@14:53.
      But how many are prepared to risk public opprobrium and potential personal loss by publically revealing it and denouncing it?
      I think it takes great strength of character and courage to confront the comfortable status quo of any bureaucratic hierarchical establishment.
      MMM

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    2. 14:53 No, I will not use any issue.

      I was a victim of this institution myself.

      I have ministered to many other victims for over three decades.

      My anger against this institution is, at least part, justified anger.

      This corruption is aided by people covering things up. This is CO ABUSE!

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    3. We only have to look at the trend in the issues you dwell on. You are entitled to speak but you should not do so with an agenda, arising out of your personal experiences, i.e - your grievances with others. You have been hurt; so too have others because of your trucculent attitude. Many priests have spomen publicly about the Church's reprehensible failings and behaviour. Many priests too support, help and accompany those who are hurt, broken and struggling. You are not the only "listener, supporter and carer" - most of us do so quietly and professionally but without the glare of fanfare .

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  11. If you've spoken publicly of this abuse, then why shouldn't Bishop Pat here, on this blog?

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    1. Magna, I'm not denying Pat his right to speak but his blog is so repetitive, uninspiring and predictable. Pat is driven by an inflated ego and self righteousness that he makes the Pharisees look like saints!

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  12. 04.12 completely agree with your historic analysis. Buckley, MMM, Carta and others on this horrid blog would have felt at home being cosy with Elizabeth I and James I of England. Just watch bbc2 st 9pm, this blog would fit rightly in. Some of us don't like priest haters or Catholic church haters like this blog.

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    1. I don't hate Catholic priests.

      I hate corrupt and abusive Catholic priests - and their unthinking apologists!

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    2. MournemanMichael6 November 2017 at 23:12

      So why do you read it Anon @19:53?
      Of course you're quite entitled to your views. But your implicit assertion that those who pose difficult questions are "haters" appears to indicate both a limited perspective and a certain inability to positively argue your position.
      Argumentum ad hominem springs to mind.
      Can I invite you to explain your observation more fully?
      MMM

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  13. 19.53
    Why read it then.
    It isn’t compulsory.

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  14. Well stated Bishop +Pat

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  15. I begin to finally understand how Bishop Daly must have felt. Dealing with someone who has his mind completely closed to any opinion different from his own must have been like trying to get through a brick wall I am not sure what qualities we're meant to be admiring but the ability to really listen añd reach out certainly isn't one of them! It was not apparent to me today.

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    1. MournemanMichael7 November 2017 at 09:51

      As I said before about a year ago: many years ago at a time I had no knowledge of Daly I saw him participate on a TV chat type show. I was appalled by the arrogance he showed. It was absolute intolerance of others views disguised as superior knowledge.
      MMM

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  16. Pat,
    Dublin diocese produced annual financial accounts last May which were reported in the media. Are there not similar accounts for other dioceses?

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