Monday, June 16, 2014

Catholic Media: Missing the Point About Ireland's Dead Babies

  What difference does it make if 800 babies were deliberately dumped in a septic tank or not?If they died of neglect,if their mothers were ostracized, and if they were scapegoated by the culture they lived in as children of sin, if they were treated as inferior human beings? The grave is still a mass grave.The children and their mothers were treated with cruelty by Christians who do not deserve that name.
Religious orders received money from the Irish state or from local taxes to run schools, orphanages, hospitals and other institutions. State supervision of these facilities was at best spotty, although state officials appear to have tried to correct especially outrageous situations. Funding was politically controversial. The payments per child and mother to the nuns running the Bon Secours institute were described in a debate recorded by the Connacht Tribune in 1927 as “something terrible,” with one local worthy enquiring of the matron, “Would you not think the sum of [26 pounds] a year is too much to be paying for an infant?” A combination of violent prejudice against unwed mothers and their children, inadequate supervision and pressure not to spend money are likely to have played a key role in high infant mortality rates. The extent to which such neglect might have shaded into something more deliberate and active is unclear.

Deliberate? Whether there was a collective decision to allow these children to die, or at least to spend less money on their maintenance, the complacency which fostered their neglect was certainly deliberate. How many sins do we commit under the guise of doing good? Even the Nazis thought they were doing something good for Germany. Very few villains, unless they are on television shows or in movies, actually wallow in the evil they commit. Most of us pretend to ourselves, very successfully, that we are good people trying to make the world a better place. Most of us thank God that we are "not like other men". I don't think anyone is going to find a written record of some committee meeting wherein it was decided to shun an entire group of women and their children and by indifference allow them to fade away.  But it is the common practice of many  "Christian"  societies to eradicate, not the existence of evil, because the root of that is within each one of us, but the evidence of human weakness. 


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