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“The Guardian” carried the shocking story on June 4 :  “The bodies of 786 children, between the ages of 2 days and 9 years old, have been found in a disused sewage tank in Tuam, County Galway (Ireland).  They died between 1925 and 1961 in a mother and baby home under the care of the Bon Secours nuns.”

The article, of which the above chilling sentences form the introduction, spells out the grim details, including the discovery in 1975 of the hundreds of “small skeletons” in the “grave” (“Tuam”, the name of the town, in Gaelic means … “tomb”) which was re-sealed and then forgotten until its recent rediscovery.  The children had been taken from their unwed mothers who were incarcerated in a “Magdalen asylum where they  worked to atone for their sins”.  The priest-secretary of the Tuam Archdiocese is quoted as reacting to the revelation by saying : “I suppose we can’t really judge the past from our point of view, our lens.”

I could not remain silent.  “The Guardian” published my comment, one among some 2224 others – a score that is rising as I write.  THOM wrote a typically eloquent expression of outrage when he read the article.  For the record, here is my comment and his :

Frank the Blogger (alias Desiderius)  :  “My grandfather left Tuam an Mheara (“Tomb of the Meara”, Toomevara, Tipperary), our family-seat, at the end of the 19th century, and became the patriarch of the O’Mearas in Australia.  He brought his Catholicism with him, which indirectly explains why I and two of my brothers were ordained priests.  I am now a militant atheist.  I have self-published a book, “From Illusions to Illumination.  The Itinerary of a Franciscan Priest from Catholicism to Atheism”, and have created a blog (blindfaithblindfolly.wordpress.com) not only to explain why I abandoned the Church but to motivate people I call ‘Believers on the Brink’ to do likewise.  The Tuam scandal alone should provide reason enough to recognize that the Church continues to blind the credulous by claiming divine authority for its absurd beliefs, finding excuses even for its crimes against humanity which it dismisses as ‘aberrations’.  Only the truth will make us free.”

A Sydney engineer (alias Thom)  :  “This is the sort of story one expects from the excesses of Nazism.  And some buffoon has said it was not the practice at the time to bury unbaptized children in graves !  The mental cruelty inflicted on the young women and girls involved is indescribable.  How could these men (priests) and women (nuns) have thought they were acting in accordance with Christ’s teachings ?  In India today there are scandals just as bad, and the orphanages of Romania bear witness to the inhumanity there.  The unique aspect of this Irish scandal is that it happened under the auspices of a religion that is supposed to be founded on love.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg of suffering, humiliation, deprivation, exploitation and abuse of which by far the greater part will remain forever secret.”

                                       RIDENDA   RELIGIO