THE GIRLS OF BESSBOROUGH

By Deirdre Finnerty

The walls were high and the wrought-iron gates opened on to a long, winding avenue.
At end was a once-grand three-storey Georgian mansion in one of the better-off, sleepy suburbs of Cork city.
It was 1960, and Bridget arrived with a single suitcase and a rose-pink coat with a belt. She felt immediately uneasy.
“Everything was hidden from the outside, surrounded by shrubbery and trees. People couldn’t see in.”
Once through the door, her clothes, her savings book, her small stud earrings and her bracelet were taken from her. She was given a uniform – clogs and a starched denim dress.
Bridget – like the other arrivals – was told not to speak about her life outside. All of them were given a different name. Hers was Alma – but she couldn’t get used to it.
None of the girls had committed any crime. But they had two things in common.
They were all unmarried and they were all pregnant.At Bessborough, the long rooms of the girls’ quarters were on the top floor, looking out towards the cemetery.
The nuns called them all “girls”, but in truth the residents were anything from 13 to 30.
Bridget was 17 when she arrived. She was there because she had sinned, or so the nuns told her, by falling pregnant.
This was a mother and baby home, not a prison. Legally, Bridget and the other girls could have left at any time.
But in practice it wasn’t as simple as that. Any girl who ran away might find themselves rounded up by the police. And in any case, for the vast majority there was just nowhere else for them to go.
Each girl admitted to the home knew they would give birth there and stay until their baby was adopted – as long as three years.
They weren’t allowed outside except for short walks around the grounds and they had to be accompanied.
They were all given jobs. Some worked in the kitchens or in the red-bricked laundry building.
Bridget worked nights in a small room off the labour ward. Even in the quieter times, there was little chance to rest.
“We had to scrub the passageway… a massive wide passage with multi-coloured tiles on it.”
Occasionally she fed babies in a nursery lined with rows of cots. Another nursery held toddlers up until the age of three.
Bridget and the other girls were only allowed to spend about 30 minutes with each child. She doesn’t remember any toys.
“Some of the babies, they’d still hold their hands out. They didn’t want you to let go of them.”Nuns and children at BessboroughWhen a new girl arrived the others would quiz her about what was in the papers, desperate for some connection with life outside.
There were no calendars. All the days merged into one – an anxious wait for the birth and then for the inevitable separation from their children.
The girls signed release forms to allow for the adoptions but they were under overwhelming pressure to do so. They knew they couldn’t return to their families with their babies.
Joan, who worked in the kitchen, showed Bridget her toddler. He had a rash on his face and every day she prayed it wouldn’t heal in the hope that would stop him being adopted.
Another mother, Josie, showed off the intricate cardigans she was making for a small, dark-haired child. The little girl, who now goes by the name Mari Steed, went on to be adopted by a Catholic family in the US.Mari Steed as a toddler (left)June Goulding, a midwife who worked there in 1951, describes in her memoir the procedure for handing over the children.
Without warning, babies and toddlers would be washed and dressed up in new clothes and given to their mothers.
They would walk down a long passageway to a door that opened on to the nuns’ quarters where the children would be taken from their arms.
“The girls stood at the doorways watching this heartrending scene and the mother’s uncontrolled crying could be heard all along that long corridor,” wrote June Goulding.
“I witnessed the horrific ritual that would be repeated for each and every mother and baby in this hellhole.”Escaping to EnglandJust a few months earlier, Bridget had been a teenager in love. They were dancehall sweethearts.
He was a boy from Tipperary and 10 years older. At the weekends she would cycle five or six miles to the nearest dance to see him. “My first love. God, my first lesson in life. I thought he was lovely.”
Bridget was working as a cook in a big house for a racehorse-owning family outside Clonmel, the largest town in the county.
Most girls her age didn’t know the basic facts about sex and relationships. Contraception was illegal. Catholic leaflets encouraged girls to avoid kissing. It was a conservative time.
The Country Girls, Edna O’Brien’s novel about the love lives of two young women, had been banned by the Irish censor, publicly burned and dismissed as “filth”.
“I didn’t know anything about babies,” says Bridget. So when she began to feel unwell, and guessed that she might be pregnant, she had no idea what to do.
Abortion was out of the question. It was against the law and destined to remain so until 2018. But having a child out of wedlock was also a scandal.
“It was worse than murder in those days. It really was an appalling crime,” Bridget remembers.
For unmarried mothers, renting a flat or holding down a job wasn’t an option. There were no state allowances for women raising children alone.
And those children faced the stigma of being “illegitimate”, whispered about and judged by the community.
There was one way out.
Agencies like Miss Brophy’s International Bureau offered Irish girls live-in domestic jobs in the UK. All fares were paid. A girl could set off almost immediately.To Bridget, it seemed like the perfect solution. She would be gone before anyone figured out what was wrong.
Within a few weeks she had a job with a family in Golders Green in north London.
She hadn’t told her boyfriend yet, but she felt sure he would follow her to England. In the event, she never heard from him again.
Bridget barely remembers what life was like with the family. But she felt anxious all the time.
She had escaped Ireland but she hadn’t escaped her feelings of shame and guilt. She needed to speak to someone, she couldn’t keep this secret bottled up.
“I was desperate, absolutely desperate,” she says.
Bridget went to confession at a Catholic church and left feeling relieved.
The priest had told there was a way she could get help. There were people she could talk to, who would understand her predicament. He gave her an address.Piccadilly Circus, London, circa 1960Young pregnant women like Bridget had been escaping to London and other big English cities for years.
There was still stigma in England around “illegitimate” children – and there were mother and baby homes, albeit with less punitive regimes. But Irish women could enjoy a level of anonymity in England that would have been impossible back home.
But there was always disquiet.
In 1936, the journalist Gertrude Gaffney wrote about the “dance hall evil”. “All concerned feel it unfair that they in England should be saddled with the expense and worry of them,” she wrote in the Irish Independent.
By 1955, London County Council had so many Irish babies left in their care that a dedicated children’s officer was appointed to spend six months each year in Ireland to try to find homes for them.
Social workers were said to have used the acronym PFI (pregnant from Ireland).
But there were Catholic charities in England which had a solution. Bridget had been given the address of the Catholic Crusade of Rescue in west London.
A repatriation scheme for women and girls in her situation had been set up in the 1930s by the Irish government, according to Lindsey Earner Byrne, lecturer in modern history at University College Dublin.
One motive was to stop babies from being adopted into non-Catholic families.
Catholic charities in the UK went to great lengths to persuade, and sometimes even coerce, young women to return home.
With no money, no friends and no support, Bridget felt like she had no choice.
In 1960, 113 Irish women were sent back, according to an Irish charity that collated figures in its annual reports. Bridget was one of them.
She was told that a woman wearing a white armband would meet her on the boat, and men in a black car would meet her at the harbour when she arrived.
“I didn’t suspect anything, what eventually happened. Not at all.”
It was a sunny day in August and she was on her way to Bessborough.WilliamThere were punishments at Bessborough. Bridget was made to stand in the corner for hours while heavily pregnant.
Her baby came three weeks early. Her waters broke in the middle of the night and she was shivering with cold.
It was dark. Another girl guided her down to the labour ward.
There was no pain relief and no kind words. Bridget’s baby boy was born on the third day of labour. She was exhausted but loved him immediately.
“I still see him. His eyes were looking around. Very inquisitive, beautiful, perfect baby, blonde, blue eyes and he sort of had hair as if it was combed beautifully.”
Bridget knew she would not be able to keep her son.
She wanted to call him William, a less common name in Ireland at the time. She thought it would be easier for her to trace him later.
But the nuns said Gerard was a more appropriate Catholic name for would-be adoptive parents. In the end, Gerard William was what went on the birth certificate.
For the first couple of days he was feeding well. But on the third day he had difficulty swallowing and started to get sick. So did Bridget.
William’s health worsened and the other girls told her he had been put in the “dying room”.
Bridget’s own health deteriorated too. She says she didn’t receive any medication.
She begged the nuns to send for a doctor for William. They told her he had a congenital defect but Bridget has always believed this wasn’t the case.
“Things stay in your memory that you cannot forget. He was a fighter – a good strong healthy baby, if he had got the proper treatment.”
But she says it took a further 16 days for William to be sent to hospital. He died less than three weeks after that.
Bridget didn’t get to see him. She says she wasn’t told where he was buried or anything more about what had happened.She left the home just a week after William’s death. With no baby to give up for adoption, the home would no longer receive state funding for her.
Bridget remembers being very weak, and hampered by an abscess in her leg where she had been injected. But she knew she would have to find work quickly.
“There was nobody you could talk to about this, absolutely nobody. You had to keep working.”
Bridget didn’t want to admit to her family, who still thought she was in London, what had happened.
She decided to return to London and quickly found another job.
Emigrating, she says, was a lifeline after all she had been through. She went to the library and read all the books that were banned in Ireland.
Bridget married and had three daughters, and got on with a new life.The scandalsBridget’s story is not an isolated tragedy. Her experience was repeated at at least 17 other homes, affecting thousands of women across the country.
In recent years Ireland has confronted the separate scandal of the Magdalene Laundries, institutions where “fallen women” were confined and used as forced labour.
Now the spotlight has moved on to the mother and baby homes.
Over the past two decades Irish investigative journalists have uncovered a string of allegations against the homes, and irregularities surrounding the adoption of thousands of Irish children to America in the 50s and 60s. The film Philomena, starring Judi Dench, intensified attention.
In 2014, a local historian went public with her theory that almost 800 babies could be buried in a septic tank at a former mother and baby home in Tuam in Galway.
The international outcry that followed forced the government to act, announcing a full-scale investigation into 18 homes across the country.
The accusations against the homes include:• Burying babies in unmarked and unrecorded graves
• Coercing women and girls to remain
• Poor medical care
• High mortality rates for babies
• Overwhelming pressure on mothers to allow babies to be adopted
• Emotional and physical abuse
• Illicit adoption; that babies were effectively “sold” to families in the US and elsewhere without proper procedures or consent
• Allowing medical trials without informed consent
• Use of dead babies in anatomical research
• Falsification of recordsSo why did Ireland end up with a system of mother and baby homes?
After independence from the UK in the 1920s, the new state had to decide how to deal with people needing government assistance.
The new government was also worried about sexual morality and unmarried mothers, says Lindsey Earner Byrne.
The Catholic Church had an important role in providing social services for the cash-strapped Irish state.
Officials called on religious orders to set up special homes to deal with unmarried mothers. These mother and baby homes received public funds and were inspected by the state.Bessborough was one of the first.
The house and its grounds were taken over by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1922.Nuns at BessboroughBy the 1930s the order was running two other homes.
Questions were occasionally asked about the regimes in these places. Bessborough was even shut down for a short period in the late 1940s by Ireland’s chief medical officer, after an investigation revealed that 100 babies out of 180 had died in a single year.
There were never legal powers to detain women in the homes, according to Earner Byrne. But official documents made the girls sound like criminals.
“First offenders” describes those pregnant outside marriage for the first time, often judged less harshly than “repeat offenders”, deemed to be “hardened sinners”.
In 1930, the matron in charge of Bessborough said that “a number of the girls are weak willed and have to be maintained in the Home for a long period to safeguard them against a second lapse”.
Many had been referred to the homes by priests or doctors, with the consent of their families, who banished them to institutions rather than risk the stigma of supporting them. Some entered of their own free will as they felt they had nowhere else to go.
It is estimated that somewhere between 7,000-10,000 mothers gave birth in Bessborough, according to journalist Conall O Fatharta who has followed the scandal closely.
Rights groups say that up to 90,000 unmarried women and girls had their babies forcibly taken from them since independence. The true figure will probably never be known.
Tuam, the most notorious of the homes, closed in 1961. Bessborough remained open until the late 1990s.Decades onCarmel is Bridget’s eldest daughter. After growing up in London, she ended up marrying an Irishman and moving to Cork in the early 1990s.
Their bungalow sits on a hilltop. As well as raising their own children, the couple have also fostered.
Standing on the crest of the hill, Carmel could look down on the lough and a well-kept 60-acre estate of an 18th Century mansion.
“I could have moved anywhere around the city in Cork… but I literally circle Bessborough about five, six times a day.”
She heard rumours about this place. But she could never have imagined she was looking down at a place of immense significance for her.Growing up, Carmel remembers her mother’s life as a flurry of activity – meetings and visits and social events. But she always had a sense that there was something in the background, something bothering her.
One morning in 1996, Bridget was visiting and, after being out all day, broke down in the kitchen. Carmel had never witnessed grief like it.
“She couldn’t speak to me, she couldn’t actually get the words out of her mouth to tell me.”
Carmel heard a secret family history. She had a brother who she never knew existed. But that brother was dead.
Thirty-five years on, her mother was still struggling to find the courage to try to uncover the truth.
“It was heartbreaking. She was helpless, she didn’t know what to do next.”
That day, Bridget had gone back to Bessborough but she couldn’t face knocking on the door. A couple of days later, she tried again, knocked on the door and asked the questions she’d always wanted to ask.
The sister, a short, stocky woman with cropped grey hair, took her into a small room lined with folders full of files. Eventually she found Bridget’s.
Then she led her down the avenue, on to a small path, towards a walled off area beside an old stone tower.
This was the Angels’ Plot – an area no more than 500 square feet. Small, plain metal crosses marked the graves of about two dozen nuns.
The sister tapped her foot on a small, unmarked patch of grass, about three-quarters of the way down on the right-hand side.
“Your baby is buried there,” she said confidently.
The nun told Bridget she wouldn’t be allowed to put a marker there to remember William.Decades after Bridget left Bessborough, the home was still taking in young women.
Deirdre Wadding always thought her family loved her unconditionally. But when she became pregnant as an 18-year-old university student in 1981, she couldn’t believe their reaction.
Her mother, who had always been caring and approving, suddenly became cold and distant, a stranger to her.
“That trauma has never quite left me. I was filled with shame and guilt.”Deirdre WaddingHer parents shipped Deirdre off to Bessborough. Arrangements were made so she could continue her teacher training studies while in the home.
Conditions had improved by the 1980s. The food was OK and there was better antenatal care. In the evenings the girls would watch TV in the dayroom. There was no uniform.
Deirdre says the girls could leave the grounds with permission – they could go for a walk to the local shop in the village if they liked. Some had private rooms.
But Bessborough still felt like its own little universe, a house of secrets cut off from the world outside.
Deirdre’s new name was Ciara. A cover story was concocted about her having been sent to hospital for tests. Letters were sent via forwarding addresses so no-one would find out where the residents really were.
For a while, Deirdre shared a room with a 13-year-old girl who sobbed herself to sleep at night.
Even in 1981 the social pressure exerted on girls like Deirdre was immense. It’s easy to understand why they would think there was no alternative but to stay there. Deirdre’s family made it clear she wouldn’t be able to stay in her family home.
She says she didn’t want to give her baby up for adoption, but didn’t feel like she had any choice.
“We believed we couldn’t leave there. If I had walked out that gate, there was nowhere I could have gone.
“That was the level of indoctrination, that was how society worked.”
When the cover story started to wear thin, Deirdre’s father rang the home to see if they could “speed things up”. Her baby was induced three weeks early. It was a difficult birth, a forceps delivery on a metal trolley.
When it was all over, she was delighted to see her son.
“He was utterly beautiful. I was just mesmerised, at the one time just besotted and in love and devastated and distraught.”
That was the last time she would see him for 19 years.
Unlike in Bridget’s time, women in the 1980s did not have to stay there until adoptive parents were found.
Deirdre’s parents collected her just three days after the birth. They left through the big oak doors as if nothing had happened.

PAT SAYS.

This is a very sad story of decades of suffering and death presided over by Catholic church.

Jesus said: “By their fruits ye shall know them”.

What we read above are the fruits of a satanic level of evil.

Which pope was it said that the smoke of Satan had entered the church?

That was ONE infallible statement!

69 thoughts on “THE GIRLS OF BESSBOROUGH

  1. Pat, keep going. The adherents of the One True Faith who criticise you on here want people to forget what a racket their holy religion is, but mustn’t be allowed to. In this case those poor girls only got refuge in a Protestant country.

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    1. 7.37: Surely what we all want is TRUTH, ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF WRONG, ACCOUNTABILITY HARMFUL DECISIONS. Church, state and various agencies – and individuals, perhaps ourselves – need to urgently admit our part in these horrendous realities if women’s lives and their babies. Our admittance of wring must go beyond a ” blog soundbyte”. We’ve had enough of these and they do not further the cause of truth or justice. What are We, all of us learning from the past? Very little it would seem because if we truly learnt anything little children and their parenrs/guardians would not be homeless today: children and vulnerable people would not be in psychiatric wards waitung for a response th their special needs: those in poverty and disadvantagecwould be l7fted up: those in our streets begging for food and shelter would be looked after. It’s all too easy ( and I do it myself) to condemn all others whilecsitting behind a computer. Thecreal test of our supposed abhorrence is seen by what we do now for the “visible” hurt, broken and wounded on our streets, in our homes and at in our neighbourhoods. The PAT SAYS comments are trivial, tiresome and predictable. I’m quite certain his parents, relatives, friends and neighbours knew of the existence of these “places” of cruelty and abuse, but I wonder did they too just pass by in the other side of the road while on the way to mass, as many, many ‘upright’ people did!! So, let’s not be so smug in our selective judgments…..

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    2. The so called CofI also had mother and baby homes and they opened the first Magdalene laundry. In the UK unmarried mothers went to the workhouse or were sent against their will to lunatic asylums. The UK social services take babies off mothers at a higher rate than other European countries.

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      1. My grandma in the UK came from farming stock and quite often the bride was pregnant at the wedding. She was not sent to the workhouse. That was around 1900.

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    3. @7.37
      The protestants had their own Mother and Baby Homes, ye gaunch ye. And if you read the article, so did England. It was the times! If you went to Eastern Europe not that long ago look at what went on in orphanages (not really orphans at all) in Romania etc. Look at honour killings in Moslem families even in the west today.
      That is NOT to say that conditions and attitudes in Ireland weren’t very harsh, but to pretend it was all about the Catholic Church is just dishonest.
      BTW, today the wee 13 yr old and the 18 yr old whose parents were societally ashamed would still not be allowed to have their babies and keep them. The babies would be aborted and the girls’ loss and hurt still hushed up and silenced.

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    4. In relation to yesterday’s blog and the ‘boul Maradiaga please note that the wife of former Honduran ambassador to the Vatican has just written a book, ” Sacred Relations” ( I think) detailing the many, many scandals of Francis’s henchman in his native Honduras. Francis and the Curia club know all about him.
      But the francophiles still won’t want to know.

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  2. Fly On Th Wall 25th Apr 2019 — 8:31 am

    It all sounds horrible hi. Society was different then but that’s not an excuse but. Have we learned anything hi. Political correctness anti racism inclusion etc is all over the place but how does it translate into church life and thinking. Sure they can paint the shop and rearrange the winda but what is the product they are selling They are not sure themselves but must keep going in order to earn a crust hi

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    1. Mornin fly hi.
      Begorra fly society was definite and different then butt human name the same.
      We’ve fancier furniture and arrangements and all are equal butt many more equal than udders.
      Power still corrupts in th hands of most.
      Is the message and product in th winda yellow pack or th real deal cos th price is costin us.
      Bye fly hi.

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  3. In America there were two versions of the church. Thomas Merton was mystic who spent all his life looking for God. He was also a gifted writer. I don’t think he was interested at all in money or power. At the same time there was Cardinal Spellman who was fiercely competitive and aimed for the top from the very beginning. You have to decide which one you want. Many catholics are not looking for God.

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    1. That Mary and Martha model has been true for the Church since the very early days when it became apparent that the Lord was not, as had been expected, going to return imminently, so how the Church continues to exist along with secular and political reality was the theme of Augustine’s great work, City of God, in which the two realities – like it or not – have to co-exist. Spellman was a man of his time, and those days are over, no matter how Old Mother Burke would like to recreate them. Nevertheless Spelly was remarkably successful in establishing a vibrant Church in the heart of the American establishment where Catholic immigrants viz “Spics” and “Micks” had been discriminated against. There are countless numbers of American 20th C Catholics who got massive educational, social, medical and so on benefits from the confident communities led by bishops such as Spelly – not for nothing was his residence in Manhattan known as the “Powerhouse”.

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      1. 10.15 I totally agree with your comments. Both were remarkable men but I suspect the future belongs to contemplatives like Thomas Merton. Many people of deep prayer today experience the same things as Merton. I have nearly all of his works. He did fall in love but no-one knows if it was consummated. He wanted his works to have authority so he remained within the church. I think it more likely that the monks were not into health and safety. It was an accident waiting to happen

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      2. He died at a conference in Asia. His falling in love makes him more real. He was a victim of pre Vatican 11 Catholic sexual repression.

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    2. Thomas Merton was a fraud.

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    3. Thomas Merton spent a lot of his life looking for his lover, Marie Smith and his death may have been suicide.
      https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/thomas-merton-the-hermit-who-never-was-his-young-lover-and-mysterious-death-1.2422818

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      1. Were the US secret services not involved. In his death? An electric heater falling into his bath?

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  4. These stories of truth from our past are both shameful and disturbing. We are all shamed. But shame is not sufficient. As a child I heard of such places like Artane and Letterfrack. We were threatened by adults to be sent there if unruly and awkward. We all knew that life inside such doors wasn’t a forever party! I knew of a neighbour who ended upvin Bessboro. She escaped the more harsher side of life. Again, in the late 70′ early 80’s we knew of such ‘hiding’ places for our shamed, unwanted young women. Whispered conversations took place as we walked by, content that the religious had taken our problems out of sight. Who cared then? Who supervised the carers behind high walls? Who ever visited these “fallen women” as we were happy to label them? Who ever asked about the fathers of these young babies? Yet, many men were identified but never pursued. The religious of course should have behaved Christ-like, should have been a sanctuary of safety and loving care, but they weren’t. We knew that for decades yet we as a society acquiesced to the continuance of such places and bad practices until the late 90’s. There is a collective shame we all must bear. Yes, all of us. But “guilt” is the real emotion that ensures action, meaningful action. Guilt propels us to justice, truth, healing, compassion, accountability, ownership of our wrong and to actions and gestures that are radical in embracing all who have been deeply hurt, all who are survivors, all who urgently require help. True guilt spurs us to care for the survivors, to embrace them with open love, to ensure that today, we look after abused children in homes, that we don’t place children, teenagers or vulnerable peep with special needs in psychiatric wards: true guilt will move us to ensure children (almost 4,000) are not homeless, not in sheltered accommodation for year after year: true guilt will move us to eradicate poverty and homelessness and all that dehumanuses us: true guilt should be the catalyst to be a fairer, more just, compassionate and Christian community. Constantly expressing our abhorrence of the past as is done on this blog and by our political elite without actually doing anything different and new is arrogant and offensive. It us to reabuse the abused all over again. To use another person’s story of abuse for our own vindictive agenda is as sinful and ugly as the original abuse. Our sighs of shame are inadequate. The emotion of guilt whereby we openly admit our wrong, church and state and individually is the truth that will move hearts. Our words of abhorrent shame must be accompanied by a true guilt that ensures NEVER,EVER AGAIN must we stand by by and just observe. I feel both shame and guilt and hope that I can and will respond beyond the sound byte of condemnation…..

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    1. @10.09
      All very laudable etc etc. But to be frank, I feel neither shame nor guilt because I knew nothing about such places and I’m pension age. So I don’t get how others like yourself are burdened with all this shame and guilt. As to threats to send you to artane and letterfrack, sure were they not at different ends of the country? As a VERY small child I remember someone saying, ‘ the gypsies will take ye,’ but even at that age we knew it was a tongue in cheek ‘threat.’
      As to the ‘never, ever again’ mantra, haven’t we been hearing that after every war and atrocity since at least 1945!
      I do think we should try to make the world the fairest and kindest possible -but this flowery, over the top, hand-wringing homily just floats right over me. Sometimes less is more.

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      1. 12.51: Perhaps you lived a very sheltered existence. You must have been aware of the existence of these cruel places or is it that your privileged upbringing couldn’t possibly speak the name places of abuse and cruelty? And if you stood idly by in the face of any wrong or injustice in your world, shame on you!!

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  5. Pat, an honest question to learn from the past. What should the church have done to prepare for the sex revolution which has left a huge percentage of children born into instability and the killing of babies now used as a contraceptive? At the time with their understanding what should they have done?

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    1. 10:56

      You’re attempting to make excuses here, though you might counter that it’s just contextualising.

      Here’s the thing: compassion, care, concern, consideration, justice, mercy, non-judgemantalism are not dependent on ‘understanding’, but on love. And yet the institutional Roman Catholic Church in Ireland of those times (and even today) showed little of these qualities.

      And we both know why.😆

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      1. Magna, that’s a poor answer from you.

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    2. 2:35

      How would you have preferred I answer? That these qualities are dependent not on love, but on a human epistemology? Because if you are, you similtaneously dismiss the interaction of the human and the Divine: of the flow of grace, of wisdom, of intellectual empowerment that is not dependent on rationality, or its state of learning or knowledge.

      The incarnate Christ loved perfectly, cared perfectly, was perfectly compassionate, perfectly just, perfectly considerate, perfectly non-judgemental, perfectly merciful…all without understanding in a secular sense. And all because he was perfectly dependent on his Father, the source of all knowldge and all wisdom.

      Those who compromise with the world, who care about scandal, about reputation, about status, about hierarchy will never exercise these qualities to any significant degree, much less supremely.

      Cue the behaviour, in Ireland and elsewhere, of the institutional Roman Catholic Church.

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    3. @4.56
      More tripe. As I said, from a child to an adult never heard mention of them -ever. Saw the artane boy’s band play at the All Irelands and never had a clue what they were.
      Anything BUT privileged financially.
      What age are you that you have all this guilt and shame and had so much insider knowledge? I’d be curious to know.
      I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBTS that my parents and grandparents aren’t in purgatory over Letterfrack. I doubt they heard of it either.
      I thought it was love / Charity we were supposed to have, not collective, generational guilt.
      If I held up a big banner in the street saying Muslims should have collective guilt, do you think I would be done for islamophobic Hate Speech?
      I’m sure there’s a medical term for all this guilt you’re experiencing, but try not to wallow in it.

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  6. Pure nonsense Buckley. You are helping to create a myth around Church Social Teaching and Work, indeed the Truth will SET YOU Free!

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    1. 11.32: Thank you fir thatvreference. It majes fir very interesting reading and is oresented in a thought provoking manber. It will, of course, not suit the lynch mob in this blog whose blindness to truth is now unravelling. It is easy to perpetuate a lie without all the facts. And there are many facts still to be told about the lies of Tuam….

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      1. Let’s have all the facts related to child rape,
        abuse and cover up by clergy. Let’s have all named abusers and ‘credible’ abuse allegations in the public domain. Let’s have an inquiry into dioceses. Let’s have a phone hot line for victims to contact.
        Abuse THRIVES in secrecy, whether behind walls or behind curtains in homes or behind complicit silence.

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    2. 11:32

      Oh, my! You have been busy, haven’t you? Trawling the internet for counter-claims against the Tuam Mother-and Baby-Home scandal?

      Even before I clicked on your link, I knew (just knew😅) that it was going to come from ‘Spiked’, and that its author was Brendan O’Neill.😅😅 Oh! And that his write-up was around five years old. And I was right.😆

      Well, things have moved on a bit since O’Neill typed his piece, things that might make him wish he hadn’t bothered. The Irish Government-funded excavation of the area found significant numbers of human remains, and though it cannot be sure that the chamber in which the remains were found was a septic tank (used or otherwise), it cannot rule out this possibility.

      Dear old Holy Mother old Irish Roman Catholic Church, ever faithful to her sons and daughters, especially to those most vulnerable. And most uncared about.😕

      Like

      1. @1.20
        My own grandparents and all before them were buried in unmarked graves. Grow up.

        Like

      2. 1.20: Mags has come out of her own unmarked cave!! What peace was had in its'( Mags) absence!! Satan incarnate in our midst. Despite all your assertions of concern, you wouldn’t be trusted with a dog!! You have an abundance of faux outrage….If you, Mags darling, put as much effort into goodness as you do with hatred, what a blissful world we’d have.

        Like

      3. How many did they find?

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    3. 3:03

      But they weren’t buried in shitholes, were they?😕

      Like

      1. Neither were the Tuam babies, you dolt!

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    4. 7:32
      The Irish Government would not agree with you.
      What’s wrong? Are you afraid that the ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic church’ might have shown such callous disregard even for the remains of innocent children?
      Let’s face the truth here: it didn’t show much concern for them while they were alive, did it? Why do you think it would bother when they were dead?😕

      Like

      1. @8.31
        The Irish Government?
        Varadkhar and his cronies don’t give a shit about any ordinary Paddy. Wise up!
        The nuns showed as much concern as the babies’ fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles. As for the t.d’s and local councillors: but sure it suits you better to blame the Catholic Church.
        Even the ‘historian’ admits it was only a possibility that babies might have been thrown into septic tank. They might have been thrown into a river, or fed to the pigs – the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

        Like

    5. 8:57
      Gosh! You don’t think like an adult before putting index finger to keyboard, do you?😅
      So the Irish Prime Minister and ‘his cronies don’t give a…’ (What was the literate word used? Oh, yes!)… shit’ about the ‘ordinary Paddy’. Really? Tell this to every ‘ordinary Paddy’ who elected them.😆
      The most telling sentence in that post (about you, oddly enough😅) is ‘the nuns showed as much concern as the babies’ fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles’. Was this, rhetorical musing intended as some sort of moral leveller? You know: putting the nuns’ behaviour in social context? As if to say: ‘Oh, come on! They weren’t THAT bad, were they? Cos everyone else was doing what they did, weren’t they?’
      Let me make this clear, you absolute, bloody fool! 😆These nuns’ context was meant to be CHRIST, not the world: not the morally questionable behaviour of others. These morally stinking (the-word-that-dare-not-speak-its-name-on-this-blog…in plural form😆) would even have had the temerity to describe themselves (no doubt with serene smugness) as ‘brides of Christ’.
      Your sneer at Catherline Corliss says more about you than her. But she, at least, had the moral backbone to expose the hypocritical filth of an institution which, bizzarely, claims moral authority from Christ himself.😅

      Like

  7. 11.14: TRUTH for Pat? What is truth? His version only which invariably is twisted, biased and self serving. Pat only sees what he wants to see and hears only what advances his mythical teachings.

    Like

  8. Did the Holy Spirit instruct the hierarchy to cover up?

    Like

    1. @12.57
      No, that was yesterday. He, allegedly, inspired Daneels, McCarrick et al to form the St Gallen group and collude to get jorge into the top spot. Jorge’s papacy is the fruits of the Spirit, allegedly. God have mercy on us. Oh Lord, make haste to help us!

      Like

  9. The Truth is the hierarchy covered up child rape perpetrated by clergy.

    Like

  10. Who is that handsome beast at the top of the page?

    Like

  11. The blog redesign is great, Pat. What did you think of Fr Magill’s remarks at the funeral yesterday.

    Like

    1. Thank you. Father Magill is good human being and a good priest. He spoke well.

      Like

      1. Ah! But did Magill publicly criticise the ‘Quiet Man’, Noel Treanor, for spending so much parishoners’ donations on upgrading his offices and his home?

        Or was Magill too busy thinking the likely consequences should he have done so?

        There is only one priest in Ireland who risked all to speak out against ecclesial wrongdoing: yourself, Bishop Buckley. The others, when it comes to the moral crunch, keep their heads low.

        I should not call these either good men or good priests (though Noel Treanor might, for showing him loyalty ahead of Christ).

        Like

      2. A friend asked me last night about Magill. I replied: “He’s one of the ……. but he’s a pleasant …… They all are company men and watch their own backs 😦

        Like

      3. Have you lost weight Pat?…you looking healthier.

        Like

      4. I have. Had major dental work done in the past few months and eating was difficult.

        Like

  12. Hi Pat, I like the redesign however i would prefer a photo of stephen and brendan.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pat, can you change the quote about the truth at the top to : how are ye girls?
        LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

        Like

  13. 4.14: Here you go again. Fr. Martin McGill outclasses you any day with intelligence, kindness, faithful service, prayer and integrity. What an amazing, inspiring homily he preached at Lyra’s funeral and now you seek to denigrate this good man. You, Pat, are just a roaring bitch, always seeking to destroy others. Fr. McGill got to the heart of the matter and earned a deserved standing ovation, something you’ll never earn until you rid your heart of poisonous hatred. Do you ever wonder what priests or others think of you?? You should…..Where is your supposed courage in not finishing your sentence? Is Fr. McGill too much admired for your small mind to appreciate? You poisonous rat.

    Like

  14. 4.03: Totally irrelevant comment Magna! You, like Pat, are just a poisonous Bitch!!! What an amazing homily delivered by Fr. McGill. You are so deep in jealousy, rage, inner hatred of others and of yourself that you have lost any ability to see goodness in others. You are shallow, sick, a drunkard and a hasbeen. A reject, a useless piece of crap. God bless Fr. McGill.

    Like

    1. God won’t bless you, though, for your unholy tirade against me.😆
      And you avoided my point. When was Magill’s voiced publicly raised against Treanor for the latter’s obscene expenditure on his home and offices?
      There is, and can be, no such thing as a truly good priest, since they all disavowed Christ when they vowed obedience to an ordaining bishop, and to his successors.
      Imagine being forsworn of Christ to such a man as Treanor? The mere thought makes my skin crawl.😦

      Like

      1. 5.07: Magna, your comnent re: Fr. McGill and Bishop Noel Treanor’s House is irrelevant to the belief and perception that Fr. McGill is indeed a just, good and intelligent man. God will indeed look at your monstrous hatred and ask you why you allowed it take such deep root in your heart. You love side issues and become a bully when defeated. Magna, you are just a nasty bitch….You wage a hateful, vindictive war against many, you hypocrite, a war that hurts, demeans and dehumanises others. Just accept that Fr. McGill represents the many, manyngood priests in our communities. The fact that you cannot contemplate such truth makes my skin crawl…You are a pathetic human being. God bless Fr. McGill. (Poor Mags: were you allowed to be ordained, you might be enjoying rapturous acclaim, but God is good…he pointed out your deficiencies…and somehow you have developed hatred ever since). Live happily in your cave..😁😁😁😁😁😣😣😁😁😁

        Like

    2. You say Magna has lost the ability to see good in others and he and Bishop Buckley are poisonous bitches? In a comment like yours? Seriously?
      Read your comment aloud and have a little reflection on how you might come across to others…

      Like

      1. 6.18: Yes, poster at 4.34 is correct. You obviously need to read Magna’s vicious, hate inciting comments a little more seriously and acknowledge his tyranny of insult, abuse and vulgarity in the same sentences where he mentions CHRIST. There is little Christianity in Magna’s vindictive, crazy, drink fuelled rants. If he insults and denigrated others so freely, then he (and his buddy, Pat) should expect the same in return! They have both developed a pathological, sickening hatred for all things Catholic. And, let me add, Christ called people like Magna and others a “brood of vipers”: “whited sepulchures”: and didn’t he condemn all who heaped hatred on others? So, I’m in good company calling a spade a spade!! Now, for your enjoyment, off you go and reread Magna’s many hate inciting comments, all facilitated by Pat.

        Like

    3. 9:41
      No, dearie. That was the Pharisees.
      Do try to be historically factual in you inane observations.

      Like

  15. Fr Magill had discussed his homily with the other pastor Fr Good.
    The standing ovation was also orchestrated, and why not ?
    We all need a good kick up the ass often

    Like

    1. 5.37: The standing ovation was not orchestrated. … it was a genuine response and it embarrassed our political elite, especially that Mary Lou and Miss Arlene…..

      Like

      1. 6.05
        A circus I made sure not to watch. Was it a Catholic requiem Mass for the soul of the deceased / protestant service of praise of her life or just where George Best got his big send-off, so they thought they’d have it there to accommodate all the big (k) nobs they wanted in attendance? St. Peter’s in too slummy a part of town was it?
        Did Martin O’Hagan who bravely and deliberately faced down the UVF on a weekly basis get hagiographied?
        “Priest Chastises Politicians,” what a novel heading. Cathal Daily should have thought of that one.

        Like

  16. Oh I love the comments Magna attracts. … and Pat obviously.
    Company mrn don’t like anyone who doesn’t simply parrot the company’s policy 👌

    Like

  17. Bishop, what did you think of the ceremonies from Maynooth? Did you get a chance to see them? Here on the Player.

    Like

    1. I was doing my own ceremonies and other things. Plus, I don’t think I want to watch Fanny performing.

      Like

  18. Fly on Th Wall 25th Apr 2019 — 9:38 pm

    Hi Pat Spotted the new photo. Its gotta San Pietro, some spikes a barrier and you. Is there a hidden message hi DaBuckley Code or somethin but. Justa stirrin da spaghetti but

    Like

    1. Good Nite fly hi.
      Begorra fly a new pic of the Bish the big churc abarrier and the comins and goins.
      Churcxit or what…
      Nite fly hi.

      Like

  19. 4.14: A friend of mine asked me last night, what did I think of Buckley? I replied, “he’s one of the…….”. Pat, we can all tell lies when it suits us to defame others…..and it’s a horrible trait. You know….

    Like

  20. This is again dreadful news. My 1st time writing here.
    I looked after a ward in a hospital setting many years ago in Dublin. We got an admission of an elderly lady who was ill. She was 78.
    The home for mentally ill people sent a note saying although ‘Mary’s raving mad she has a chest infection…needs antibiotics etc.
    I admitted Mary {not her real name} and found her quite pleasant. Said her rosary and was very spiritual.
    She got to talk over the next few nights and with no next of kin she had no one. White fluffy hair like a wee granny and a sparkle in her eye. She loved to sing.
    She began to trust me and told me her story. She was 17 and got pregnant….straight to a mother and baby unit were she was beaten for her sins. In fact she was beat that hard that the metre stick broke and a piece went into the nuns eye.
    She was made pray in front of a statue that the nuns eye would recover and she told me ‘I prayed hard that the oul fucker would lose the other one too.’
    Her baby boy was born on Christmas day after 3 days of labour. The nuns were horrified that a basterd child was born on Christmas day.
    She never got to see him and in her own words was treated with the madness ever since.
    Three months passed without a visitor and my wife and I took Mary home with us. To live her days on comfort and dignity.
    She stayed till her death 3 years later and it was at her funeral that the nuns approached us to see if we could sign for her pension money that was in the bank untouched for 3 years for them to receive it.
    I cannot type what I replied but her money put a beautiful headstone for her in a quiet graveyard in Dublin.

    Like

    1. 10:49
      What a wonderfully uplifting post!
      God bless you, and your wife, for your compassionate love…and for your couage and your strong sense of justice in dealing with those rapacious, hypocritical ‘brides of Christ’.😠

      Like

  21. Thanks for that Hugh.

    Like

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