Earlier this week a report was published on the Mother and Baby Homes scandal.
Interestingly our Teashop MeHole announced that he was going to apologise to the victims on Wednesday [today]. The thought crossed my mind that it’s therefore legitimate for me to belt Herself over the head and apologise for it next week?
The report itself makes for very difficult reading. It is a litany of humiliation, psychological abuse, forced adoption of babies and an many cases, of infanticide were the bodies of “illegitimate” babies were just dumped into a hole in the ground, or in one location into a septic tank.
I heard a little bit of MeHole’s “apology”. It was the usual obligatory stuff that was as predictable as the sunrise. What really pissed me off though was his apology “on behalf of the State”.
I concede that a lot of people knew what was going on in those homes, from locals through law enforcement and up to and including the gubmint. What you have to understand though is the position of the Catholic Church in all of this.
Until relatively recent times, and in particular the earlier years this state was ruled by the Church with an iron fist. At the head of this was Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. In my book, this man was evil. He was nothing short of a misogynistic dictator who demanded that he personally sign off on all political decisions. Any politician who stepped out of line would promptly get a call to the Archbishop’s Palace [yup – palace!] in Drumcondra for a “belt of the crozier”. He even controlled censorship of books and films, many of which were banned in Ireland. McQuaid saw all women and in particular younger girls as “occasions of sin” whose sole occupation was in tempting the male population into lust and damnation.
I remember well being taught this interesting fact about girls and how they were all lusting after me. I did my own private research into the matter and found to my disappointment that it was largely untrue.
As a consequence of this misogyny any unmarried girl who found herself pregnant by accident or from rape or incest was seen as an “evil woman” who deserved to burn in hell for eternity and was packed off to the Mother and Baby Homes where a lot of the babies were stripped from their mothers and adopted.
Yes, the Man in the Street knew or at least suspected what was going on in these institutions but in the climate of the time, there was little he could do.
So the apology should not come from the State. It is almost solely the responsibility of the Church and they are the ones who should be forced to pay restitution in full.
What say you, MeHole?