A brief post to bring this article to your attention. Tim Stanley is a columnist with the Daily Telegraph in London. A historian and convert to Catholicism he has interesting things to say on Catholic issues among others. He has written an thought-provoking article on the Tuam story and it is well worth reading.
Earlier today the Minister for Education and Skills here in Ireland was speaking about the Tuam case. In an effort to set the record straight he said that the cause of the problem was conservative Ireland. While I acknowledge the Minister may well be trying to point out that blaming the Church is too simple and may not reflect completely the reality of what happened, I would have to disagree with him, not because conservatives in Ireland are not capable of the discrimination we saw in relation to unmarried pregnant women, but the reality that liberals discriminate too, they are just as bad as conservatives. Conservatives may have sent pregnant girls into homes, but the liberals want to send them to abortion clinics - either way it is inhuman treatment of unborn children and women and the refusal to do the right thing. Neither captivity, forced adoption nor the killing of an innocent baby are good responses: they are gravely sinful.
The problem was in fact "respectable Ireland" - those who considered their status, their impeccability, their honour, more important than Christian values. To protect their respectability they condemned their "erring" daughters and their offspring to the outer darkness lest they contaminate the pristine reputation of the family. Indeed in some cases in putting out the "fallen" daughter there may well have been an attempt to cover over darker things like abuse in the family which was, and still is, widespread in Irish society. These "outcasts" were dumped on the doorstep of the Church ("let the nuns look after them") and society built a wall of silence around them. The Church in Ireland's biggest mistake was to cooperate with the Irish State and her citizens in this, and in the process she betrayed her commitment to Christ, the Gospel and charity. And now that the skeletons are out of the closet, respectable Ireland is turning on the Church.
A timely lesson indeed. Let's hope in future that the Church when she sups with the State will use a very long spoon and put the Gospel first even if it offends those pewsitters who are more concerned about their honour than anything Christ may have to say.