Irish Catholic Church says horrified by children’s mass grave

June 6, 2014
(The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway June 4, 2014. Local residents on Tuesday said they hoped a campaign is making headway to commemorate the unmarked mass grave of nearly 800 babies found in Tuam. The infants were buried without coffins in the grounds of a former home for unmarried mothers between 1925 and 1961. A total of 796 babies toddlers and children were buried in this mass grave. Death records show the children died from malnutrition and infectious disease. REUTERS/Stringer )

(The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bon Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

Ireland’s Roman Catholic Church told the order of nuns who ran the former home where a mass grave of almost 800 children was found that it must co-operate with any inquiry into the discovery.

Ireland is considering an investigation into what the government called a “deeply disturbing” discovery of an unmarked graveyard at a former home run by the Bon Secours Sister where 796 children died between 1925 and 1961.

The Archbishop of Tuam said that while it did not have any involvement in the running of the home, his diocese was horrified and saddened to learn of the scale of the number of children buried at the Church-run home.

“I can only begin to imagine the huge emotional wrench which the mothers suffered in giving up their babies for adoption or by witnessing their death. The pain and brokenness which they endured is beyond our capacity to understand,” Archbishop Michael Neary said in a statement.

“Regardless of the time lapse involved this is a matter of great public concern which ought to be acted upon urgently.”

The Bon Secours order was not available for comment.

Ireland’s once powerful Church has been rocked by a series of scandals over the abuse and neglect of children. Public records show that 796 children died in the county Galway “mother-and-baby home” before its closure, according to a local historian.

Researcher Catherine Corless said the bodies were buried in a sewage tank on the grounds and that some of the dead were as young as three-months-old.

The Catholic Church ran many of Ireland’s social services in the 20th century, including mother-and-baby homes where tens of thousands of unwed pregnant women, including rape victims, were sent to give birth.

Unmarried mothers and their children were seen as a stain on Ireland’s image as a devout Catholic nation. They were also a problem for some of the fathers, particularly powerful figures such as priests and wealthy, married men.

Like the Magdalene Laundries, where single women and girls were sent, the mother-and-baby homes were run by nuns but received state funding. They acted as adoption agencies and in that capacity were overseen by the state.

via Irish Catholic Church says horrified by children’s mass grave | Reuters.

3 comments

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The Catholic Church has a lot of things to be horrified about. And no comment from their leader yet?

Posted by quatra | Report as abusive

Can anyone name another organization that could commit this crime, not to mention molest children, for decades and not be ordered out of the country?
No one goes to jail, no one even pays a fine or admits any part in this horror. That’s the living example of corruption

Posted by hotsprings | Report as abusive

Bastards. The Catholic Church ought to form an alliance with Bill Gates and Monsanto. Maybe they already have…

Posted by DavidBlomstrom | Report as abusive