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Investigate all Irish homes for unwed mothers, archbishop suggests

Catholic World News - June 09, 2014

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, has called for an independent investigation of homes for unwed mothers, in the wake of sensational reports about the discovery of the unmarked graves of 800 young children at the site of a former Church-run home in Tuam.

Archbishop Martin said that an inquiry should focus not only on the institution in Tuam, but on “mother and baby homes” generally. These homes, usually run by religious orders under state auspices, with very limited funding, saw high rates of disease and child mortality. Meanwhile the researcher who uncovered evidence of the children's deaths in the Tuam home has disclosed that most of the news stories that flashed around the world last week, claiming that 800 children had been "dumped" in a septic tank, were completely inaccurate.

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  • Posted by: loumiamo7154 - Jun. 10, 2014 10:00 AM ET USA

    Sorry, JG, but you're way off the mark. Sure the conditions were bad, but that was due to extremely limited funding. All of Ireland was in economic distress at the time. The unwed mothers who ended up there were not held against their will, they had nowhere else to go, and indeed the Tuam shelter helped provided those women with their best alternative.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 09, 2014 6:31 PM ET USA

    While the stories about a "septic tank" may not be 100% accurate, the thrust of the stories is on the mark: those in charge of the homes seem to have shared the inhuman attitude toward unwed mothers then common in Irish society. But we expect more of our religious; we expect their attitudes will mirror Christ's own. That is at the heart of what it means to be truly Catholic. This is a sickening history, one that should make us all question how good the "good old days" in the Church really were.

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