Tuesday, June 10, 2014

About that Irish dead-baby story

More anti-Catholic hysteria:
It now turns out that the story has been grossly exaggerated. On Saturday, The Irish Times -- a paper that is about as friendly to the Catholic Church as its New York namesake -- reported that Catherine Corless told the paper that “I never said to anyone that 800 bodies were dumped in a septic tank. That did not come from me at any point. They are not my words.” One of the boys who found the bones in the 1970s, Barry Sweeney, told the Times that "there was no way there were 800 skeletons down that hole. Nothing like that number. I don’t know where the papers got that.” When asked by the Times how many bodies were in the pit, he replied, “About 20.” Nor is it clear that the underground pit found by the boys ever was a septic tank, though it may have been; or that the bodies they saw there were from the home, though they may have been; or that the nuns were the ones who decided to put them there, though they may have been. The Times story also notes that the number of dead children from the institution is "a stark reflection of a period in Ireland when infant mortality in general was very much higher than today, particularly in institutions, where infection spread rapidly. At times during those 36 years the Tuam home housed more than 200 children and 100 mothers." Indeed, the Irish Catholic blog Lux Occulta calculated that the mortality figures at the home are in line with general infant mortality in Ireland at the time.
From Chronicles.


  1. It is like the old Maria Monk tales


  2. There must be 800 babies in there because Irish Jansenism.

  3. Yeah, this is hardly surprising or unusual. I used to occasionally go past a building in upstate New York that had once been a county home for the infirm and destitute. Long after it closed, the building was purchased by a local community college that wanted to turn it into classrooms. Construction crews dug up tons of bodies that had been unceremoniously dumped into unmarked graves in the side yard. It shocks us today, in the era of penicillin and advanced surgery, but if you deal with sudden death on a frequent enough basis, taking out the corpses can start to feel like just another aspect of garbage removal.

    Nowadays, it's fashionable to blame the Church for the Bad Old Days in Ireland, but that ignores a pervasive culture of domestic violence that was hardly confined to the clergy. And frankly, I've heard firsthand tales of small-town public schools in '50s America whose (female) teachers were nastier and more violent than most of the Irish Christian Brothers.


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