Catholic Church enslaved 30,000 Irish women as forced unpaid labor in Magdalene Laundries until 1996

What a horrific story.  The Irish Prime Minister gave a partial apology today for the government’s role in a 74-year scandal in which, a new official government report says, over 10,000 women were forced to work without pay at commercial laundries called Magdalene Laundries, operated by the Catholic Church for “crimes” as small as not paying a train ticket.

In Northern Ireland, a parellel investigation is currently under way, although it, oddly, is so far refusing to include that country’s Magdalene Laundries in the investigation.

Wikipedia notes that the estimate of the number of women who were used as forced slave labor by the Catholic Church in Ireland alone goes as high as 30,000 over the entire time the Magdalene laundries were in operation.

The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996.

Women were locked in, couldn’t leave Magdalene Laundries for months, sometimes years

The women were locked in and not permitted to leave.  And if they tried to get away, the cops would catch them and bring them back. They were quite literally Catholic slave labor working for the government and even Guinness, which would pay the laundries for the women’s slave labor.

Half of the girls enslaved in these Catholic Church prisons were under the age of 23.  The youngest entrant was 9 years old.

Girls and women working in Catholic Church's Magdalen Laundry in Ireland in the early 20th century. Public domain photo in the US, via Wikipedia. (PD-US-1923-ABROAD)

Girls and women working in Catholic Church’s Magdalene Laundry in Ireland in the early 20th century. Public domain photo in the US, via Wikipedia. (PD-US-1923-ABROAD)

 

 

Singer Sinead O’Connor was perhaps the most famous Magdalene Laundry slave

Singer Sinead O’Connor was forced to work in a Magdalene Laundry in Dublin:

When I was a young girl, my mother — an abusive, less-than-perfect parent — encouraged me to shoplift. After being caught once too often, I spent 18 months in An Grianán Training Centre, an institution in Dublin for girls with behavioral problems, at the recommendation of a social worker. An Grianán was one of the now-infamous church-sponsored “Magdalene laundries,” which housed pregnant teenagers and uncooperative young women. We worked in the basement, washing priests’ clothes in sinks with cold water and bars of soap. We studied math and typing. We had limited contact with our families. We earned no wages. One of the nuns, at least, was kind to me and gave me my first guitar.

No apology from the Catholic Church

Absent from any of the media reports on the scandal that I could find was an apology from the Catholic Church which operated the Magdalene laundries and made handsome profits from contracts with government and hotels.  Oh, found one. It seems the Catholic Church blew the women off.  I know, you’re as surprised as I am:

Victims of the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Irish Catholic Church have received an apology and compensation, but no one has taken responsibility for what happened in the laundries. Cardinal Sean Brady, the most senior Catholic cleric in Ireland, met with Justice for Magdalenes in 2010. He said “by today’s standards much of what happened at that time is difficult to comprehend” but that it was a matter for the religious orders who ran the laundries to deal with. The religious orders have declined to meet the women.

The Irish Cardinal wasn’t interested in hearing from people who were hurt and abused — if not sexually, certainly physically and mentally, by the Catholic Church.  And it’s not the Catholic Church’s fault. Where have we heard that story before?

The laundries were run by nuns, many of whom treated the women sent to work there as slaves:

Senator McAleese’s inquiry found that half of the girls and women put to work in the laundries were under the age of 23 and 40%, more than 4,000, spent more than a year incarcerated.

Fifteen percent spent more than five years in the laundries while the average stay was calculated at seven months.

The youngest death on record was 15, and the oldest 95, the report found.

The Irish state is also implicated in the scandal because the police would take women to the asylums after arresting them for trivial offenses and would return runaways.

The story of the Magdalene laundries shows what happens when an institution — in this case the church and the government — is considered beyond criticism. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the last of the laundries closed in 1996, shortly after the first wave of the Catholic pedophile priest scandals hit Ireland.

Let me reiterate that for a moment.  The Catholic Church had slaves as late as 1996.

“It changed me as a person to authority, God forgive me I learned to hate people then”

Here are some of the testimonials of the women who served as forced Catholic slaves.  You can find them in the official report:

“The only thing was I had appendicitis and asked [named nun] could I go to bed and she wouldn’t let me”.

Some, but not all women reported that their hair had been cut on entry to the laundry. Some described this as an upsetting and degrading experience.

“T’was the ultimate humiliation for you. It changed me as a person to authority, God forgive me I learned to hate people then”.

One woman said that in the Magdalene Laundry in which she was, “You could write once a month but the nun would read the letters”.

This is one is pure torture:

Another very common grievance of the women who shared their stories with the Committee – particularly those who had previously been in Industrial or Reformatory Schools – was that there was a complete lack of information about why they were there and when they would get out. None of these women were aware of the period of supervision which followed discharge from industrial or reformatory school.

Due to this lack of information and the fact that they had been placed in an institution among many older women, a large number of the women spoke of a very real fear that they would remain in the Magdalene Laundry for the rest of their lives. Even if they left the Laundries after a very short time, some women told the Committee that they were never able to fully free themselves
of this fear and uncertainty.

Victims reject Irish PM’s apology

The victims have rejected the Prime Minster’s “apology,” which does sound somewhat lame:

“To those residents who went into the Magdalene Laundries through a variety of ways, 26pc from state intervention or state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment,” Mr Kenny said in parliament in Dublin today.

“I want to see that those women who are still with us, anywhere between 800 and 1000 at max, that we should see that the state provides for them with the very best of facilities and supports that they need in their lives.”

Did your defense lawyer write that one up for you?

Here’s Joni Mitchell singing about the Magdalene Laundries:

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  • Concerned Irish Catholic USA

    Would be very interested to find out how many Nuns and Priests were prosecuted ??anyone know ?

    I do not believe the Catholic Church as a whole is responsible, nor the Irish Government.
    However, the hierarchy of these institutions are ! Whomever was in power during those years should have been aware if not policing the activities of their subordinates. They are and were responsible to these victims. Considering the years involved there are numerous guilty persons.
    Also, I am quite sure many received considerable compensation for their involvement and silence !

    It is overwhelming and disheartening that once again Clergy, Male AND FEMALE have abused their power and fanatics ended up in charge. They made a Mockery of The Word of God. I am certain they will be caring the burden and pain of shame for eternity, and that is as it should be.
    I have personal experience in this, and will admit for a time, my faith and trust was extremely shaken,
    my heart goes out to those women and my prayers are with them.

    Retribution is a positive outcome, but that is merely compensation for years of hard labor and suffering. More importantly, the Powers at be NOW must Acknowledge the facts before them, and for the absolution of their Souls admit any involvement and/or guilt for any Healing to begin.
    I believe a Public Forum would be appropriate. (Can Only Dream)
    It’s scary to think some things in our world haven’t changed in a thousand years…………………………

  • v

    Think of it this way, can you live without the Sun? The Sun is vital for your life and all life on Earth. Is it blackmail to say that you must have the Sun in your life when you don’t want it in your life? That is illogical. You cannot have both God and Sin in your life. The act of unrepentant sinning is wilfully turning away from God and not wanting his grace in your life.

    Your quote from George Carlin only shows how lacking he is in understanding religion. It’s also a common attitude among atheists. I feel sorry for people who just practise religion simply because they are “convinced” by others in believing something without studying and understanding. It’s also not just “ten specific things”. Those ten specific things actually relate to everything one does in their life. It molds the character of their being. The practice of these things forms the person. Much like how a society is determined by the laws it forms and what it chooses to live by. A corrupt society is only corrupt by its choosing. If that corrupt society experiences destruction and suffering, it only does so by its own doing. This is exactly the same for people as individuals. You reap what you sow.

  • Funk Derp

    i love satin too, it makes such great clothes.

  • big

    By the way atheist is just a lack of belief in a god due to lack of evidence.

  • big

    NOT. You do not need religion to have faith. Atheist do not form their faith around these stories. Atheist form their conclusions based on the lack of evidence. Being atheist means to believe in no god. There is no theology involved or stories to support it just current evidence supporting the no God stance.
    Now even if you could prove a God of any type which is a feat in and of itself you then must tie the dogma with the God. Oh and a text written by men supporting itself is not going to do it. Need to have a lot more.

  • Patrick Guinness

    I left a message here yesterday about the involvement of Guinness – asking for more details – but it’s been removed or edited. You weaken your case if you make claims without details.

  • Patrick Guinness

    I’d love to know more about the involvement of Guinness, as my family owned 35% of the company. I’d like to know what percentage of our laundering was done by the Magdalenes, and what we saved from using them instead of another laundry. Or indeed instead of using the company’s own laundry in the brewery. I doubt that this was a main board decision, probably made by middle management. But you mention no details, no names no dates, no amounts. I’m not involved with the Guinness Group but I imagine they couldn’tspend time considering your points without knowing much more detail.

    I am involved with the Iveagh Trust, social housing in Dublin since 1903, that had its own communal laundry. You might like to know that the trust policy on applications since 1903 has specifically precluded choosing tenants by the politics or religion. In fact as members of the “southern unionist” minority and Anglicans we opposed all church control as it had caused Ireland so much trouble in the 1700s (when the Anglican elite ran the island).

    Nowadays the family are mostly scientific rationalists, so we can’t understand the mindset that led to the abuses. I’ve read “The Irish Gulag” by Bruce Arnold and he doesn’t mention the brewery as a notable client. My advice is to concentrate on Pope Francis and try to shake them down first.

  • How_delightful

    Gotta keep your yard clear of rats and mice?

  • How_delightful

    Many who may have joined for ulterior motives.

  • How_delightful

    I am pretty sure it was one of those Catholic `nun` types who beat me with a wooden sandal when I was 7 or 8 at first year of junior school in York, and it nearly broke my pelvis (over 40 years ago).

    Mrs Wright she was called; I recall her now as a tall skinny miserable hag who taught me how to hate.

    My crime?
    I said `shhh` to the boy next to me in class after he spoke to me after the teacher ordered quiet in class.

  • How_delightful

    A nice notion, even if a little underhand and inaccurate.

    Do you also think that cutting out a cancer is a bad idea; or do you have a better plan with your `education`??

  • concerned4us

    Until the end of days religion and faith will be persecuted
    because of the horrible actions and sins by some. The saddest part are those who
    become atheist and those who form their faith around those stories. Jesus
    Christ came to save us, and to teach us. I encourage everyone to pick up the
    bible and live his teachings.

    If satan’s plan is to turn people against God, losing faith and
    religion is playing right into satan’s hands. You make your choice, but
    remember that your soul live with the results of your decisions for eternity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justinnb1 Justin Nathanielson Brown

    Sad Truth, but should be revealed on St. Patricks Day

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1035056673 Mari Tatlow Steed

    Hi, sorry to raise this, but I have to ask: who is managing the campaign fund named in your petition to get Guinness to step up to the plate and “compensate” Magdalene survivors? Who will benefit from the proceeds? As the committee director for Justice for Magdalenes, we are very cautious and concerned where outside financial campaigns exist as there was an enormous amount of fraud perpetrated over similar “fundraisers” for/by groups allegedly representing survivors of Irish industrial schools and residential institutions. And you are aware that Guinness was not the only “user” of services at Magdalene Laundries? Most Irish business, including hotels, prisons, CIE, the Dept. of Defence and others, used the Laundries. Why are you only asking Guinness to be held accountable? True justice for these women will need to come from the State, not individual businesses. That justice, on foot of the official apology from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, is now in the works and advocacy groups such as JFM will be working with Justice Quirke (tasked to oversee the restorative justice process) to insure the process is fair, comprehensive, non-adversarial to the women and above all, transparent. We have also requested as UN observer to oversee.

  • pappyvet

    I constantly hear from Christians that they are Christians out of love, But the very definate idea of what will happen if you DO NOT follow those instructions is laced through their mythology in a very disturbing form. Yes,you have free will, but if that free will does not make the decision to adhere to the edicts,you’re screwed…eternally.One way or another,you’re done,forever.

    Blackmail is blackmail no matter how much syrup you pour over the top of it.

    “Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.” George Carlin

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002228533110 Steafan Dubhuidhe

    We must demand that anyone and everyone involved in conducting this slavery be brought to justice. An international court should charge them with crimes against humanity.

  • AndrewSB49

    In 1993 the nuns want to cash in on Ireland’s property bubble and had a sizeable bit of land they were itching to sell …. only problem was the land was ‘occupied’ by 133 bodies of Magdalene women. So the nuns pleaded their case to the Irish authorities and – being nuns – they were given permission to exhume the 133 bodies. Dear oh dear but 155 bodies were found in the plot – one headless and many of the bodies had plaster-casts on them; obviously as a result of operating the heavy laundry machines. Needless to say that being Ireland the matter of 22 extra bodies in a grave owned by the Catholic Church didn’t cause much of an inquiry and no scandal was caused either when it was discovered that no death certificates were issued for half the bodies in the grave. No forensic analysis or investigation took place. And if one were to take place even now there would be a problem as the nuns cremated all the bodies.

  • Tor

    I am just torn that the church possesses so much earthly beauty.

  • UncleBucky

    Here is another minor amazing church building, very close to where I write: Immaculate Conception Church
    http://achicagosojourn.blogspot.com/2008/11/immaculate-conception-church.html

    I think it’s as gorgeous as a Poulenc motet or Mass
    Mass in G: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lyu-dble0
    Salve Regina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVn5to4uP30

    I am amazed by Poulenc. You know of him? ;o)
    Family. :)

  • Alana

    Wow, really? How can you even connect this to a prison sentence in this context? These women were not tried and convicted of any crime, they were simply tossed aside, used and abused. Not surprising you’d feel this way though, seeing as after looking at your profile you’re obviously one of those patriarchal religious types. I find religious people to be such lousy people. So bitter. So superior.

  • Makni

    If the Irish government doesn’t prosecute anyone for this, Ireland should be suspended from the United Nations and / or action in the Hague Intl court of justice taken against it. It seems the Irish church has been hitting too many cheeks of others and has to be slapped around a few times itself so it learns to interpret the meaning of “turning the other cheek” the right way around.

  • http://twitter.com/1world2live Joseph Essien-Obot

    I have found westerners to be such lousy people, so bitter, so superior. I wonder how many people who are or were sent to prison would say any better of their experiences! It is quite stupid to imagine that if one is taken to a correctional facility that they should be paid for working out their corrections. To end up calling such “slave labour” is astounding! All these nasty comments and ignorant comments only emphasize the poverty of education that so many people have, fed by conspiracy theorists playing on the introverted thought processes of these poor fellows. Please, go on enjoying your bliss.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    You can watch it on Youtube.

  • Tor

    I agree that the church possesses some amazing buildings, art and much wonderful music was composed for it. I am an architect and my boyfriend is a classical musician. One Christmas morning several years ago, we were in Rome and literally wandered into Santa Maria Maggiore during a Big Ass Mass. There were no fewer than 7 or 8 bishops in gorgeous green and gold dresses and pointy hats camping it up at the altar (all those smoking purses – gurl!). The choir and brass ensemble were heavenly – I mean it. And the setting – incredible architecture, with a ceiling caked with gold stolen from the Incas. Esthetics, yes. Morality, suck my ass.

  • MyrddinWilt

    There is a reason the Society of Friends does not get into such things: We have no priests.

    Not having a separate caste of priests means that it is a lot harder for the church to end up supporting some immoral scheme whose principal purpose is supporting the hierarchy.

    On the other hand, we did give y’all Richard Nixon.

    Its the claim of infalibility that makes the modern papacy such a regressive force. It is total twaddle of course. The doctrine was only set as dogma in 1869. However restrictive the apologists claim infallibility to be, any man who claims to speak for God on any topic commits blasphemy. It is just as preposterous as any claim made by the Scientologists or the Mormon church only the consequences have been far worse.

    When the Christian church held the council of Nicea, the bishop of Rome was so unimportant in the chuch pecking order that he didn’t merit an invite. The claim of appolstolic succession is totally bogus.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Aye…their top theologians depend on an ancient Greek philosopher to “prove” there must be a supreme deity, and from there make the leap that this deity must therefore be the same one as described in their equally ancient non-Greek holy texts.

    The part I find most amusing is the circular self-referential logic. “It’s 100% true because we believe it’s true. Even though what we’ve asserted has proven repeatedly to be wrong or contradictory, we’ve never been wrong or contradicted ourselves. Why? Because God says so. How do we know God says so? Because it just is. See? It’s in this book. We’re always right, everybody else is wrong.”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I agree. It’s just a different religion — in this case, the religion of Unfettered Capitalism.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    lol!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Very funny!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Except that the trend toward prisons for profit as seen in Arizona, for one terrible example, operate like the Magdalene Laundries and have very little accountability.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same here, my grandparents were Irish born, but fortunately the Catholic buck ended with me. I learned the hard way, as most Irish do, by becoming a Catholic religious for a time. I had been married for six years, but they let me in the monastery because the ‘marriage’ was not recognized as having happened, because it was a civil affair.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “the presumption of divine infallibility.” That is hilarious on the face of it, but go figure, this is an outfit that uses Plato to prove the existence of the non existent—a certain Mr. God.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There are rumors that the Mormons have captured dead Jewish Holocaust souls and placed them on Kolob to serve the chosen.

  • samizdat

    I just plain found those words, “…God forgive me I learned to hate people then”, so heartrendingly sad.

  • samizdat

    Nicho and BeccaM: I agree; I painted with rather a broad brush. The groups you cited are not generally known for abuses of power. But therein lies the rub. Would these groups be so benign had they possessed the power and authority of Islam, Baptists, the RCC? I have a feeling–for which I obviously have no proof, beyond extrapolating from the historical record–that if any one of these organizations had the power of the RCC, would they yet still be benign? I don’t know. I’ve never known the American Friends to have any designs on power (it’s almost laughable to even consider it), nor have the various pagan and Wiccan sects. I suppose that what truly matters with regard to any perceived ‘evil’ is the fanatic and rigidly unwavering adherence to a religion’s own teachings. The knowledge that one has the ability to sway opinion, or worse, to force opinion and control behavior or thoughts, seems to have a decidedly negative affect on human beings. It’s a peculiar reaction, but blind fanaticism, as we have all observed in our lifetimes, does appear to drive people rather mad.

    I suppose that it boils down to this: I agree with you, but…

  • cjfb

    Surely you’ve heard of the movie “The Magdalene Sisters” that came out in 2004. It’s available on DVD. Tells the entire story.

  • Freday63

    No wonder folks in these old timey photos look so miserable…it’s because they were!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The Catholic Church didn’t burn witches; they self-combusted.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The RCC is far beyond mere hypocrisy, they consciously choose the greater evil.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brilliant and a sad truth.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Channeling again Becca!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Very true. Just ask Dante!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Amen!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s the least of John Paul’s evils. His good buddy, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, a notorious, bad tempered misogynist and founder of the Opus Dei cult, was also a Nazi sympathizer and personal confessor to Spanish dictator, Franco. John Paul also supported ‘The Legionnaires of Christ.’ ( check out that goodie on Google) It gets worse John Paul and Pope Ratzo also decidedly suppressed child sexual abuse by priests in the church.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Nor the Quakers. Nor the Episcopalians. Nor the Wiccans and Pagans. And many others.

    There are lots of non-evil religions out there. Where those that go wrong do so is usually in the creation of hierarchy and the presumption of divine infallibility.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance is staggering, isn’t it?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    All true. But here’s the thing: The U.S. prison system (and that of other countries) isn’t being run by an organization claiming ultimate and eternal moral authority, right along with the asserted infallibility of a human designated as ‘Pope.’

    Our government supposedly answers to us, and the crime here is we’re letting this happen. We could stop it, but we don’t. So we’re culpable.

    Contrariwise, we have an organized religion, the Roman Catholic Church, pushing its anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-humanitarian policies, promoting an agenda of intolerance based upon unprovable assertions that their morality comes directly from an omnipotent, omniscient deity — when day after day, year after year, we’re shown with concrete proof that they’re morally bankrupt (and have been ever since the corrupt and decaying Roman Empire took it over), are lacking in simple human decency, and have a depraved indifference towards the objective practice of compassion, love, and tolerance, as that Yeshua fellow supposedly said we should do, above all else.

    This is the Church of the Crusades and Inquisition. The torture and murder of heretics. The genocide of unbelievers. Simony and the selling of ‘indulgences’ (i.e., a license to commit crimes or do anything). The witch burnings. And more recently, committing crimes of criminal conspiracy to hide the child rapists and sexual abusers of adults in their midst, valuing their precious clergy over the law — and even over their own claimed moral standards. To discover they’ve been complicit in the enslavement of women (even if such was temporary, the scars last a lifetime) is just another nail in the coffin of their dead moral authority.

    There’s corrupt secularist organizations and governments — and then there’s this group that claims to have a direct, unassailable, irrefutable line directly to the supreme being of the entire universe, claiming to speak for this deity and to represent the highest moral authority — and they do horrific things like this. And nobody is allowed to object because supposedly their hierarchy and their appointed leader are never, ever wrong on anything. They answer to no one but their own poisoned little souls.

    The Catholic Church could stop these crimes, admit to their wrongdoing, but they won’t. Hell, Pope Ratzinger himself said that Galileo’s conviction for committing the heresy of science remains ‘rational.’ (Um, no, it was the assertion of myth-based faith over rationality, and the punishment of a man who dared to value objective facts over asserted preferences.)

    Every time they claim some moral authority to assert that contraceptives are wrong, that abortion for any reason is a mortal sin, that women are spiritually inferior to men, or that being gay is a sin worthy of eternal damnation, or that they should be exempt from any rational, moral, law for religious reasons, we need to remind people that the RCC has no morality, and that over the millennia they’ve been guilty of numerous crimes against humanity itself.

    Sadly, the Magdalene Laundries was just another crime among many, most shocking perhaps in the realization it was indeed slavery, and yet another vehicle for RCC sexual abuse of a vulnerable group, and it was still happening during our lifetime.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Mine left during the Famines. Unfortunately they brought the worst of their faith’s malign influences with them.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Dante Algieri seemed to think so.

  • 2patricius2

    Civil marriage of same sex couples is always morally wrong and will lead people to hell; but slavery of young women was okay till 1996. Go figure. The more the RC bishops talk of morality and god, the more their immorality and hypocrisy shows.

  • BarbinDC

    This all goes back to when the Republic of Ireland gained its independence from Britian. Eamon de Valera insisted that the RCC have a “special relationship” with the government and these abuses are a direct result of that. Ireland had to separate the church from the government in order to gain admission to the European Union. At last.
    And, to quote Juanita Jean Herself–proprietor of the World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon–”The only man in a dress I trust is RuPaul.”

  • Will D

    So unbelievably sad –
    Joni Mitchell wrote The Magdalene Laundries back in 1994 — it’s a beautiful, sad song that captures the horror:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU1Zymqlhko

  • nicho

    I’m pretty sure the Unitarians aren’t running slave labor operations.

  • http://twitter.com/DBryte Dave Bright

    BTW, shouldn’t there also be as much or more outrage directed at the US prison system which does the EXACT same things that was done in Ireland but on a scale several orders of magnitude larger? What about China? Russia? India? It seems that this article could easily be rewritten as a Mad-Lib where anyone can just substitute different names, power-groups and countries and still be perfectly factual! Very sad…but the fact that the Irish government is willing to own up to it perhaps actually makes them more enlightened than the rest of us… Lead us all out of the darkness, Ireland!

  • http://twitter.com/DBryte Dave Bright

    To borrow the bumper-sticker slogan from the pro-gun lobby: “Catholicism doesn’t enslave people, Catholics enslave people!” Everyone just needs to step off and stop blaming the Holy See! (or else…)

  • silas1898

    Puts a different slant on O’Conner’s SNL ripping up of the Pope’s photo, saying; “Fight The Real Enemy”

    She caught a ton of flak for that, but never talked about this slave labor system AFAIK.

    Now we know why she felt that way.

    JP II had the best BS marketing system, ever. He had that Teflon coating. Benny the Rat is so jealous.

    I remember a 60 Minutes piece on this several years ago. I don;t recall if they spelled out the disgusting involvement of the fovernment.
    Like cockroaches, church officials scurry from the light.
    ,

  • nicho

    Without religion, good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things. But to get good people to do bad things, you need religion.

  • UncleBucky

    Hear, hear!

  • UncleBucky

    Terrible. A trail of hatred for certain minorities (where they could conduct ethnic cleansing – Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, etc.), intimidation, torture, murder and slavery (could be worse than being killed, eh?)… All under the skirts of the men with dresses.

    I have said that I like the music, the art, the architecture, and so on. I am beginning to wonder that even all that beauty on one hand has been soiled permanently by the other hand of the RCC.

    I thumb my nose at Pope Ratzinger. I have lost faith in the Polish Pope (I am half Polish). And I wonder if ANY modern clergy of the RCC could ever be trusted in terms of present actions and explanation of past actions. To h¢ll with the rest of the organization. The people, that’s a different thing, for the present.

  • nicho

    That’s not the only thing that should keep that doddering old tyrant off the list of saints, but he’ll make it anyway. The history of the popes is pretty sleazy to begin with. He fit right in with the rest of them. A good resource is a book called “Absolute Monarchs” by John Julius Norwich.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    They were there to be punished by self righteous bitches.
    It’s God’s Love. See?

  • caphillprof

    Hell must be filled with bishops and popes.

  • samizdat

    “…God forgive me I learned to hate people then”.

    Bloody hell.

    Before I left the Church (and years before I settled into my atheism), I met more than a few people of fine caliber in the parish and my journey through Catholic schools. When my mom was dying, we received so much in the way of support from her friends in the parish. So I know that there are, still, good people there.

    But the hierarchy? The hierarchy…The poison they have been spreading since John Paul II has grown like a cancer, covering almost every aspect of Church doctrine and religious life. The final straw for me was the persecutorial pogroms carried out against those who believed that the Church had a much greater role to play in the liberation of the poor and oppressed around the globe. It didn’t help that their response to the assassination of Oscar Romero (while he was conducting Mass, FFS!) was both tepid and cowardly. And the Church’s “outreach” in Africa and elsewhere (in response to declining membership in Europe and North America) has only allowed the fetid stink started by JPII to infect the unsuspecting and vulnerable populations of those countries.

    “…God forgive me I learned to hate people then”.

    This is the Catholic Church today. This is all religion.

  • S1AMER

    Nothing creates more evil than the sense that whatever you choose to do is blessed by your divinity.

  • S1AMER

    Yeah, first rate film. Shocking, heartbreak, angering, very effective.

  • Indigo

    My Irish ancestors walked away from Ireland more than 200 years ago. Good move, Ancestors!

  • HereinDC

    1996 the last one closed…. And The “Great” John Paul !!” knew about this!
    Hardly seems wise for him to become a Saint when he allowed this to happen till 1996!

  • HereinDC

    There is a movie about this…. Honselty…one of the best movies I’ve every seen. The Magdalene Sisters

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