Tuam Baby Scandal Ireland

Discussion in 'Ireland' started by Sanctus, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Dolours

    Dolours Guest

    I'm not so sure about this, especially in the case of a mother who has given up her child for adoption. What about that mother's rights? The woman could be trying to put an unhappy past behind her. She might not have told her husband or children of the marriage about her past. Having an adopted child show up out of the blue could ruin the woman's relationship with her husband and their children. I also think that removing the woman's right to privacy could mean the difference between abortion and adoption for the child.
    DeGaulle likes this.
  2. DeGaulle

    DeGaulle Powers

    The Church, in many cases, is being tried for the wrong sins, however.

    It isn't so clear-cut, either. I remember reading recently of an archived article from the Irish Times, perhaps from the thirties, about a Catholic priest from Leighlinbridge in Co. Carlow castigating local politicians for their hard and inflexible attitude to unwed mothers. The politicians insisted on institutionalising these women while the priest advocated they remain with their own families and communities. Such reports beg the question of where such attitudes came from. This attitude to the illegitimate is not to be found in just Christian societies, but perhaps in most peasant ones. The driving force is more likely an economic one than simply a religious one.
    Dolours likes this.
  3. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Yes you can find that quote in the footnotes of a book written on this scandal too.

    But speaking for myself I don't think this over the top stigma came from an economic impulse, personally I think it came from an exaggerated sense of 'respectability'.

    Mrs Murphy walking down the street doesn't want people thinking less of her just because little Fiona got herself into 'trouble', so she will quietly urge her to go away somewhere.

    You get that kind of approach a lot in Ireland I am afraid, and really the Church and priest would have very little to do with it.
    DeGaulle and Malachi like this.
  4. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Dolours I have to say I disagree with you here, I don't think a mother has the right to in the long run deny a child knowledge of his parentage.

    Some laws could be structured to accomodate the expectant mother though, say the child has no right to approach the mother, without her permission, and only find out when the child is 21 or whatever.

    There must be some way around this but forcing these children to spend decades going through old birth records hoping for some clue to know who even their mother is, is I think immoral.
    maryrose likes this.
  5. maryrose

    maryrose Powers

    I agree with you. This attitude was in society and the nuns mopped up the mess, but as a society we need to repent for our failures in charity. There are many wounded people who need to see this. We had Mass in our parish yesterday for all the victims of this, we prayed for healing and reconciliation. I ignore the media as they have an agenda to destroy. We as Catholics need to look at the bigger picture and exercise love. Christ accepted everything in silence and love. It's a waste of time trying to argue back against a godless media.
    DeGaulle and HeavenlyHosts like this.
  6. Dolours

    Dolours Guest

    Nobody is "forced" to search old birth records. Only the feel good stories about reunited birth mothers and children find their way into the media. They aren't all happy ever after stories. One such mother of my acquaintance was subjected to poison pen letters from the child she had given up for adoption. I won't go into the details of her situation, but suffice it to say that they aren't all teenagers in love stories.

    Life isn't as simple as people like to paint it. Applying today's standards to past generations, we tend to lose sight of how things really were. Most pregnant women probably married the father of the child unless the man was already married. Wasn't that one of the reasons the Church stopped marrying couples at short notice? Didn't such situations become grounds for annulments? It certainly wasn't a peculiarly Catholic thing that single mothers were banished from the family. And I'm not sure whether it was overwhelming pressure from a puritanical society that forced women into mother and baby homes although society certainly had a role. There was no such thing as maternity leave and a baby was another mouth to feed. Although plenty of mothers worked in factories and mills, plenty of employers, including the civil service, didn't employ mothers, married or not.

    I'm an OAP. I had neighbours who had "illegitimate" children, kept their babies, and they weren't ostracised by the community or the parish. Two cases spring to mind. One girl my age was the child of a liaison between her mother and a married man. The mother later married a man who raised the child as his own. Another neighbour, older than my own parents, never married but she raised her son in the family home. Both mother and son dead now, that lady would be about 110 years old if she were still alive. When we were growing up, we didn't know that the man our friend called "Daddy" wasn't her biological father. Neither did I know that the elderly neighbour had never married. I was well into my forties before I knew the truth and in both cases it was after the death of the mothers. Believe it or not, it wasn't the main topic of conversation because people were more worried about making ends meet.

    People say that things are better now. Well, they are and they aren't. As I sit here typing in my home with its expensive burglar alarm designed to warn me against intrusion by "wanted" children raised by "liberated" women and watch TV ads telling us about widespread domestic violence, I'm no so sure. There seems to be a murder a week in a country where murder was almost unheard of. I avoid the Irish news because most of it is agenda driven spin. I heard a snippet of the news while in a hospital waiting room last week. I didn't hear all the details but they were reporting about a woman having been murdered. There was something about her having been pregnant and planning to travel to England for an abortion but she was murdered. Thankfully, that's all I heard before having to move to the next queue to wait to see a doctor. It was enough. Presumably the murderer was known to the unfortunate woman, perhaps the baby's father. The poor baby's fate had already been sealed......death by scalpel and most likely the body recycled in the hospital's heating system. Better for some but not for others. How civilised are we when you scratch the surface?
    DeGaulle and Sanctus like this.
  7. maryrose

    maryrose Powers

    The stories are mixed. I grew up in rural Ireland and I remember the scandal and the whispering about families that had a daughter get pregnant before marriage. Other daughter's in the family would be tarnished and 'respectable' boys would keep away from them. I had a relative who was a nun in a mother and baby home and they used to give the girl a different name. She was not allowed to use her own name. The reason for this was people from the locality where the girl came from would ring up looking for her if she was absent from home for more than a few weeks. The nuns tried to protect the girls from gossip by changing their names.
    I remember a girl breaking off an engagement with a fellow as his brother was named as the father of an unmarried mothers baby. Most of the girls did not end up marrying the father. Of course there was poverty also which played into this and its not on that a society that has financial resources finger points at a generation that had very little. Still it's important to acknowledge that many people carry deep wounds. Yes I agree society today is very evil.
    DeGaulle likes this.
  8. Dolours

    Dolours Guest

    It's surely no heaven on earth now, nor was it then. But if the powers that be keep us focused on past troubles it diverts our attention from the disintegration of society that we see happening all around us and for which they have no meaningful solution.

    The Church got too close to the secular powers and now, rather than disentangling itself, is being pushed out. Pushed out gradually or abruptly depending on how the State sees itself being better able to take full control of social services that would likely never have been in place had it not been for the Church. We need to learn our lesson about rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Yes, taking care of the poor and the marginalised are part of the Church's mission but that doesn't stretch to operating as a functionary of the State.

    The abuse scandals nearly destroyed my faith. It took a while for me to understand and come to terms with what is really meant by the mystical body of Christ being in the care sinners. Now, I'm beyond having my faith shaken by scandals and pray every day that I manage to keep the faith no matter what happens in the future. The Christian in me is appalled at unchristian practices, some rooted in snobbery, some in perversion and downright evil, and some in a faulty understanding of Christ's message to love one another as He has loved us. People suffered, especially children and there can never be a justification for harming a child. Looking back on those times, the dispassionate side of me can't discount the fact that, had it not been for the role of the Catholic Church, especially in education, we would never have pulled our country out of abject poverty. Ours was a young, impoverished Republic that many (including many Irish) expected to go crawling and begging cap in hand to be re-admitted to the British empire. I wonder now what people gave their lives for. Rather than crawling back to Britain, we have embraced everything that was considered worth getting away from and have fully committed ourselves to another, different kind of imperialism that is the EU and have done so with our eyes wide open.

    Times change but human nature not so much. Only God is unchanging and unchangeable.
    grimisocks, DeGaulle and maryrose like this.
  9. DeGaulle

    DeGaulle Powers

    Unfortunately, welfare states are ultimately unaffordable, unlike the charities of the Church which were driven by vows of poverty and voluntarism. Consequently, as the costs, due to incredible staffing expenditure and the need to obey tens of thousands of regulations, become 'unsustainable', there will be short cuts taken. The incinerated euthanised are much more cost-effective than the chronically and terminally ill. The same applies to the old. And probably ultimately to all who are unable to pay their way.

    Utter financial and social collapse with accompanying chaos seems a better option than such utopias and may be what is required to enable us to restore order phoenix-like from the embers.
    maryrose and Dolours like this.
  10. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Absolutely DeGaulle. My mother worked in a mentally handicapped unit and that was her experience. It was run by nuns quite well on a shoestring but was then taken over by the state. They in turn put the children 'in community' which in practice meant buying ordinary houses at huge expense and then putting at least one member of staff in each house, again at enormous expense, but stuck in the country like this unable to drive themselves they had no great sense of community anyway!

    Of couse Dolours its all massively hyped to the gills this exaggerated idea of a bad old Ireland, if not in fact made up nonsense as much of the Tuam story actually is, clearly I am with you there, its just on the sole question of a right to know ones biological parents that I would quibble. I just don't think you can deny a person that data, irrespective of the exact circumstances, and if they are very bad there is no need to go into any details, but just the simple fact that x is your mother and y your father is something that a person is entitled to know I think. You could even include a kind of barring order that a mother is not obliged to meet or communicate in any shape or form with their child if they don't want to for life, anything short of completely keeping secret a person's biological identity I would consider.
    DeGaulle likes this.
  11. Dolours

    Dolours Guest

    I haven't been following the news stories about Tuam so I really shouldn't be commenting on it.

    Regarding the child's right to know, sometimes the mother's name is the only one recorded on the birth cert. Does the right to know stop with the name of the mother? What if the mother doesn't want to reveal the father's name? Should she be pressurised? Barring orders won't prevent young people on a quest or holding a grudge broadcasting the information they have about the mother in the hope that it will elicit more information about the father, etc.

    Sad and hard though it may be for people not knowing the identity of their birth parents, sometimes the past is best left alone. There's already some kind of register whereby biological parents can record their interest in meeting the child they gave up for adoption if that's what the child wishes. I think that's probably the best solution for these times. Perhaps your preference would be better in the future, but it seems almost cruel that a woman who did what she believed best for her child should be forced to somehow feel guilty for having done so. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this.
  12. DeGaulle

    DeGaulle Powers

    It is a dilemma as to how one reconciles the rights of biological parents and adopted children. It is perhaps impossible to put right what was put wrong in the first place.

    Undoubtedly, if a child's biological line includes a history of, for example, Huntington's chorea, this information should not only be available, but positively communicated.

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