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2017-03-06: The Tuam Scandal

Friday 10 March 2017

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European Coordination Bureau of Freethought
10/12 rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques 75005 Paris (France

International Commission of Inquiry:
To bring justice to victims of crimes committed by the Roman Catholic Church!

In the Republic of Ireland, like everywhere else, it is time to “separate Religions and the State”!

At a hastily-convened press conference Friday, March 3rd 2017, Republic of Ireland’s Minister for Children Katherine Zappone confirmed that a ‘significant’ number of human remains have been discovered at the site of the former Bon Secours home in Tuam. A forensic analysis of some of the remains has found that they were children, ranging from tiny babies to 2-3-year-olds. It is not yet known how many children were buried at the site. “We simply don’t know the numbers,” Mrs Zappone told the media.

In May 2014, the whole world has been informed that the remains of children and newborn babies have been found in a concrete tank, near a former Catholic convent in the city of Tuam, co. Galway, in Ireland. Between 1925 and 1961, that convent accommodated young unmarried mothers. Historian Catherine Corless, who was undertaking research on the archives of a former convent at Tuam – now converted in a block of houses – has found that 796 children had been buried there without coffins or tombstones. They could have been secretly dumpted by the nuns of the Bon-Secours convent.

This discovery reminds of another scandal involving unmarried women. Between 1922 and 1996, more than 10,000 young girls and women had worked for free in launderies run by Catholic nuns in Ireland. The inmates, labelled “Magdalene Sisters”, were unmarried pregnant women or those whose behaviour was deemed immoral in that country submitted to the Social Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and its subsidarity principle, notably since the 1937 Constitution, authored by Taoiseach Eamon De Valera (Fianna Fàil) under the advices of Monsignor John Charles McQuaid, archbishop of Dublin.

The Guardian, a Manchester daily paper, in its issue of June 4, 2014, concluded by wondering: “Were the Tuam Bon Secours sisters an anomalous, rebellious sect? Or were church practices much the same the country over? If so, how many died in each of these homes? What are their names? Where are their graves?”

The European Coordination Bureau of Freethought, which regroups organizations in a wide range of actions referring to the Freethought and Atheism (fight for the separation of Religions and the State, rejection of dogmas, complete emancipation of Humankind, pacifism, etc.), is independent from every institutional, state or supranational structure.

International Commission of inquiry to bring justice to those victims of crimes committed by the Roman Catholic Church!

The European Coordination Bureau of Freethought remembered that on July 20, 2011, before the Dáil Éireann, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland and Fine Gael leader - a political party founded in 1933 and historically linked to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church - delivered a speech following a damning report on the Catholic diocese of Cloyne (county Cork) by a Commission of investigation: “Thankfully, for them and for us, this is not Rome; nor is it industrial school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity, and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish Catholic world. This is the Republic of Ireland, 2011 — a republic of laws, of rights and responsibilities, of proper civic order, where the delinquency and the arrogance of a particular version, of a particular kind of morality, will no longer be tolerated or ignored.”

In the Republic of Ireland, like everywhere else, it is time to “separate Religions and the State”!

Dublin, London, Paris, 2017-03-05


For the memory

  • La Libre Pensée, the French Freethought organization, on the 17th of October 2014 and again on the 12th of January 2015, formally requested that the Congrégation du Bon-Secours open its archives so that justice could be done.
  • Given the Congrégation’s continual silence, the French Freethought then requested, on the 5th of February 2015, that the Conference of French Bishops also open its archives. The bishops responded, via the Catholic newspaper La Croix, that the Congrégation was under the direct responsibility of the Vatican.
  • On the 3rd of April 2015, the French Freethought addressed “Pope Francis” by mail, calling on him to order that the archives of the Congrégation du Bon-Secours be opened to judicial authorities. We have confirmation that that letter was indeed received by the Vatican, by mail and into their hands. Since that time, the Vatican has remained silent on the issue and has not responded to the request.
  • On April 23rd 2015, The International Association of Freethought (IAFT/AILP) holds to account Mr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio a.k.a. Pope Francis: “In other words, responsibility emanates directly from your services at the Vatican. As the Catholic Church operates on the hierarchical principle of authority, the International Association of Free Thought asks you to demand that the Congregation of Bon Secours open its archives in order to help the legal authorities to determine who exactly must be held accountable for this tragedy.
  • The Executive Director of the (UK) National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, also one of the spokepersons of International Association of Freethought, which has studied clerical abuse for many years made important remarks and given evidence at the United Nations:

See also: Blog of Keith Porteous Wood


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