Ireland's Child Care Institutions during the 20th. Century. Fo'T: The most vivid and passionate stories - banished babies, cruel orphanages, old abuses of power - have concerned things that went unnoticed, or at least unarticulated, at the time. News has often had to be redefined, not as the latest sensation but as that which everybody knew all along yet could not say.
Friday, May 27, 2005
It is not a good time to be a nun. Does anyone remember when Sister Alphonso's demure features were in virtually every newspaper following her conviction in Aberdeen for abusing and humiliating children a few years ago? And in India, the distinctive, white-veiled nuns of Mother Teresa's order were under a similar spotlight. A criminal case has been filed against a Sister Francesco for forcing a girl's hand onto a hot plate used for cooking chapatis. Nor are these two isolated events. In Australia and Ireland, many cases have come to light of nuns abusing children.
The impression builds up that the Catholic church is riddled with abusing nuns and paedophile priests. The sense of outrage which lingers around cases such as those in Aberdeen and Calcutta is increases. There is a double shock in the idea that a nun could be capable of the kind of cruelty Sister Alphonso meted out to her charges. First, we have been very slow to accept that women are capable of abusing children. It flies in the face of some of our most powerfully held emotional beliefs of women as caring mothers.
Female physical aggression has been erased from our image of the "gentler sex", because it is on that caring mother image that all of our emotional security is built. If we accept that women can be violent, especially towards children, we have to accept the world as an unsteadier, more dangerous place. Second, Sister Alphonso is a a nun and until a couple of decades ago, we presumed that the lives of religious women and men reflected something, if not all, of their intense idealism.
We believed some of what priests and nuns purported to be: altruistically devoted to the wellbeing of others. It is precisely this intense idealism which is often at the root of the problem. If someone makes enormous psychological investment in the idealistic aspirations of selflessness, the tensions between the ideal and the reality can sometimes cause a brittleness which can lead to a nun or priest snapping and losing all control, with terrifying consequences.
Every professional vocation has its "shadow side". A well-integrated individual is able to understand and manage the destructive shadow side, someone who is emotionally repressed cannot. The shadow side of teaching is the desire to control. Control and loss of it is clearly the theme of Sister Alphonso's sad story. In her trial, she complained of too many children to care for, and too few staff. Faced with this pressure, she lost control as her accusers described, with appalling consequences.
Her fury and exasperation were expressed as a desire to humiliate - children who wet their beds had their soiled underwear tied around their heads - and to hurt. She has clearly damaged the lives of many people. But her stoical account of her own background is also tragic. As the youngest of 12 children (seven of whom died in infancy), she pulled down her knickers when she had done wrong and asked her father to beat her.
During the trial, she used that tell-tale phrase "I wanted for nothing" with its connotations of being materially but not emotionally provided for. Brought up on humiliation and deprivation, it is no wonder that she knew how to dispense it. This pattern crops up frequently in the current abuse charges against the church, and perhaps it will in India as more details emerge. For poor children (be they Irish or Indian Untouchables) the Catholic church offered the chance of a decent education and a secure material future. The church's culture of suffering, asceticism and emotional deprivation was already deeply familiar to deprived children and they, in their turn, reinforced it. What ensured that this was never challenged was the church's bid to empire-build.
Quantity not quality: the church wanted more and more children and they wanted them to get a Catholic education and be in Catholic orphanages.
.... well their empire is crumbling now and only the deluded have any belief that it will rise again.
.... from various web sources.
OK Flo ... nice self-description:> "a well-known children's rights activist."
.... I shall be posting on these boards and these posts will enlighten readers as to the true nature and "calling" of MT
.... as to calling the pope a Protestant I feel its very significant that the some of the most telling opposition to Hitler in Germany came from Protestants and we all know the Wehrmacht and Hitler "Youth" background of the present pope !!!
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Eating was a very stressful experience. Think. You have a few hundred children all with very little to eat being offered that "slop", we had actually come from homes, with mums and dads, who fed us more and better in a day compared to what these black-garbs gave us in a week. Yet our parents were deemed unfit parents. It's a weird kind of logic isn't it. Of course, to feed this Machine, they would use any kind of logic. And this Machine was voracious - remember that.
They weren't called Industrial Schools as a fancy affectation. We were the fuel that enriched these black-garbed monsters. It is no accident that their income rose inexorably hugher every year of our incarceration. Not only were they receiving monies from the Government, they received monies from local councils too. And if that wasn't enough these black-hearted, black-garbed slave owners were also able to call on the offices of the Garda Siochana to chase parents for a court-enforced weekly contribution.
I have official documentation from the same Garda Siochana showing the Sisters of Charity and the Rosminians demanding that the Gardai arrest a man (an unemployed labourer) for failing to pay his contribution. These black-garbed fuckers chased him all over the south-east for this money. He, of course, didn't pay a thing. I was put out to work to make up my fathers contribution. Believe it or not for every week I worked out on "licence" the black-garbed money grabbers received an amount equal to 8 weeks contribution from my father.
And I was out on licence for 14 months. And still they chased my father for the money. That's some Machine. Don't be fooled by these black-garbed monsters crying poverty. They are liars. Think. We worked their fields. This produce was sold on. We fucking grew tomatoes yet the first tomato I ever tasted was when I was in the Army. We produced socks for them on an Industrial Scale which they sold on outside. We produced shoes which they sold. We produced shirts which they sold on.
They had a very modern dairy with a huge herd of cattle, that milk was sold on too. Think. What did we wear? Think. What did we eat. They are liars and they HAVE to be called to account. THEY HAVE TO.
Being called early to serve Mass for the farmer priest entailed certain "privileges" as you avoided waking to the bells, the standing in queues to wash yourself, brush your teeth, inspections, punishment lists and all THAT dehumanising treatment. Now fr. Barry was a singular kind of priest in that you could almost predict your immediate future by his body language as he said Mass.
This guy could say a mass in 7 minutes. And if he did say the Mass in 7 minutes you knew he was going to rape you in the kitchen afterwards. The speed of a Mass like that is comical, really fucking horribly comical when you think of it. It's supposed to be something done in memory of a man of peace and love. And here's this priest saying a Mass while he's consumed with criminal lust.
You went through the responses like an automaton knowing the rest of your day was going to be agony. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam........." Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus " .......and all that bullshit.
Of course when they changed the Mass to the english language the 7 minute Mass became history, he could eventually say a Mass in just over 5 minutes and you couldn't slow him down no matter what you tried. I remember stuttering some of the responses once, junst once mind you, and getting boxed in the face on the steps of the altar. I don't know how it was for all you but getting boxed in the face seemed much worse to me that the leatherings or kicks??
In any event after the Mass he'd be in the kitchen and he'd could a fry up for himself....bacon, eggs, sausages, black pudding and white pudding. He'd also make toast. Sometimes he'd give me some toast with butter on it and a cup of tea other times I'd get a fry too, this depended on what service he wanted me to perform when he was finished eating. He'd wolf his meal down and have a couple of smokes, and when he was finished I'd take the dirty plates and cups to the sink to wash them.
It was then that he'd rape me against the sink, or demand some other service in order to satisfy his lust. The only other witnesses to this horror are those other victims who suffered in silence throughout the years we were in that place. After the assaults Barry would leave the kitchen and I'd empty the ashtrays for his butts, with the butts I could make a few decent smokes for the rest of the day. Like I said being called early to serve Mass for the farmer priest did give you some "privileges" sometimes.
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