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.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Privileges Of The Early Call

A DAY IN THE LIFE 4 DATE 1962:

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.

THE KNITTER