Tag Archives: children born out of wedlock

Discarded

Celtic cross, Inisheer, Aran Islands, Ireland, Author Mith (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory” (1 Cor. 15: 43).

A mass grave has come to light in picturesque Galway, Ireland.  This grave was not, however, left by Bronze Age warriors or Celtic chieftains.

Containing the skeletal remains of over 750 children, this grave was left by a group of Catholic nuns who operated a home for unwed mothers in the town of Tuam from 1925 – 1961 [1].

The children buried here are thought to have ranged in age from 35 fetal weeks to 2-3 years.  They had been in the care of the Bon Secours (French for “good help”).  If the little ones perished, their bodies were placed in an abandoned sewer system to save on the cost of a coffin.  No solemnities.  No markers.

The story was not entirely unknown.  In the 1970s, some children playing where the home had stood were shocked to find human bones inside an old septic tank.  The presence of these bones was reported to the local church.

A priest advised that the site was likely a mass grave dating from the 19th Century potato famine.  Prayers were said.  The septic tank – and the truth – were covered up again.  Residents on their own erected a small shrine.

It was an amateur historian, Catherine Corless, who discovered that only two of the children who died at the unwed mothers home were ever buried in consecrated ground.  Those two were orphans.  The rest were illegitimate, born out of wedlock.

Clearly, both church and lay authorities had to be aware of the practice of discarding the remains of illegitimate children.  Death certificates were filed.  Yet no undertaker buried the child of an unwed mother in over 30 years’ time.  The bodies of hundreds of children simply vanished.

Corless repeatedly met obstacles in her search for the truth.  However, she persevered.  The Irish government has launched an investigation.

Thus far, there has been no assertion of infanticide by the Bon Secours.  One can only hope.

[1]  Daily Beast, “The Amateur Historian Who Uncovered Ireland’s Mass Grave of Babies” by Tom Sykes, 3/4/17, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/04/the-amateur-historian-who-uncovered-ireland-s-mass-grave-of-babies.html.

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, Religion

Absent, Part 1 – The Sexual Revolution

The crowd at Woodstock Music Festival (1969), Authors Derek Redmond and Paula Campbell (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The crowd at Woodstock Music Festival (1969), Authors Derek Redmond and Paula Campbell (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Our society seems increasingly to view fathers as sperm donors [1].  The very concept of fatherhood is being lost, replaced by the part-time dads of divorce and – worse still – the so called “baby daddies” who assume little or no responsibility for their offspring.

The men who might actually want to raise their children – to love and support them (and their mother); to teach them right from wrong; to protect them from harm; to stand by them faithfully, through thick and thin – are rapidly going extinct.

A Lifelong Bond

First and foremost, responsibility for a child rests with the man (and woman) who elected to conceive that child and/or failed to take measures to prevent conception.

Claiming “surprise” at a pregnancy that resulted from unprotected sex between healthy adults is disingenuous, to say the least.  Offering a partner the funds for an abortion is not sufficient to satisfy the parental burden.

Though it changes over time, the parent-child connection is a lifelong bond.  The children deprived of it – even if well cared for materially– are left with a great emptiness.

Contributing Factors

The major factors contributing to the problem of absent fathers include a change in sexual mores, which eliminated or greatly reduced the stigma of illegitimacy; the vanishing nuclear family; children having children; and certain aspects of culture unique to the inner city.

The Sexual Revolution

But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Heb. 12: 8).

The sexual revolution of the 1960s made pre-marital sex and cohabitation acceptable, while removing the ignominy of children born outside marriage (much to the benefit of such children, thankfully).

At the same time, a radical shift took place in African-American culture.  From 1890 until the 1960s, African-Americans over the age of 35 were more likely to be married than whites.  However, during the 1960s, that statistic was reversed. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Poverty, Religion