UPDATE: It looks as though I reacted to the story without doing the necessary research. The claims were very dubious and don’t have much substantiation and I must apologise for any help in spreading the story. I think this shows that my distaste for the Catholic Church in Ireland runs deeper that I thought and needs to be exorcised. I will leave this blog entry up for two reasons, 1) I think some of the points are still relevant but more importantly 2) it will act as a reminder to me not to react so quickly to sensational news stories.
Shock. Outrage. Indignation. Anger. These are the most understandable immediate emotions to the news that broke in Ireland 3 days ago and has become international news in the succeeding days. This is the news of the mass grave found in Tuam in Co. Galway, where the bodies of 796 babies and children, who died from neglect malnutrition and a variety of diseases, were secretly buried next to a Catholic Nuns home for children born out of wedlock between 1925 and 1961.
The emotions I listed at the opening and those similar are right reactions to this most terrible news. But this is also a time for mourning.
I mourn for the babies and children
All those babies and children who never had an opportunity to grow and to laugh, to learn and to love, whose short lives were marked by neglect and indifference by those who were meant to care for them. The Catholic Church in Ireland has fought vehemently against abortion due to a strong belief that all made in the image of God have inherent value, but those who found their way into this home had that value stripped away from them.
I mourn for the mothers
I grieve for all those mothers who had their children snatched away from them at such a young age. Those mothers who were never able to watch their children grow and mature, cry and smile. Those mothers who were shown little to no grace by an institution which is meant to herald a Gospel of grace.
I mourn for the older Irish generations
For generations and centuries, the Catholic Church in Ireland positioned itself as the bastion for morality and all that is good. The country bought into that, but now that has fallen down all around them. It has broke my heart to see my grandparents and so many like them become so disillusioned with an institution that they gave so much to.
I mourn for the younger Irish generations
To paraphrase Brennan Manning, the single greatest cause for atheism, apathy and disinterest in God is those who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, yet deny him with their life. These younger Irish generations have watched on as the Catholic Church has covered up abuse cases and now this on top. And I’m not sure this is the only case. I mourn for that generation because they won’t want to know about a Jesus who they associate with some of the worst stories in the last 75 years of Irish history.
And I mourn for God
I am saddened most that the name of God is sullied by the actions of these people, who were meant to be living a life solely for Him. I am saddened that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been hidden by the deplorable actions of these people, who allegedly carried His name.
I find comfort in the words of the Old Testament prophet Nahum who said “the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.” He is a God of justice and those people will receive their due punishment.
But today is a time for mourning.