Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The iniquities of the fathers shall be visited upon the children

Home babies, circa 1940 AD

Between 1925 and 1961, thousands of unmarried women and their children resided temporarily at the Children's Home in Tuam, Ireland, which was run by the Bon Secours sisters.  Often, after giving birth, the mothers would leave the Home, while their children remained behind to await adoption.  These children, called "Home babies," were unwanted and unloved, and frequently received inadequate food and care within the Home.  On average, about 20 of them died every year.   Their story is undeniably a very sad one, and the Irish Government has announced an investigation, but a recent report in the Washington Post misrepresented the facts substantially.  For one thing, no one ever found the bones of 800 children in a septic tank at the Tuam Home, as the WaPo story claims, and as stories like it in the New York Daily News, and on ABC News and al Jazeera have reported. 

During my brief career as a high school history teacher, I once asked the class if the purpose of studying history was to understand the people of the past, or to judge them.   "To judge them!" came the enthusiastic response.  The people at the Washington Post, and elsewhere in the news media, seem to share this unseemly eagerness to pronounce judgment, at least where the Catholic Church is concerned.

UPDATE:  Forbes magazine does a thorough takedown of the original story here.  Don't hold your breath waiting for the mainstream media to correct itself, though.

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