07 June 2014

Charles P. Pierce: The Bones of History

The Republic Of Ireland has been doing a very hard job over the past couple of decades of confronting the awful legacy of having its civil government so closely married to the institutional Roman Catholic Church. For years, the Church was given a free hand in running a great deal of what passed for educational and social-welfare policies in Ireland. The results were almost uniformly authoritarian and almost uniformly godawful, in every sense of that word. Over the past 20 years, the country has slowly, but steadily, made a project of telling the truth to itself about the atrocities that the civil government allowed to be perpetrated against its citizens by the institutional church. A remarkable number of these crimes against decency and humanity were conducted against the country's women, although the crimes of the Christian Brothers against boys and young men were no less horrendous, as were the crimes committed in Cork that were the subject of the Cloyne Report, which prompted this remarkable speech in Dail Eireann by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, which may be the clearest and most uncompromising statement of the importance of the separation of church and state produced since Madison's Memorial And Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments. it was Irish women who took the brunt of the Church's vengeful indecencies.The country is still coming to grips with what it still owes the women who suffered the horrors of the Magdalene Laundries, the last of which closed only midway through the Clinton administration.


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