San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition

‘ Per­verse moral­ity’ drove homes for un­wed mothers

- By Jill Law­less Jill Law­less is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer. Society · Parenting · Family · London · Ireland · County Galway · Micheál Martin · Tuam

LON­DON — Ire­land’s prime min­is­ter said Tues­day that the coun­try must “face up to the full truth of our past,” as a lon­gawaited re­port re­counted decades of harm done by churchrun homes for un­mar­ried women and their ba­bies, where thou­sands of in­fants died.

Micheal Martin said young women and their chil­dren had paid a heavy price for Ire­land’s “per­verse re­li­gious moral­ity” in past decades. “We had a com­pletely warped at­ti­tude to sex­u­al­ity and in­ti­macy. Young mothers and their sons and daugh­ters paid a ter­ri­ble price for that dys­func­tion,” he said.

Martin said he would make a for­mal apol­ogy on be­half of the state in Ire­land’s par­lia­ment on Wednesday.

The fi­nal re­port of an in­quiry into the mother and baby homes said that 9,000 chil­dren died in 18 dif­fer­ent homes dur­ing the 20th cen­tury. Fifteen per­cent of all chil­dren born in the homes died, al­most dou­ble the na­tion­wide infant mor­tal­ity rate.

The in­quiry is part of a process of reck­on­ing in over­whelm­ingly Ro­man Catholic Ire­land with a his­tory of abuses in churchrun in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the shun­ning and sham­ing of un­wed mothers, many of whom were pres­sured into giv­ing up ba­bies for adop­tion.

Churchrun homes housed or­phans, un­mar­ried preg­nant women and their ba­bies for most of the 20th cen­tury.

The in­sti­tu­tions have been sub­ject to in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny since in­ves­ti­ga­tors found a mass grave con­tain­ing re­mains of 796 ba­bies and young chil­dren on the grounds of the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Gal­way.

 ?? Niall Car­son / As­so­ci­ated Press 2014 ?? The site of a mass grave for 796 chil­dren of un­wed mothers who died at a motherand­baby home run by Catholic nuns in Tuam, County Gal­way.
Niall Car­son / As­so­ci­ated Press 2014 The site of a mass grave for 796 chil­dren of un­wed mothers who died at a motherand­baby home run by Catholic nuns in Tuam, County Gal­way.

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