Women had a long road to free­dom

Irish Examiner - - Opinion -

It’s a long road to free­dom and equalas ity, a long way to travel from women be­ing treated as chat­tels — the per­sonal pos­ses­sions of men. Get­ting closer grad­u­ally.

A fine thing was done by us on be­half of women and all of us are pro-life. And we all de­fend the in­no­cent. The Church says to for­give those who sin and to be ac­cept­ing of those who are re­pen­tant. The Church then should be tol­er­ant of those of us with­out be­lief who have for­given our be­ing in­doc­tri­nated and who don’t place money into col­lec­tion bas­kets and who make tough and painful choices, like about preg­nancy, that they can avoid. Pa­per trails about reli­gions who con­trib­uted to re­moval of chil­dren from un­mar­ried moth­ers in re­spect of money are chal­leng­ing. The Vat­i­can glows golden when the sun shines. We have ac­cepted a great deal with­out ques­tion. We tol­er­ated a whole world of suf­fer­ing on the part of oth­ers. How is it that the lamb of Christ kept out of so many cor­ners of 51 in­dus­trial schools? How, in heaven as on earth, were so many in­no­cents dy­ing in Bess­bor­ough and in how many other mother and baby homes where de­ceased in­fants were con­signed in some in­stances to lime pits? How con­ve­nient, if so.

It was al­leged that once it be­came pos­si­ble to gain funds out of re­mov­ing in­fants of sin­gle moth­ers that aw­ful death rates fell sub­stan­tially.

We seem to have an appetite for sys­tem­atic and quite or­gan­ised cru­elty and ex­clu­sion.

This hasn’t gone away. Con­trol­ling, ex­clud­ing, se­vere in­tol­er­ance and a will to cru­elty may be dis­cerned. Some crave all-en­com­pass­ing pro­fil­ing and con­trol. Those who men­tally pop­u­late night­mar­ish do­mains hold out against hope.

We are a so­ci­ety with much work to do. We have to mend hu­man traf­fick­ing, the pain and grief wrought by so­called fi­nan­cial ser­vices and wealth cre­ators. Church, the State and so­ci­ety col­lude in ex­clud­ing sin­gle moth­ers out of wider so­ci­ety. As those of us now who trace birth lines, all in sol­i­dar­ity should work hard to pre­vent any fur­ther ex­clu­sion from so­ci­ety. Tom Ryan

Doon Co Limerick

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