Priest-ridden, Godforsaken

A few years ago, I was speaking to someone from Ireland who said the Catholic Church in Ireland had run “concentration camps”. Seemed extreme to me at the time, but I guess it’s not (via via):

In a town in western Ireland, where castle ruins pepper green landscapes, there’s a six-foot stone wall that once surrounded a place called the Home. Between 1925 and 1961, thousands of “fallen women” and their “illegitimate” children passed through the Home, run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam.

[…]

More than five decades after the Home was closed and destroyed — where a housing development and children’s playground now stands — what happened to nearly 800 of those abandoned children has now emerged: Their bodies were piled into a massive septic tank sitting in the back of the structure and forgotten, with neither gravestones nor coffins.

[…]

According to Irish Central, a 1944 local health board report described the children living at the Home as “emaciated,” “pot-bellied,” “fragile” and with “flesh hanging loosely on limbs.”






87 replies
  1. 1
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Someone needs to give me a very, very good reason why the Vatican should not be burned to the ground.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Lots of art would be destroyed.

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    Pretty much. I suppose it’s possible for the institution to be cleansed, but I find it unlikely. The inanimate objects there don’t deserve the punishment.

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    Doug, have you not seen the film “Philomena”? It’s not a far stretch from that (selling off children born out of wedlock to rich families).

    Great, great film, btw. Not a dry eye in my head.

  5. 5
    JCJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    True. Are there any other reasons you can think of? I’m not sure I can come up with any more.

  6. 6
    Rasputin's Evil Twin says:

    There’s nothing wrong with Irish Catholicism that couldn’t be fixed by either 1) a miracle or ten, or 2) the country going pagan once more.

  7. 7
    steve says:

    The movie Philomena is a good dramatization of the actual experiences of an Irish woman who was forced to give up her child during this time period:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philomena_%28film%29

    Her son was sold to an American family and later became an important figure in the Reagan administration (though one that was terribly conflicted about his position).

  8. 8
    scav says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): That’s at least partially a matter of careful house-cleaning before, were it not for the architecture. We do need to be clever apparently.

  9. 9
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Lots of art would be destroyed.

    They’ll get 15 minutes to get what they can out of there. After that, the torches. If the Sistine Chapel has to be destroyed in order to teach those sub-human sacks of shit a lesson that they’ll remember deep in their bones, so be it.

  10. 10
    Ash Can says:

    When I was backpacking and working in Europe numerous years ago, I was sitting around chatting with a multinational group of young people one evening about various social issues. One of the people I was chatting with, a 20-something from Ireland, told us that in rural areas of his country it was more acceptable to kill someone than to become pregnant out of wedlock. In light of this, I have to wonder how much traditional Irish culture may have contributed to the overall atrocity of the treatment of single mothers and their children in that country. Yes, the facilities were church-run, but we don’t hear of the same extent of atrocity coming from other predominantly Catholic countries. The Catholicism didn’t help, clearly, but there’s something else going on here to push it as far as it went.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    When conservatives speak of the “Culture of Life”, this is what they are referring to.

  12. 12
    Belafon says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Burning it wouldn’t do anything for their souls.

  13. 13
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Another example of why we must consult the Vatican on any and all matters regarding health care.

  14. 14
    Trollhattan says:

    There’s a song….

    Magdalene Laundries–Joni Mitchell

  15. 15
    maurinsky says:

    This is the town where my father grew up. I’ll have to ask him about this story. This part of Ireland is like the Mississippi of Europe, really.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    @Ash Can: You can read “Christ Stopped at Eboli” for an account of Southern Italian peasant life in the 1930s. Illegitimacy was common and not really stigmatized. However, though much closer to Rome geographically, the Catholic church had little influence over the daily lives of the rural poor compared to Ireland.

  17. 17
    scav says:

    @Ash Can: Actually, Catholic priests being involved in stealing kids from unwed mothers has emerged in other countries: Spain, some in South America off the top of my head, with the complicity of the govt’s in several cases. how much this overlaps with kids being taken from left-wing families is a bit fuzzier in my brain. Ireland also had the Magdalene Laundries so they do seem to have been hit hard. But Catholicism was so wedded to political identity in Ireland (and for multiple generations) that they may have able to get away with more.

  18. 18
    Tom Q says:

    @Ash Can: A specifically harsh version of Catholicism — purveyed by strict Jansenist priests — was imposed on Ireland centuries ago as a way to keep the citizenry subjugated to their British overlords. So, what you’re thinking of as inbred Irish culture was in fact inflicted from without, on purpose.

  19. 19
    jl says:

    @Ash Can:

    People exploiting religion to promote social customs and power structures that have nothing at all, or directly contradict, religious doctrines is probably as old as religion, and probably exists in every religion. And self-proclaimed fundamentalist true believers seem to be most prone to it.

    American Xtianists who feel the right to condemn homosexual activity and claim the right to shun them and discriminate against them, ignore the teaching that such an attitude was a sin worse than the homosexual activity itself. The condemnation of such judgment was written by their main man Paul, right in the same passage the Xtianists quote to justify their bigotry and discrimination. For just one example.

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    If the Sistine Chapel has to be destroyed in order to teach those sub-human sacks of shit a lesson that they’ll remember deep in their bones, so be it.

    I suspect that the lesson would be better learned if it were carried out on guilty human beings rather than innocent inanimate objects.

  21. 21
    deep says:

    Holy shit!

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ash Can:

    Yes, the facilities were church-run, but we don’t hear of the same extent of atrocity coming from other predominantly Catholic countries.

    Which may just be a sign that we haven’t turned over the right rocks yet.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scav:

    But Catholicism was so wedded to political identity in Ireland (and for multiple generations) that they may have able to get away with more.

    I think that this is probably right on the money. Any criticism of the Catholic Church would also be criticism of Irish nationalism and (eventually) Irish independence, so Catholicism got much more embedded into day-to-day life and institutions than it did in other Catholic countries.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    I agree with the recommendations of Philomena and Joni Mitchell’s The Magdalene Laundries — heck, I recommend the entire Tears of Stone album by The Chieftains.

  25. 25
    Alex S. says:

    As far as I know, after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, catholicism was close to death. Rome had been sacked by the heathens and Constantinople was the true center of Christianity. The re-christianization of Europe was executed by Irish missionaries. For some reason, Catholicism in Ireland survived and thrived while the Roman hierarchy was reduced to a joke. I guess small, isolated islands are good for the stabilization of ideologies. And the isolation encourages dogmaticism and fanatism which is why Irish Catholicism was especially rigid.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes and no. These really serious abuses seem to happen in countries where Catholicism was essentially a part of the government (if not actually dictating government actions) so it was above the law in many ways. There are probably very similar stories in Spain, where the Catholic Church propped up Franco’s fascist regime for decades.

    It’s the church and the political establishment joining forces that seems to be so deeply poisonous, because then questioning the church is questioning the government and vice versa, and the government has the guns to back up the decisions of the church.

  27. 27
    kc says:

    Pro-life.

  28. 28
    beltane says:

    @Mnemosyne: This would also apply to Quebec.

  29. 29
    Trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    “Tears of Stone” has so many fabulous performances. Considering the vastness of The Chieftans’ catalog, for me it still stands apart as a sort of pinnacle.

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Catholicism got much more embedded into day-to-day life and institutions than it did in other Catholic countries.

    More than countries where the Catholic Church always dominated, but that’s certainly not everywhere. I think you’ll see a similar phenomenon in other places where a Catholic ethnic minority was oppressed by a non-Catholic occupier, like Poland and Ukraine.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Hunt the motherofgodfuckers down, every last one of them. Treat them like Nazis. Drag them out of their dotage beds if necessary and make their last days a lingering misery.

    And hey, Pope Frankie – want to show the world that the Church has changed? Do something about this now or go fuck yourself with your pointiest fencepost digging hat.

  33. 33
    Ash Can says:

    @Tom Q: Interesting point, to be sure. But if it’s been in place for centuries, I’d call that pretty much a part of the indigenous culture by now.

  34. 34
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Roger Moore

    :I suspect that the lesson would be better learned if it were carried out on guilty human beings rather than innocent inanimate objects.

    Punish the guilty and their replacements will use the wealth generated by those same inanimate objects to continue to cover up acts of rape and murder. Punish those, and their replacements will do the same. As they have for the entire history of the Catholic Church. The art you speak of? Permanently stained by its owners. Burn it. Burn fucking all of it.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    @Alex S.: It’s a little more complicated than that, there were multiple waves of (re-conversion and reform) to contend with, plus the difference between Celtic Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Ireland had both, but the Celtic side I’m pretty sure lost out, certainly on tonsure style, mixed-sex monasteries (internally segregated, get your hopes down) and calculation of Easter (?).

  36. 36
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    The Vatican Library.

  37. 37

    A lot of stories today are making me question my disbelief in hell as an eternal fiery torture pit with no escape.

    Have to believe that the Guy who said if you cause a child to stumble, it would be better to go drown yourself would not be all that happy about this crap.

  38. 38
    Rex Everything says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DoAlothonQ

    ETA: Damn, Trollhattan beat me to it…

  39. 39
    scav says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): Speaking of which, did you see they are going online? BBC and a closer to fount source (Look ma! I’ve linked to a .va site! eek!)

  40. 40
    AdamK says:

    No need for violence. The Italian government should simply confiscate the Vatican and its property, and open a world-class museum and research center. Let the priests practice the virtue of poverty thereafter, once they’ve served their sentences.

  41. 41
    juicers eat themselves says:

    @Rasputin’s Evil Twin: what about the mindless pedophiles that run on this blog. this is all just jerk off material to assholes around here. they love exploitable children. especially bitch sized creeps like doug j.

    seriously no one who reads writes or comments here has any shade to throw at catholics, the irish, or whatever your agenda.

  42. 42
    muddy says:

    @Tom Q:

    imposed on Ireland centuries ago as a way to keep the citizenry subjugated to their British overlords. So, what you’re thinking of as inbred Irish culture was in fact inflicted from without, on purpose.

    Quoted for truth. And one I have not seen stated much. Thank you.

  43. 43
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Ash Can:

    The Catholicism didn’t help, clearly, but there’s something else going on here to push it as far as it went.

    Yeah: while the Holy Mother Church is nothing if not hierarchical, the particular strain of shadow hierocracy that affected Ireland post-independence, and only really got shaken away during the Celtic Tiger ’90s, was very much native to the land.

    Thers at Whiskey Fire has talked a fair bit about it, and spent a lot of time looking at the archives of those early decades in Dublin: not some kind of “traditional” practice, but a nasty mixture of nationalist politics and the power of the Irish clergy.

  44. 44
    muddy says:

    @scav: Roman = patriarchy. Of course they crushed down on women.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Punish the guilty and their replacements will use the wealth generated by those same inanimate objects to continue to cover up acts of rape and murder. Punish those, and their replacements will do the same. As they have for the entire history of the Catholic Church.

    I’d like some evidence, please. AFAIK, there are few enough incidents of the Catholic Church being caught and punished for its misdeeds that one can’t draw any reliable conclusions about what would happen if we did a decent job of it today. As a compromise, though, I suggest we punish the guilty within the Church, take the priceless art treasures and other accumulated wealth from the Church as part of the punishment and compensation for the victims, and then see what happens.

  46. 46
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Tom Q: @muddy:

    THIS and THIS!

  47. 47
    Alex S. says:

    @scav:

    Yeah, I guess the argument isn’t complete, but it amazes me a little that the Irish Catholic Church has a longer tradition than any other national church, except for Italy.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    @muddy: Women among the Celts generally (bleeding over into Northern European pre-Roman variants) did seem to be better off and attain/maintain high status (and possess rights) not shared by their “civilized” sisters that followed. To dash slightly earlier in the timeline, I must admit.

  49. 49
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): /upsnarkel

    That’s why G-d invented the neutron bomb. Give the tourists 90 minutes to clear Piazza San Pietro & call in the airstrike…

    /downsnarkel

  50. 50
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tom Q:

    A specifically harsh version of Catholicism — purveyed by strict Jansenist priests — was imposed on Ireland centuries ago as a way to keep the citizenry subjugated to their British overlords.

    That seems historically wrong to me. Those British overlords were quite explicitly Protestant and had an established church. They hated the Irish for their Catholicism, so I have a hard time believing that they explicitly encouraged the Irish to become fanatical hard-line Catholics. I’ve always heard it expressed almost the exact opposite way, that the Irish adopted hard-line Catholicism as a way of expressing resistance to their Protestant overlords.

  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    That’s why G-d invented the neutron bomb. Give the tourists 90 minutes to clear Piazza San Pietro & call in the airstrike…

    I saw the snark tags, but I’d like to point out that it doesn’t work that way. The idea that neutron bombs are great for killing people while leaving buildings intact is Cold War era propaganda. Neutron bombs were developed in an attempt to provide better ways of killing people in highly hardened structures (i.e. bunkers) and vehicles (i.e. tanks). In practice, they would have been hell on ordinary buildings. If you wanted to kill the people in the Vatican without damaging the infrastructure, you’d be much better off poisoning their water supply.

  52. 52
    muddy says:

    @Roger Moore: After they were left with nothing else.

  53. 53
    DougJ says:

    @Ash Can:

    There’s clearly a cultural element that goes beyond Catholicism. But the Church ran the concentration camps (and there’s no other way to describe these, I never use that phrase normally).

  54. 54
    Tom Q says:

    @Ash Can: I wouldn’t disagree, but your original question was why the strand of Catholicism in Ireland had been so repressive compared to the rather lackadaisical view of (especially) sexuality in other Catholic countries (cough:Italy). It wasn’t that the Irish were innately more inclined to it; it’s that they had it foisted upon them.

  55. 55
    scav says:

    @muddy: I doubt Roger was denying the Irish having valid reasons to be extremely grumpy, but was rather pointing out that they probably weren’t the entirely passive and unwilling victims of an outside force imposing a form of Catholicism on them. They had agency. That’s all.

  56. 56
    notoriousJRT says:

    This is an outcome when a religious institution puts the emphasis on finding and harshly judging “sin,” instead of love, mercy, and justice AND the state is too closely intertwined with said religion to step in on behalf of the victims.

  57. 57
    Tom Q says:

    @Roger Moore: The way I learned it, the Catholic clergy were happy to reap the benefits of essentially doing the will of the British. And what better way to win the peasants over than to convince them their subjugation was an act of rebellion?

  58. 58
    muddy says:

    @scav: People say that about slaves in this country and their descendants too.

  59. 59
    Susan says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Also, Elegy for April by Benjamin Black.

  60. 60
    scav says:

    @muddy: People always choose from among a limited set of options, not all of them good. I can’t really do much personally about choosing not to to be passively complicit in all the gains whites have made in this country on the backs of slaves and third world nations. I too am not perfectly sinless because of it. Wasting time chatting on these silly blogs is a furious waste of resources in some lights. There are no pure innocents anywhere, and I don’t see the benefit of pretending all the Irish Catholics were bright wooly innocent lambs forced into an intolerant religion uniquely because of outside forces. It seems to me a politically motivated whitewashing. Well, that and silly. I can understand why they may have made the choices they made.

  61. 61
    Trollhattan says:

    BTW, don’t even think of diving into the WaPo comments unless you’d like to consider that this proves Planned Parenthood is worser than the early 20th century Irish Catholic Church.

  62. 62
    Roger Moore says:

    @muddy:

    After they were left with nothing else.

    Sure. But the point is that the officially Protestant British government didn’t go an foist a bunch of hard-line Catholics on Ireland. They oppressed the Irish every way they could, and one of the few ways the Irish could resist and retain their cultural identity was to remain steadfastly and even fanatically Catholic. I’m pretty sure the British overlords would have been happier had the Irish all become Anglicans, since that would have diluted their cultural identity and tendency to rebel every time they got a chance.

  63. 63
    Mike in NC says:

    Our tour guide in Tallinn last week stated that Estonians are considered the least religious people in the world, with only 14% claiming it to be important to their lives. They have very good beer, too.

  64. 64
    El Cruzado says:

    @Ash Can: The stories my father tells of growing up in Spain in the 1940s/50s might make you reconsider.

  65. 65
    sharl says:

    @Tom Q: I had never heard of this “Jansenism”, so poked around a bit. The few sources I’ve looked at in any detail say that it is a frequent mistake in internet discussions to confuse the old-school rigorous Irish Catholocism with Jansenism.

    Too often writers will say that classic Irish religious culture was “Jansenistic.” This erroneous claim can be examined and dismantled. Newer scholarship readily depicts a more accurate picture.
    — Jansenism, the Liturgy, and Ireland, by Rev. Brian Van Hove, S.J. [link]

    “Jansenism was viewed with great suspicion by Rome, and 17th-century Irish synods toed the Roman line…” – one of various quotes in this May 2011 blog post.

  66. 66
    stickler says:

    @Tom Q: Don’t forget the Potato Famine. During that appalling disaster, the British government did almost nothing to save people; the Catholic Church was the only functioning institution that tried to ameliorate the suffering. But the national trauma was enormous — by the 1890s the Irish population had dropped by half (due to migration, starvation, and disease). At the same time, roughly, the Catholic Church was becoming radically more conservative. Thus the most-conservative version of Catholicism was easier to impose on the traumatized Irish population.

    (I just read a book on the Famine. The author suggests that Irish Catholicism — and nationalism — was much more varied and vibrant pre-1847, and that the Famine made it easier to remake the institution in Rome’s mold.)

  67. 67
    catclub says:

    @Ash Can: I was wondering which centuries the jansenist priest were there. After the Church of England broke off I am not seeing the Vatican helping keep the Irish down for the English.

  68. 68
    gingko biloba says:

    @sharl: Ditto. And if the characterization of Irish Catholicism as Jansenist is problematic, it’s even more problematic to say that this “Jansenism” was imposed by the British. Indeed, it contradicts everything I know about British rule in Ireland and the fundamentally antagonistic relationship between the British government and the Catholic Church in Ireland. I’m somewhat familiar with Irish historiography, but I’ve never come across this particular argument. Can Tom Q direct us to any works that make it?

  69. 69
  70. 70
    catclub says:

    Someone mentioned ‘that part of Ireland is like the Mississippi of Europe’. Ireland and Mississippi have similar total population and similar total economic size.

  71. 71
    Tom Q says:

    @sharl: yeah, I saw those same quotes when I Googled earlier (since I’d been working on multi-decades-old educational recollections). It may be that the original source I’d had lazily elided Jansenism with the moral rigor that it preached. The overarching point is, there’s no question a particular harsh form of Catholicism was taught/practiced in Ireland that had (from a British point of view) the great advantage of keeping the populace from rising up too sharply (and, as was pointed out above, the potato famine years helped reinforce the notions).

  72. 72
    Tom Q says:

    @gingko biloba: my recollection is of first reading it in Uris’ Ireland: A Terrible Beauty — largely a photo book but with accompanying text. I realize Uris was mostly a novelist, but this was non-fiction, and, because he wasn’t Irish, I assumed he didn’t have an ax to grind and was reporting accurately. In any case, it’ll be hard to check, because I don’t seem to have my copy, and Amazon tells me the book is out of print and only available at exorbitant prices.

  73. 73
    scav says:

    @Tom Q: But, the fact that it may have been convenient to the British is a solid step away from it being imposed by the British. It was convenient for the larger Church to be in good relations with the political and monied elite; it was convenient for the latter to get along with the Church — better the devil you know. Understanding why the Irish would choose to so tenaciously anchor their independent identity in a deeply-complicit entirely-imposed-by-outside-oppressive-forces Catholic Church is a bit confusing. Less of a leap if it was just sometimes an accommodating church, more or less so in different venues.

  74. 74
    sharl says:

    @Tom Q: Thanks for the response. As I said, I know nothing of this topic beyond what I googled today.

    But regarding your more general hypothesis – an occupying government wishing for the occupied to have the most extreme-appearing leadership – I have seen suggestions of that before, specifically regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s been ages since I’ve read anything on that, but as I recall the argument, sometime after 1967 (or maybe it was after 1973), both the Israeli government and Arafat’s crew both found the “moderate” Palestinian community leaders – mostly businessmen and a scattering of civic leaders IIRC – inconvenient, though for separate reasons: Israel got more sympathy and international support if their enemies (Arafat et al.) were seen as more violent and uncompromising; while for Arafat it was simply a matter of eliminating the political opposition.

    Again, I don’t know if my memory is accurate on this, nor if a similar dynamic could have been in play in the English occupation of Ireland – for example, are there legitimate comparison points between the Catholic Church of occupied Ireland and Arafat’s Palestinian leadership team, or similar relationships between England’s occupation of Ireland and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank? Beats me. But it seems your overall hypothesis might be plausible enough to warrant further research (which may have been done already, for all I know).

    ETA: replaced ‘composition’ with the more sensible ‘opposition’.

  75. 75
  76. 76

    @scav: Dude, you are just tearing it up in here. Gonna get myself a warm glass of Harp & observe quietly.

  77. 77
    scav says:

    @sharl: If nothing else, there was far less concern for building international coalitions of support or PR concerns during the earlier years in Ireland (look what the Spanish were getting away with in the new world). Later, does get interesting to think about, esp. with all the external (US) support the IRA et al was getting. But this is so far from my reading on Medieval and Church history as to be laughable. The situation in Ireland vis-a-vis the UK immediately prior to WWI is baffling and contradictory based on some things I’ve been listening to at the beeb. I think I heard that the first to propose revolt against the Brits were the Loyalists concerned things might not go their way. My brain hurt and then the US civil war intervened. At least that baffling and contradictory is closer to home.

  78. 78
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @stickler:

    Thus the most-conservative version of Catholicism was easier to impose on the traumatized Irish population.

    I know it’s easy to blame all Ireland’s ills on the British, especially for Americans of Irish ancestry — and 95% of the time, it’ll be spot on — but the Bon Secours home opened up in 1925.

    Part of the unease in Ireland at the revisitation of 20th-century history is that it confronts a set of practices that can’t be blamed on the British, but instead are deeply bound with the cultural and political forces that established and defined the independent state.

    Remember that Ireland still doesn’t have ideological political parties, but instead has divisions carved out of the Civil War: Fine Gael are the political descendants of DeValera’s Blueshirts, who fought alongside Franco’s forces in Spain while other Irish volunteers fought in the International Brigades.

    The not-so-distant past is always present in Irish politics.

  79. 79
    sharl says:

    @scav: Thanks. IANAH, but history never ceases to baffle and surprise as one dives deeper and deeper.

  80. 80
    Bonnie says:

    The Roman Catholic Church has done more harm to children throughout its history than any of us could imagine. They should be denied any access to children from now until forever.

  81. 81
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Also (and I haven’t yet scrolled through all the comments, so someone else may well have mentioned this by now), the filmThe Magdalene Sisters. Wrenching. Powerful.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Ah, this is where the Catholic Church gets its moral authority to tell us that abortion and birth control are evil.

  84. 84

    The Roman Catholic church’s history in Mexico is as dark if not darker. In the 1917 Mexican constitution, religious institutions were forbidden to own property, the church school system was shut down, and priests were forbidden from holding public office. Mexico then attempted to form the Mexican Apostolic National Church, a national Christian church. The Catholic Church then staged a bloody counter-revolution, the Cristero War. Estimates are that 250,000 died in the Cristero War.

  85. 85
    Betsy says:

    @Mnemosyne: there are. The Catholic Church apparently actually stole and sold children in Spain into the eighties.

    They would steal the children from single mothers giving birth in catholic hospitals, then tell the moms the child had died and sell the child to wealthy couples. SICKENING.

  86. 86
    sm*t cl*de says:

    Our tour guide in Tallinn last week stated that Estonians are considered the least religious people in the world, with only 14% claiming it to be important to their lives.

    Was that the walking tour through the Old Town?

  87. 87
    Jado says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    “…a lesson they’ll remember…”

    You are talking about people who dedicate their lives to the teachings of a man who said LOVE the least among you, and you are thinking they will LEARN a LESSON?

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