This is a previously unpublished essay that I wrote about six months ago in response to the scandal at the (now closed) Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Ireland. I’m posting it here, because I think it dovetails nicely with my series on how the “culture of life” is anything but. At the time the story broke, the conservotrad blogosphere focused on debunking the claim that the bodies of hundreds of babies had been stuffed into a septic tank, ignoring the fact that the horrific conditions at Bon Secours and other unwed mother homes were an open secret in Irish society. The real scandal was how the children were treated as non-persons by their community when they were living. That their bodies ended up in a septic tank or some other anonymous mass grave was merely the natural outcome of a lifetime of indignity. If Ireland, perhaps the most Catholic country that ever Catholic-ed, couldn’t treat these children and their mothers (many of whom were the victims of sexual and physical abuse) with dignity and compassion, why should we expect a better outcome with a Catholic culture 2.0 (i.e., a “culture of life”)?
Throughout my entire tenure at St F, I taught CCD classes at a variety of levels, from pre-school to Confirmation. The last time I went to St F was back in 2009. This means that the little kids I was teaching for First Communion in 2005 are now thirteen and fourteen years old. Although that realization makes me feel “old” in a way, I sometimes find myself wondering what happened to those kids. Are any of them rebelling? Are the boys being roped into considering “a vocation”? Do their families still go to St F or did they jump ship for the SSPX parish or another institution? Is college going to be an option for any of these children? Do they obsess over “life issues” and “liturgical abuses”? Will they ever get the chance to read brilliant but completely anti-clerical novels like Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”? Do they ever interact with kids outside of the trad bubble? I suppose there’s no way to know this, but it’s something I wonder about it.