Sunday, 8 June 2014

Reflections on Tuam

The Winds of Spiritual Change

It’s hard to believe the litany of travesties that have occurred in this country at the hands of the authorities of the Roman Tradition. I don’t think I need list them all out. The hypocrisy, treachery, and unparalleled deceit of its leaders has left the ground crew reeling and utterly lost as to ways to redeem themselves in the eyes of the flock whom they were sworn to protect but whom they fed to their sadistic and paedophilic wolves. I have, over the years, endeavoured to defend the institution but they have made this impossible.

I have argued that the sexual depravity that was prevalent among the servants of the Roman tradition was tied to the general depravity of the time. When the tradition had its peak membership, back when it was ‘fashionable’ to have a priest or nun in the family, Ireland was a very different country. Almost one hundred years ago the nation was still reeling from the two blows of the Great Famine and the Civil War. In the wake of these tragedies there was virtually no education, no industry, no money wherewith to travel, very little hope. Further, we suffered under the rule of a spiritually blind and despotic theocracy. And if that wasn’t bad enough, only Russia, under Stalin, had more people per capita locked up in Psychiatric Hospitals – if they could even be called that. Abuse of this system and within this system was endemic; to say that this system was not fit for purpose would be something of an understatement.

The ban on contraception insured large families, while widespread economic and intellectual poverty insured high infant mortality rates. These large and unsustainable families were fodder for the Roman institution. The religious orders, under Dev, established and ran the education system. The parents of children that were noted to be bright were often approached with a proposition: give the child to us, we’ll raise him/her, they’ll be found, fed, clothed, and educated, they’ll have a career, and – sure – wouldn’t it be lovely to have a priest/brother/nun in the family? Thus the ranks swelled, and the Orders became populated mainly by ordinary folk whose only reasons for membership was that they were a bit bright and their folks couldn’t afford to feed them, not because the gospel illuminated their lives and they craved to share that light with the world. Bitterness, ignorance, depravity, spiritual blindness, a culture of violence, secrecy, and shame, pretty much did the rest. 

The image of the Roman Catholic Church as a bastion of morality and righteousness was a branding exercise that had almost no basis in fact. I’m not saying that there weren’t good and decent men and women who served God and man, there most certainly were, but they were in the minority. They might have lived and loved the gospel which would have meant challenging the authorities and so would have been shifted to where they ‘could be of more use.’ Nuff said.

When you thus consider some of the factors of the age you can understand how the Irish people were deluded by their own ignorance and their childish and fanciful notions about the so-called ‘Church’. Sexual abuse of children was rife in the nation, not just amongst the servants of Rome. Rape was permitted in marriage. A woman might have been able to vote but she had almost no other rights. If you weren’t getting it from the local priest, you were being beaten by a nun, and if they didn’t get you you may have been unfortunate enough to end up in psychiatric ‘care’ where you were guaranteed to be abused by a member of staff [non-religious], and such was the nature of those institutions you could be imprisoned for life and without trial, to say nothing of the corruption in our government and its collusion with Rome. Dark days indeed!

When we look back now and see the litany of travesties we are stunned and we are stunned because our tiny little nation has been so profoundly transformed by industry, education, and travel. Our culture and lives are so radically different from even our recent ancestors that we simply cannot imagine how backward and twisted people were back then, we cannot connect psychologically with the cultural factors that made it so. We have held a false notion of the church in our minds and measured its performance by the highest standards, utterly oblivious to the underlying mundane realities. Go back in time fifty years, to a Third World country; pick a couple of random kids from a classroom, send them off to be educated/indoctrinated, then force them to be priests. That’s whose been running the show; ordinary, corrupt, weak, bitter, ignorant, depraved, spiritually blind, culturally backward, slightly bright, average Joe’s, and when you consider things from this context the state of affairs is not too surprising. In fairness, you’d have to say to yourself – what else could you have expected? 

But to fling the bodies of infants and children into a pit, like they were so much human refuse, is indefensible no matter what else was going on. The people who did this were/are monsters. A friend, and native of Tuam, told me just the other day that, as a child, he peered into that pit and he said he couldn’t believe his eyes, “They were just flung there Barry. No attempt to even bury them, and do you know what else?” he said, “Over on the other side, when the diggers were in to build the housing estate, they pulled up loads more bones. When we were kids we used to kick the skulls around like footballs and throw them to one another!” How fucking dark is that?! It makes me think of the Khmer Rouge. This was known about more than thirty years ago and was covered up but on whose authority? This shameful policy of covering-up, paying off, or in some other manner silencing those whose urge was to speak out makes all involved [institutions and individuals] actually complicit in the crimes, complicit in the murder, sexual abuse, enslavement of children and young women.

The institutions of Rome and her servants cannot be defended. The wickedness and self serving corruption exemplified by these authorities baffles me and my horror is amplified by the fact that these monsters claimed to be serving the Master. Well did Jesus say, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matt. 7:15 How can Rome hope to escape the judgement of the Master’s proclamation that, "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matt. 18:6 NIV. For surely these wayward men have cause many to stumble over the spectacular inconsistency between their teachings and their behaviour. Average Joe wants nothing to do with these men or whatever they are selling. Their guilt and shame hangs about their necks like a milestone, their corruption will bury them.

The words Jesus spoke to the religious authorities of his day, the Scribes and Pharisee’s, and the people are just as valid today as they were two thousand years ago, “do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” Matt. 23:3 NIV. One fundamental spiritual tenet insures the collapse of this particular system of theology and ministry, at least in Ireland, and that is, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Luke 9:24 For what else have these guys been trying to do but stay out of jail, save their own skins, to save their jobs, to save the ‘church’, but in so doing they have lost everything. Given the profound spiritual ineptitude of its leaders is it any wonder, then, that the Roman institution in Ireland is haemorrhaging souls?

Now, here we are, sheep without a shepherd. Perhaps now we will learn to listen to the voice of God within and, with daring faith, be willing to follow the Master in standing up for righteousness, for truth, and justice, to condemn wickedness and corruption in high places, even if it costs us every worldly thing – even if it cost us our lives, anything less is hardly living the gospel. Personally, I’m not adverse to rounding them all up and deporting everyone that hasn’t already renounced their allegiance to Rome. It’s time for a change. It’s time to ‘do something Irish!’ I have a few ideas, if anyone is interested. ;-)

For further reading here are a few other articles on the subject.

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