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gottaB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:57 AM
Original message
Irish Nuns Apologize for Abusing Children
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - An order of Catholic nuns apologized Wednesday for the physical abuse of children in its care in Ireland. The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, which has run homes for orphans and other disadvantaged youths since the 1830s, unveiled a statement that sought to quell criticism of its earlier efforts to say sorry.

"We have in the past publicly apologized to you," the order said in a letter addressed to its victims. "We know that you heard our apology then as conditional and less than complete. Now, without reservation, we apologize unconditionally to each one of you for the suffering we have caused."

Irish Nuns Apologize for Abusing Children....

***


Also see Abuse group welcomes Mercy nuns' apology.
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jadedcherub Donating Member (367 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. Wow. That's pretty amazing. (n/t)
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
25. It's a start,...no WAY can I condemn that, knowing the past,...
,...is unrecoverable. I will never condemn any obvious ACTION (rather than mere words) towards healing the wounds of past trangressions, ever.

If anyone clings to the wounds and rejects the salve,...they are dead already and accept no hope, whatsoever.
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Mattforclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. no comment
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. See, George? That's how it's done.
Now let's talk restitution and sincere amends.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:13 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. No, it is not done 170 years later.... n/t
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:15 AM
Response to Original message
4. Yet they still haven't accounted for the deaths in the Magdalena Laundries
Edited on Thu May-06-04 01:16 AM by TahitiNut
The abuses by the Catholic Church in Ireland are appalling. The same Sisters of Mercy (yeah, right) ran the Magdalena Laundries, the last of which was closed less than 8 years ago. Hundreds of women whose only "offense" was as little as flirting, being raped, or having a child outside of marriage were effectively enslaved for their lives in those laundries. No due process. No parole. No review. Nothing.
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DianeG5385 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. I think that's the least of our problems..
But if we insist on being distracted, may I have a swat with a yardstick to pay back my catholic school years? I'm joking, of course, I think GWB is a bigger threat to the world than Irish nuns. I suppose some right -wing idiot or controlled media outlet is trying to equate Irish nun abuse of kindergardeners with American abuse of Iraqi detainees.
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finn Donating Member (362 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:06 AM
Response to Original message
6. so finally the
irish gestapo nuns have said their sorry. you can bet they all are four foot and under. they are the meanest around. short nuns like to terrorize everyone
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Sapphocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
7. Oh, my God... literally...
I'm assuming this is the same Sisters of Mercy originating in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary (which is all of about 15 miles from Dublin) -- which exported a flock of nuns to teach in the U.S. Most were rather young, and for many, it was their first experience charged with the "care" of young children.

If so...

While they didn't do quite the same to us as they did to the children in the documentary, that is the same order of nuns who inflicted all manner of physical, mental, and emotional abuse on my Catholic elementary school in the 1960s and 70s -- at least until we grew taller than they were, and, I suppose, they got the idea we might start hitting back.

I won't hold my breath waiting for an apology to an entire generation of American children they traumatized for eight long years.

And if they ever do apologize to us as well, immediate forgiveness will stretch the limits of my pacificism.

I don't know quite how to feel about what I've just read.
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Leilani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:50 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Amazing!!!
I had a nun in 1st grade named Sister Magdalena, Sisters of Mercy. She was American, not Irish, but the woman was a sadist. I had school phobia for years, after living through her torture factory, & I was 5 years old.

She was truly sick!
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. Not one of the nuns in my schools was mean or sadistic and I
had 12 years of schooling with them. Most of them were warm and genuine teachers. A few were a little more distant. But never, never never was there anything that remotely could be called abuse.

However, they were very good at maintaining order and discipline in the classroom. A good, hard look from one of them let us know it was time to settle down and be quiet.

The only thing I can remember ever happening in those 12 years was when one slammed a ruler on one of the student's desks. I think the intent was to startle him into paying attention. It also succeeded in startling all of us.

Never, never did they touch one of us. Never did they belittle or demean us. Detention after class, which meant cleaning up the classroom (sweeping the floor and cleaning the boards as well as writing something like "I will be quiet during class" 100 times was the extent of punishment.

They were not perfect, but they were wonderful.
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Sapphocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. You were lucky...
About half the Catholics around my age have never even heard of such things going on, while the other half -- well, meeting anyone for the first time who endured what I did means embracing someone who knows instinctly the longterm damage that was done.

Our nuns slapped, spanked, shoved, yanked us around violently, made us sit on the floor all day if our posture wasn't perfect, called us names, belittled us ("You're nothing but a nuisance!" may sound mild now, but it has quite an impact on a six-year-old's self-esteem when it's drilled into a child's head day after day), told us we were stupid when we weren't, told us we were just being lazy when we really didn't understand a concept, mocked our shakey first efforts when we were striving to learn cursive handwriting, made no distinction between what we did and who we were (we didn't do bad things -- we were bad children), told us how ashamed our parents would be if they knew how bad we were (telling our parents was always a threat, never carried out), made sure we knew we would never amount to anything, told us that every time we sinned, we were personally driving the nails deeper into Jesus' hands just as surely as if we were standing over him with the hammer... The litany is endless. And a ruler slammed on a desk would have been a welcome change from one being slammed across the knuckles.

In fact, many of us -- to the puzzlement of our parents -- preferred plastic rulers to wooden rulers when it came time to stock up on back-to-school supplies. Plastic rulers, you see, don't hurt quite as much, and break in fewer strokes.

They also confused discipline with punishment, and misguided vegeance with love. "I love the children I punish more," I remember one of them telling the class. To those of you who were abused by your parents: Does that sound a little too familiar for comfort? As in, "I do this because I love you," which is bordering on the territory of "No one else will ever love you like I do." The final nail in the coffin was the constant reminder that while we were in their "care," they were taking the place of our own parents, and must be accorded as much authority -- just as the priests were the human representation of God on earth.

Talk about your classic mind-f*** technique. No wonder I had so much sympathy for Patty Hearst a few years later.

I never considered any of this "abuse," and I know my classmates didn't, either; what did we know? We never told our parents -- not a one of us -- because we simply assumed this was the way things were supposed to be... and much of it was a daily occurrence. (I told my parents long after I had grown up, and they were devastated. Had they known, they would have raised hell with the school, the church, and anyone else involved. My parents had never laid a hand on us.)

Before I was through the first grade, I was so terrified of Sister Fatima that I broke out in a cold sweat when I realized I had accidentally colored outside the lines in a coloring book. I thought she was going to slap me for it, at least, so I hid my mistake and sweated it out, hoping she wouldn't notice.

She, especially, was a monster. She scared me so much, I was afraid to ask if I could use the restroom. One day, I peed my desk. She susprised me by not getting mad about that -- she was thoroughly inconsistent -- but instead simply sent me off to the girls' room to clean myself up. I was six years old, for God's sake -- and she sent me off alone, in a rather miserable condition I don't have to describe for you to imagine. Needless to say, I was a soaking mess for the rest of the day, and she didn't give a damn. I was six years old.

That's a story I've never told before.

It was only as an adult that I came to understand all of this was at best neglect, and at worse abuse. I also came to understand what is meant when adult survivors of abuse (who endured much worse in their own homes) would say that physical abuse, no matter how painful, was nearly tolerable compared to emotional abuse. After all, physical pain fades -- but there are some wounds that never heal.

I abhor the "victim mentality," so I have always been hesitant to blame the nuns for many of my own quirks. But the more perspective I gain -- on my own experience, and that of those I consider more "bona fide" abuse survivors -- the more I understand the impact of my own emotional scarring... and why I didn't love, let alone like, myself, for a very, very long time.

How could I have, when I was nothing but a nuisance?

P.S. The nuns had their favorites to pick on, and I was one. I wasn't a troublemaker, and I wasn't stupid. Now I realize that the nuns only picked on the kids whose fathers weren't rich -- whose families didn't make big, fat monetary donations to the church, or donations of one kind or another to the convent itself. The rich kids weren't any more well-behaved than the rest of us -- but I realize now why the nuns wouldn't touch them.
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. I am in tears...
...reading your post. Your post has the most impact on me, number one, because of who you are to me, and number two, because of the abuse I went through as a kid.

They also confused discipline with punishment, and misguided vegeance with love. "I love the children I punish more," I remember one of them telling the class. To those of you who were abused by your parents: Does that sound a little too familiar for comfort? As in, "I do this because I love you," which is bordering on the territory of "No one else will ever love you like I do."

Yes it does sound all to familar to me. As the person who molested and physically and mentally abused me as a kid would do unmentionable stuff to me, that person would say things like; "no one loves you like I love you," "I only do this because I love you," "when I hit you, I am showing my love for you," and the list could go on and on, but I don't want to start of the day with flashbacks.


She, especially, was a monster. She scared me so much, I was afraid to ask if I could use the restroom. One day, I peed my desk. She susprised me by not getting mad about that -- she was thoroughly inconsistent -- but instead simply sent me off to the girls' room to clean myself up. I was six years old, for God's sake -- and she sent me off alone, in a rather miserable condition I don't have to describe for you to imagine. Needless to say, I was a soaking mess for the rest of the day, and she didn't give a damn. I was six years old.

That's a story I've never told before.


That is the part that made me cry.

Yes it is a story you never shared before. I only wish it was you telling me while I was sitting next to you on our couch, and not through a message board.

I am sorry that happened to you, and I wish I could take it all away for you.


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Sapphocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. Well...
Yes it is a story you never shared before. I only wish it was you telling me while I was sitting next to you on our couch, and not through a message board.
I'm sorry, honey. It's not pleasant in either the remembering or the telling, but I felt it was important for making the point that a lot of things wouldn't have been as bad as that kind of utter and complete humiliation... and that there are monsters in the most unlikely of disguises.
I am sorry that happened to you, and I wish I could take it all away for you.
I wish I could take all of yours away from you too (and you have plenty more of it)... but sometimes the only thing you can do is listen, you know? And sometimes that's just the best thing, too.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. WOW!!! Being "human", together.
Edited on Thu May-06-04 07:23 PM by Just Me
Hurting for one another will heal eachother,...in my humble view. BUT, we have to, at least, have the capacity to accept one another's compassion, without making our experiences another form of competition (e.g. take compassion for what it is,...not as anything other than what it is).

Doncha' think?

:bounce:
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Sapphocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. No competition with us...
Honest. Believe me, we more than accept and appreciate each other's compassion. fc and I go back a ways, ya see... :)

If there's any "competition," it's only because I tend to dismiss my experience as "less valid" than fc's -- which I know, logically, it isn't (pain is pain) -- for a lot of reasons I won't go into. Suffice to say, I'm working on that. :)
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. I'll second that!
Edited on Fri May-07-04 12:12 AM by foreigncorrespondent
If there's any "competition," it's only because I tend to dismiss my experience as "less valid" than fc's -- which I know, logically, it isn't (pain is pain) -- for a lot of reasons I won't go into. Suffice to say, I'm working on that. :)

Yes you do tend to dismiss the pain you have endured at the hands of people who are meant to protect you while you are in their care. And your pain is no different than mine. Mine might have been at the hands of a family member, but needless to say, the pain from the wack of a ruler is the same no matter who deals the blow.

On edit: Not enough sleep, so had to fix a typo.
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. The trouble is...
and that there are monsters in the most unlikely of disguises.

...through out the ages it has always been the religious people that have caused the most oppression and hurt in people. Abuse by religious people is nothing new, I am sad to say.

These people are meant to be God's workers, and they treat people like total crap.

Yes I do realize not all religious people are bad, but I am sad to say that I truly believe most are bad.
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robbob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:00 AM
Response to Original message
8. Simple explanation
It's the whole Stanford prison experiment all over again. Does this mean humans are inherently evil?
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R Hickey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:01 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I agree its the Stanford prison experiment again.
But the question of whether humans are inherently evil, opens a whole new can of worms. Where are we (the human race) going, and what have we done since we've arrived?

We have another domesticated animal we humans can compare ourselves to... the dog. The dog, like humans, has lived under human domestication for thousands of generations. Dogs came from wolfs. Wolves are superior in surviving within the rules of the natural world, while dogs are superior in surviving within the rules of our human society. Whether dogs are better than the wolves, depends upon the yardstick with which you judge them.
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:08 AM
Response to Original message
9. cover.
get thee to a nunnery.
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DaveSZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:45 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. I can't believe they have the nerve to chide
US politicians like John Kerry over his pro-choice stance when they have problems of their own like this.

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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. There was no mention of Senator Kerry in either article.
Only sincere apologies from the Sisters of Mercy that were accepted by the victims' rights groups.

The Church is not monolithic. The grandstanding statements of certain male clergy have nothing to do with this story.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:44 AM
Response to Original message
12. I guess they decided to apologize since that movie
the Magdalene Sisters came out, which exposed the abuses in the orphanages.
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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
16. some actions are not forgivable

abusing children is one of them.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
19. I watched the movie, "The Magdelene Sisters" just the other night
Edited on Thu May-06-04 04:37 PM by Solly Mack
Read about it before..a long while back.

The article in no way covered the true nature of the abuse...or what those "orphanages" really were...




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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. "Dear Daughter" is the movie about the orphanage abuses.
It's discussed in the first article.

"The Magdalene Sisters" is about the Magdalene Laundries, another horrid institution. Several orders of nuns were responsible, not just the Sisters of Mercy. Of course, the families who submitted their daughters should also bear some blame. There was no legal compulsion for them to do so.

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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. According to the documentary, "Sex in a Cold Climate"
orphanages were often on the same grounds with the "laundries" (slave labor shops)... with the children of many of the "sisters" of Magdelene.....

Yes, it was more than the sisters of "mercy" but the sisters of "mercy" ran both in certain areas..the childrens part and the laundries



and yes, the parents should have been held accountable..as well as the communities, the church as a whole, and the country.
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MikeG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
24. So, what about the nuns who used to smack my knuckles with a ruler?
I haven't heard their frigging apology yet.
I'M WAITING.
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