Grim Tales of Abuse Emerge from the Irish Catholic Church

Can we stop equating religion and morality now? They never seem to have much to do with one another.

Grim tales are emerging from an investigation of the Irish Catholic Church. For years, they've been running reform schools which sound more like hellish work camps, where sadistic priests were given free rein. I found it ironic that some of these workhouses were used to make religious paraphernalia, like rosaries, that were sold to the faithful. I wonder how many hail marys have been said on beads assembled by child-slaves who were raped or beaten as a reward? It does add a rather sinister gloss to Catholic prayers.

A quick summary of the findings:

  • a history of official cover-ups of pedophiles within the church since the 1930s.

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  • a pattern of beatings, abuse, and molestation in church-run workhouses.

  • molestation and rape were "endemic" at the boys' workhouses.

  • ritualized beatings and personal abuse and denigration.

PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He runs the science blog, Pharyngula.