herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

'I visited Tuam - it left me shocked, numbed and angry', says D'Arcy

Father Brian D'Arcy
Father Brian D'Arcy

Father Brian D'Arcy says the Tuam and Grace scandals should "fill us with disgust and lead us to hang our heads in shame".

The outspoken priest asked how Ireland "can establish a pro-life culture if this is how we treated the most vulnerable mothers and babies".

Writing in his column in yesterday's Sunday World, the cleric told readers he visited the Tuam site in recent days to see it for himself.

"It left me shocked, numbed and very angry. The problem was - and still is - I didn't know where to direct my anger.

Blame

"Saying 'blame the nuns' is an easy option. The people who ran the Mother and Baby homes, including the nuns, did much great work.

"But what happened to their sense of decency and common sense when they disposed of dead babies in a septic tank?

"There is no justification for that. Why was it that none of those brave carers and nuns shouted stop?

"It went on for years. It's hard to imagine none of the nuns thought how cruel, how demeaning, how wrong it was to show such disrespect to dead babies and their distraught mothers.

"It makes a mockery of all the other, good work they undoubtedly did.

"This was a time when religion ruled (all religions) and when governments acted as moral guardians. It is often referred to as the 'good old days'.

"If this is what religion meant in the good old days it's no wonder there is so little of it around now.

"Those responsible must take their share of the blame. But what about the local parishes and communities? What about the local politicians? What about the families who treated their daughters so cruelly?

Decided

"There were many who knew and decided to say nothing.

"How can we establish a pro-life culture if this is how we treated the most vulnerable mothers and babies?

"It was plain that society decided that babies within marriage were more important than babies born outside of wedlock."

Fr D'Arcy said Irish society today has much to answer in relation to the Grace scandal.

"How do we protect the vulnerable today? How do we care for the vulnerable today?

"I hope all the facts about both tragedies will be known soon and I hope both Church and State will face those facts with humility, compassion and some real repentence."

Fr D'Arcy first spoke about the Tuam tragedy in 2014, when historian Catherine Corless made available her research into the home.

In September last year, the priest told Hot Press magazine that Irish women travelling to England for abortions should be helped with the costs of repatriation in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

He told the magazine he has had "countless conversations" with mothers faced with the heartbreaking decision of having to travel to England for a termination.

"I have sat with mothers, night after night after night. I have always said to mothers, 'Whatever you choose is the right choice'," he said.

"I always say that to mothers. My own view is that we should try to save all lives."

He insisted his views are still "pro-life".

Promoted articles

Entertainment News