Church Sanctioned Slave Labour

31 05 2011

Another day, another story that makes the Catholic Church look more and more like an international crime syndicate than an institution of worship.  From the New York Times:

An estimated 30,000 women were sent to church-run laundries, where they were abused and worked for years with no pay.

What did the these women do to deserve such horrendous treatment?  So terrible that it likely violates human rights laws?  Did they commit crimes that even the most liberal-hearted of people could never forgive?  No.

Their offense, in the eyes of society, was to break the strict sexual rules of Catholic Ireland, having children outside wedlock.

Once again, the supposedly moral Catholic Church flouts any sense of morality in order to keep a tight control over all things sex.  From the sheltering of child rapists to punishing women who do not adhere to the Church’s rules of sex, this institution has, time and time again, proven itself to be fundamentally backwards when it comes to such matters.  So backwards in fact that the strict rules created a climate of mistrust in rejection towards women who did not adhere to the Church’s rules.

In this climate, the shame of giving birth to an illegitimate child was so great that many unmarried mothers were rejected by their families. They were taken out of “decent society” and put into Magdalene laundries by members of the clergy, government institutions and their own families.

Even women who were raped were forced into these laundries.

Add all of that to the fact that some women were sexually abused in these laundries and this becomes less about morality on sex and more about typical patriarchal dominion over life.

What’s just as troubling is the fact that this is not a new story.  This matter came to light 10 years ago but the women are still awaiting an apology.  Why does this sound all too familiar?   The Catholic Church is not held to any responsibility except that for which it determines for itself.

The government of Ireland deserves to join in the shame for it’s complicity in these events.  Not surprising given this is the country that made blasphemy illegal.  Perhaps this should be a lesson to those who believe the mix of government and religion to be a good thing.  It seems accountability would go down the drain in such a scenario.

Let’s review; Sexual relations with children: Good.  Sexual acts – being raped included – committed out of wedlock that lead to the birth of a child : Bad.  Punishment?  Slave labour.

And here I thought the Church wanted its followers to go forth and multiply.  Obviously, this is only the case in Ireland if you meet their strict and unrealistic standards first.  Or maybe they just want to control.





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