A scandalous disclosure pertaining to the Irish Catholic Church stunned the entire world. Nearly 800 children were illegally buried in a shared grave at a church hospice, informs Agence France-Presse. The authorities have still not decided how to act after the shocking discovery, which was made by the historian Catherine Corless.
After year-long research, Corless came upon evidence proving that a total of 796 children, born by unwed mothers, who came to the orphanage The Home between 1925 and 1961, were buried in a septic tank without the public having any knowledge of it.
The hospice in question is located in the town of Tuam, West Ireland. Many of the buried children were only a few months old, with some older ones as well. The children's grave was actually found in 1975 by locals, when the concrete tiles suddenly cracked, concealing it.
For more than a century, the locals were deceived into believing that the area contained the bodies of people who had died during the Irish Potato Famine in 1840.
The historian Catherine Corless found something suspicious in the case and decided to investigate. She carefully went through all of the archives and registers.
From the uncovered data she came to the conclusion that the grave contained the remains of nearly 800 children. The deceased were buried without a coffin, without there even being a tombstone at the site. The registers revealed that the deaths of the children were caused by infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and systematic starvation.
During the first few years of the 20th century, numerous children's orphanages under the direction of the Irish Catholic Church were inhabited by single parents.
At the time, mothers without a husband were not looked upon favorably. They often became pregnant from wealthy married men or even from clergymen, who did everything in their power to hide the existence of their illegitimate heirs. The unfortunate women were often forced to abandon their children and leave them up for adoption.
Single mothers in Ireland in those days were common. In the years between 1922 and 1996, more than 10 000 young girls and adult women worked as cleaners without pay, headed by Catholic nuns.
This was punishment for those women because they broke Catholic laws by allowing themselves to get pregnant without being married.