#meEjit: A Journalist’s Guide To Catholic Apologism.

In Blog, History, Politicsby Paul Doyle6 Comments

Photo © Paul Reynolds

Photo © Paul Reynolds

Paul Doyle lines up the usual suspects that attempt to give cover to Church crimes and skewers them as rightous cretins infesting our media.

During the recent European Elections the Catholic Democrats’  Theresa Heaney stood dead-eyed and Dana-esque on Vincent Browne; a relic of antiquity on whom the irony of having a hard-on for chastity is lost. Today, most people reject Heaney’s ilk, their views and the horrendous human toll those views have cost.

The Catholic Church’s inscrutable power saw 796 babies and children die and their bodies put in a mass grave in Tuam, Co. Galway. Tuam was not alone. Since the Church was forced to admit to these crimes, apologists have been out in force – their attempts at absolving the Church of as much responsibility as possible an ugly coda to the horrid  tale, a final insult to the Churchs victims.

Everyone knew. Nobody knew better. Their families abandoned them. It was a problem with society. It was a different time.

Apologists are either ignoring, or are too ignorant to realize, that when the Church claimed infallibility, it qualified itself to be judged by future standards.



Septic tank.

Tim Stanley of the Telegraph argues that what happened in Tuam – and in countless other homes run by the Catholic Church – was a ‘human tragedy, not a Catholic one’.

Stanley, discussing the institutionalised abuse, humiliation and degradation of Irish women and children, also wants to make it abundantly clear that “it is highly unlikely, if not physically impossible that 796 bodies would have been placed into one septic tank”.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Stanley – and Ireland’s own apologists for the Church – that the sceptic tank is irrelevant. The reason so many people picked up on it isn’t because of some kind of ‘media bias’, but simply because it was a perfect motif for the whole sordid affair; the children’s resting place a reflection of their status in the eyes of the Church: disposable by-products of wanton carnality – figurative and literal waste.

Some have tried to use the bodies in Tuam as a medium to further shame women. David Quinn tweeted,

“In the past we put unwanted babies in those death trap homes. What do we do now with unwanted babies?”

Upon returning, these women are shamed by Catholic pro-life groups. There’s a horrible irony to their position: the babies that lie in the ground in Tuam are a direct result of the culture of shame they propagate claiming they’re trying to save children.

The reprehensible campaign of shame by the Catholic Church against Irish women who have had to travel abroad to terminate a pregnancy never ends. And why should it?

After all, why terminate your pregnancy now, when you can see it through, give the baby to them, and they can starve it to death and throw it in a mass grave?




After all, how accountable can you hold the church if everyone gave them the green light? Gerard O’Regan, in article called An illegitimate child could sink a family into further poverty wrote:

“But now there is a tendency to rush to judgment against those nuns who were in the front line – doing what they believed the majority of Irish people wanted them to do. There certainly seems to have been little Christianity in this most Catholic of homes. Maybe that was the ultimate tragedy.”

I was just following orders.

For years, the Catholic Church essentially dictated public morality in Ireland. To say that the Nuns – whose tender care resulted in 796 dead babies – were just going on what the consensus was, is insulting to anyone who’s ever read any page of any history book about this country.

It’s also insulting to the women and children who suffered in these homes. These women did nothing wrong; their babies were not ‘illegitimate’ because there is no such thing as an ‘illegitimate’ person.

Not missing a beat, the Archbishop of Tuam, in his statement, was sure to mention that “many of these young vulnerable women would have already been rejected by their families”. These women were ‘rejected’ by their families because the Church created conditions in which it was overwhelmingly difficult for them not to. 

The children were not ‘unwanted’ as much as they were ‘not allowed’. In fact, it would seem that the vast majority of the women in homes like Tuam did want their babies. To brandish them as unwanted is to spit in the face of every falsely imprisoned woman whose newborn ended up in the sadistic, varicose hands of the Sisters of Bons Secours

The bodies in Tuam – casualties of Catholicism’s clutch on Irish society – should above all remind us that we must never allow the Church to so heavily influence state social policy again. Until the one true church of St. Peter has apologized for – and compensated the victims of its crimes (as well as stopped the ones its currently committing) it has no right to even suggest how the Irish people should legislate.

Looking forward: the story is going to get worse and worse, and, when the horror peaks, one can only hope that these apologists will be forced to relent. Until then, all we can do is watch as the Church’s representatives in the media dive deeper and deeper into the seemingly bottomless septic tank of Catholic apologism.


  1. A tiresome pedant writes: the church did not ( and does not ) claim infallibility. The popes claimed infallibility – only when speaking on matters of dogma btw – in the1870s. So there is no precedent for it , either in scripture or in church tradition. I agree with the central thrust of Doyle’s article, incidentally. catholics in the meedja are way more rightwing than the actual clergy. Mary Kenny eg is very staunch on celibacy for priests,though by here own account ,she was quite ‘active’ herself in the 60s. Case of ‘I’ve done all that, you don’t have to’ !

    1. The Church does indeed claim infallibility even if it does not use that word, since it claims to be the only sure ticket into heaven. It is so sure of itself that it never allows anyone to leave it voluntarily. All we can do is refuse to attend, but we’re still counted in your artificially inflated numbers. If you’re going to put yourselves out there as the only sure route to heaven, you better expect some criticism.

      1. If you write to the bishop in whatever diocese you find yourself in you can give them a load of shit with regard to the misogyny, child molestation etc you can demand that you be excommunicated under the section of canon law that deals with heresy. I did it some years ago and received a reply within a month from the diocese registrar stating they had complied with my wish and my name had been struck from their records.

  2. Yes, the apologists are out in force — link to interview with Bill Donohue (president of the Catholic League) done by Irish Central — 154 comments so far.


    I also had the experience of an older (male) alum from my college chastising me publicly on an alumni email digest/newsletter (I suppose in reaction to some item regarding the grave in Tuam I posted via social media), but responded to him quite smartly. I don’t think he’ll be trying to castigate me again for having the temerity to open my mouth and say what I’m thinking, on this or any other matter. That may have worked in ’64, but not in 2014.

    I well remember my mother (who grew up about 20 miles from Tuam) telling me of a girl, who, finding herself pregnant, threw herself down a well rather than go to one of these mother and baby homes. Coercive confinement is a disgrace, a scandal, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

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