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Story of Irish Mother and Baby Homes is appalling, says Bishops’ Conference

By Cian Molloy - 09 March, 2017

The way forward is to seek the truth, to reveal and address the damage of the past and to ensure that mothers and children are cherished and respected and never stigmatised again.

The Irish bishops have called on everyone who can to help the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes following their spring meeting in Maynooth this week.

“The appalling story of life, death and adoptions related to Mother and Baby Homes has shocked everyone in Ireland and beyond these shores,” the bishops said on Wednesday night.

“Sadly, we are again being reminded of a time when unmarried mothers were frequently judged and rejected. We remember in prayer the deceased who suffered so much and their loved ones who continue to experience emotional and psychological hurt.”

The bishops repeated the statement they made in 2014 when the Commission of Investigation was announced.

“This culture of isolation and social ostracising was harsh and unforgiving,” they said three years ago. “The Gospel calls us to treat everyone, particularly children and the most vulnerable, with dignity, love, compassion and mercy. We must ensure that all children and their mothers always feel wanted, welcomed and loved. Mindful of the words of Jesus, ‘Let the little children come to me, because it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs’, we apologise for hurt caused by the Church as part of this system.”

In this week’s message, the bishops affirmed: “The way forward is to seek the truth, to reveal and address the damage of the past and, to the best of our ability, ensure that mothers and children are cherished and respected and never stigmatised again.

“It is also critical for Ireland, as a society, to thoroughly examine this dimension of our social history and to consider the legacy it has left us as a people. We ask all to support the Commission in every way that they can.”

As part of the agenda of their meeting, the bishops were ‘appraised’ of the ongoing work by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) in the “complex areas of information sharing and data protection”.

The bishops concluded their statement on the Mother and Baby Homes scandal by encouraging the government to advance the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 through the Oireachtas in order to help those who are searching for their parents or children.

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