Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Decadence of the Sisters of Mercy


Catherine McAuley - founded Sisters of Mercy 1831

AND Sister Helena O'Donoghue (Alpha and Omega)

"Hitler's Table TalkChristianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (Adolf Hitler, 10 October 1941) 

And in fact Hitler had a point. Christian Churches have often been accused of being tools of the ruling class, "The Conservative Party at prayer" in the UK, preaching "Pie in the Sky when you die" to fool the lower classes and keep them in their place. Unfortunately there is a more dangerous and repulsive heresy i.e. The Culture of Victimhood which does indeed have roots in the Gospel.
 "Christianity, according to Nietzsche, exalted the weakling, the underling, the mediocre man, over against this magnificent man. It caused the slave to resent his superior, to envy him, and to wish to overthrow him with his own inferiority. Christianity exalted the sniveling victim, and gave honor to criminals, prostitutes, beggars, and worthless throw-aways ..."  

I take the above to be a perversion of Christianity but it appears to be the ideology practiced by the leaders of the Sisters of Mercy today when they endorse false allegations of child rape and murder against their own innocent colleagues! They appear to believe that even when accusers tell transparent lies (up to and including Blood Libel), those unfortunate "victims"  must have suffered at the hands of the Patriarchal Church to make them behave in such a way. Blaming the "Patriarchy" or "Clericalism" is a bit like like blaming Nietzsche's "magnificent man".  It's true our male clergy and bishops repudiated Nietzsche and his Ubermensch. However they did see themselves as a type of spiritual aristocracy  and Nietzsche would appreciate how their authority has been undermined by victim-mongering mediocre nuns!

Rory Connor
20 February 2020

The Reasons for "The Apologies of the Sisters of Mercy"

This is a follow-up to my article "The Apologies of the Sisters of Mercy". Before I wrote the former article I attempted to contact the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland (where they currently lead The Association of Missionaries and Religious - AMRI) and then in the USA.  I didn't want people hostile to the Catholic Church to take comfort from what I proposed to write. Of course I was unsuccessful in contacting the Sisters but the problem with giving aid and comfort to anti-clerics doesn't  arise for a curious reason. The Irish journalists and broadcasters who published obscene lies about Sister Xavieria and Nora Wall (formerly Sister Dominic) have no wish to revisit their long since discredited libels. They cannot denounce the Sisters' betrayal of innocent nuns without calling attention to their own vicious behaviour! 

(A) The Death of Baby Marian Howe in 1955

In 1996 the producer and director, Louis Lentin, made a television documentary about abuse in children’s homes which was shown by RTE, the main public service broadcasting station in Ireland. It focused on the brutal regime which was said to have been operating during the 1950s at the Sisters of Mercy industrial school at Goldenbridge, Dublin. The documentary told the supposed life story of Christine Buckley and featured her allegations against one Mercy nun in particular, Sister Xavieria Lally. Her claims were transparently false. On one occasion, she said she had been caned by Sister Xavieria so severely that the entire side of her leg was split open from her hip to her knee. She says she was treated in the casualty department of the local hospital and believes that she received 80 to 120 stitches. "No medical evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this bizarre claim" (Richard Webster in "States of Fear, the Redress Board and Ireland’s Folly" )

 After the broadcast of ‘Dear Daughter’, the Sisters of Mercy issued their first public apology, in February 1996. This stated:
In the light of recent revelations regarding the mistreatment of children in our institutions
we the Mercy Sisters wish to take this opportunity to sincerely and unreservedly express
our deep regret to those men and women who at any time or place in our care were hurt
or harshly treated. The fact that most complaints relate to many years ago is not offered as
an excuse. As a Congregation we fully acknowledge our failures and ask for forgiveness.

Aware of the painful and lasting effect of such experiences we would like to hear from
those who have suffered and we are putting in place an independent and confidential help
line. This help line will be staffed by competent and professional counsellors who will
listen sympathetically and who will be in the position to offer further help if required. In
this way we would hope to redress the pain insofar as that is possible so that those who
have suffered might experience some peace, healing and dignity.

Life in Ireland in the 40s and 50s was in general harsh for many people. This was reflected
in orphanages, which were under funded, under staffed and under resourced. It was in
this climate that many Sisters gave years of generous service to the education and care
of children. However, we made mistakes and irrespective of the passage of time as a
Congregation we now openly acknowledge our failures and ask for forgiveness.

Regretfully we cannot change the past. As we continue our work of caring and education
today we will constantly review and monitor our procedures, our personnel and our
facilities. Working in close cooperation with other voluntary and statutory agencies we are
committed to doing all in our power to ensure that people in our care have a protective
and supportive environment.

We were founded to alleviate pain, want and misery. We have tried to do this through our
work in health care, education, child care, social and pastoral work. Despite our evident
failures which we deeply regret we are committed to continuing that work in partnership
with many others in the years ahead.
Richard Webster commented "In the wake of the broadcast, atrocity stories about Goldenbridge and other industrial schools began to proliferate." It would have been more correct if he had written "In the wake of the Apology by the leaders of the Sisters of Mercy that failed to refer to the obvious falsehoods in the documentary or to defend their own innocent colleagues". 

The main atrocity story to emerge was that Sister Xavieria had been responsible for the death of an infant child Marian Howe in 1955. When it became evident that the Sisters were not prepared to defend Xavieria against THAT lie, the accusation quickly escalated to one of deliberate murder!

HOWEVER in the beginning some journalists and broadcasters who recognised the absurdity of the claims, were prepared to say so:

One of the more chilling allegations to surface was that an 11-month-old baby died four days after she was put into Goldenbridge. When the infant's father, Myles Howe. returned from England and went to St Ultan's hospital, he was told by a nurse that his baby had burns on her knees but the staff had got her too late to save her. The postmortem said the child died of dysentery.

The Howes have never been satisfied by the official response.

[Doctor] Prendiville [1] recalls that St Ultan's was established largely for dealing with bowel complaints such as dysentery or gastroenteritis, a common illness among children which at that time could reach epidemic proportions in Dublin. He speculated that Marian Howe was more than likely admitted to St Ultan's with a bowel complaint. "I wouldn't say that burns of that size on a child's legs would have been the cause of death. They didn't treat burns in St Ultan's. If the baby died from a burn, there would have to be an inquest. But failure to communicate information is a defect in many hospitals," he said.

But if the burns were not the cause of Marian's death, asks Howe, why was he told by Xavieria that it was an "accident" and not dysentery that killed his child? Why, on his arrival at St Ultan's to see his dead child, did a nurse indicate to him that his daughter had died of burns? And why could nobody explain to him the large burn marks on the sides of her knees?

The outrage that followed the Prime Time programme [2] was directed as much at Xavieria's denials of abuse as at an apparently "soft" line of questioning. The allegation that a baby in her charge died of burns was not put to her on the programme. The reason was that after researching the allegation, the Prime Time team could find no evidence to support it. according to an RTE source. [my emphasis] The reporter did ask Xavieria about the incident, he said, but her response was edited out of the programme.

Both Buckley and Dear Daughter producer Louis Lentin, regard the Prime Time report as an effort by RTE to undermine the documentary. "Sister Xavieria is perfectly entitled to any right of reply, but this programme bent over backwards to be reverential," said Lentin. "The facts were not put to her in a strong, investigative manner."
[1] Doctor J. B. Prendiville was a senior surgeon who worked at the hospital where children from Goldenbridge  were treated during the 1950s.

[2]  A Prime Time special broadcast by RTE in April 1996 highlighted some discrepancies in the tale of horror

When the Sisters paid £20,000 and made a "qualified apology" to the Howe family who accused them of being responsible for the death of baby Howe, 42 years before, it was a game changer - and the media responded accordingly.

Irish Times, Saturday, 11 October, 1997 
The fate of baby Marion Howe in Goldenbridge orphanage 42 years ago will have disturbed many people in the past two days. Some of these people are members of the Sisters of Mercy order. They will wonder what happened to transform a healthy, 11 month-old baby, within a few days of her arrival at Goldenbridge, to a child dying of dysentery and with an unexplained burn on her leg.

It would appear that this week's settlement by the Mercy order has done nothing to reduce the pain of the Howe family - at least in the short term. In the settlement, the order agreed to pay £20,000 to the family but without admission of liability. The order also issued a qualified apology in which it said it was sorry "if there was any lack of courtesy and compassion at that time."

It is hardly surprising that this statement has brought little relief to the Howes or to others who suffered in Goldenbridge and elsewhere. Indeed, it is quite breathtaking that what happened to baby Howe could be equated with a "lack of courtesy and compassion." It is breathtaking that the acts of cruelty and bullying recounted by many former inmates of Sisters of Mercy orphanages, here and abroad, could be explained away by a phrase - which has about it the ring of the public relations agency.

But what really hurts those who suffered at the hands of some of the Mercy nuns is the inclusion in the statement of the word `if'. Is the order saying that it does not believe what the Howes have told them? Is it saying that it does not believe the Irish women who told their stories in Louis Lentin's Dear Daughter documentary last year? Is it saying that it does not believe the men and women in Australia who have recounted similar experiences at the hands of members of the order there?

Why then has the order issued qualified apologies? Why has it paid compensation to the Howes, albeit a relatively meagre sum? Is there not a tacit admission here that what these people say happened did happen? Or are we to believe that the Sisters of Mercy have taken to paying compensation and issuing apologies for things that didn't happen at all?  [My emphasis] .............
An escalation of the allegation to one of child murder was a natural follow up to the decadent behaviour of the leaders of the Sisters of Mercy. The allegation that Sister Xavieria had used a hot poker to burn holes in the baby's two legs was highly libelous but Mirror editors correctly believed that Mercy leaders would do nothing and would allow their colleague's reputation to be trashed. 

The headline 
appeared in the tabloid newspaper The Mirror on 11 October 1997 under the byline of Neil Leslie.

The article began:
The elderly mother of tragic Goldenbridge baby Marion Howe claims her daughter's death at the hands of nuns was "nothing short of murder". Distraught Christina Howe has revealed for the first time that she believes her 11-month-old toddler was assaulted with a hot poker.

She was speaking after receiving a pounds 20,000 payout from the Sisters of Mercy and an apology over the death of baby Marion. But she said the payout was no substitute for an explanation of her child's mystery death. It is 42 years since Marion died but pensioner Mrs Howe sobbed: "I just can't forgive them."

Speaking at her home in Dublin last night, she said: "What they did was murder, that's my view of it anyhow. I am still very angry and I still don't know the truth. That was all I wanted to know, the truth. Money didn't matter. But now we will never know because there are no witnesses. It's an awful burden. I will never get over it."

She revealed that the nuns had initially offered pounds 7,500 for her and her husband Myles to drop court action against them. "They offered us that money a few months ago. It was an insult really. But we didn't want the money, we just wanted to know what happened to our lovely little girl. She was such a beautiful baby. I had 16 children and 10 are alive and I just look at them now and wonder which one would she have been like. It's heartbreaking. We will try to put it behind us now. My husband is still too upset to speak to anyone about it."

Christina wept again as she recalled why her little girl was taken from her all those years ago. She said: "I was sick. She was only supposed to be there for two weeks but she was dead in four days. Some of my older daughters remember. Mary, who was around four or five, recalls her being taken away in the pram and saying 'Day Day'. Little did we know it would be the last 'Day Day' we ever saw her alive.

"We are still angry. The nuns never even told me what happened at the time. They rang my husband who was in England and told him not to bother coming home, that they would look after everything. They wondered why we were so upset and told us: 'It's only a baby'. But our little girl was lucky because she had parents. What about all the little ones that didn't. How many more have been buried like that?"

Christina believes horrendous burns to her baby's legs were caused with a hot poker. "I always said it was a poker because of the shape of the holes. She was only 11 months old. It's really awful what they did. Marion had burns on both her legs, not just one which was reported. You could place your fingers right through the hole in her little leg. How could anybody do that to an 11-month-old baby. It is frightening to think such things could have happened to a little infant. And these people had the cheek to say they would bury our baby. They were covering up. Do they think we are fools?"

Mrs Howe and her husband visited the orphanage near Dublin three weeks after Marion was buried in an attempt to find out what happened. She recalled: "The nun who answered the door shut it in our face. We were devastated. There was no any investigation, yet we told the Guards. We were left thinking, year after year, day after day, what ever happened to our little Marion. We never got the truth. No money will ever replace her. When my husband reported it to the police they should have looked into it. Think what we could have done to save other orphans from torture?"

The court victory has opened the door for a flood of similar settlements against the Sisters of Mercy who ran a cruel regime in Goldenbridge 40 years ago. The scandal was uncovered after orphan Christine Buckley exposed the brutal life in her television documentary Dear Daughter last year. Christine told of the reign of terror in which kids were beaten, placed in tumble dryers and forced to sit on potties for hours. Christina Howe saw the moving film and was horrified."It was then we realised that if all this had happened to this woman, what had happened to our little girl," she said.

Christine Buckley last night offered her sympathy to the Howes. She said: "It must have been like burying their baby again. If they had got a million pounds it would have been nothing because they did not get an honest explanation as to what happened."

She said it was time for an independent public inquiry. "The state has let us down badly. Had one of us been the daughter of a VIP this would never have gone so far. The Howes have waited 42 years for the truth. Someone knows the answer to their question."
"Christina Howe saw the moving film [Dear Daughter] and was horrified."It was then we realised that if all this had happened to this woman, what had happened to our little girl," she said." 
So the Sisters paid her €20,000 and she promptly accused them of deliberately murdering her baby - AND she was supported by Christine Buckley the star of "Dear Daughter".  It should have been a moment of revelation for the Sisters but not at all!

 Dail Eireann – Volume 481 – 21 October, 1997
Mr. Neville [Dan Neville, Fine Gael TD for Limerick West]
Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will have investigations made into the alleged abuse of a child at Goldenbridge Orphanage which may have resulted in her death.

 Minister of State at the Department of Justice,  Equality and Law Reform (Miss M. Wallace):
The Minister has been informed by the Garda authorities that a comprehensive investigation was carried out into allegations of child abuse at Goldenbridge Orphanage and the death of a child there. A file in the matter was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions who directed that there should not be a prosecution against any person mentioned in the file.
The Gardai (Irish police) will not have appreciated having their time wasted on carrying out a ludicrous inquiry. This should mean that their interests would align with those of the Sisters in ensuring that these vile claims be discredited  and not repeated. In fact the Sisters' continued for years and decades with apologies and payouts and made themselves ridiculous in the eyes of the authorities and fake victims alike!

(B) Nora Wall and Pablo McCabe

There is a Wikipedia article on former Sister of Mercy Nora Wall and an article by Breda O'Brien in the Jesuit quarterly review "Studies" (Winter 2006)  entitled:Miscarriage of Justice: Paul McCabe and Nora Wall

Paul (Pablo) McCabe was a homeless schizophrenic man who was targeted by two false accusers - women in their twenties -  because prior to 1999, no woman had been convicted of rape in Ireland. The two sociopaths Regina Walsh and her "witness" Patricia Phelan hence claimed that McCabe was the main rapist of Regina Walsh while Nora Wall (then Sister Dominic) held her down. He was the ultimate victim - targeted not in his own right but as a means of extracting money from the Sisters of Mercy. And they were to betray him in a repulsive fashion. 

There were two rape allegations. In relation to the first that was alleged to have occurred on "victim" Regina Walsh's 12th birthday party, the defense showed that McCabe could not possibly have been there on the date in question - 8 January 1990. No problem for the jury! It acquitted both accused on that count, and convicted them on the second rape charge for which no exact date or even year was specified. As per Wikipedia 
"Like Nora Wall, [Pablo McCabe] was never questioned on the second allegation that he had also raped Regina Walsh two years previously in 1987 or 1988, again with Wall present. In fact, neither McCabe’s nor Wall’s defense teams received notification of this second charge until 28 May 1999, only six days before hearings began, and two years after they were initially charged."

It is reasonably clear that the second rape charge was cooked up (and no exact date specified) because the Prosecution became aware that McCabe had a cast iron alibi for the date of Regina Walsh's 12th birthday. It is also notable that Nora and Pablo were first arrested in 1996 just a few months after the broadcast of "Dear Daughter" and the first apology by the  Sisters of Mercy. Their trial in June 1999 took place just after RTE broadcast Mary Raftery's 3-part documentary "States of Fear" that demonised the religious congregations. I was told by one of their defence team that they were convicted in a "climate of hysteria" created by States of Fear - and Nora Wall herself said this to Breda O'Brien. 

Nora Wall's family in Co. Waterford stood by her after the conviction - but not, of course the leaders of the Sisters of Mercy.  The fact that one of the two allegations was clearly a lie did not bother them in the slightest. As per Wikipedia
Reaction of Sisters of Mercy
After their conviction, the Sisters of Mercy issued a statement, which read:
We are all devastated by the revolting crimes which resulted in these verdicts. Our hearts go out to this young woman who, as a child, was placed in our care. Her courage in coming forward was heroic. We beg anyone who was abused whilst in our care to go to the Gardaí.
Even after the collapse of the case against the two accused, the Sisters of Mercy made no effort to apologise to Wall or to withdraw their statement of support for Walsh. One commentator remarked: "The young woman their hearts were going out to, was the false accuser, not their own innocent nun. Our absolutist system had seduced them into identifying with the accuser and betraying their own sister."
On 23 July 1999 Judge Paul Carney sentenced Nora Wall to life imprisonment and Pablo McCabe to 12 years. Having been the first woman to be convicted of rape in the history of the Irish State, Nora now became the first person to receive a sentence of life imprisonment for that crime. The Wikipedia article also records that
The director of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Olive Braiden, welcomed the imposition of a maximum sentence, and said it would ensure that Nora Wall would be monitored for the rest of her life to prevent recurrence.
 There was no comment from Olive Braiden after the collapse of the rape convictions. Coming from a feminist, her silence doesn't surprise me. But why did the Sisters of Mercy say nothing? Why didn't they withdraw their apology to the sociopath Regina Walsh who was prepared to wreck the lives of two innocent people so that she could sue the Sisters of Mercy for "compensation"? If they were not prepared to go that far, why couldn't they at least express sympathy for their former colleague AND for Pablo McCabe whom they had glorified when he could be depicted as a victim of the Patriarchy?

Regarding Pablo, Breda O'Brien's article in Studies Review in Winter 2006 focuses on him and indicates how the very Merciful Sisters originally favoured him:
Paul McCabe addressed a Diocesan Gathering of Mercy Sisters in Gracedieu in Waterford in 1988. His account tells of being born in Dublin in 1949 to a single mother. She struggled on until Paul was three, but she ‘had great difficulty in working, paying for accommodation and paying someone to look after me.” Thus he came to live in what was to become known as the “ old St. Michael’s”, a junior industrial school run by the Sisters of Mercy in Cappoquin. His memories of that time are “very happy ones of caring and interested women.” He then went to the Industrial School at Artane, Dublin, which he found traumatic, as it had “over nine hundred boys in a very strict set-up.”.....
So when Pablo could be presented as a symbolic victim of the Patriarchy, the Sisters allowed him to  address one of their annual meetings. But when he fell victim  to anti-clerical fanatics and feminists, they threw him to the wolves!

(C) Sisters of Mercy in the USA

When Catholic teenage boys from Covington High School, Kentucky  were savagely slandered by the US media in January 2019, The US Sisters of Mercy were quick to comment - on the side of the slanderers of course!

Sisters of Mercy  @SistersofMercy  Jan 19, 2019
Racism and intolerance in all forms go directly against Catholic social teaching.

The disturbing videos being shared of this incident showcase a bigoted disrespect of indigenous peoples and remind us how urgent our work for racial justice remains.

Covington Catholic faces backlash

Their denunciation of innocent boys who were being subjected to vile media abuse was repeated 888 times and got 2.9 thousand 'Likes' and 392 Replies.  I replied myself quoting Andrew Sullivan

Rory Connor @hallisseypat Jan 26, 2019
Replying to @SistersofMercy

Andrew Sullivan "The same liberals who fret about “micro-aggressions” for 20-somethings were able to see 16-year-olds subjected to worst racist garbage from [black] religious bigots & then express  desire to punch the kids in the face"
The Abyss of Hate Versus Hate by Andrew Sullivan

Any apology Sisters?

plus a second tweet from me

Rory Connor @hallisseypat Jan 25, 2019
Replying to @SistersofMercy

You approved a media lynch mob attack on Catholic students, without bothering to check the evidence. Your IRISH colleagues did the same when they endorsed false allegations of child abuse AND murder! See "The Apologies of the Sisters of Mercy" 
and a third

Rory Connor
@hallisseypat Jan 27, 2019
Replying to @SistersofMercy

Near 1000 Retweets; 3000+ Likes. One retweeter said he was "amused by the irony of nuns joining a twitter mob dogpile". You know u have  a duty to the Catholic schoolboys u slandered & your social justice campaigns are worthless if u can't see this?
@JamesMartinSJ @RuthDE

No reply from the Merciful Sisters. I think it is significant that the Bishop of Covington Roger Joseph Foys and the very liberal Fr James Martin SJ did apologise for originally joining in the media condemnation of the boys. To a significant extent, this is  a problem with members of female Religious Congregations - although male clergy and Religious have not covered themselves with glory either! 

(D) The Sisters of Mercy and Their Accusers - Eloi and Morlocks

[ The Irish Sisters of Mercy currently lead the Association of Missionaries and Religious in Ireland (AMRI). A few years ago I asked former colleagues of mine in De La Salle Brothers if they could approach the Sisters and tell them they had a moral obligation to withdraw their apologies to the accusers of Nora Wall and Sister Xavieria. I was told it is futile and the nuns are beyond redemption!  I also spoke to the retired world-wide head of a male religious order who felt that the Sisters were originally naive, and later became terrified of the malignant accusers and the media that broadcast their fantasies. No doubt there is something to this explanation. However I note that from the very beginning, the nuns' "naivety" consisted of bowing down before the powers-that-be and sacrificing their own innocent colleagues who had no power. That form of "naivety" is unfamiliar to me - and probably to most other members of the human race. Decadence is probably a better description - which is why I think of H.G. Wells and his picture of a dystopian future in The Time Machine ! ]

In 1895, H.G. Wells’ published The Time Machine a science fiction novel that presents a very interesting look at what our future could be (and arguably has become). The time-traveler jumps many thousands of years into the future to find two types of beings roaming the Earth, the Eloi and the Morlocks.  While the time-traveler aligns himself with the Eloi, especially through his relationship with Weena, an Eloi he rescues from drowning, his attitude to them is ambivalent.

The Eloi are happy, carefree people who live above the earth’s surface, eating fruit and basking in the sun, while the Morlocks lurk in the underground and shadows, hiding from light and only venturing out of their dark habitats to capture and feed on the Eloi race.

The time-traveler’s describes saving Weena from drowning.  “The main current ran rather swiftly, but not too strongly for even a moderate swimmer.  It will give you an idea, therefore, of the strange deficiency in these creatures, when I tell you that none made the slightest attempt to rescue the weakly crying little thing which was drowning before their eyes” 

In her essay "The Eloi and the Morlocks" part of a Georgetown University blog  "The Other Victorians" English Literature student Mary Burgoyne writes: The dependency of the Eloi frustrates me as these people seem to do nothing to fight against the Morlocks.  In this state, they appear more like animals, and thus, position themselves as prey in the predator/prey relationship the time-traveler ultimately discovers to exist within this environment. 

The time-traveler also goes on to explain, “The Upper-world people might once have been the favoured aristocracy, and the Morlocks their mechanical servants: but that had long since passed away.  The two species that had resulted from the evolution of man were sliding down towards, or had already arrived at, an altogether new relationship.” 

Like the relationship between the Sisters of Mercy and the sociopaths before whom they abase themselves, and whom they try to appease by sacrificing their own innocent colleagues! [Mary Burgoyne concludes that "as a reader, I feel more inclined to sympathize or at least try to understand the Morlock’s cruel point of view because of the action and strategies they employ in their daily lives where I think the Eloi exercise none." ]

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