The story that has been floating around the internet about the supposed burial of 800 babies in a septic tank in Tuam, Ireland by nuns turns out to be another blatant example of misreporting.

What was reported as a septic tank was actually a communal burial vault, commonly used throughout Europe at the time, and still in use in some places even today. Even Catherine Corless, the local amateur historian whose work uncovered the burials denies ever saying or describing the burials as “being dumped in a septic tank”.

The Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said in a statement that he was “horrified and saddened” to hear of the large number of deceased children involved and that “this points to a time of great suffering and pain for the little ones and their mothers”. He has said he welcomes an investigiation into the matter and has called for a more dignified re-internment of the remains.

I think that it is fairly obvious what we have here: purposeful misreporting to smear the name of the Church. When it was exposed that 15,000 aborted babies were burned for fuel, the mainstream media barely made a noise. But when there is the opportunity to sell a salacious story about nuns, it is just to good for he media and its agenda to pass up.

In a Forbes magazine article, the story is exposed:

“Few of us are inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth, and that applies in spades to journalists running with a sensational news story. But even by normal media standards, recent reports about the bones of 796 babies being found in the septic tank of an Irish orphanage betray a degree of cynicism and irresponsibility rarely surpassed by allegedly reputable news organizations.”

“Although the media attributed the “dumped in a septic tank” allegation to Catherine Corless, a local amateur historian, she denies making it. Her attempt to correct the record was reported by the Irish Times newspaper on Saturday (see here) but has been almost entirely ignored by the same global media that so gleefully recycled the original suggestion. That suggestion, which seems to have first surfaced in the Mail on Sunday, a London-based newspaper, reflected appallingly on the Sisters of Bon Secours, the order of Catholic nuns at the center of the scandal.”

“Today the Irish Times has published a reader’s letter that has further undercut the story. Finbar McCormick, a professor of geography at Queen’s University Belfast, sharply admonished the media for describing the children’s last resting place as a septic tank. He added: “The structure as described is much more likely to be a shaft burial vault, a common method of burial used in the recent past and still used today in many part of Europe.”

“In the 19th century, deep brick-lined shafts were constructed and covered with a large slab which often doubled as a flatly laid headstone. These were common in 19th-century urban cemeteries…..Such tombs are still used extensively in Mediterranean countries. I recently saw such structures being constructed in a churchyard in Croatia. The shaft was made of concrete blocks, plastered internally and roofed with large concrete slabs.”

“Many maternity hospitals in Ireland had a communal burial place for stillborn children or those who died soon after birth. These were sometimes in a nearby graveyard but more often in a special area within the grounds of the hospital.”

“For anyone familiar with Ireland (I was brought up there in the 1950s and 1960s), the story of nuns consciously throwing babies into a septic tank never made sense. Although many of the nuns may have been holier-than-thou harridans, they were nothing if not God-fearing and therefore unlikely to treat human remains with the sort of outright blasphemy implied in the septic tank story.”

“So what are we left with? One fact seems beyond dispute: conditions in Irish orphanages up to the 1960s, if not later, were positively Dickensian. Certainly the death rate at many was shockingly high. But how should blame be apportioned? A major part of the problem would appear to have been the pervasive poverty of the time (the institution at the center of the scandal operated from the 1920s through the early 1960s). Because they were so desperately underfunded, Irish orphanages were disgracefully overcrowded, which meant that when one baby caught an infection, they all caught it. Not the least of the hazards was tuberculosis, a then incurable disease that spread like wildfire in overcrowded conditions.”

read the full article on Forbes

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