“The Church of Jesus Christ was intended to bring hope and healing, yet it brought harm and hurt for many of these women and children. Many were left broken, betrayed and disillusioned.” Those were the words of the Archbishop of Tuam, Micheal Neary as he unreservedly apologized for the “scandalous way in which vulnerable women and children in our society were deprived of care and dignity and subjected to humiliation,” at Mother and Baby homes in Ireland.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Archbishop Neary lamented the way in which “single pregnant women and their children were labelled as ‘unmarried mothers’ and ‘illegitimate’, and then judged, stigmatised, and ostracised by their own families, by their communities, and the Church.”
“These attitudes were wrong and very sad,” he said.
“Today, how can we even begin to comprehend the raw pain and psychological damage of family separation and its devastating consequences on loving mothers and on the emotional development of their children?” he asked.
He also underlined that “had the Church been more forthright in acknowledging the responsibility of the men who fathered these children, the outcome for many young mothers and their children would have been very different indeed.”
Archbishop Neary, in the statement, paid tribute to all those who brought these “shameful aspects of our social history to light.”
Furthermore, he acknowledged “the contributions of the former residents, and all who cooperated with the Commission. A continuation of this multifaceted analysis – however challenging – will assist the maturing of our society, prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, and thereby go some way in serving the common good.