The appalling story of life, death and adoptions related to Mother and Baby Homes has shocked everyone in Ireland and beyond these shores. 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.
We reiterate our 2014 position, when welcoming the announcement of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, which stated:
“This culture of isolation and social ostracising was harsh and unforgiving. 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.”
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. We encourage the Government to progress the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 to assist those who are searching for their parents or children.
It is also important a parish level that we ensure that burial sites are appropriately marked so that the deceased and their families will be recognised with dignity and never be forgotten.