Saturday, August 25, 2007

That Which Is Hidden Will Be Revealed

The land of saints and scholars was also the land of the industrial school and the Magdalene laundry, but the religious communities would rather you didn't ask about the last two items. And if anyone should ask, they're not to be told.

No wonder, then, that the Christian Brothers have pitched a fit because an old report about their notorious Artane industrial school was recently released by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to a former resident of Artane. It's all over the newspapers now, about the random and excessive punishments that were thoroughly described by Father Henry Moore. Discipline that approached pure regimentation is how the priest described it in his report to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid back in 1962. The Christian Brothers are shocked and dismayed that Archbishop Martin didn't tuck the report under the rug. No word on yet on the shock or dismay of the former residents who lived through it.

The Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse is still actively inquiring, and the Brothers would prefer that this scathing report not be broadcast until the commission has issued its final report, and then, they'd rather the report not be made public at all. Archbishop Martin gave the report to Jim Beresford, who first requested it many years ago, because the public hearings had concluded and this was now the right time to expose what was hidden for so long.

Brother Garvey wonders just how much Father Moore really knew about Artane, implying of course that we should take it all with a grain of salt. Or a ton. Or an ocean's worth of salt. How did Father Moore know about the physical abuse, except by seeing a few instances or hearing about it from the inmates. How can one believe a bunch of delinquent boys in an industrial school, after all?

What of Father Moore's allegation that clothing was of poor quality, randomly distributed and passed around from boy to boy? What of his discovery that shirts and socks were changed once a week and underwear every two? Where did he get off, suggesting that the practice of treating all clothing as common property led to the marked habit of former inmates to engage in stealing? And to declare that the complete lack of women at Artane in any capacity was shaping the lads' sexual maladjustment and inability to judge appropriate behavior, well, who is Father Moore to judge why the liberated inmates failed so miserably to re-integrate into normal society?

Father Moore did not paint a rosy picture for his Archbishop, and the Christian Brothers would very much like to whitewash this particular canvas. But that's the problem with hypocrisy, sooner or later that which is hidden gets revealed, and there's no going back to the hiding.


The Knitter said...

It was comments similar to what's written in Mooore's "hidden" report on the appalling conditions in Artane that galvanised these "christian" brothers to try to close down the Comments section of

The comments section didn't just deal with Artane Industrial School. So if Garvey and his ilk are true to form they will have to attempt to close down most of the Irish Media.

O hAnnrachainn said...

Now, now, if you'd just pray, pay, and obey, wouldn't the world be a better place?

When I wrote PHARISEES (linked on the sidebar) I relied on survivors' recollections and interviews to paint a realistic picture. It was the actions of a few and the arrogance of many that kept the brutal system operating for as long as it did.

The ultimate irony is that Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers as a teaching order that did not use harsh discipline on the students.