• Morgan Fagg

Ireland finally starts some Soul Searching

Updated: Jan 18

The Mother & Child Homes in Ireland should leave many people soul searching.

They say a picture paints a thousand words but the picture on yesterday's Irish Examiner painted a grim reminder of how bad things were in Ireland for unmarried women and the children that they had.

I have never seen a cover of the Examiner circulated more online than I have this week and as part of the Irish diaspora, I depend on the images shared online to formulate opinions about what is happening back home.

An image paints a thousand words but the Examiner printed nearly a thousand names and that was only the tip of the iceberg.

The number shocked me and it shouldn't have as I have heard rumours of these institutions since I was teenager.

The apology given was a long time coming and being christened as a Catholic, and lectured in religion in school, I have to ask, where was the confession?

How many priests and nuns and lay people went to their graves knowing what went on? How many people have remained silent knowing what they knew? When I read an article in the New York Times about Tuam, I knew there was a lot of missed confessions in that community.

My thinking was simple, no one person buried that many children. Was there a doctor or nurse or teacher or caretaker who knew of either illness or injury?

Did a caretaker carry those bodies to be buried in filth and then go for pints later that night? Were there reports written and delivered to superiors?

Of course there was but there is a darker question that has to be asked and one that many people, shocked by this week's revelations, won't be comfortable asking.

How many children will be treated in such a way in Joe Biden's America?

The poor man hasn't even been sworn in and there are no guarantees that he will be, the way Republicans and Trump supporters are acting but if President Biden wishes to show how Irish he is, then that is not enough, he will need to show that he is better than the Irish and save all the children that he can. Or be condemned for it.

The media might be tough on him and the opposition will critizise every step that he takes regarding America's Southern border but this isn't testing Job like in the bible, this is a job for Joe.

All he needs to do is open up the facilities that have housed children since President Trump's Zero Tolerance policy and expose what has happened over the last few years.

This is a job for international groups such as Amnesty International and the United Nations.

He will also have to take a burden of responsibility in allowing it to happen and for any past decisions that led to any abuses.

We cannot go back and save the children in Tuam but we can address the issues, and we must speak up against Trump's policies IF they were as destructive as I fear they were.

America does not need to rescue the world or allow people into their country but if you want to Make America Great Again then they will have to be the beacon of hope that Irish emigrants flocked to.

There is a lot of soul searching required right now but we cannot wait for church and state to confess to their sins and I pray to God that Joe Biden's American can learn from Ireland's horrible hidden past and open the book on the current care of children in these detention camps, as he prepares to swear an oath on the much-treasured Biden family bible.

As America's second Catholic President, I hope Joe Biden realises that Confession is good for the soul and he has already spoken a lot about "the soul of the country" being at stake.

For the sake of the Soul of the Country, think of the children

Biden's bible

I believe the soul of the country is at stake and while many presidents have been sworn into office using George Washington's bible and of course the tradition dates back to the very first inauguration, many presidents have opted for a family bible and both Obama and Trump, I believe opted for Lincoln's bible, not all presidents have used a bible of course and some haven't even had time to find one.

Sixty years ago, America's first Catholic president, John F Kennedy was sworn in. The F stands for Fitzgerald and it was a Fitzgerald family bible from over a century before that which was used.

According to townandcountrymag.com there are handwritten notes from Thomas A Fitzgerald dating back to 1857. With the assassination of President Kennedy, his successor was unable to find a bible and used a religious pamphlet (Catholic missal) belonging to JFK that was onboard Air Force One.

Just like Lyndon B Johnson, President Biden will be in a hurry to get sworn in, especially after the dangerous and chaotic scenes seen recently at the Capitol and when he raises his rights hand in the air and places his left hand on the five inch family bible which dates back to 1893 and has a Celtic cross on the cover, all I ask of America's next Catholic president, is that he thinks of the children.

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