In a metro column of The Boston Sunday Globe of August 24th, serial Catholic basher Kevin Cullen wrote about the controversy in Ireland over the discovery of unmarked graves of children at the site of a maternity home in Tuam administered bythe Bon Secours Sisters. Though disturbing questions remain, the affair has been characterized by hysterical press coverage and extravagant claims, almost all of which have now been discredited.
Despite his usual vitriolic inclinations, Cullen, in this matter, was prepared to make a few concessions to the truth. He even referred to the
pernicious sensationalism of the British owned and inspired media in Dublin. He would then go on however, to repeat many of the same absurdities peddled by the Dublin media, alleging that parish priests regularly condemned unwed mothers at Mass, “every Sunday,” or that the Catholic Church believed that children born out of wedlock were “undeserving of human dignity.”
Cullen made one revealing comment that told us all we need to know — about Kevin Cullen. He described post independent, mid twentieth century, devoutly Catholic Ireland as “backward” and “clerically dominated.” Apparently, faithful adherence to the Catholic religion defines Cullen’s criteria for an enfeebled, retrograde culture. Presumably, by Cullen’s standards, modern Massachusetts, which kills pre-born children, sodomizes marriage, and distributes contraceptives to minors, is an example of progress and enlightenment.
Cullen’s bigoted crack insulted a generation of Irishmen and Irish women who defeated the largest empire in history to gain their freedom and independence — albeit an incomplete, or, as DeValera would say, a “mutilated” independence. A few things ought to be said in defense of that generation. Moreover, some facts, being facts, ought to be acknowledged:
- At a time when Europe was convulsed by authoritarianism, totalitarianism, wars of aggression, crimes against humanity, genocide, atrocities, religious pogroms, ethnic cleansing, and all manner of extremism, independent Ireland created a stable, peaceful, free, and democratic society governed by the rule of law. Even Winston Churchill, in his second premiership, admitted this.
- Despite 800 years of occupation and oppression, and 400 years of confiscation and religious persecution, the Irish, upon securing their independence, perpetrated no acts of vengeance upon the religious minority associated with the occupation. Instead, they welcomed members of that minority as citizens, left them undisturbed in their liberties and property, refrained from any discrimination against them, recognized them in the national constitution, and even elected one of their number to the presidency of the state, and later, another, to the presidency of the Republic.
- At a time when state governments in New England, and, more ominously, in Germany, were sterilizing those with intellectual handicaps, independent Ireland defended the sanctity of innocent human life from conception to natural death, opposing all forms of abortion, contraception, sterilization and euthanasia.
- At a time when Western nations were weakening prohibitions and restrictions on divorce — the principal cause of female poverty in modern society — independent Ireland upheld the integrity and indissolubility of marriage.
- At a time when the major Western democracies were complacent in the practice of appeasement, independent Ireland, small, poor, neutral, and virtually unarmed, became one of the first countries to oppose the Fascist aggression in Ethiopia.
- Ireland, upon independence, effectively eradicated from its capital city that form of human degradation known as prostitution, (which flourished there under British rule) and kept out of the country the Anglo-American vice of pornographic literature.
- After independence, Ireland established a constitution, a code of laws, and a system of public policies which held that the family was superior to the state, that parents, not the government, should choose the education of their children, and that mothers who chose to care for their children, should, ideally, not be forced to work outside the home.
Given the disasters which afflicted so many post colonial societies in the 20th century, any fair minded observer would view the achievements of independent Ireland with admiration and respect. For Kevin Cullen however, this is all ecclesiastically inspired backwardness.
One is left to wonder in astonishment at the origin of this kind of quisling mentality: political correctness, human respect, a bad conscience, professional self interest? Who knows? On one point, Cullen is obviously quite lucid. Given his attitude towards Irish Catholicism, he is, on Morrissey Boulevard, certainly working for the right employer.