Opinion: Britain’s reckoning with past systemic child abuse is long overdue

The Guardian

September 26, 2020

By Caelainn Hogan

Ireland has started trying to rectify the wrongs of its history. The UK is lagging behind

When the pope said mass in Ireland in 2018, a vast field in Dublin’s Phoenix Park was turned into a grid of “pilgrims’ corrals” to control the expected massive crowds, which never materialised. Out of a dozen people in my section, two nuns talked to me about a priest back home who had abused a young woman.

Another pilgrim, down from Belfast for the occasion, said her aunt had been sent to a religious-run institution as a teenager because she was pregnant. Her son was taken away. On her deathbed, her aunt was still asking the priest for forgiveness.

The pope had come for the World Meeting of Families. During the gathering of Catholic hierarchy and faithful, news broke about nuns arrested in Scotland on charges of abuse at the Smyllum Park orphanage they ran, where hundreds died. The charges resulted from the Scottish child abuse inquiry. The same order, the Daughters of Charity, ran the largest mother-and-baby home in Ireland.

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