Jesus Wept!

I don't normally watch that much TV, besides the odd sports match or film I tend to do a lot of reading. Last night I was flicking through the channels and decided to see was there any interesting guests on The Late Late Show.

When I turned it over there were two women on it, survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

One of the women who was on the show was a lady called Marina Gambold.

Listening to her recall her story you would have had to be a seriously messed up individual not to have your heart break.

Ms Gambold also spoke of what happened on a day when she broke a cup.

"One day I broke a cup and the nun said, 'I will teach you to be careful'.

"She got a thick string and she tied it round my neck for three days and three nights and I had to eat off the floor every morning."

"Then I had to get down on my knees and I had to say, 'I beg almighty God's pardon, Our Lady's pardon, my companion's pardon for the bad example I have shown,"

I ended up having to turn it off; I couldn't watch it any longer.

I love my faith and I love my Church but I have to be honest and say that its history of abuse in Ireland is something that I struggle with. The Priests, Nuns and Brothers who abused children either physically or sexually are an insult to men of the cloth and an insult to humanity.

Where was their religion? How could they abuse these poor innocent children like that?

I don't think I will ever understand them.

I had a close family member who spent time in one of these laundries, with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. She never talked about her experiences there; I only hope she had a better experience than some of these women.

There has been pressure from the opposition for the Irish Government to issue a formal apology to the survivors. The government has so far not done this, out of fear no doubt of the redress they would have to pay them.

The women who worked in these places were modern day slaves; there is no other way of saying it that is exactly what they were.

While I do believe that the government should apologise there is only one group that I believe bears most of the responsibility, The Catholic Church.

Some of my more "loyal" brethren within the Church are opposed to the Church paying out to the victims of these terrible crimes. They believe that Church property should not have to be sold to pay the bill.

I have news for them, there is no such beast as Church property!

It was the Catholic people who paid for the Chapels, the hospitals, the schools, and the land. They paid with their blood, sweat and their tears. I don't care if the Church has to sell every bit of land, every Chapel, every last vestige of wealth. I'll happily go back to attending Mass at the side of a mountain like we did during the Penal times.

There needs to be a serious attempt by the Church to show what they did was horrific, that they understand and appreciate their criminal complicity and that they are prepared to humble themselves before what was once the most loyal Catholic nation in all of Christendom.

I can't help thinking about that poor woman forced to eat off the floor and then to beg God his forgiveness for her "sins". When I do the only phrase from the bible that springs to mind constantly is John 11:35

"Jesus Wept"

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