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Hundreds of Scottish orphanage children allegedly buried in mass grave

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Beefy

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The Scottish child abuse inquiry is to investigate claims that the bodies of at least 400 children from a home once run by Catholic nuns are buried in an unmarked mass grave.

The high infant mortality rate has raised concerns about conditions at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, which was operated by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The institution, which looked after children from broken homes, opened in 1864 and closed in 1981. More than 11,000 children stayed at the orphanage over that period.

Records reveal that most of the deaths were due to natural causes, mainly from diseases such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy. About a third of the victims were under the age of five, and the majority of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

Former residents of the orphanage uncovered a burial plot containing the remains of a number of children at nearby St Mary's cemetery in 2003.

An inquiry by BBC Radio 4's File on 4 and the Sunday Post newspaper examined death certificates in archives and found 402 children from Smyllum Park. Only two were found to have been buried elsewhere. The remainder are thought to have been laid to rest in St Mary's cemetery, a mile away from the former home.

The recorded death rate, according to the reports, is calculated to have been, in some periods, around three times the average for children in Scotland.


Man, this shit is disgusting. There is going to be so many more like this as well. There needs to to be a huge investigation into all orphanages like this.
 

Jacob

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Knew it would be a Catholic orphanage. There are a lot of similar stories from Ireland and elsewhere.
 

I Stalk Alone

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I would imagine infectious disease would be rampant with kids being together in confined spaces that would contribute to the 3x death rate. Yes there will be other abuses as well.
 

Stinkles

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I would imagine infectious disease would be rampant with kids being together in confined spaces that would contribute to the 3x death rate. Yes there will be other abuses as well.

Not to mention that orphans would be coming from physically insecure circumstances in the first place - parents dead etc. But none of that explains why no accurate records were kept.

The catholic church's primary positive objective contribution to society has been impeccable record keeping.
 

frontovik

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Wait why? Is something wrong with Catholic orphanages?

History has shown that those who run such orphanages are usually inclined towards brutality and abuse due to their "zeal" and the attitudes of the time when raising children. It's quite sad really.
 

Jacob

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Wait why? Is something wrong with Catholic orphanages?

Mass grave of 796 babies found in septic tank at Catholic orphanage in Tuam, Galway - Belfast Telegraph

Ryan Report into abuses throughout Ireland - Wikipedia

Conclusions included:

Overall. Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of the institutions. Sexual abuse occurred in many of them, particularly boys' institutions. Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff.

Physical abuse. The Reformatory and Industrial Schools depended on rigid control by means of severe corporal punishment and the fear of such punishment. A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from.

Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse was endemic in boys' institutions. The schools investigated revealed a substantial level of sexual abuse of boys in care that extended over a range from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence. Perpetrators of abuse were able to operate undetected for long periods at the core of institutions. When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again. The safety of children in general was not a consideration. The situation in girls' institutions was different. Although girls were subjected to predatory sexual abuse by male employees or visitors or in outside placements, sexual abuse was not systemic in girls' schools.

Neglect. Poor standards of physical care were reported by most male and female complainants. Children were frequently hungry and food was inadequate, inedible and badly prepared in many schools. Accommodation was cold, spartan and bleak. Sanitary provision was primitive in most boys' schools and general hygiene facilities were poor.

Emotional abuse. Witnesses spoke of being belittled and ridiculed on a daily basis. Private matters such as bodily functions and personal hygiene were used as opportunities for degradation and humiliation. Personal and family denigration was widespread. There was constant criticism and verbal abuse and children were told they were worthless.

Supervision by the Department of Education. The system of inspection by the Department was fundamentally flawed and incapable of being effective. Complaints by parents and others made to the Department were not properly investigated. The Department did not apply the standards in the rules and their own guidelines when investigating complaints, but sought to protect and defend the religious Congregations and the schools. The Department dealt inadequately with complaints about sexual abuse, which were generally dismissed or ignored.
 

dan2026

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Religion as an excuse for cruelty and brutality.
I always hear the same thing and its the reason I despise organised religion.
 

j_k_redtail

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Knew it would be a Catholic orphanage. There are a lot of similar stories from Ireland and elsewhere.

Who else ran orphanages in significant numbers in Scotland/Ireland during that time period? I'm asking honestly here.
 

Fuchsdh

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Who else ran orphanages in significant numbers in Scotland/Ireland during that time period? I'm asking honestly here.

Which gets into part of the problem, which still exists in parts of the world, especially the global south—the Church is basically the only welfare organization/program available to the populace.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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Religion as an excuse for cruelty and brutality.
I always hear the same thing and its the reason I despise organised religion.

Without any attempts made to excuse the disgusting abuse perpetrated by the catholic church, the account in the OP describes a situation where most of the children died due to disease. I'm not sure how you can read that as "cruelty and brutality".
 

Oppo

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Mass grave of 796 babies found in septic tank at Catholic orphanage in Tuam, Galway - Belfast Telegraph
that might be the single freakiest combination of words in a headline that I have ever read.
 

Skellig Gra

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Man that was a really harrowing headline until I read it happened over 100 years ago. I'm not sure what this investigation you are proposing will accomplish OP. Everyone involved is long dead and these kids were orphans so who will fight on their behalf or even know who they are.
 
Jun 21, 2011
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Man that was a really harrowing headline until I read it happened over 100 years ago. I'm not sure what this investigation you are proposing will accomplish OP. Everyone involved is long dead and these kids were orphans so who will fight on their behalf or even know who they are.

Most of it happened 100 years ago but the implication seems to be that some of the deaths may have happened much more recently (up to 1981). I believe many of the cases in Ireland were still doing this stuff recently enough that people were still alive who were involved.
 

Jacob

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Who else ran orphanages in significant numbers in Scotland/Ireland during that time period? I'm asking honestly here.

Scotland is mostly Protestant (or was, before the increase in non-religiosity in the late 20th century). In Ireland though it was almost entirely the Catholic Church running such institutions, yes.
 
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