The sexual affairs of priests in the US are more closely guarded secrets than the classified details of our national defense.Link
-- Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church, by Emmett McGloughlin (former Franciscan)
"The crowd you will see on any Saturday night in a Catholic Church awaiting their turn to confess is enough to make you despair of modern intelligence in the mass. ...Remember that I was once a father confessor. They just reel off mechanically a list of lies, quarrels, thefts, drinking, etc. and in almost every case a few points about sex. ... And for every woman or girl who sincerely wants guidance there are fifty who just love the intimate talk about sex that is permitted with the priest in the confessional. ... That it promotes morals and reduces crime is bunk. The one object of it is to consolidate the power of the priest over the laity."
-- The Holy Faith Of Romanists, by Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk
Warning: this section mentions and links to material that may well be disturbing for sensitive people and those who are not used to watching or reading the news.
It is not only the Catholic Church which has been shown to be seriously guilty of child and adult abuse charges. In fact, these crimes occur across the board, covering practically all denominations of Christianity. Although these cases have come to light in great numbers in recent times, it appears that abuse has been intrinsic to the religion since quite early times: from the founding of the early Churches.
- Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse by Thomas P. Doyle, A. W. Sipe, Patrick J. Wall
- A Testament of Christian Civilization by Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk. This book records the abuse of children and adults (including nuns) among Church members from the beginnings of the Church in the first centuries until more recent times.
- History of Sacerdotal Celibacy within the Christian Church by Henry Charles Lea, an American Quaker historian of the Church
- Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church (1962) by Emmett McGloughlin, a former Franciscan
- Part I: The Rise of the Papacy - early misbehaviour among clergy
- Part II: Corruption, Dissent, Reform - about "the Papacy’s struggle to impose celibacy on its clergy through the High Middle Ages"
- Part III: Solicitation in the Confessional - "Through the centuries, the confessional has been a place of danger"
- More book suggestions
Some transcripts of his work can be found at the pages on Scandals Through History:
Note that the Church which preceded all Protestant forms was the Catholic Church (the Orthodox countries are not Protestant). Before the Reformation, the history of Protestants was one with that of the Catholic Church - unless Protestants want to opt for how "True Christianity" didn't exist until the recent centuries.
- Four in 10 US Catholic nuns report having experienced sexual abuse, (a rate equivalent to that reported by American women in general), a study by Catholic researchers supported by major religious orders, has found. The study found that sisters have known sexual abuse less in childhood, dispelling what the authors call an "anti-Catholic" canard that girls fled to convents to escape sexual advances. During religious life, close to 30% of the nation's 85,000 nuns experienced "sexual trauma," ranging from rape to exploitation to harassment. A total of 40% reported at least one experience of that kind. NCR [National Catholic Reporter], 1/15/99
- The Presbyterian Church stated that 10-23% of clergy have "inappropriate sexual behavior or contact" with clergy and employees.
- The United Methodist research (1990) showed 38.6% of Ministers had sexual contact with church members and that 77% of church workers experienced some type of sexual harassment.
- The United Church of Christ found that 48% of the women in the work place have been sexually harassed by male clergy.
- The Southern Baptists claim 14.1% of their clergy have sexually abused members.
Research conducted by former vicar John Thorburn and presented at the American Psychological Association conference in 1999, found that a sixth of Church of England vicars in Britain had extra-marital affairs and another sixth was attracted to other men. This makes British vicars more likely to be unfaithful to their wives than businessmen. Just under half the vicars surveyed admitted indulging in pornographic books and videos, one in 10 visited strip clubs and "a few" also used prostitutes, citing loneliness and depression as the driving force behind their behaviour.Link (emphasis as in original)
- "Evidence and Statistics on Child Sexual Abuse Amongst Church Clergy, 1990-2000" - Australian site that has documented the Church's Child abuse record in Australia as well as other parts of the world. (These are only the cases that came to light between 1990 and 2000.)
- Statistics on abuses by Catholic priests and clergy of other denominations
- A collection of official reports and articles by experts on the Clergy Sexual Abuse crisis. Especially of note is the section devoted to The Philadelphia Grand Jury Report
- News reports of ministers sexually abusing children - lists news articles of criminal acts of their clergy (over 800 offenders listed). Categories include Baptist, 'Bible Church' (evangelical), Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other (including Mormon). Disturbing, but at least this Protestant site is admitting it. A shame that merely admitting it is doesn't make it all go away. Neither does it undo what has always been happening. The question is, when's the complete eradication?
- Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church
- Clergy Child Molesters , and a brief overview here.
Over a hundred pages documenting clergy abuse (starting at ethicscontents.htm, ethicscontents2.htm all the way to ethicscontents50.htm, and then continuing from ethcont51.htm to ethcont127.htm):
a doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, saying that 50 per cent of Protestant clergy responding to a survey admitted to having sexual contact with parishioners (adult as well as child), written in 1983-84 [Link]
- Vows of Silence, by the Catholic investigative reporters Jason Berry and Gerald Renner
- Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, by Catholic investigative reporter Jason Berry
- Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, by Annie Laurie Gaylor
- Brother Tony's Boys: The Largest Case of Child Prostitution in U.S. History by Mick Echols
The World Uncovered: Sex crimes and the Vatican - BBC, October 21, 2006
A secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church is examined by Panorama.
.... Crimen Sollicitationis was written in 1962 in Latin and given to Catholic bishops worldwide who are ordered to keep it locked away in the church safe. It instructs them how to deal with priests who solicit sex from the confessional. It also deals with "any obscene external act ... with youths of either sex." It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses. Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church.
Reporting for Panorama, Colm O'Gorman finds seven priests with child abuse allegations made against them living in and around the Vatican City.
See the translated document Crimen Sollicitationes.
This [the document Crimen Sollicitationes] shows that the Church considered itself above secular law even well into modern times. In order to keep these cases secret, excommunication could be invoked on victims, witnesses, participants and the accused.Link
At last, there may be an explanation of why bishops have so consistently lied — they were just obeying orders from Rome, under penalty of eternal damnation.
Crimen Sollicitationes was quietly approved on March 16, 1962, by the so-called "good pope" John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli), revered for bringing together the Second Vatican Council which for better or worse has opened the Church to the light. Issued by the Supreme and Holy Congregation of the Holy Office — now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and formerly known as the Holy Inquisition — it contains the procedures to be used in the cases of priests accused of soliciting sex while hearing private confessions.Link
This is not a new problem, but one with which the Church has struggled since confession became a private ritual.
Everything is spelled out in technical language with rigorous detail and absolutely all testimony is to be kept as a "secret of the Holy Office." Oaths are to be taken from all involved under the pain of automatic excommunication which the Pope alone can forgive. Likewise any person propositioned by a priest in confession who "knowingly" did not denounce that priest to the bishop within a month of the incident, was likewise automatically excommunicated.
Unlike such dire offenses as scattering pieces of the consecrated Host upon the ground or striking the Pope himself, none of these crimes merit excommunication. And indeed, as far as I know, not one, not a single priestly predator has ever been excommunicated for their crimes. No matter how notorious, they may have been laicized under pressure but still only at their own request. Yet laicization only removes the legal right, but not the power or ability, to perform the sacraments. Removing the priestly power, like the "indelible mark on the soul" made by baptism, cannot be done according to Catholic doctrine. "Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek," the ordination ritual proclaims, and the clerics take it seriously.
Apologists for the Church claim that Crimen Sollicitationes is not a "smoking gun" demonstrating a church-wide cover-up of clergy abuse. Rather, they declare that the concern over secrecy is related to the all-important secrecy of the confessional. Further, they say that these laws are only the laws of the Church, that these procedures in no way forbid seeking civil and legal remedies before going to the Church.
Further, the document itself is secret. There is some question, in fact, if most bishops even knew of it, though canon lawyers certainly did as they continued to discuss its provisions until recently, when it was superceded by new norms.Since all was to be kept secret, victims who speak out later give scandal to the Church, and should be thus automatically excommunicated as well. No wonder they have been treated so poorly. Victims are treated as enemies by the Roman Church because that is how the hierarchy sees them. ...Moreover, the bishops were required to keep the policy secret as well under the pain of excommunication. So they have lied, and lied, and continue to lie, under the direct orders of the Vatican.
For one thing, certain doctrines, such as that of mental reservation, give individual clergy members the "right" to equivocate or even outright lie, even under oath — if it be, by any means of rationalization, for the greater good of the Church.Link
Technical theological terms, especially in Latin, may be used to baffle outsiders. "In res turpis" is supposedly the general term for sexual abuse, for example.
And of course, a priest can never, ever reveal anything heard under the seal of confession. This has provided a convenient way out for an untold number of clerics. ...Any priest can forgive anyone, including another priest, for murder, rape, or virtually any other heinous crime, and then must keep it secret forever. Reveal something heard in the confessional, however, and one must answer to the Pope himself.
- Nuns abusing deaf children sexually, physically and mentally:
Attorney: 1 in 4 nuns abused deaf kids - The Enterprise (Boston), May 12, 2004;
Deaf plaintiffs speak loudly: Nuns raped us, tortured us - Boston Herald, May 12, 2004
- Records show L.A. Catholic sex abuse cover-up - MSNBC news, October 12, 2005
"Church sent accused priests to therapy, new parishes, according to papers"
- Catholic Church admits abuse claims up by 50% - UK Times Online news, June 28, 2005
- Defrocked priest says church covered up molestations - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, August 11, 2005
A defrocked Catholic priest who served in Loma Linda and Ontario claims church leaders protected his pedophilic behavior by passing him among parishes. Edward Anthony Rodrigue, an admitted serial molester, claims in court papers that he was allowed to continue working at churches despite numerous complaints of sexual abuse.At least he was finally defrocked, whereas many others have not been and continue to be protected.
His statements were filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Another declaration by a former police officer claimed the Rev. John Daly was moved to San Bernardino County in exchange for prosecutor’s keeping secret his sexual indiscretion.Both statements, and those made by countless people who claim they were sexually abused, support lawyers’ claims that, for decades, Catholic bishops have protected deviant priests, further endangering children.
"The Diocese (of San Diego) made it policy and practice to transfer pedophile priests to where they could hurt more kids," said Joelle Casteix, southwest regional director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "They denied it and denied it. But we are slowly getting proof it is true."
- Disgraced cardinal prayed for at Papal mass (Austria) - Reuters, June 20, 1998
This predator was a close friend of John Paul II.
Groer was forced to resign as Austria's top churchman in 1995 after being accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy 20 years earlier, charges which most of his fellow bishops now believe were substantially true.
Several monks and priests subsequently said they had also been the object of unwanted sexual advances from Groer. The ailing Groer, 78, was banished to a convent in eastern Germany last month and forbidden to carry out his functions as a churchman.
Krenn, the only one of Austria's bishops who has publicly defended Groer, said in his welcome address: "We include in our prayers our sick former bishop Dr Franz Zak and our Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer."The Groer affair is the worst scandal ever to hit the Austrian Catholic church, prompting tens of thousands of people to leave in disgust.
This drew applause from conservative Catholics in the congregation.
Many Catholics blame the Pope, who appointed both Groer and Krenn to their posts, for failing to take action on the affair sooner and for never apologising to Groer's alleged victims.
- Press Release Newswire - Vatican to Face its Pedophilia Crimes before The United Nations - Oct 2002
- Priestly Sin, Cover-Up: Powerful Cardinal in Vatican Accused of Sexual Abuse Cover-Up - by Brian Ross for ABC news, April 26, 2002.
Cardinal-turned-Pope Ratzinger and the Vatican have been protecting the abusive, high-profile Catholic priest Father Marcial Maciel who founded the order Legion of Christ. (The site reproducing this news article is an evangelical site that believes Catholicism is an "anti-Christ conspiracy".)
- 783 new claims of abuse by Catholic clergy - Ireland On-line, March 30, 2006
US Roman Catholic leaders received 783 new claims of sex abuse by clergy in 2005, with most of the allegations involving cases that are decades old.
The new claims, reported Thursday, bring the total number of accusations against Catholic clergy to more than 12,000 since 1950.
- Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry - The Observer (Guardian Unlimited online), Sunday April 24, 2005
- First Coast News - Former Pastor Arrested on Porn Charges - at least after this, he was no longer allowed to be pastor of the Faith Baptist Church
- Fox News - Pastor Charged With Child Molestation
- Longtime director of Apologetics Press fired for sexual misconduct with boys - June 21, 2005
Since the article is from The Christian Chronicle, it is written from the usual Christian viewpoint on the matter: that of defending the paedophile Bert Thompson, whilst indicating that the blame rests on "Satan", rather than with the hypocrite Thompson, who had co-authored articles against homosexuality.
Interim executive director Dave Miller said the organization, which has a $1 million annual budget, intends to proceed "undaunted by Satan."Apparently, atheism and any science (like evolution) which contradicts the Bible are evil, but paedophilia in Christian ranks is not more serious than "personal sin".
"We are deeply grateful for Dr. Thompson's longstanding warfare against the sinister doctrine of evolution, with his eloquent affirmation of the biblical account of Creation," Miller wrote in an open letter to Apologetics Press supporters.
"Truth is truth, even if those who defend it eventually succumb to personal sin," Miller wrote.
"I will still place a measure of confidence in what he has written," Sanders [minister of the Concord Road church, Brentwood, Tenn.] said, "but I am deeply disappointed that he has permitted this sin to enslave him."
- Charges against Graham Capill allege decade of abuse - NZ Herald (a New Zealand paper), June 11, 2005
New sex charges - including rape - laid yesterday against disgraced former Christian Heritage Party leader Graham Capill outline a decade of alleged abuse of young girls.This paedophile was another hypocrite. As leader of New Zealand's Christian Heritage Party:
he railed against child sex abuse, pornography, homosexuality and hypocrisy.
- International Pentecostal Church pastor convicted of sexual abuse - KLTV, July 29, 2005
- Conviction upheld over death of autistic boy in 'exorcism' - Autism Connect, August 8, 2006
In August 2003, an 8 year old autistic child died of exorcism at the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith.
Minister gets 30 months in boy's death - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 17, 2004
Cottrell's mother, Patricia Cooper, said, "He would still be here today if I never would have taken him to that church."Autistic boy killed during exorcism:
"How can a child be dead and these people get charged with child abuse?" asked Mary Luckett, Cottrell's grandmother. "I can't even understand what these people are thinking. I don't care if it was a church. I don't care what they were trying to do."
Some more links to recent news about the Vatican abuse charges can be found at Vatican Bank Claims, including:
- Vatican asks [Condoleezza] Rice for help in sex abuse lawsuit - National Catholic Reporter, March 11, 2005
- Vatican Sexual Exploitation of Children Violates International Law - Inter Press Service, April 23, 2002
- Lawsuit against the Holy See for Sexual Abuse Cover Up, Vatican accused of Protecting Pedophiles
- Hundreds Sue Vatican Over Child Sex Abuse - Sydney Morning Herald, April 6, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP [Associated Press]) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland has agreed to pay $56 million to settle lawsuits filed by 56 alleged victims of priest sexual abuse, the diocese said.
Nationwide, sex abuse claims against the Roman Catholic priests has cost the church more than $1 billion.
Pope Immunity Won't Stop Abuse Case - Reuters news (at Yahoo), August 19, 2005
19/08/2005 Shasta DarlingtonVariation of this at NZ Herald (New Zealand paper)
A US lawyer said he will press ahead with a lawsuit alleging Pope Benedict conspired to cover up the abuse of three boys by a seminary student in Texas, despite the Pontiff's request for diplomatic immunity.
The lawsuit cites a letter Ratzinger wrote for bishops around the world in May, 2001, explaining that allegations of sexual abuse of minors would be handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which he headed before becoming Pope.
A translation of the Latin letter provided by Shea says grave cases involving sex with minors are the "exclusive competence" of the congregation and are "subject to the pontifical secret" for 10 years after the victims turn 18."The documents uncovered demonstrate a conspiracy to conceal these crimes after the fact," Shea said.
Hundreds of Roman Catholic priests across the United States have died of AIDS-related illnesses, and hundreds more are living with HIV, the virus that causes the disease. It appears priests are dying of AIDS at a rate at least four times that of the general U.S. population.As the Kansas City Star's coverage makes clear, the issue is troubling many denominations, not just the Catholic Church. (Though the Catholic priests among them were supposed to be observing their Vow of Celibacy, which the Roman Church has imposed on them since 1074).
The ultimate cause for the high incidence of AIDS amongst the clergy is neglect: due to the Church's repressive teachings, the lack of education programs on safe sex, and little to no support or understanding, AIDS has become a major risk to clergymen in the US:
Experts say that until the church starts encouraging a more healthy understanding of sexuality, priests will continue to die of AIDS. [Link]See also: Seminary taught spirituality, liturgy and Latin -- sexuality was taboo, also part of the Kansas City Star News coverage
Vatican Recognizes Rape Report - Washington Post (Reuters AFRICA) March 21, 2001
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican yesterday acknowledged a report that some priests and missionaries were forcing nuns to have sex with them, and in some cases forcing their rape victims to have abortions.See also:
Some nuns were also forced to take oral contraceptives, the report cited in the newspaper La Repubblica said.
The Vatican said the issue was restricted to a certain geographic area, but the report cited cases in 23 countries, including the United States, Brazil, the Philippines, India, Ireland and Italy.Although the Vatican did not name the area, the report said most incidents of sexual abuse against nuns occurred in Africa, where the nuns were identified as "safe" at a time when AIDS is devastating the continent.
- Vatican 'knew of widespread abuse' - BBC, 21 March, 2001: "A day after the emergence of a report on the rape of nuns by priests, the Roman Catholic Aid Agency, Cafod, has confirmed that it showed the Vatican the report seven years ago."
- The Nuns' Stories - Vatican Condemned for Abuse of Nuns by Priests - "A Vatican report claims that there is widespread sexual abuse of Roman Catholic nuns by priests around the globe, even in the US." It summarises the various news reports surrounding the issue of nuns being abused by clergymen.
On March 16, 2001, the National Catholic Reporter uncovered shocking reports written by senior members of women's religious orders and an American priest asserting sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests is a serious problem around the world.
The Call to Accountability Campaign is an ad hoc coalition of religious, women's rights and human rights groups whose goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence against women in the Catholic church and hold accountable the individuals and institutional leadership involved or complicit in this problem.
Accounts of the humiliation and even deaths of women whose human rights have been violated by Catholic priests are harrowing:From: End Sexual Violence Against Catholic Sisters
- In Latin America, a priest demanded sexual "favors" in exchange for clothes for a girl and her family.
- In Africa, some priests seeking partners free of HIV/AIDS have sexually exploited nuns. Some of these priests have actually transmitted HIV to the nuns or made them pregnant. Tragically, some nuns have died.
- In Europe and the United States, priests and seminarians have demanded sexual "favors" from nuns in exchange for assistance with studies.
- In the United States, church authorities shielded a parish priest from prosecution by returning him to the Philippines so that he could elude a lawsuit filed by a woman, who as a teenager, was sexually abused by him.
This is a worldwide problem. Reports cite incidents in 23 countries: Botswana, Burundi, Brazil, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We deplore the Vatican's false claim that this problem is limited to sub-Saharan Africa in an attempt to dismiss or cover up the problem.That this sexual violence occurs in the context of the worldwide AIDS pandemic is especially disturbing. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa and the fourth most common cause of death in the world (United Nations Population Fund, 2000). Therefore, we condemn the hypocrisy of church policies that deny life-saving condoms and contraceptives, responsibly chosen by women and men.
It links to articles on the topic in the media.
Yet nuns are often the aggressors themselves, mistreating other women or even attacking children:
Spyridon was accused of financial mismanagement and covering up a sexual harassment scandalUSA Today - Romanian priest unrepentant after crucifixion of nun, June 18, 2005
TANACU, Romania — A Romanian Orthodox priest, facing charges for ordering the crucifixion of a young nun because she was "possessed by the devil," was unrepentant Saturday as he celebrated a funeral ceremony for his alleged victim.Also reported by:
Sociologist Alred Bulai said that corporal punishment was still commonly used in certain Romanian monasteries. "It's happening particularly in the isolated monasteries, where the superiors have difficulty understanding the current realities and adapting themselves to modern life," Bulai said.
"I don't understand why journalists are making such a fuss about this. Exorcism is a common practise in the heart of the Romanian Orthodox church and my methods are not at all unknown to other priests," he [the priest Father Daniel] said.
The Vices of Nuns [9th Century]Link"...female convents were [no] more successfully regulated [than monasteries], for the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 836, states that in many places they were rather brothels than houses of God; and it shows how close a supervision over the spouses of Christ was thought requisite when it proceeds to direct that nunneries shall be so built as to have no dark corners in which scandals may be perpetrated out of view. The effect of these efforts may be estimated from a remark... of Erchenbald, Chancellor of Charlemagne... that the licentiousness of nuns commonly resulted in a worse crime, infanticide."
-- History of Sacerdotal Celibacy within the Christian Church by Henry Charles Lea (American Quaker historian of the Church), p. 108
Peter Mullan's dramatisation of the horrific Magdalene laundries scandal outraged the Vatican. But women who were abused by the system say it does not go far enough.
Mary-Jo McDonagh takes a different view, as do the other women who served time in the institutions run by orders like the Good Shepherd Sisters or the Sisters of Charity. "It was worse in the Magdalenes, much worse than what you see. I don't like to say it, but the film is soft on the nuns," says McDonagh...
...Every other "Magdalene" I've talked to says the same: the reality was more brutal.
The Irish flocked to see a film about the Catholic church's enslavement of so-called 'fallen' women in Dublin, but it is certain to touch a raw nerve in Britain too
It probably does no harm for British viewers to be reminded that the Magdalene institutions were not entirely a product of Irish Catholicism. There were similar establishments in England and Scotland.
The Magdalene laundries first emerged in the eighteenth century as asylums, a way of dealing with prostitution. Originally they were mainly for short term "guests" as a means of keeping the prostitutes off the streets. Over time, the asylums came under the control of the Catholic Church and were converted into laundries, serving the need of the church itself as well as commercial clients. As the commercial activities increased, the need for more labour became extreme and the nature of the "guests" changed. Far from being prostitutes, the Magdalene laundries became a repository for women of allegedly dubious morals, offering them the prospect of hard labour in order to secure their redemption in the eyes of the Church.
Dubious morals included women who had been raped, orphan girls reaching an age where sex might become a problem or simply unwanted daughters, rather than just women who committed the mortal sin of engaging in sex outside of wedlock. Something in the region of 30,000 women were to suffer incarceration in the Magdalene laundries, many of whom were there for long periods of time. Basically once you were in there, the chances of getting out were remote. Once in the laundries, not only were the women expected to provide labour for menial chores for no recompense whatsoever but they were also subject to the abuses of the church itself. Such abuse extended to providing sexual gratification to priests as well as degradation and abuse by the sisters. In real terms, the women became slaves and the parallels between the degradations they suffered and the degradations suffered by the Negroes in America in the same periods are very clear. Many of the women who entered the Magdalene laundries became institutionalised in the same way as long-term prison inmates. Many died in the service of the laundries, but the world knew very little about it.
Perhaps the reason for the story of the Magdalene laundries becoming public knowledge was due to events in Dublin in the early 1990's. The story that is told involves a convent run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity called High Park. The order sold part of the convent grounds for a rather large sum of money, the area being redeveloped for town houses. Unfortunately, it was discovered during the redevelopment that the area contained the graves of some 133 women, women who had been incarcerated in the laundry attached to the convent. The wounds had been opened and the story slowly emerged as to what truly happened in the laundries - and for how long.Whilst many of the laundries existed in Ireland, to characterise the issue as a solely Irish one is false, for such laundries existed in both England and Scotland. To suggest that this was a problem from an earlier age is also not correct: the last Magdalene Laundry closed in October, 1996. What can be safely said is that even though the laundries were not the creation of the Catholic Church, they reached the height of their despicability under the auspices of the Catholic Church.
In the past, the highly misogynistic outlook of Christianity had led to great violence against women. Today, besides outright abuse, there is also general discrimination against women in all Churches:
The Christian destruction of the female is one of the great crimes of human history. The degradation continues to this day in fundamentalist churches, Mormon, Roman Catholic and other mainline churches.From: The Evolving Destruction of the Female, where the writer gives a few examples of Christian behaviour towards women in recent times.