Tag Archives: Catholicism

Why do nuns become human traffickers? AEWCH 96: On the atrocities of the Catholic church with journalist Caelainn Hogan.

14 Jan

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 96: CAELAINN HOGAN or

THE CHURCH AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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Friends,

It was inevitable that, living in Ireland, I’d have to confront the power and atrocities of the Catholic church. Not because I don’t have a feeling of respect for the church (though I was raised without religion), and not because I’m an atheist (obviously!), but because the pain and suffering the church and its influence have caused Irish people is immeasurable. But I didn’t know where to start, until I came across the work  of journalist Caelainn Hogan, who has written a stunning and profoundly moving book on the mother-and-baby homes in Ireland, which imprisoned women who were pregnant outside of marriage, and took their children away from them. Often, the children died of malnourishment or illness or mistreatment, and were subsequently thrown into mass graves, never to be identified. Many of those who survived are still searching for their families. Caelainn’s book, Republic Of Shame: Stories from Ireland’s Institutions for ‘Fallen Women’, is a book of both sorrow and accountability, as well as a piercing analysis of great power.

This is a haunting episode, as well as one that moves in and out of biopolitics, state control, patriarchy, and religious vision. I’m so happy to share it with you.

On this episode:

  • What are the mother-and-baby homes, how are they different from the Magdalene laundries, and how did they arise
  • When did nuns lose their way and how does that echo the tensions women have with each other generally?
  • What do we do about human trafficking if we don’t want to support a punitive and carceral system?
  • Do we amplify or exploit the suffering of the world by writing about it?
  • Why writing and telling stories isn’t always cathartic.
  • How abuse shatters and reshapes reality.
  • How legal transparency and overcoming shame are linked.
  • How fascism and neoliberalism prop each other up.
  • Why nobody owns a cause.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Caelainn, visit her website, which has links to her writing, including her excellent essays on direct provision in Ireland, as well as love and everyday life in sickness and in health in war-torn Syria.

• I, like many people, confused the mother-and-baby homes for the Magdalene laundries, which you may have heard of first from Joni Mitchell.

• There are conservation efforts to preserve the Irish workhouses, and to not let them fall out of Irish history.

• My episode with Mona Eltahway, muslim feminist activist and writer, AEWCH 50, is now nearly-infamous, so check it out if you haven’t already.

Calvary• Here’s AEWCH 87 guest Una Mullaly linking the mother–and-baby homes to the abortion laws (now modified) in Ireland.

Calavary is, I think, a great movie about some of the tangles we discuss in this episode. It doesn’t address any of them directly, but it shows one side of the religious tensions in Ireland.

• I wrote about shame and how to fight it — as well as Amber Hollibaugh and Edward Carpenter — here.

Here’s the Sally Rooney interview by Eleanor Wachtel on one of my favorite podcasts, Writers and Company.

• The Walter Bejamin line is “The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of Antichrist.”

• Caelainn’s chilling warning, “the church thinks in centuries rather than in our current time,” will  stay with me.

• Here’s the Eliza Griswold essay, “The New Front Line of the Anti-Abortion Movement” that Caelainn mentioned.

• A great book that examines the conjunction of neoliberalism and fascism is Srećko Horvat‘s Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisation’s Last Chance. I urge you all to read it.

Until next time friends,
CH

MABH