Why did Ireland's religious institutions go so bad?

Posted by Kelly Fincham at 5/21/2009 8:33 AM EDT

Not a day went by in Ireland during the 1990s that there wasn't yet another report about terror and abuse that had been inflicted on children. Parents, uncles, siblings. It seemed like a free-for-all of horror. There had long been rumors of dreadful things at the "Catholic" facilities but the wall of silence from the Church kept any serious investigation at bay.

And then an incredibly brave woman called Christine Buckley was interviewd in an documentary called "Dear Daughter."

The documentary opens with her saying ""I wanted to find my parents and kill them." Christine, who had been given up for fostering at the age of three weeks, was sent to Goldenbridge, an rphanage run by the Sisters of Mercy in the 1940s.

The documentary was horrifying. The sadism and bullying of children was institutional and seemed like something out of Dickens. But this was a relatively modern era' the 1940s and 1950s.

What on earth happened in Ireland to turn the religious institutions so bad?

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