Posted by Kelly Fincham at 5/30/2009 11:31 AM EDT

In 1971, a group of Irish women including the wonderful writers Nell McCafferty and June Levine went up to Belfast to buy condoms and bring them back to the shuttered Republic.

By train.

It was called the Contraceptive Train - for obvious reasons - and the women were running huge risks bringing in such contraband.

Condoms were banned in Ireland you see. Contraception was banned in Ireland. Although if you had money you could get something somewhere. But the regular Irish woman was expected to bear children over and over. Only if she was married of course. If not, she would be farmed off to the infamous 'laundries.'

This is the type of control that the Church exercised on Ireland. Total and utter oppression of women. Using rosaries to control their ovaries.

They oppressed an entire Catholic population with their presumed moral authority, an authority that is deservedly in tatters today.

Who would be a priest standing up in an Irish church this Sunday and preaching?

What grounds do they have to preach to any of us about?

They have lost all moral authority. The entire system needs to be taken apart and built from the ground up.

And as I write this I still can not believe that the then-Minister for Justice Gerald Boland attacked Fr Flanagan when Flanagan said the Christian Brothers had clearly lost their way.

1946. Who knows how many children could have been saved from the institutional hell-holes in the years that followed if the State had not colluded with the Church in terrorizing Ireland's women and children?