Wednesday 7 October 2015


Open Letter to Signor Jorge Maria Bergoglio
a.k.a. “Pope Francis”

The Truth, the Whole Truth about the Tuam Convent!

The International Association of Free Thought (IAFT), founded in Oslo (Norway), the 11th of August 2011 and meeting for its Vth international Congress at Montevideo (Uruguay) the 19th and 20th of September 2015, solemnly and publicly addresses Mr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, more commonly known as Pope Francis.

Cemetery where 800 skeletons of newborns were found. Photo: Paul Faith, AFP
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Cemetery where 800 skeletons of newborns were found. Photo: Paul Faith, AFP

Meeting in a country which still retains the vivid memory of the anniversary of its great liberating and republican action in which its partisans, and many others, opened a breach in the Pia gate in Rome in order to unify Italy, freethinkers of the entire world honour the name of Guiseppe Garibaldi, who steadfastly fought against clericalism and the misdeeds of the Catholic Church on several continents.

Informed by the French Freethought of that organization’s forceful action, demanding that the Catholic hierarchy open the archives of the Congrégation du Bon-Secours located in Paris (France), which is fully and completely responsible for the dramatic events which occurred at the convent of Tuam in Ireland, the Vth Congress of the IAFT demands from the Vatican full and complete transparency in order to that Human justice may prevail and shed light fully on these events.

Let us recall the facts:

  • Everyone knows of the terrible tragedy of the Tuam convent in the Republic of Ireland, where, as the entire world learned in May 2014, skeletons of children and newborn babies were discovered in a concrete tank beside an old Catholic convent in County Galway. Between 1925 and 1961, this place, the Sean Ross Centre, admitted young unwed pregnant mothers. The historian Catherine Corless, conducting archival research, discovered that 796 children had been secretly buried, with neither casket nor tombstone, by the sisters of the Convent of Bon-Secours.
  • The French Freethought organization, on the 17th of October 2014 and again on the 12th of January 2015, formally requested that the Congrégation du Bon-Secours open its archives so that justice could be done.
  • Given the Congrégation’s continual silence, the French Freethought then requested, on the 5th of February 2015, that the Conference of French Bishops also open its archives. The bishops responded, via the Catholic newspaper La Croix, that the Congrégation was under the direct responsibility of the Vatican.
  • On the 3rd of April 2015, the French Freethought addressed “Pope Francis” by mail, calling on him to order that the archives of the Congrégation du Bon-Secours be opened to judicial authorities. We have confirmation that that letter was indeed received by the Vatican, by mail and into their hands. Since that time, the Vatican has remained silent on the issue and has not responded to the request.

The Vth Congress of the IAFT has decided to constitute an international delegation which asks to be received by the Vatican, by “Pope Francis” ou by one of his close collaborators, in order to discuss the issue of the Tuam convent and the archives of the Congrégation du Bon-Secours.

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Signor Bishop of Rome,

Humanity requires that you explain. In the name of Humanity you must in addition act in order that Human Justice prevail. Restitution must be made for all victims of these heinous acts. As leader of international Catholicism, you must no longer remain silent about these tragic events.

The Church’s silence on this matter is further harming its reputation and the suffering of the dead children’s relatives. We hope you will want to mitigate this by discussing the circumstances, so we are asking for a delegation of the International Association of Freethought to be received at the Vatican by an officer of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors or by the new tribunal under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Montevideo, 20th September 201

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Comment by Loren Miller on January 27, 2016 at 6:10am

I endorse this letter wholeheartedly.  The catholic church and its notorious history of wrongs against humankind has hidden under the skirts of its supposed "holiness" for entirely too long.  Mere apologies and solicitations of forgiveness will not suffice in the 21st century.

It is entirely past time that Bergoglio and his cohorts more fully understood the pain their organization has inflicted against their fellow humans.

Comment by tom sarbeck on January 27, 2016 at 1:27am

Though I doubt that anyone in the Catholic hierarchy will ever grow a conscience, I commend the freethinkers who make efforts such as this.



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