Catholic Charity In Action

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. -- 1 Timothy 6:7-10

In my articles, I have not infrequently declared the Roman Catholic Church to be deceptive, devious and capable of incredible cruelty and perversion. Perhaps there are some who would argue that all this may have been true in the past but that, in these ecumenical times, the RCC is greatly changed. Surely they will fail to mention the Romish motto Semper Idem (Always the Same).

Perhaps they would remind us of Rome's recent apologies for the abuses perpetrated in her name in times past. Perhaps they would call to mind the work of Mother Theresa of Calcutta. They likely will not mention how Catholic religious cared for poor and illegitimate children in Canada but five decades ago.

It has been argued here and elsewhere that were it not for the strong governments in nations not in submission to Rome, the Whore on the Tiber would loose her hounds and the world would experience a continuation of the abuses and horrors of the Dark Ages and the Inquisition. In other articles on this board, I have detailed the depravity of which the clerical hierarchy of the Catholic church is capable.

It is not necessary to visit Third World nations to seek examples of Roman Catholic crimes against God and against humanity. Surely everyone who reads on this board has read of Catholic pedophiles and sodomites and the efforts of chanceries to protect their clerics and hide their sins from the world. Perhaps some are aware of the charges raised against the RCC in Quebec.

The Canada News Wire published a report on March 1, 1999, that began with these shocking words:

Three Duplessis orphans have come forward to recount and make public the atrocities committed against them as children while they were wards of the Quebec Government and housed in Catholic institutions. This took place at a press conference today organized by the Duplessis Orphans Committee, where the victims' testimonials were heard and where proof of their abuse, in the way of historical documents and their own medical records, were released to the media. [1]

And therein lies a tale, as William Shakespeare would have put it. The story of the Duplessis Orphans provides several recent examples of the depravity, cupidity and callousness of some Roman Catholic religious. The Catholic Church's dealings with the Duplessis Orphans reeks with the stench of hypocrisy

Who are the Duplessis Orphans and what do they want?

Historian Micheline Dumont defines them as:

abandoned children who lost their parents at birth, were not adopted, and thereby began a long period of institutionalization set against a backdrop of exclusion, and marked by lack of affection and learning difficulties. [2]

The Duplessis Orphans Committee (hereafter in this article to be referred to as the Committee) offers a somewhat different definition:

Anyone who, before age 12, was abandoned by his or her biological parents for social, political or religious reasons and who, due to the death of one or both parents, was placed in a foundling home, orphanage, psychiatric hospital or other institution for orphans, between 1930 and 1965. [3]

What they want is justice. In their own words, spoken to the Quebec Ombudsman, Daniel Jacoby;

We want a public apology for our broken lives. Mental retards and other similar expressions were used to describe us. Mr. Jacoby, we aren't mentally retarded, far from it! We were labeled so that they could get rid of we orphans.

We want justice to be done for all of us who have suffered our entire LIVES. We have lost our lives. Inside, our wounds have never healed.

The first injury I suffered was not being taught, not getting an education to cope with adult life. Another was being treated as if I didn't exist, and not receiving even the slightest amount of human affection. Another was being mistreated, being powerless before my torturers. But the greatest injury was being called mentally retarded and of generally mediocre appearance. That is unforgivable. [4]

In order to understand what this is all about, it is necessary to look back half a century or more to the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Those were hard times in Quebec and throughout Canada. The 30's were the years of the Great Depression. Unemployment was high and poverty and hardship were widespread. There were few social programs in those days. What public charity there was went to institutions that cared for the needy. Over time, aid programs were established to care for the blind and needy mothers (which category did not include unwed mothers), but in the 30's large numbers of Quebecers lived in abject poverty and could count on no meaningful help from their government. As was the case with the destitute private citizen, so was it with the agencies that provided healthcare and housing for the needy.

World War II pretty much solved the unemployment problem, but it placed an enormous drain on the nation's resources. After the War, political and economic considerations blocked increased governmental involvement on behalf of the needy. It was only in the early 60's, with the beginning of the Quiet Revolution, that things began to change.

Social structures of the day were based on the family and the Church; in this respect, Québec was little different from most Western countries. Marriage was the social norm, and sexuality acceptable only within the confines of wedlock. Unwed mothers were considered social deviants; their children were branded as illegitimate and marginalized from birth. Family and social intolerance was such that single mothers were under both moral and economic pressure to give up their children. Placement in an institution was considered the socially acceptable norm.

Foundling homes and orphanages also took in children whose parents were unable to care for them for economic or health reasons. Such institutions also cared for numerous physically and mentally handicapped children; society at the time was little inclined to invest in their development, and their presence at home was often considered harmful to their siblings.

Children were generally placed in foundling homes until the age of 6, then transferred to orphanages, trade schools or even asylums until the age of 16. There were also reform schools for delinquents.

It is important to recall that, starting in the 19th century, the Québec government transferred full management responsibility and control of educational, social and hospital services to the province's religious orders. This remained the case until the 1960s, when the government gradually took back responsibility. Up until then, the institutions providing these services were exclusively managed by the religious orders that owned them. Several hundred nuns cared for the children that nobody else wanted, and it should be noted that the first foundling homes were set up to reduce the number of infanticides. In the 1940s, according to Health Department statistics, there were 16 foundling homes, 53 orphanages, 11 specialized orphanages, 10 psychiatric hospitals, and 6 trade schools. The 53 orphanages had 8,811 children in their care. [5]

During much of this period, Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis, a devout Catholic and political archconservative, was premier of Quebec. Quebec was, and remains, as much an autonomous nation – at least in the minds of many Quebecois -- as it is a constituent province of the Canadian Commonwealth.

From what I read of Duplessis, he seems to have been cut from the same fabric as New York's Boss Tweed, Louisiana's Huey Long and Chicago's Mayor Daley. In other words, he apparently ran the province as he darn well pleased and seems not to have been averse to picking up a little loose change here and there. There must have been a huge pork barrel in his back office and it would appear at least some folks in the Catholic Church knew how to get to it.

One reporter described the Quebec of this period in these words:

I was brought up in a Quebec that was reactionary, church-ridden and notoriously corrupt -- a stagnant backwater -- its chef for most of that time: Premier Maurice Duplessis, leader of the long-defunct Union Nationale party. This was the shameful period known here as la grande noirceur, "the great darkness."… In 1961, a royal commission, reviewing the Union Nationale record, estimated that kickbacks paid out by companies doing business with the provincial government over a 16-year period came to about $100-million, or more than a billion in today's bucks. [6]

The "Great Darkness" was also a time of abuses by civil authority. It was a time of racial and religious persecution. A time when police were to be feared. A time when poverty and illegitimacy marked a child for terrible abuses.

Anti-semitism was not only sanctioned during the Duplessis years, but also crazed "anti-Communist" police raids, the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, and vicious strike-breaking by thuggish provincial police.

There was also the scandal of the Duplessis Orphans, illegitimate kids born into penury, who were falsely dubbed idiots and locked up in institutions, where they were abused. [7]

It was a time when practicing Catholic women eschewed the use of the few artificial contraceptive methods available to them. Some perhaps practiced Rome's 'Rhythm Method' of birth control, some were chaste and others hoped for the best. There were a great number of unanticipated and unwanted pregnancies throughout Canada during this period. To their credit, many women carried their babies to full term and then raised them as they were able. Abject poverty, and sometimes shame, forced others to give up their children to be cared for by social service agencies.

As mentioned above, these were hard times in Quebec. Where was the money needed to pay for the care and education of these children of poverty or shame to come from? Under the terms of the Quebec Public Charities Act, they were considered to be indigent. Responsibility for funding public assistance was equally divided between the provincial government, municipal governments, and the institutions caring for indigents (religious orders). [8]

In Quebec, thousands of children, mostly of unmarried parents, were made wards of the provincial government and placed in orphanages run by Catholic religious orders. The care these children received was reminiscent of a Dickens novel. They were beaten, tortured, sexually abused, used as virtual slave labor and provided only the most rudimentary education, if any.

It gets worse. Federal subsidies were available to help defray the costs of maintaining these children. It wasn't much. As little as 54 cents per child per day or less. A much larger subsidy, finally rising to $2.75 per day, was available to help cover the cost of caring for the mentally ill. [9]

As I mentioned above, corruption and fiduciary misdealing was not unheard of during the Great Darkness. Apparently, Duplessis, and/or some others in his administration, reached an arrangement with the local Catholic authorities, who operated the orphanages. Virtually overnight, some of the orphanages and schools were transformed into psychiatric hospitals. In such hospitals, per diem allowances were based on the census, or number of beds occupied.[10] Some children were shipped from orphanages to existing hospitals. These hospitals also were run by Catholic religious orders.

The Duplessis Orphans allege that, while in these mental institutions, doctors appointed by Premier Duplessis wrongfully declared many of them to be mentally deficient. Times may have been tough, but some of these psychiatric facilities managed to generate tidy surpluses. Perhaps this helps explain why normal children were so readily declared to be mentally deficient. [11]

Fewer 'normal' orphans and more 'mentally deficient' children meant more money for the religious orders. How much more money? At a press conference in Montreal on April 26, 1999, the Duplessis Orphans released a study prepared by a team of researchers in a Quebec university and delivered to the offices of Quebec Premier Bouchard and Cardinal Turcotte. Among other things, the report stated:

It was definitely to the financial advantage of certain religious institutions to transfer these normal children to psychiatric hospitals, in order to profit from a higher daily subsidy for each child it was established that the religious communities involved were able to obtain, in 1999 dollars, an additional $70 million for the years between 1940 and 1960 (a mentally deficient child would provide greater subsidies than a normal child). According to the analysis, this amount represents a minimum amount since it does not take into account the unpaid labor which the children were forced into during their stays in these asylums. The financial advantages for the Quebec Government, though much more difficult to evaluate, are no less real. The meager sums spent by the Duplessis Government on orphanages and psychiatric institutions greatly contributed to the problems of these children. As well the Quebec Government encouraged the confinement of these children to psychiatric institutions, rather than invest in the welfare of these beneficiaries in order to themselves profit from more generous federal subsidies available for healthcare. Finally, in the case of the Mont-Providence hospital, the Quebec Government is directly responsible for its conversion to psychiatric facility as of 1954. This change led to the confinement of approximately 350 normal children in a psychiatric asylum.

Thanks to this the Government was able to save $9.8 million in 1999 dollars in debt repayment to the federal government and was able to avoid paying an estimated $27.5 million for the refinancing of Mont-Providence between 1954 and 1961, for a total savings of $37.3 million. It is clear that the financial stakes were high and that this resulted in the religious institutions and the Government of Quebec confining children who were their wards into psychiatric hospitals. [12]

Duplessis' government gained financially from turning orphanages and schools into mental hospitals and reclassifying normal kids into mentally deficient patients. So did the religious orders that operated these facilities. What happened to the kids?

By being labeled mentally deficient they were subject to treatments such as being strapped into straightjackets, electroshock therapy, excessive medication, detainment in cells and even lobotomies. Their stories of physical and sexual abuse are frightful. When no more financial gain could be achieved by keeping them, they are released from their dreadful existence behind those institution walls. With no education and false medical records they were well unprepared for adult life. Even traces of their families have been snatched from them. [13]

"Even traces of their families have been snatched from them." What does this mean? The answer may be found in a story carried in a Montreal newspaper. The newspaper reported:

…In the 1940s and '50s an undetermined number of Duplessis Orphans deceased while institutionalized ended up on dissection tables in medical schools. Who else but their biological family could have claimed those children's remains? The Journal de Montréal, with the help of archivists from the Université de Montréal, uncovered correspondences between hospitals, universities and the Quebec government, which confirmed without the shadow of a doubt that such practices indeed took place. This explains why, to this day, families are still having difficulties finding their lost ones' exact burial place. It also breaks down the wall of silence and mystery still surrounding the "forgotten" cemetery of the old Asile Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. Wrongly declared "mentally ill", the Duplessis Orphans indeed faced the same fate as prisoners and people without family…

If no parent…claimed remains within 24 hours following death, the cadaver was systematically made available to universities and medical schools, in turns and in proportion to the number of student registered in each institution. In the case of the Duplessis Orphans, the religious communities renamed the children often and destroyed all traces of their biological parents, making it very unlikely that the family would intervene. Hospitals were under the obligation to render those cadavers…A fine of $50 was imposed for not doing so. [14]

How do we know these things happened? For years now, Canadian media have been carrying reports of charges laid against members of the various Catholic orders that maintained and operated the orphanages, mental institutions and hospitals where the children of the poor were housed. There have been trials and lawsuits. Prison sentences have been handed down and financial and other compensation has been provided to many victims of these religious offenders. But not in Quebec, where the Catholic Church retains much of her former political clout.

Maurice Duplessis died in 1959, and his death marked the end of an era. In what has been termed "the Quiet Revolution," things began to change in Quebec. The sweeping changes in the Catholic Church initiated by Pope John XXIII in the early 1960's resulted in shifts in the RCC position in Quebec. Whereas in the 1940's the Catholic Church operated all the schools, hospitals and social institutions (with the government's consent), that stranglehold on social services was broken in the 60's.

How are those changes reflected in today's Quebec? Sunday attendance in the many Catholic churches has fallen off dramatically. In the old days, the Quebec birth rate was one of the highest in the world. Now, it is one of the lowest due, in part at least, to the more widespread use of contraceptives and the availability of abortion on demand.

Quebec used to have one of the lowest divorce rates. Not so any longer. And this despite the fact it has one of the lowest marriage rates in Canada. Some 53% of children born in Quebec are born of unmarried parents. [15]

The reader might legitimately ask why the Children of Duplessis waited so long before seeking justice. After all, it has been some 40 years or more since the alleged abuses occurred. The fact of the matter is, they have been struggling for decades and their efforts have largely been ignored.

After the death of Duplessis and in the early days of the Quiet Revolution, no one talked about the Children of Duplessis, as they now are known Things began to change in 1962, when the Quebec Department of Health released a study made of the province's psychiatric hospitals.[16] Two years later, a former 'orphan' published a little book in which he made known the scope of the problem. [17]

Noel Flavin, with the support of the Montreal Junior Chamber of Commerce, founded the Association des Orphelins du Québec in 1965. Their goal was to fund programs to help orphans seeking to improve their educational skills. The program was not very successful and only a few orphans managed to become fully integrated members of society. Similar associations started during this period also proved unsuccessful.

In 1989, television host Jeannette Bertrand again brought the issue before the public by dedicating one of her shows to the Children of Duplessis. A couple of years later, Pauline Gill published the story of Alice Quinton, who had been interned in an asylum when she was but seven years old.[18] Other books and studies were published and other groups were formed as the Children of Duplessis grew more organized.

Organized or not, their appeals were largely ignored. They sought relief from political, administrative and religious authorities, to no avail. Then they tried the courts and that didn't work either.

In 1992, some of the survivors of the Catholic charities attempted to file a class action suit in Canada's federal courts. They wanted an apology, they wanted their medical records corrected to remove the false determinations of mental deficiency and they wanted compensation and help. The court threw the suit out, informing the plaintiffs that they would have to file individually. Many of the survivors did file individual suits or complaints, with the same results.

The Quebec justice department decided in 1995 it could not prosecute 321 criminal complaints, largely because time limits on charges could have expired, or because the alleged abusers could not be found or were unfit to stand trial. One monitor was convicted of molesting a boy 40 years earlier when the victim laid a charge privately [19]

And what happened to the man found guilty? Nothing.

One orphan has won his case: Antoine Ceran, a former Mount Providence resident, pressed for a criminal trial of a lay member of staff who sexually assaulted him while he was restrained in a straitjacket. Richard Burton, the staff member, was found guilty but was considered too old to go to prison. No damages were awarded to Ceran. [20]

In 1992, a group of survivors began pressing the Quebec government to conduct a full inquiry into the treatment of the Duplessis Orphans. At the time, the Quebec Civil Liberties Union expressed its support of the effort, as did the present prime minister's political party, the Parti Quebecois. It seems little, if anything, was done.

The Children of Duplessis kept up the pressure. In 1997 and later, Quebec Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard assured the National Assembly that he would personally handle their case. On March 19, 1998, Bouchard, in a speech before the National Assembly, declared again that he was personally dealing with the Duplessis Orphans case. In his own words,

I've become personally involved with the file. I'm staying abreast of developments, asking for reports, and am also determined to find a solution to this affair. I believe that as a society, we all have an interest in turning the page and we are doing what we must to do that…It would be inappropriate to impose a settlement. I believe we must arrive at consensual solutions.

There are those who suggest that Bouchard's personal involvement in the Duplessis Orphans issue constitutes a conflict of interest. They point to the premier's autobiography, "On The Record." In this book, he identifies several Catholic religious orders that he represented while in private law practice. Bouchard reports that he used his privileged relationship with the Catholic Church to help elect a Parti Quebecois candidate in 1976. [21]

In addition to his former professional associations, Mr. Bouchard has strong family ties to the Catholic Church:

My father's five sisters entered the convent and remained there. Their brother Francois is a Redemptorist priest. Two of my mother's brothers, my uncles Alfred and Arman, are secular priests. My parents stopped counting how many of their cousins had become priests and nuns. [22]

There may be some justification for the suggestion that Premier Bouchard may not have been the best person to address the needs of the Children of Duplessis. Nearly two years after he first told the National Assembly that he was personally handling the case, there had been little, if any, progress toward resolution. The Committee took their grievances to the public once again.

On February 18, 1999, the Children of Duplessis staged protests outside the offices of Lucien Bouchard and Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop of Quebec. In a press release announcing the protests, the Committee charged that:

Under the orders of the Quebec government and the Catholic Church, doctors altered the medical records of orphans and they were labeled mentally deficient they then received treatments normally reserved for such patients: straightjackets, electroshocks, excessive medication, placed in cells and even tortured. They were abused physically and in some cases even sexually by the religious personnel and their staff. Some were even lobotomized. Others were reduced to slavery, working without pay to perform such tasks as bathing mentally ill patients. [23]

These are strong charges. Are they simply bombast or can they be supported from historical data?

Quebec Health Department statistics for 1945 reveal that 7,730 children were living in foundling homes that had a total capacity of 3,723 beds. [24]

There was no room for additional children in the already over-crowded orphanages, so thousands of illegitimate children between 6 and 12 of age were placed in foundling homes whose programs were designed for 0 to 6 year olds. [25]

The lack of space resulted in many children being put into psychiatric hospitals or reform schools. Confusingly, mentally handicapped children sometimes were placed in foundling homes because of overcrowding in the asylums. Although there existed a solid legislative and medical framework at the time, institutional practices were not always rational.[26]

Administrative errors resulted in some normal children being placed in asylums and psychiatric hospitals. That is tragic, but hardly grounds for alleging that medical records were alters and false diagnoses rendered. What support is there for these charges?

The Quebec Ombudsman reported that:

Because authorities did not fully assume their responsibilities, normal children from foundling homes and orphanages ended up in psychiatric institutions along with the mentally handicapped and the mentally ill. According to the 1948 Sylvestre Report and Department of Health reports issued between 1947 and 1960, only two thirds of beds were occupied by mentally handicapped or mentally ill patients. The percentage of normal individuals in psychiatric institutions rose from 22% in 1941 to 29% in 1956.

No studies appear to have been done to identify the exact percentage of illegitimate children wrongfully labeled as "mentally handicapped" or "mentally ill. [27]

There have been studies that tend to confirm that a large percentage of illegitimate children were interned in psychiatric hospitals. One Catholic nun did a study, in 1948, that included an examination of placement bureau data from an institution for the readaptation and rehabilitation of the mentally-handicapped. She discovered that, in her sample of 55 former students, 45 had been born out of wedlock. [28]

A number of adults who, as children, were placed in institutions have challenged the diagnoses made prior to their releases. [29]

I do not doubt some of the Children of Duplessis indeed were afflicted with some mental disability. I do not doubt that some were afflicted with emotional and developmental disabilities. The question is, however, whether they were so afflicted before being institutionalized or developed these disabilities as a consequence of their internment.

It appears unlikely that we ever will learn the true answer to this question. In the early days of the period, there were precious few psychiatrists in all of Quebec. As late as 1950, there were but 15 psychiatrists practicing in the province. Due to the shortage of medical staff, many of the responsibilities of hospital medical superintendents were left to non-medical staff. Conditions of admission were overlooked, patient classification was faulty and records were poorly kept. Religious staff had to run the institutions, often without adequate knowledge of psychiatry. [30]

When the Quebec Department of Health published the results of Dominique Bedard's study in 1962, it revealed that patient diagnoses often were erroneous and not in line the psychiatric norms of the times, treatments were unusual and fully half the children who normally could have received an education were denied that right. [31]

Another researcher had this comment concerning Bedard's findings:

The Bédard inquiry found 1,500 children under 16 in eight psychiatric hospitals, a tiny portion of the overall population of the mentally ill. There were undoubtedly true cases of mental illness among them. But in all likelihood, there were also an impossible-to-determine number of former orphanage residents who had been placed in these institutions. The inquiry also revealed the negligence of a care system devoid of any rehabilitative mission and maintained with the complicity of psychiatrists, the Department of Health, the College of Physicians and the parents of the mentally ill. [32]

What would lead an unqualified hospital worker to label a normal child as being mentally disabled? Perhaps the conditions of their daily life led to the development of what appeared to be symptoms of mental deficiency, false symptoms that would not have deceived a competent mental health professional.

In his report to the National Assembly, the Quebec Ombudsman described the horrendous living conditions and devastating emotional isolation endured by the orphans: [33]

According to some,[34] foundling homes were run like factories due to overpopulation, inadequate resources, and insufficient and poorly trained staff.[35] Everybody suffered from this situation, including the personnel. Montréal's Crèche de la Réparation and Crèche de la Miséricorde foundling homes accommodated 600 children, and the d'Youville and St-Vincent-de-Paul homes, 710. [36] It was truly group living, or life "in bulk [37] as journalist Gérard Pelletier put it.

At an age where individual care was key to their development, these children received little intellectual stimulation or affection, no physical tenderness and no individual contact, according to Roy and Bédard.[38] For the sake of efficiency, life was systematized, standardized, and scheduled down to the minute. Everything happened at the same time. The children got up together, had their diapers changed together, had baths together, ate in silence together in the room [39] that generally served as their living space, play area, classroom, etc. The absence of affection and individual attention, the strict discipline and the impossibility of developing any sense of independence were among the factors retarding their intellectual and social development. [40]

The majority of the children spoke only in sounds until the ages of 4 to 6, and were incapable of telling time, eating with utensils, getting around, washing themselves, etc., until much later. In one trade school, up to 25% of the children between 9 and 16 were found to be bedwetters. Such conditions could only hinder normal development.

By 1946, the religious and scientific communities had acknowledged that foundling home operation was causing significant lags in childhood intellectual and social development.[41] They had becomefFactories of the mentally ill." [42] In 1950, journalist Gérard Pelletier found that 80% of illegitimate children became mentally retarded, their capacity for normal development decreasing the longer they remained institutionalized. The situation was little better in the specialized orphanages. Although a number of them doubled as trade schools, the rarity of teaching and training programs, problems with overpopulation and the mobility of their clientele meant that their educational efforts were too often illusive. [43]

And the charges of virtual slavery?

During the period under consideration, occupational therapy was considered helpful. Just about every institutionalized child was expected to work. They did the usual 'household' chores such as cleaning, cooking, grounds maintenance and the like. Some were put to work caring for the sick. Others labored in workshops, where boys made shoes and did carpentry work. The girls sewed, knitted, did embroidery, made rosaries, etc. Some kids were farmed out to work for private manufacturers.

Sometimes children, usually illegitimate children, were sent to live and work with farming families. This apparently seemed like a near-ideal solution for dealing with these "children on the margins of society" – out in the country away from the rest of the population. [44]

It does appear that some kids were wrongfully diagnosed as mentally deficient and some were used as virtual slaves, but were any really mistreated? Quebec's Ombudsman wrote:

A number of those who were institutionalized and wrongfully diagnosed as mentally ill underwent treatments designed for the genuinely ill: electroshock therapy, lobotomies, prolonged solitary confinement,[45] ice baths, chaining, force feeding, straight jackets. With the advent of neuroleptics, these treatments were replaced by medication, what is known today as "chemical restraint." [46]

A number of people also claim to have suffered physical and sexual abuse. In the first instance, common allegations include years of recurrent beating and slapping, being tied to the bedspring for bed wetting, unjustified confinement to a cell--sometimes for months or even years--ice baths, regular subjection to restraining measures (straight jackets, neuroleptics…), electroshock treatment, etc. Allegations of sexual abuse include sodomy, sexual interference, forced sexual favors, etc. [47]

How many children are we talking about? No one seems to know. Estimates range between 2100 and 6000. Quebec's Ministry of Justice places the number at about 5000. The Committee claims that perhaps 3,500 are still alive.

Back to modern times. Quebec's Catholic hierarchy has not been idle as the Orphans struggle for redress of the wrongs they claim were perpetrated against them. In its February 20, 1999 edition, the Journal de Montreal quoted Cardinal Turcotte as having declared:

"If the Government of the day did not assume its responsibilities, let them apologize! If the doctors did not do their jobs, let them be sued! But if the nuns acted badly, then let them first prove it!"

The Committee responded by inviting The Cardinal to a public meeting with the press in attendance. Bruno Roy, speaking for the committee, stated,

"The Cardinal claims that all that is missing here is proof. `Well, we have this proof ready to provide to the Cardinal. If he is being sincere, all he has to do is come to the meeting. That is not so much to ask.'" [48]

The February 27, 1999 edition of La Presse carried a statement by Cardinal Turcotte that it is his belief that these victims' stories are isolated cases, that the nuns were dedicated to these children, and if the orphans feel they have a case, they should sue or address themselves to the religious communities involved. He agreed that his church would willingly participate in a public inquiry if the Quebec Government believes it to be the best way to establish the truth. However, he also stated, "I still believe that the bad treatments, if there were any, were isolated cases." [49]

The London Times quoted the Cardinal:

"I wholeheartedly defend the devoted religious women who gave 40 to 50 years of their lives working in the institutions. They shouldn't have to make apologies," said Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, a senior representative of the Catholic church in Canada. He described the orphans as "victims of life", and challenged them to prove any allegations of abuse." [50]

Well, the Orphans rented a Catholic church hall and held their press conference on March 1st. Representatives of the orphans were there. Reporters were there. Television cameras were there. Neither Cardinal Turcotte nor Premier Bouchard was there.

Cardinal Turcotte said in a statement that his attendance "would put me in a situation where I would be called upon to answer questions regarding cases about which I have no knowledge." He added it would not respect the right to reply of the monks and nuns involved. [51]

The survivors presented their proof to the press. Four orphans told of abuse suffered as children in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals, and distributed copies of medical reports and diagnoses, as well as police complaints they have filed.

One of those who spoke was Herve Bertrand, who said he was sodomized 30 times by staff members when he was interned in the Mont-Providence psychiatric hospital, the last time in an elevator while he was wearing a straitjacket. He provided medical records detailing the damage to his anus and the required surgery. Bertrand said that, when he complained of abuse to the police, they asked him why he had consented. [52]

Clarina Duguay also testified of her experiences.

"When I was 11, they falsified my medical records and classified me as mentally deficient," Mrs. Duguay said..."All around me there were real mental patients. They gave me plenty of pills, and I was sexually abused by the sisters who, at bath time, used to wash my breasts and then told me I could wash my back myself." [53]

Another victim, Myriam Kelly, testified that she was placed in a cell, restrained in a straitjacket, and forced by a nun to eat a mouse. She said was severely and repeatedly beaten and the medical records she provided as evidence also state that she was struck with a hammer. [54]

Dr. Jean Gaudreau, a psychologist at the University of Montreal told how shocked he was to discover a five-year-old boy in a straitjacket when he visited Mont-Providence in 1961. He had a difficult time convincing a nun to release the boy, whom she insisted was violent and dangerous. When he was released, the boy proved to be non-violent. [55]Gaudreau said there is little doubt that children were unnecessarily institutionalized during that time. He declared that tests administered then showed that mental deficiencies were often caused by lack of stimulation, not mental illness. [56]

A few days before the scheduled meeting, the London Times carried a story in which another victim told of the abuses she had suffered while in the care of Catholic charity in Quebec.

HER only sin was to be born of the rape of her 15-year-old mother in fiercely conservative Quebec in 1947. Yet Alice Quinton has paid a terrible price for her illegitimacy…

Quinton, 52, is still haunted by her time at St Julian's psychiatric hospital near Quebec City, where she was incarcerated at the age of seven with 500 other healthy orphans and 900 mentally ill adults. She remembers a childhood of dark cells and tranquillising drugs.

Once, accused of "telling tales", she was punished by a nun who placed her in a straitjacket, strapped her to a metal bedframe and, she says, left her there for three weeks with a chamber pot under the bed. "The nuns tormented us and treated us as slaves. They made us pay for the sins of our parents," she said. [57]

But the allegations are not true. Right? Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop of Quebec, has suggested that if there were any such abuses, they were isolated cases. Right?

On March 4, 1999, Premier Bouchard offered the orphans an apology and compensation amounting to about US$2,000,000. The Orphans turned down the offer, which amounts to about US$670.00 per orphan. Instead, they insisted on a full public inquiry. [58]

On March 8, 1999, CBC TV reported Quebec Ombudsman Daniel Jacoby's dissatisfaction with the government's response.

"Quebec refuses to compensate these people whereas everywhere else in Canada similarly victimized children have been compensated in recent years in a just and humane manner." [59]

"Everywhere else in Canada"? The Quebec Orphans weren't the only children to suffer while being cared for in institutions? In a release to the press, Jacoby provided examples of how other Canadian provincial governments compensated victims of similar abuses:

"Accordingly, the Government of Newfoundland paid out $11 million in compensation to 42 children who had been physically or sexually abused at the Mount Cashel Orphenage (sic); the amounts varying between $150,000 to $500,000, depending on the case.

In Ontario, 320 girls that suffered either physical or sexual molestation at the Grandview Training School, received $14.3 million in compensation; the average amount being $37,000 to which is added for each girl : therapy services up to $10,000, back-to-school tuition up to $25,000 and several other expenses.

Between 1928 and 1972, the Government of Alberta, which sterilized 2700 persons suffering from mental problems or intellectual deficiency and confined them in provincial institutions, introduced recently a bill granting victims up to $150,000 for having been sterilized and confined, as well as compensation up to $150,000 for sexual abuse. The Government has been sued in 700 civil cases. By this Act, the Government has eliminated legal defences such as time limitations.

In 1993, the Ombudsman of British Columbia and a special Commissioner intervened to indemnify institutionalized children victim of physical and sexual abuses ; they proposed compensations from $3,000 to $60,000. The average compensatory amount was $36,000. [60]

The Catholic Church's influence in Canada is not restricted to the province of Quebec. Take Newfoundland's Mount Cashel Orphanage, for example.

A few years ago, CBC made available to Canadian viewers a program titled "The Unforgiven." According to a review, this hour-long documentary chronicles reporter Deanne Fleet's efforts to talk to victims of sexual abuse and beatings at the hands of Christian Brothers entrusted with their care.

The victims' stories ranged from inspiring to tragic, but most surprising is the story told by one lawyer who was so traumatised by his work on the Mount Cashel inquiry that he needed psychiatric help. Not so surprising are Fleet's unsuccessful attempts to talk to the convicted Brothers, most of whom served nowhere near their full sentences of 5 to 7 years. [61]

In 1990, Viking Press published a book that provided a detailed account of the discovery of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests at the RCC orphanage at Mount Cashel and the efforts of the Newfoundland Justice Department and the Christian Brothers to cover it up. [62]

One of the surviving victims of the Mount Cashel atrocities wrote an autobiographical account of his experiences. The Newfoundland Department of Justice banned the book in that province when it first came out and the book iwas also placed on the Saskatchewan banned list. Despite official efforts to suppress the book, it became a Canadian best seller. [63]

Nine former members of the Christian Brothers were sent to jail for their crimes at Mount Cashel, but few of them served even a significant portion of their sentences

On November 19, 1996, the Canadian News Digest ran the following story:

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. (CP) -- What many hope will be the last chapter in the history of Mount Cashel orphanage was began Tuesday when another seven men were charged with abusing boys in their care between 1950 and 1964. The seven, aged 59 to 70, face 59 charges of physical and sexual assault…

Nine members of the Christian Brothers, the Roman Catholic lay order that ran the now-demolished home, have already been convicted of abusing boys in their care in the '70s.

Four of the accused live in the United States and must be extradited. The three Canadian residents appear in court Dec. 10. [64]

Two of the four accused who were residing in the United States voluntarily returned to Canada, one fought extradition and one, Thomas Cuthbert Ford, went into hiding in New Jersey, his whereabouts known only to the US Justice Department and the Christian Brothers. Significantly, Ford is the only one of four who was still a member of the Christian Brothers. Ford, who had been teaching geometry in a New Jersey high school, simply did not show up for classes one day. Students were told he had to take care of some family emergency. The fact of the matter is that he had just been indicted in Canada on nine counts of beating abandoned children at the Christian Brothers' Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Newfoundland, between 1956 and 1959.

In a move we have seen so many times when Catholic religious are accused of sex crimes or malfeasance, leaders of the Christian Brothers circled their wagons around one of their own. In an unsigned statement, leaders of the Eastern American Province of the Christian Brothers…said Ford had retired from teaching and was cooperating with U.S. authorities. The order admitted it was keeping Ford out of sight and under its protection, but declined to say where. Despite an international arrest warrant, the U.S. State Department appeared unwilling to extradite Ford to Newfoundland for trial. If convicted, Ford, 64, faces 14 years to life in jail.

In 1989 a retired Ontario Supreme Court judge conducted an official inquiry into the Mount Cashel scandal. His findings revealed that senior officials of the Newfoundland justice system actively participated in covering up the allegations.

In December 1975, after four residents complained they had been abused by two Christian Brothers, prosecutors launched an investigation. But after the two brothers admitted to assaulting the boys, leaders of the order met with a senior provincial justice official who halted the investigation and allowed the two men in question to leave Canada without facing prosecution. [65]

One of the former residents of the orphanage has clear recollections of the 3-foot leather strap Ford carried during his years at Mount Cashel.

At any moment, without any warning you'd get hit anywhere and everywhere with that thing," Byrne said in a telephone interview, his voice cracking at the 40-year-old memory. "Ford was just one brutal [expletive deleted]." [66]

Canadian authorities said nine witnesses -- including Byrne -- remembered Ford punching, kicking and lashing residents with his leather switch for infractions such as stepping out of the food line, speaking out of turn or failing to follow simple instructions.

Just who are the Christian Brothers and how are they able to get away with harboring an international fugitive?

The Congregation of Christian Brothers is based in Rome. The order operates some 500 schools and institutions throughout the world. While the order occasionally works with local dioceses to staff schools and other institutions, it is independent of the Catholic Church hierarchy in this country and reports directly to the Vatican.

Last year, the world leaders of the Christian Brothers issued an apology to anyone mistreated in the order's institutions.

The apology did not satisfy law enforcement officials in Newfoundland, who say they are determined to see the Mount Cashel saga through to its end by bringing Ford to justice.

I've got 15 more years before retirement," said Sgt. Mark Wall of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the lead investigator on the case. "I've got nothing but time, and we'll wait and see this through as long as it takes. [67]

Unlike the United States, Canada does not have a statute of limitations for assault charges.

Back to the Children of Duplessis.

In a letter to the Committee, the Quebec Civil Liberties Union re-iterated its support for their cause.

By the present letter, the Civil Liberties Union expresses its support of your efforts to obtain a commission inquiry on the treatment of the Duplessis Orphans, as it did in 1992. We also wish that full disclosure be made of the trying circumstances that many had to live through during that period.' [68]

Interesting that the QCLU is able to recall the support it lent the Committee in its 1992 request for an inquiry while Premier Bouchard apparently forgot all about it and about his promises to personally look into their petition.

It should be noted that the Civil Liberties Union had previously supported the Duplessis Orphans Committee's request for an inquiry in 1992. With this in mind, we repeat the declaration made by Premier Bouchard before the National Assembly on March 4, 1999, when he tried to impose an unilateral settlement in the Duplessis Orphans case: ``Since the public inquiry was only requested very recently, I will dispose of it rather quickly. I do not recall the request for an inquiry being one of the elements discussed with the orphans. I believe this issue has only surfaced in the last few days or weeks.'' [69]

And the struggle continues. On September 15, 1999, The Roman Catholic Church in Quebec declared its position yet again. It ruled out any apology or compensation for hundreds of orphans who say they were abused while in church care several decades ago. [70]

Msgr. Pierre Moreissette, head of the Assembly of Quebec Bishops, told a news conference in Montreal that an apology would constitute a rejection of past work done in difficult circumstances by the religious orders.

"It would betray the work of those who dedicated their lives to the poorest in society," Morissette said. [71]

It was bad enough that the Bishops refused to apologize to the orphans because they did not want to "betray the work" of the nuns and other Catholic religious who had been entrusted with the care of the Children of Duplessis. I do not doubt that some of the Catholic herdsmen did everything in their power to do "the right thing" for the children. This, however, does not excuse those others who committed grievous acts of omission and commission against the children and their best interests. And it certainly does not excuse the self-serving politicians and the arrogant and insensitive hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebed that ignored the plight of the orphans as children and who continue to deny their petitions to this day while protecting those who committed the offenses alleged to the Catholic care providers.

To compound their sins, the Catholic bishops of Quebec have denied all responsibility for the atrocities. They have, instead, employed another not unusual Roman Catholic tactic – making the victims responsible for their own suffering. In this case, they seek to shift the blame to the victims' families and to the federal government. In the words of the Montreal Gazette:

The Roman Catholic Church in Quebec is categorical. There will be no apology to the thousands of Quebecers who say they were victimized as children in Catholic institutions during the 1940s and 1950s. Nor will there be financial compensation. It's too bad the orphans were so unfortunate in life, but that was the fault of their families. Tough luck. With that, this week, the Quebec bishops slammed the door shut.

…this week, the Assembly of Archbishops spoke out against the orphans, saying it was their own families' fault they ended up in institutions. The archbishops also refused to accept any blame for the fact that so many thousands of them were falsely diagnosed as mentally ill or handicapped so that the province could claim a higher sum for their care from the federal government.

Absurdly, the archbishops have now suggested the tragedy was Ottawa's fault, as though we were talking about equalization payments or public-works funding, not the practice of administering electroshock treatments to normal children. [72]

So far as I know, the Catholic Church in Quebec has not chaanged it position on this issue.

Has the Catholic Church done anything wrong in Quebec? If we are to believe the bishops, it would seem it has not. What really rankles, however, is the cavalier manner of these princes of the church. While it may be true they do not have all the facts in the matter, it is also surely true they do not wish to know the truth of what happened. Just as the Christian Brothers closed ranks to protect one of their own in New Jersy, so are the bishops in Quebec setting up barricades – of willful ignorance.

Asked if the church knew that false diagnoses were made of the children, Archbishop Pierre Morissette said, "I wasn't there, I can't answer that." It is an unsatisfactory response. If the Roman Catholic Church doesn't know about the wrong diagnoses, it is because it has chosen the path of willful ignorance.

Expressing sorrow for a misfortune in which it played a role is the least the church could do. In Newfoundland, faced with allegations of abuse by Catholic brothers in the Mount Cashel orphanage, the Roman Catholic Church agreed in 1997 to apologize and provide compensation. It is an example the church in Quebec would do well to follow. [73]

Is this all much ado about nothing? Were the Children of Duplessis really harmed as a consequence of being locked up in Roman Catholic institutions?

Almost all have lost the chance to lead a normal life, to have a career and live life without dealing with the mental anguish brought on by horrible memories of abuse. A joint study conducted by McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital of Montreal in 1997, comparing the mental health status of Duplessis' Orphans with that of low-income respondents (earning $10,000 or less), found significant differences between the two groups. The study revealed that for every health indicator (including indicators of stress, chronic illness, suicide and personal problems), Duplessis' Orphans fared much worse than the comparison group. For example, 54% of Duplessis' Orphans had seriously considered committing suicide, as compared to 16.9% of the comparison group of the poorest people. [74]

Why won't the Quebec bishops just admit they did wrong and come to terms with the Children of Duplessis? A wise friend of mine, a Presbyterian minister from Georgia, explained it for me from the RCC point of view: "Lies and deceptions are not wicked when done in the name of the Catholic Church."

In support of that simple declaration of pure truth, he offered the words of a well-known and respected Jesuit historian:

If the Pope errs by commanding vices or forbidding virtues, the Church must believe that vices are good and virtues bad, unless it wishes to sin against conscience. [75]

God knew he was gonna say that, I reckon, for He warned us through His prophet:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! [76]

Final Note: For those who need still more proof of the horrors perpetrated on little children by their Roman Catholic keepers and for those who wish to better understand the life-long effects of child abuse, I urge you to visit the Wounded Boys - Courageous Men web site

If you go there, please take the time to look closely at all the stunning photographs and to carefully read all the short statements from the victims. It may be one of the most moving events of the year for you.

End Notes:

1The Committee, "Who's Shame Is This?," Canada News Wire, March 1, 1999,

2 Micheline Dumont,. Des religieuses, des murs et des enfants, L'Action nationale, Volume LXXXIV, Number 4, April 1994, p. 495

3 The Committee, quoted by Daniel Jacoby, Quebec Ombudsman, in a report to the National Assembly, "The Children of Duplessis,": A Time For Solidarity," St. Foy, January 22, 1997, para. 2.1

4 The Committee, loc. cit., supra note 3, Introduction

5 Daniel Jacoby, Quebec Ombudsman, in a report to the National Assembly, "The Children of Duplessis," A Time For Solidarity," St. Foy, January 22, 1997, para. 3

6 Mordecai Richler, "Redeem Duplessis? C'est assez!," National Post, June 12, 1999, online at:

7 Ibid.

8 Act respecting the Quebec Bureau of Public Charities, Statutes of Québec, II Geo. V, 1921

9 For foundling homes: the daily allowance for living expenses was as follows:
In 1943 : $0.60 for babies under 1 year
$0.54 for children 1 to 5
$1.05 for children who were ill
These amounts covered only two thirds of the real cost (in 1946, the average daily cost was estimated at $1.10).
- For orphans: In 1956, the Immaculée Orphanage in Chicoutimi received
$0.90 for children under 5
$0.70 for other children
whereas the real cost was $0.93 per day per child.
- For asylums: St-Jean-de-Dieu hospital received
$0.89 per sick child between 1945 and 1949
$2.25 per sick child between 1956 and 1959
$2.75 per sick child in 1961
This compares with hospitalization costs of $25 a day per patient in certain clinics. Average hospitalization costs were $3.90 per bed in Québec, $6.41 in Ontario and $5.67 for Canada as a whole. Figures from the Comptes publics du Québec and the Annuaire statistique du Québec cited in Marie-Paule Malouin et al., L'univers des enfants en difficulté au Québec entre 1940 et 1960, Montréal, Bellarmin, 1996, pp. 134, 164 and 281, quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 3.1

10 "Since psychiatric hospital revenues increase proportionately to the number of beds occupied, it has become necessary to maintain very high occupancy rates to maximize revenues and reduce potential deficits. In this situation, overpopulation becomes inevitable, and undoubtedly leads to a worsening in psychiatric care." Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 281.

11 Dominique Bedard et al, "Rapport de la Commission d'étude sur les hôpitqux psychiatriques," Department of Health, Quebec, 1962, pp. 6,58, 78
and 119 St-Jean-de-Dieu hospital declared an operational surplus of $1,077,694.33 in 1959, and $160,366.00 in 1961 (not counting interest charges and capital outlay); Sainte-Lucie Home declared a profit of $18,286.49 for the period of May to December 1961, including interest payments and depreciation; revenues at the Roy-Rousseau Clinic exceeded expenses by $3,904.18, excluding depreciation; and Saint-Julien hospital reported a surplus of $187,520.82 including part of depreciation," quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 3.1

12 Professor Leo-Paul Lauzon, c.a., and Martin Poirier, Centre for Socio-Economic Studies (University of Quebec in Montreal), quoted on the Internet at:

13 Duplessis Orphans Web Site, Introduction,

14 "Orphans were used for experimentation in our universities," Journal de Montreal, June 21, 1999, See more here:

15 Anthony DePalma, "Orphans Who Weren't Recall Care That Wasn't," Montreal Journal, reprinted in the New York Times, March 5, 1999,

16 Dominique Bedard et al, "Rapport de la Commission d'étude sur les hôpitqux psychiatriques," Department of Health, Quebec, 1962.

17 Jean-Guy LaBrosse, "Ma chienne de vie," les Éditions du jour, Montréal, 1964

18 Pauline Gill, L'histoire vraie d'Alice Quinton, orpheline enfermée dans un asile à l'âge de 7 ans, Ed. Libre Expression, Montréal, 1991

19 Campbell Clark, "Still seeking justice," The National Post, March 2, 1999,

20 Mary Durran, "Nuns accused of enslaving 'children of sin'," The London Times, February 28, 1999. 

21 Lucien Bouchard and Dominique Clift (Translator), "On The Record," Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd. (1994), pg. 108

22 Lucien Bouchard, op. cit., supra note 21, pg. 20

23 The Committee, "Important Protest by the Duplessis Orphans in Straightjackets," Canada News Wire, March 1, 1999,

24 Bruno Roy, "Mémoire d'asile, La tragédie des «Enfants de Duplessis»," Les Éditions du Boréal, 1994, pg. 31

25 Sister Saint-Michel-Archange, SM, Master's Thesis, "Institutionnalisation et développement social de l'enfant." A study of services rendered by the Crèche St-Paul foundling home to a group of children aged 6 to 12 with regard to their social development, pg. 29, quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 3.3

26 The Act respecting lunatic asylums 1941, R.S.Q., c-88 provided for the internship of two categories of individuals: "1o insane persons, 2o idiots or imbecile persons, when they are dangerous, a source of scandal, subject to epileptic fits or afflicted with any monstrous deformity (…)" Illegitimate children were not included in these categories; the Act to institute Public Curatorship, 1945, S.R.Q., defined an insane person as someone incompetent with respect to the law, and placed his individual rights and assets under the control of the Public Curator; the Act respecting hospitals for the treatment of mental diseases, 1950, virtually gives up on the second category; the Mental Patients Institutions Act, 1950, S.R.Q., c-31. Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p.268, quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 3.3

27 Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 4.1

28 Sister Bernard-Alfred, "La valeur sociale de l'école Emmelie-Tavernier." Master's Thesis (Social Work), Montréal, University of Montréal, 1950, Table 3, p. 4

29 See the works and declarations of Jean-Guy Labrosse, Alice Quinton, Bruno Roy, as well as the many public declarations, etc. A 1996 survey of 90 "Children of Duplessis" conducted by the Committee found the following diagnoses in their medical files:
Mentally deficient: 32%
Mentally defective: 39%
Mentally retarded: 23%
Two different diagnoses 17%
. (From Part II of the Committee brief. "Les oubliés d'hier, les démunis d'aujourd'hui" presented at the Montréal Church Synod, 1991.05.15, p. 6), quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 4.1

30 Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 284.

31 Bedard, op. cit., supra note 11, p. 105-106

32 Dumont, op. cit., supra note 2, p. 505, quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 4.1

33 Jacoby, op. cit, supra note 5, para. 3.4

34 Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 132.

35 Roy, op. cit., supra note 24, p. 16

36 Sister Saint-Michel-Archange, op. cit., supra note 25, p. 17

37 "Because they were so numerous, babies were identified with a number by the time they were a week old." Pelletier, Gérard. "Histoire des enfants tristes". A report on children without support in the province of Québec, l'Action nationale, p. 32.

38 Roy, op. cit., supra note 24, p. 72; Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 132 and ss.

39 Numbers varied from 30 to 60 or 70 in the same room.

40 Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 133, "Emploi du temps d'une journée dans la vie d'un enfant de crèche":
"Keeping in mind, as the Garneau Commission pointed out, that each foundling home is different, here is an example of an "average day" in the life of a foundling home baby or child. First of all, the infants all "take their baths" at 7:30 AM. Each young attendant has just 90 minutes to fully wash seven babies, i.e., approximately 13 minutes per baby. The babies are then backed to their beds while the older children are put in the "playpen." The attendants then tackle the laundry and clean the rooms. A half hour later, each attendant changes the diapers of the seven babies in her care. The children then eat their meal, which takes just one hour. Not long after, the babies are changed again before being put back to bed until 2 p.m. While the babies sleep and the older children are in the "playpen," the attendants continue their chores. Before and after supper, the babies are changed once more before the children are put to bed for the night. Every day at the foundling home is the same," quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 3.4

41 Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 133; Sister Colette, "L'Oeuvre des enfants trouvés 1754-1946," a study of the origins and social value of the Crèche d'Youville foundling home. M.A. Thesis (Social Work), Montréal, Université de Montréal, 1948, p. 77; cited in Roy, op. cit., supra note 24, p. 124.

42 Roy, op. cit., supra note 24, p. 73.

43 Roy, op. cit., supra note 24, p. 57.

44 Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, p. 183. However, it quickly became clear that transforming orphans into farmers was not the solution. Inadequately trained and poorly paid, they were unable to strike out on their own, a situation that sometimes led to abuse. See criticisms of this method in Malouin, op. cit., supra note 9, pp. 183 and ss. An investigation conducted by the Director of Social Services for the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu area between 1951 and 1958 found that these young boys were "treated like slaves… sleeping in barns and stables, working between 15 and 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for… $10 a month." This information was confirmed by subsequent investigations (Roy, op. cit., supra note 24, p. 48)," quoted in Jacoby, op. cit., supra note 5, para. 3.6

45 In an account corroborated by several other witnesses, one orphan described to the Québec Ombudsman's representative how she had been confined to a cell and deprived of any contact with other people for 16 years.

46 Jacoby, op. cit, supra note 5, para. 4.2

47 Jacoby, op. cit, supra note 5, para. 4.3

48 The Committee, "Cardinal Turcotte Shall Have his Proof!," Canada News Wire, March 1, 1999,

49 The Committee, op. cit., supra note 1

50 Mary Durran, op. cit., supra note 20

51 Campbell Clark, "Duplessis orphans fire a retort at Cardinal's denial of abuse," National Post Tuesday, March 02, 1999,

52 DePalma, op. cit., supra note 15

53 Ibid

54 Clark, op. cit., supra note 51

55 Ibid.

56 DePalma, op. cit., supra note 15

57 Mary Durran, op. cit., supra note 20

58 Ibid.

59 Christina Lawland, "Quebec ombudsman says Duplessis orphans right," CBC News Online, March 8, 1999,

60 Daniel Jacoby, "DUPLESSIS' ORPHANS : According to the Quebec Ombudsman, Me Daniel Jacoby, the incomplete decision made by the Government makes it unfair and humiliating," Quebec Ombudsman, press release, March 8 1999

61 "The Unforgiven," movie review in the ezine Clockworks;

62 Michael Harris, "Unholy Orders, Tragedy At Mount Cashel," Viking/Penguin Books Canada, Toronto, 1990

63 Dereck O'Brien, "Suffer the Children," Breakwater Books, St. John's Newfoundland (1991).

64 The Canadian Press, "Police lay 59 more charges in Mount Cashel case," Canadian News Digest, November 19, 1996;

65 Matt Futterman, "Feared teacher cloistered from 40-year-old abuse charges," The New Jersey Star-Ledger, March 28, 1999;

66 Ibid.

67 Ibid.

68 Lucie Lemonde, President of the Quebec Civil Liberties Union, quoted by the Committee in a Press Release, "The Civil Liberties Union supports holding a commission of inquiry in this case," March 28, 1999,

69 Ibid.

70 BBC News Online, "Church defiant over Quebec orphans," September 15, 1999,

71 Tom Kennedy, "Catholic Church will not apologize to Duplessis orphans," CBCNews Online, September 18, 1999,…view.cgi?/news/1999/09/15/duplessis990915

72 "The least it could do," Montreal Gazette, September 17, 1999;

73 Ibid.

74 The Committee, "Important Protest by the Duplessis Orphans in Straitjackets, Canada News Wire, February 18, 1999;

75 Robert Bellarmine, "De summo pontifice," liber IV, cap 5, 87.

76 Isaiah 5:20 (ASV)

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