Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fiercely Protect Your National Heritage

As you may have heard, a proposal has been made by the Irish Department
of Arts, Heritage  the Gaeltacht to remove statutory protection from
archaeological and historical sites that post-date 1700.

This is a very troubling proposition. The Irish people have a right to
preserve and protect that which is important and dear to them. That includes
environmental protection and historic and cultural preservation. It is what makes
up their heritage and should not be left vulnerable or endangered.

The bodies discovered in the Cillini at Milltown alone may be the tip
of the proverbial iceberg . To suddenly leave them defenseless would be
nothing less than criminal.

Enough  injustices have already taken place.

Make sure that your voice is heard.

Don't let your heritage go unprotected.

Contact your government officials and let them know that you are against
this proposal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who Was Denied Burial in Consecrated Grounds and Why

Though the Catholic Church has changed it's stance on many issues, in the past the Church had complete power and the people were basically at their mercy. Catholic burials were denied to many groups of people.

Only baptized persons who have a claim to Christian burial and the rites of the Catholic church could obtain a Catholic burial. This obviously excluded unbaptized babies.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “Moreover no strict claim can be allowed in the case of those persons who have not lived in communion with the Church according to the maxim which comes down from the time of Pope Leo the Great (448) “quibus viventibus non communicavimus mortuis communicare non possumus” (we cannot hold communion in death with those who in life were not in communion with us). It has further been recognized as a principle that the last rites of the Church constitute a mark of respect which is not to be shown to those who in their lives have proved themselves unworthy of it.”

Others who have historically and are today excluded from Catholic burial include pagans, Jews, infidels, heretics (and their adherents), schismatics, apostates and excommunicated persons. In fact, if an excommunicated person is buried in a church or in consecrated land, the place is thereby desecrated, and, wherever possible, the remains must be exhumed and buried elsewhere.

People who are of mixed marriages cannot be buried in a Catholic Cemetery unless the marriage is blessed by a priest. Therefore the Catholic spouse would have to be buried in a non-denominational cemetery if they wished to be buried next to their non-Catholic spouse.

Further, Catholic burial is to be refused to suicides except in case that the act was committed when they were of unsound mind or unless they showed signs of repentance before death occurred.

Criminals cannot be given a Catholic burial since they have mortal sin on their souls.

Perhaps one of the most difficult to justify is the denial of Catholic burial for the mentally ill (referred to as lunatics and possibly possessed by a devil). Given the fact that as many as one in four people suffer from some kind of mental illness, this could constitute a huge number.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Joyful Irish View of the Afterlife

An excerpt from a page created by M. Seaver. Last revised 3/28/00.

The world of the Irish afterlife is known by many names. The exact location of this wonderful land is not known. The one thing agreed upon by most is that it lies to the west of Ireland. Some of the names associated with it are:

  • Tir na n-Og
  • The Land of the Young
  • Hy-Brasil
  • the Isle of the Blest

Beyond all dreams my land delights,
Fairer than any eyes have seen,
All year round, the fruits hang bright,
As the flowers bloom in the meadows green.
Wild honey drips from the forest trees,
We have endless stocks of meadow and wine,
No illness comes from Across the seas,
Nor death, nor pain, nor sad decline.
No boredom comes to feast or chase,
The music plays as the champions sport,
The light and splendours all increase
Each day in the Golden Land of Youth. (qtd. in Delaney 87)

Everything in this land was beautiful, bright and colorful. Delaney notes that it is called the Land of the Young because in this paradise, the aging process is reversed, so the youngest are the wisest. Time has no meaning in this place, and day changes to night and then back to day for one person whenever they desired it to do so. Everyone's soul desired to get to this wonderful place, which was more like a dream world than a land for the dead (85-95). The land was full of color, it was a lively land, bright and cheerful. It was as large or as small of a land as they wanted.

Works Cited

Cerf, Bennet and Donald S. Klopfer. Bulfinch's Mythology. New York: Random House, 1960.
Delaney, Frank. Legends of the Celts. New York: Sterling, 1992.
Fitzgerald, Dominic. "Celtic Mythology." August 1998. Online. 21 Oct. 1999 <>
Severy, Merle. "The Celts." National Geographic 151 no. 5 (May 1997): 582-633.

History and Thought of Western Man
Rich East High School * Park Forest, IL 60466

Friday, September 2, 2011

National Suicide Prevention Week - September 4-10, 2011

Join us in changing the legacy of those lost to suicide this week during National Suicide Prevention Week.

It gives us all an opportunity to say a prayer or  simply think positive thoughts about those who may have lost that battle.

Acknowledge those who were denied a burial in consecrated grounds like the many who were buried in Bog Meadows.

Suicide is preventable and we can all play a role in raising that awareness.

Irish National Register of Cillini and National Marker for these Sites


Toni Maguire, the Milltown Archaeologist has just received a new survey of the Bog Meadows in Belfast. It was done with ground penetrating radar. Initially she estimated that there were 30,000 bodies buried there but the new survey has shown more mass graves.

Furthermore she believes a 3rd survey is in order on grounds where a motorway now stands. This is a huge issue as Ireland has thousands of Cillini sites all throughout the country.

We hope to achieve the right to a decent burial for stillbirths throughout the world, an Irish national register of Cillini and a national marker for these sites.

New Legislation Desperately Needed on Cillini

Following is an update on the cillini in Ireland, in particular, the Bog Meadows project. Parents and relatives are currently ignored by the Catholic Church and are unrepresented by society in general.

These sites are fragile and as history has demonstrated, easily destroyed as they usually remain unmarked in the landscape; the location is often remembered only by those who actually buried those babies in Cillini and the grieving parents of the babies.  

In the case of Milltown (as with other Catholic cemeteries across Ireland) those who were not baptised were considered to be unworthy of remembrance and assigned to an unmarked shallow grave in unconsecrated grounds, or mass Poor Ground graves, many times with hundreds of babies in one grave.

One of the main issues to be contended with is the fact that Catholic Cemeteries are private burial grounds, and as such are outside the legal legislation governing the management of council cemeteries.  This effectively allows the church complete autonomy to act as they wish without any regulation. We need new legislation that addresses all the issues surrounding burial practices.