Academics Becoming Activists: Reflections on Some Ethical Issues of the Justice for Magdalenes Campaign

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Title: Academics Becoming Activists: Reflections on Some Ethical Issues of the Justice for Magdalenes Campaign
Authors: O'Donnell, Katherine
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Date: 4-Apr-2018
Online since: 2021-01-21T11:19:03Z
Abstract: Magdalene institutions in Ireland date from the (mid-)eighteenth century, and until the late nineteenth century their history parallels that of asylums for poor and destitute women found all over Europe, run by religious orders or lay-managed philantrophic concerns seeking to provide needy women with refuge. Magdalene asylums often provided training and references of good character for these women so that after their rehabilitation they could go into service and earn a living. The Magdalenes were run according to Protestant or Catholic ethos: most Christian denominations took the life of Mary Magdalene as their inspiration. Christian traditions hold that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who did penance for her sinful ways by washing the feet of Jesus and drying his feet with her hair. Jesus forgave Mary Magdalene her sins and she became one of his most prominent followers. The rationale for these institutions was that even the prostitute, that most scandalous and sinful of women, could be forgiven for her sins if she was sufficiently remorseful and did penance for her sins. The Christian concept of penance involves actions of humility and labour—the more humble and more onerous the labour, the greater Divine grace and forgiveness might be bestowed. Many Christian traditions have focused on controlling the reproductive and sexual bodies of women on the assumption that female sexuality is replete with causing ‘occasions of sin.’ The nominally celibate, exclusively male Roman Catholic clergy long monitored and admonished monitoring Catholic women’s reproduction and sexuality, promoting a cultural view that women (like their Biblical foremother Eve) tempt men into sexual sin.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Series/Report no.: New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature
Keywords: Repeated readingCommittee Against Torture (CAT)Paranoid readingIrish Human Rights Commission (IHRC)Irish institutions
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-74567-1_5
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Villar-Argáiz, P. (ed.). Irishness on the Margins: Minority and Dissident Identities
ISBN: 9783319745664
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Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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