A Piercing Debate…

So, little North West has had her tiny one-year old earlobes pierced.

This has prompted much debate on social media and TV. I watched this morning as a vox pop was carried out on Irish breakfast TV about the issue.

Overwhelmingly, the public were not in favour of piercing a child’s ears until, wait for it, communion age. Almost everyone said they would wait until the child was old enough to “choose for herself”, i.e.; age 7.

The paradox that they would wait for their daughter to decide about her own ear piercing, but would not allow the child to choose her own religion, or whether she even wanted a religion, was lost on them.

I put it to you, which is worse… puncturing tiny holes in a child’s ears, a relatively painless and completely reversible procedure, or years of indoctrination into a religion that has fostered bigotry, misogyny and sexual abuse for decades?

The Catholic Church opposes both contraception and abortion, both of which are, in mine and thousands of feminist’s opinion, fundamental foundations to women’s social and economic freedom.

The Church is blatantly sexist in so far as it will only ordain men, instantly depriving half of the population of equal rights.  In 2010, the Vatican declared that the attempted ordination of women would be a “grave sin” and placed it on par with paedophilia. (The irony of this statement is almost unbearable.)

Any bishop who carried out the ordination ceremony would be excommunicated, along with the woman who dared to dream of being a priest.

During the 1920s the Catholic Church actively campaigned against women getting the right to vote. Pope Pius XI declared that women’s liberation would distract them from their true vocation of “motherhood and home-making”.

When tampons were invented during the 1940s, the Irish Catholic Church suspected that they, “could harmfully stimulate young girls at an impressionable age”, and subsequently got them banned from our shelves.

Until as recently as 1967, following Vatican II, women were expected to remain at home for up to six weeks after childbirth, before going to be “Churched” in a “cleansing” ritual blessing by the priest. Many women over the years have spoken of their sense of ostracism they felt prior to receiving this “blessing”.

The unspeakably shameful recent discovery of 800 infant bodies in a sewage tank in West Ireland, can be directly related to 1940’s Ireland and the public shaming of women who had premarital sex, which resulted in a baby.  These women were carted away to “mother and baby” homes, which, in reality, were little more than prisons.  The children that survived were brandished illegitimate and either adopted out of the country, or sent to the notorious “industrial schools” for a life of misery and abuse.

In this country, my country, under the watch of the Catholic Church, women were subjugated for decades.

Children, little boys and little girls, were beaten and raped by paedophiles, who were routinely discovered, only to be moved on to pastures new and fresh young meat.

Let us not even venture into the dark and murky history of the Catholic Church and it’s sympathy with the Nazi regime during World War II.

Given this shameful history, and the Church’s continued stance on (un)equal rights for women, I cannot understand how anyone could think whether or not to pierce a baby’s ears was a more important decision than whether or not to impose an entire religious ideology on to a developing human being.

Having been raised in the Catholic faith myself, educated by nuns my entire childhood, and still bearing the scars of shame and guilt this left me with to this day, I personally would consider the piercing of little North West’s ears a triviality, in relative terms.

The people in the TV vox pop are certainly entitled to their opinions, but I wonder have they really given the idea that they presume a child will make her communion, but would not presume to pierce her ears without consultation, much deep thought.

Sadly, I suspect not.



Note: I firmly believe that people have the right to choose and practice any religion that they want to, and this post was never intended to disrespect any individual person’s choice.  

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