In Loco Parentis


Catholic Charities 1a-1793443

I don’t think you need a man and a woman to raise a child. I started life in a Catholic orphanage run by nuns, a very happy place. I had 10 years in boarding school run by Catholic nuns and loved every minute of it. I had my bag packed and ready to return a week before the holidays ended. My adoptive mother was widowed when I was six and worked all her life, and didn’t remarry until I was 19. So all my formative years were without a man in my life.

One question does occur to me – if being raised by a man and a woman is so important then why didn’t the church see to it that the boys and girls, like me, had men and women to care for them in those institutions? Why didn’t the nuns and priests or brothers who ran residential institutions have to live in community in those institutions? For the sake of the children’s welfare and best formation, of course.

I would have loved to have had my dad all my life and I loved my stepfather. But I didn’t need either to be well raised. It’s love that matters, whether the parent is single, homosexual or heterosexual. – Yours, etc,

Gail Grossman Freyne, LLB, PhD
Killarney, Co Kerry.


Irish Times Letters

Pic: Boston Globe

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73 thoughts on “In Loco Parentis

  1. Drogg

    Really well put, coming from a single parent family myself i fully understand the sentiment of this piece and am looking forward to a strong yes vote in May.

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    “My adoptive mother was widowed when I was six and worked all her life, and didn’t remarry until I was 19.”

    What is the relevance of the mother (a) working and (b) not remarrying promptly??!

    1. ReproBertie

      Well the relevance of her adoptive mother not remarrying for years meant she grew from 6 to 19 with only a woman raising her, i.e. without the man and woman that Iona say we all need to be normal like them.

    2. phil

      To my mind the relevance is a) she worked so she couldnt give her son 100% of her time and b) the fact that she didnt remarry promptly means he didnt have a father figure till he was 19

    3. Drogg

      Because people like the muppets in IONA think that their has to be a stay at home parent with the kids and not remarrying promptly was probably emphasised because it meant that they where raise essentially with only one parent.

    4. sickofallthisbs

      So you could get your knickers in a twist and then complain about what she said, obvs.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        No, not complaining – I get the point she’s making but I don’t agree with her description of a single working parent as being such a disadvantage – I thought we’d all moved on, and accepted different family structures. The people I know that were brought up with two parents are in a minority and it’s certainly not a tragedy if you weren’t.

          1. Spaghetti Hoop

            Then why the expectation for her mother to remarry if everything’s all grand as a single parent? The negativity of the piece is doing nothing to normalise all family structures.

    5. veritas

      Mother working,child raised in childrens home
      Mother widowed,no male in child’s life.
      At least that is my understanding of the letter.

  3. Soundings

    On a related point, I think most people would agree it’s better to be educated in an all-gender environment, yet the religious folks love restricting education to single gender. If the religious folks are so keen on heterosexual marriage, you’d think they’d be supportive of environments where, you know, boys and girls could be educated together where they’ll go on to socialise together.

    And you know, mice have been known to go gay in a single sex environment.

    As Fidelma Hick-Eejit would say #justsayin.

    1. ReproBertie

      Surprisingly enough girls and boys perform better in single sex schools so most people probably wouldn’t agree that mixed schools are better.

        1. ReproBertie

          You’d imagine so but studies have shown that students in single sex schools have better self esteem. In 2005 the US Department of Education published a systematic review covering 2221 studies which found that positive results are three to four times more likely to be found for single sex schools than for coeducational schools in the same study for both academic achievement and socio-emotional development .

          1. Kieran NYC

            To be fair, underfunded public schools in the US are mixed while the monied schools would be more likely to be gender-specific.

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      No – I think single gender schools are far better. Plus it doesn’t stop fellas and girls socialising at all.

  4. fluffybiscuits

    Very nicely put article and puts in perspective the point that churches always come up with that they need two parents to be in the best position, it puts paid to that point

  5. Just sayin'

    First of all, if Catholic institutions had nuns and priests raising children, some of them would’ve ended up being their own biological children I’d imagine!
    Second of all, I’m fine with gay men and women adopting kids. However, this referendum is NOT about gay adoption.
    This referendum is about redefining marriage and including, for the first time in this country, including binding gay relationships within the definition of marriage. I’ll be voting NO to that. I’m not religious or homophobic but I don’t believe in this redefinition. That’s my right.

    1. Rob_G

      But why is ‘defining marriage’ such bad thing? Fathers no longer marry their daughters off based on how many cattle their suitor owns; marriage is ‘redefined’ all the time, usually for the better.

    2. Starina

      if you’re against equality, that makes you homophobic. try rephrasing “marriage equality” with “segregation” – “I’m not religious or racist but I don’t believe segregation should be repealed”.

    3. Dubloony

      Serious question, what effect has civil partnerships had directly on your life?
      Has it in any way changed anyone you know who were in existing hetro relationships?

      A yes vote hurts no-one. It will just allow gay people to marry. Anyone already married will still be married, that status won’t change.

      1. Joe cool

        He doesn’t want his eyes offended with “the gays” holding hands, or insulted by happy same sex wedding photos. Once someone uses “I’m not ………. but” the argument is over

    4. Drogg

      I personally am looking forward to the redefinition of marriage and cannot wait till my gay friends and family members can enjoy the same rights that myself and my wife enjoy.

    5. Barry the Hatchet

      I don’t do any binding in my gay relationship, thanks. I leave that one to the 50 Shades of Grey crowd.

    6. JollyRoger

      It’s not “redefining marriage” because its not changing or removing anything that is there already, the proposed bill would add the following to the constitution.

      “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

      So your definition of marriage is expanded, not changed.

    7. Bluebeard

      Sorry mate, some people on this site are so bigoted. To call you homophobic for disagreeing with the referendum is disgusting. Of course it redefines marriage, that is the whole point of it. It redefines it to include gay people. Personally, I am in favour of this as it clarifies a number of legal issues and gives gay couples rights that dont currently have. But I totally respect those who oppose it and that is whats missing from so much of the Yes side.

      1. Jane

        Perhaps, having had weeks to reflect (come up with anything at all), could you please give us one reason why voting no in this referendum is not homophobic? I certainly haven’t heard it, although I’m repeatedly assured that that’s the case.

        Just one reason for voting no that’s not homophobic would be nice.

        1. Bluebeard

          People believe that marriage is meant to be a union between a man and a woman. Thats what it always was in their experience and they wish it to remain that way. Why is that homophobic? And more worryingly, what is the need in you and others to find people who don’t agree with you homophobic? Why do you need it to be so black and white? Why the need for hateful words when you purport to be asking for understanding and empathy?

          1. Jane

            Well, let’s delve a little further into this between a man and a woman thing. What is it about the nature of marriage that would be damaged if it was between two people where we didn’t speciify the sex? If you think that damange would be caused to the institution of marriage by allowing gay persons to marry people of their choice, why do you think this? Is there actually an underlying reason other than “ew…gays!”? So far, I haven’t heard anyone even try to explain that.

            Personally, I’m a woman married to a man. We will both vote yes in this referendum. I do not expect that its passing will in any way affect the nature or quality of my marriage which will still be between a man and a woman who’ve reached their majority and have consented to be bound by the terms of this specific contract.

          2. Bluebeard

            All you are saying is you don’t agree with the opposite point of view. Thats all. get over it. Some people are in favour of things, other are against. So what? Nothing new here. Your obsession with finding homophobes is clouding your judgment and revealing a pretty hateful streak. You should be careful not to incite harm with your name calling.

          3. Jane

            So basically, no non homophobic reason you can think of. That’s pretty much par for the course.

          4. Bluebeard

            Hate disguised as virtue. Again, you should explore your need to be so fascistic. Dod something happen?

          5. Jane

            I’m just looking for an explanation more convincing than “some people don’t like it for mysterious reasons that they prefer not to specify but are not homophobic in any way at all”. That’s because I’m an adult of inquisitive bent and I don’t accept “I don’t want to” as a reason to deny someone else their human rights. You may prefer to charactarise this as hatred or my being a fascist or a nazi or whatever, but to be honest, it’s not a very good smokescreen for your inability to rationalise better than “it’s just what I feel. I don’t have to think about it. Stop asking questions”.

          6. Bluebeard

            Your wish to label people homophobic over rides any understanding of human beings. Go for it. Whatever makes you happy. Id hate you to be campaigning though!

          7. Bluebeard

            Hatred of people for what they believe is at the core of most dysfunctional societies- you are blinded by your irrational hate.

          8. Clampers Outside!

            ” Thats what it always was in their experience and they wish it to remain that way. Why is that homophobic? ”

            Because it has been explained that the current system is unjust and therefore should adapt to developing progressives cutural mores. Gay people are being accepted as equal, and so should have equal rights.
            To deny them that right on the grounds of ‘tradition’ is just willfully ignorant of the developing mores.

            Willful ignorance is prejudice, and being prejudiced against gay persons is homophobic whether conscious of it or not.

            Hope that helps.

        2. Bluebeard

          You are voting on what you believe (belief being the key word), they are voting on what they believe. Not everyone agrees with you, but you can’t accept that. You have to find them homophobic. Cruelty masquerading as kindness.

        3. Tommy

          I will be voting NO for the simple reason that I believe that nobody should have to get the approval or permission from a third party as to who they can share their life and assets with.
          Better to have a referendum on who should be excluded from society rather than who we allow join in
          I spent two weeks of my life in that hell hole that some sick wit called Mount Joy. why?? only because I was man bringing up my kids on my own, which I had to prove, the kids mother could only get the dole if she took me to court and she had no interest in playing house with sproggs (no blame, she was following her dream)
          MMy crime—-my gender
          Best interest of the children—nonsense, nobody cares—think Y etc
          I am tax compliant, law abiding but am outside for why ??
          In my world everybody is equal until proven otherwise
          This upcoming vote will only prove some are more equal than others
          And the legal profession will love the disasters

          1. Kieran NYC

            “Fupp gay people because I’ve got a chip on my shoulder about something else entirely”

    8. Tom

      The institution of marriage is constantly being redefined – it used to be about cementing political alliances for royalty, and bartering for a good dowry for others. Women within a marriage used to be forced to stay at home by societal pressures and the understanding of marriage within society at the time. Divorce used to be illegal but is now legal.

      Marriage is not some ‘trapped in amber’ untouchable and never changing foundation stone for society. It constantly changes as humanity evolves. Now, thankfully, many people are in a position to marry the person they love, rather than the person picked for them, or approved of, by their parents. That in itself is a redefinition of what marriage used to be. So why oppose this redefinition?

    9. Rob

      I agree with that. the article above isn’t relevant but for those that think it is the ideal situation for parenting is a Man and a Woman. Both have very distinct roles in the bringing up of a child and to say they don’t flies in the face of everything we know about behaviour. But then again what would I know I’m homophobic!

  6. Just sayin'

    Janotti, a big part of liberalism is accepting other people’s views without labeling them as some sort of hate crime.

    Rob_G, yes, marriage is redefined over time but this particular redefinition requires a constitutional change where citizens are asked to vote according to their beliefs. I hope you’ll respect my beliefs the way I can respect yours. Its interesting how respect for opposing views can disappear when their inconvenient.

    Drogg, grand, you vote your way and I’ll vote mine. I’ll respect your opinion. Will you do the same for me?

    Dubloony, voting for the Constitution to allow cats marry dogs wouldn’t affect my life either but you’re missing the point!

      1. Bluebeard

        Lots of people feel that way Clampers.. haven’t you been listening? Until you understand that, you can’t even begin to approach the argument, never mind try and persuade people otherwise!

        1. Joe the Lion

          Which is homophobic. People who “feel that way” need to realise that they are discriminating against folks who are gay by telling them when they get married they need to call it something else. Until you understand that you can’t even begin to approach the argument.

        2. Bluebeard

          You on trying to be liked again? Just try being yourself. Some will like you, some won’t. But at least you’ll be true to yourself.

          1. Joe the Lion

            You’re unable to argue the point that both Jane, Don and a number of other folks have made. We’ve no other option but to call you on your bigoted hate speech.

          2. Bluebeard

            Oh, its a we now is it!! We will pronounce. We will judge. We will proclaim. You have been given plenty of answers. But you are too hell bent on proving homophobia for some strange reason. The British used the excuse of civilising in order to hate. You are using the excuse of homophobia to justify your hatred. Pretending to be doing good, when in fact you are the bigots. The tyranny of correctness and you’re so blinded by it you can’t even see it any more.

          3. Mrtits

            Lotsa huffin and puffin and big blue-faced stomping around the place hatin the gays.

            Top bants

        3. Clampers Outside!

          So, it’s back to the argument over the word ‘marriage’. I held that view for a time, and argued it quite well on here a couple of years ago. So I understand it perfectly well.

          But when I saw the bigoted hate filled types that stood behind that argument and used it to hide their hate, I had to drop it and move. Not all were like that, some arguing to leave the word definition as it is, were gay. But in the end, there were too many bigots and I couldn’t continue it and dropped it. Just so ya know…. it’s OK to change ones mind ya know :)

          1. Bluebeard

            Its quite simple. the word marriage is being redefined to include gay people. Some people like that, others dont. Personally, I am in favour for reasons previously outlined. However, I don’t see the need to call everyone else homophobes and I question the motives of those that do.

          2. Bluebeard

            Funny from a guy who calls people homophobe… you really are out of your depth here Joe. Try one of the photo threads.

    1. Drogg

      I respect your right to vote as you wish, i do not respect your wishes to marginalise the rights of Gay people.

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