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Catholic child migration schemes from the United Kingdom to Australia: systemic failures and religious legitimation

Lynch, Gordon (2020) Catholic child migration schemes from the United Kingdom to Australia: systemic failures and religious legitimation. Journal of Religious History, 44 (3). pp. 273-294. ISSN 0022-4227. (doi:10.1111/1467-9809.12686) (KAR id:79069)

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Between 1938 and 1956, an estimated 1,147 children were sent from the United Kingdom to Australia through child migration initiatives delivered by Catholic organisations. Whilst experiences of child migrants varied, there has been a growing public recognition over the past thirty years of the trauma experienced by many. Although the suffering of child migrants occurred in the context of wider policy failures, this article argues that there was a particular pattern of systemic failures characteristic of these Catholic schemes. After providing an overview of the complex organisational structure through which Catholic child migration operated, the article identifies six systemic failures in this work relating both to organisational processes and the institutional conditions to which child migrants were sent. It goes on to argue that these occurred in a framework of religious legitimation which emphasised the unique role of the Church as a mediator of salvation, the need to safeguard children's faith, the child as a member of a corporate body more than as an individual and the relative moral authority of the Church over secular institutions. Within this framework, these systemic failures were either unrecognised or seen as tolerable in the context of wider organisational and theological priorities.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1467-9809.12686
Uncontrolled keywords: Catholic, child migration, trauma, systemic failure
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Gordon Lynch
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2019 14:51 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 11:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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