When men and women believe they have authority from God they can become corrupted by power to a frightening extent. The Roman Catholic Priests, monks and nuns who ran Irish children’s homes from the 1930’s to the 1990’s are a prime example of this phenomenon. Marked for blame were the “Christian Brothers” and the “Sisters of Mercy”. Neither order showed signs of brotherly love, sisterly love or any mercy. Some children were put into the sadistic care of those orders because they were considered delinquent, but others simply because they were not properly looked after. Then the religious orders continued to look after the children badly. It is estimated that there were 30,000-40,000 victims.
The secular authorities did not properly inspect these children’s homes.
In some of these Christian institutions children were forced to work, in good or bad weather, as virtual slaves hired out to farmers who paid the orders that provided the children whilst the children themselves received nothing. An added touch, which may well have given perverse pleasure to those who controlled the children, was that they had to make the instruments of torture that were later used upon them.
"We made the straps they beat us with to their particular design. Some of them (the religious staff) were so evil that old English three-penny bits had to be sewn into the straps. Some used bits of copper or lead. We had to make them to their instructions. We were making the instruments of our own torture," 
Floggings were common and children lived in constant fear as they never knew when the next beating would be; children were even taken out of bed to be flogged during the night. Boys frequently suffered sexual abuse whilst girls only occasionally suffered sexual abuse, but both sexes suffered physical abuse. Children were referred to by number instead of by name.
Note: This was in Ireland which is a democracy and part of the European Union where the European Convention on Human Rights should protect citizens. We cannot guess the extent of the abuse that has happened, or is happening, in countries where there is less protection and the Roman Catholic Church is even more deeply entrenched.
- How Awful Things were, at a Glance
- Sexual abuse was 'endemic' in Catholic run Irish boys' homes
- Report: 'Daily terror' in children's homes
- Report of the Commission to Enquire into Child Abuse
- Irish school victims angry that abusers not named
- Neglect and death of 800 kids in Galway happened in plain sight