Spain’s Stolen Babies

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Up to 300,000 Spanish newborn babies were stolen from their parents and sold for adoption over a five decade period. The mothers, often young and unmarried, were told their babies had died and were not allowed to see the body or attend the funeral. A secret network of doctors, nurses, priests, and nuns trafficked the babies beginning during the reign of General Franco and continuing into the early 1990’s.

The Catholic Church is closely linked to the scandal, which, under Franco, played a powerful role in Spain’s social services including hospitals, schools, and children’s homes. The system of baby theft continued even after the dictator’s death in 1975.

Lists of would-be adoptive parents were compiled by nuns and priests. The adoptive parents, in many cases, were unaware that the babies had been stolen, they were told that the mothers had given the babies up.

Countless faux burials for the “dead” babies were performed with casket filled with animal bones and rocks. Some hospitals kept frozen baby cadavers to show to mothers as proof their baby had died.

The Catholic Church saw this as a moral crusade, removing babies from sinful unmarried mothers and placing them with those who were more worthy, in the eyes of God. If the Church also turned a profit, so much the better.

It is often argued that without God there are no objective moral values. If stealing and selling babies can be justified as an objective moral action, then there are no objective moral values.

H/T: Pharyngula, Daily Mail, The Guardian, BBC News.

47 thoughts on “Spain’s Stolen Babies”

  1. woosty

    there are some priests who are pedophiles and some who joined the priesthood because they genuinely want to help their fellow man.

    i don’t know the ratio of good to bad and don’t think i would trust the numbers of someone who claimed to know. ninety five percent of all statistics are made up on the spot. (or was it fifty nine percent)?

    reality just doesn’t seem to fit on bumper stickers.

  2. “if I may clarify the Eastern Orthodox Catholics’ which still follow many Byzantine customs and the Roman Catholic Church used to be one in the same until who got to control the money…..”


    Well put. Also the Byzantines were conquered by Islam and they brought a whole new set of “holy men” in search of wealth and power.

  3. Blouise1, October 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm


    Only difference, as I see it, is that the state, at least in this country, doesn’t have the protection of religion … it is secular by law.
    Blouise, yes! except they don’t seem to be remembering that secularity of late…and since the Church already does operate under the laws of State, they are not above the law and are subject to it but also, historically, in a position to attempt to protect people from an overbearing and abusive State, like a fascist regime might be….

  4. Bron, regarding what?
    I responded to donkenslers remark. I think he’s painting with a very big brush to declare the entire Catholic Church a terrorist organization. I’m not Catholic, I don’t believe that they are without blemish in many things….but the topic was about an ongoing event that happened over the course of 5 decades under Franco rule. The Church has some higher standing in the community but does also exist under the laws of State….and I don’t think it was wise to say no to the Franco regime. Someone mentioned Pan’s Labyrinth…watch it! The babies were apparently taken from dissidents according to the article I read..sound more like a barbarous attempt at controlling that populace and keeping them repressed..a gross, overbearing, unbelievably anti-social breach of state if you ask me. But it wasn’t a plot formed by the church for profit (like say, Babies, Inc. mayt be….). I know people who were hidden by the Catholic church during Nazi occupation in Europe….the Church is very far from being a terrorist organization.

  5. donkensler1, October 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm ,

    no, we cannot.
    why would a rational civil society that believed and supported the separation of church and state do something that ridiculous?
    now, if you had said ;
    Can we please have the Catholic Church be held to accountability for thier past wicked deeds so they could rebuild the faith that people have placed in them over the years? Well Yes! We did! then I could add, Thanks to those who tirelessly assisted those to bring thier stories to light (even if they couldn’t afford lawyers and courts….) and because of the elevated discourse and enlightenment to the problem, children and other living things are not as likely to be abused by the clergy or to have it ‘poo pooed’ if a complaint is made. But do lets not become like these guys about it:
    Third Reich 1933–1945

    During the Nazi era, false cases of sexual abuse were fabricated to malign the Catholic Church. The “immorality trials” (Sittlichkeitsprozesse) of Catholic priests in April and May 1937 are the prime examples of this phenomenon.[40] In these trials, innocent priests and members of religious orders became the target of accusations of luring children and youth into sexual acts. Staged trials of Franciscan friars held in 1936 did not receive the media attention the National Socialist regime hoped for; and this was not the only problem. In a case that would eventually be dismissed as baseless the alleged victim, when asked at trial if the offender was in the courtroom, pointed to the president of the court.[41

  6. Baby-selling in Spain. Child abuse worldwide. Complicity in genocide in Rwanda.

    At what point do we stop treating the Catholic Church like a religious body and start treating it like a multinational criminal organization?

  7. lottakatz1, October 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    I think we are all do-ers and we are all in need, at some point in our lives, of getting done. Hopefully we will do and be done to each other the way we would like to have done to us… both ends of the spectrum!

  8. I’ve always “preached” that organized religions is just another business enterprise, a way to make a living for it’s priests, clerics, ministers et al, by taking advantage of people’s insecurities, fears, and the like. This article is just further proof.

  9. puzzling:

    so you are saying the people should be allowed to sell their babies if that is what they wish to do? That is a great idea, I would imagine the pro-choice people would object to it as it would cut into their business.

    More freedom, what you propose is a good idea on very many levels.

    We should also be allowed to sell our organs as well, it would eliminate the shortage of available organs. Many people would be spared suffering and loss of life.

    Choice, that is what is best for human beings, and the more the better.

  10. steal babies, f*** babies, f*** children, move,hide, protect pedophiles – it’s not just the catholic church, all the religions are ridiculous, I don’t know why anyone believes any of their dogma/preaching/moralizing/etc. anymore.

    We need something to replace the churches and their role in connecting people within a community. Something where real human morals and values are shared and that are not influenced by special business interests and selfish perverted sexual interests in children who can’t defend themselves.

    Hopefully OWS is a sign of this and more is to come… let these institutions die on the vine, leave them and look to create something different, something that nurtures happy human development. As a society, we have to get to work on exercising our cooperation muscle…

  11. Woosty’s,

    When I speak of the Catholic Church as “they”, I am specifically referring to Popes, Cardinals, Bishops … the leadership down through the centuries who know full well that the “afterlife” they have presented to their followers is not as they have claimed it to be. Their “afterlife” exists only as a means of making money.

    Now, that does not mean that I agree with others on this blog that no afterlife exists. That’s another topic for a different time. 🙂

  12. LK,

    You are welcome….I was really interested in Australia at one time….long before the Internet was readily available….

  13. Woosty’s,

    Only difference, as I see it, is that the state, at least in this country, doesn’t have the protection of religion … it is secular by law.

    As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to criminal behavior, any church is subject to the demands of the secular law of the country within which it operates. It’s status as a religious institution grants no special consideration when criminality is suspected.

    From a theological viewpoint, my ruminations on the Catholic Church’s purported view of the afterlife simply, given their centuries of fearless, on-going, and repetitious abuses, fails the test of common sense. They can’t possibly believe what they preach for they have continually failed to practice what they preach … for centuries.

  14. Woosty: who’s doin’ who? You’re either one of the ‘do-ers’ or one that ‘gets done’. Unlike many on the right I’ve never had any illusions to which class I belong to. Those ‘do-ers’ are a minority but damn, they stick together and cover each other’s back.

  15. Blouise1, October 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm
    I don’t know……I don’t know. Seems to me the Church is doing what the State is doing what the Church is doing what the State is doing and everybody just keeps talking about what the other guy was doing and there sure is an awfu lot of doing going on.

Comments are closed.