I'd once written that I loved the accessories of Catholicism. Some of its practices leave me ill.
When I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland I lived with some lovely Italian ladies. You know, Catholics from the land of the Pope. According to my roommates, the Irish are some super breed of uber-catholics. Well maybe not quite, but you get my point.
Religion went too far with the Magdalene Asylums (or Magdalene Laundries). Unwed mother, girls who had been raped, girls that were too pretty and other "fallen" women were locked into Catholic (and sometimes Protestant) convents and were forced to do backbreaking labor until they had repented for their sins.
The first Laundries opened in the mid 19th century, when society's view of sex placed all of the blame and shame on women. The church ruled society, and influenced the attitudes toward sex. The church set up these Asylums, taking in unwed mothers, prostitutes, and eventually raped women (that were blamed for the assault) and others. Women here were prisoners, working from sun up to sun down. They were beaten, ridiculed by the nuns and society. The women were inmates at the Laundries until a family member could vouch for them. Since having children out of wedlock was a significant scandal, most families turned their backs on these women.
The last Laundry closed in 1996.
Rent The Magdalene Sisters or Sex in a Cold Climate . Trust me. Just do it.