In an incident that has been quite the embarrassment for the Catholic Church, two nuns have reportedly returned from a charity trip to Africa with a surprise — they were both pregnant.
Details of the story are still vague and unconfirmed, and it looks like the Church is determined to get to the bottom of the incident, as it has launched an internal investigation to determine what has happened.
Catholic Nuns are primarily associated with chastity, and failing to maintain that image has historically always been treated as a significant problem for the organization.
A source in Rome revealed: “There is consternation at this news. It appears that both women were back in their home nations and obviously had some form of sexual encounter.”
Salvatore Riotta, the mayor of Militello, where one of the two women is based, stated: “An investigation has been launched. They both breached strict rules of chastity, but the welfare of their children is uppermost.”
It should not be surprising that the Catholic Church is now taking this incident so seriously, as its potential implications on its reputation cannot be underestimated.
At the same time, some have pointed out that the Church should be careful with its investigation — an incident like this could potentially turn into something even more damaging if the story was followed further.
At this point, though, it does seem like a reasonable response from an organization that is determined to protect its image.
The nuns themselves have not provided any comments on the situation, though hardly anyone expected that in the first place.
Reports also indicate that the two nuns have been facing serious pressure to leave the Church altogether.
This has not been confirmed officially yet, though it is well known that the Catholic Church can take some rather heavy-handed approaches to internal problems in its ranks. With that in mind, not many seem to doubt these claims.
Pope Francis has, in the past, addressed the problem of sexual abuse that some nuns have faced in the Church.
When priests impregnate nuns, they are forced to resign and have to raise the children on their own.
Lucetta Scaraffia, the editor of Women Church World, explained: “It’s very hard for a nun to report she has been raped by a priest because of the mindset that, in sex, women can always say no.”
The two women belonged to different orders in Sicily, Italy, and Africa is their home continent.