While the act of falling pregnant isn’t quite rocket science, a full investigation has been launched by the Roman Catholic Church into how exactly two nuns on a missionary trip to Africa returned pregnant.
According to media reports, one of the women was a mother superior, who was working at an institute that helps destitute women and their children. The nun recently discovered that she was several weeks pregnant and has since returned to Madagascar, her home country. The second woman found out she was pregnant after being hospitalised because of severe stomach pains. She belonged to a convent but has since moved to another area to prepare for childbirth.
The two women were from different orders in Sicily, Italy, and went on separate charity assignments in Africa. It is unclear what will happen to them, although they will most likely leave their religious service because they broke their vow of celibacy.
Catholic nuns are required to take a vow of celibacy – the abstinence from all or any sexual relations throughout a person’s life. When a person professes a vow of celibacy, they make a conscious choice of how they want to be in the world, and how they want to comport themselves and how they want to relate to others. It means that they choose to, not only abstain from sex, but also to not engage in sexual activity or romantic relationships.
While the Church has not commented further on the pregnancies, except for a brief statement saying that ‘although the nuns both breached strict rules of chastity the welfare of their children is uppermost’, there is speculation something more sinister is lurking in the shadows. There have been previous instances in the Church of nuns becoming pregnant due to non-consensual sex.
In 2014, the Catholic Church handled a similar case in Italy after a nun gave birth to a baby boy she said she had no idea she was even carrying. Nine months along she was rushed to hospital with abdominal pains, which she thought were stomach cramps. The nun named her newborn Francis after the current Pope. The investigation continues.
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