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The Catholic Church is investigating after two nuns in their Sicilian order returned from an African mission trip pregnant.

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As you may know, nuns, like priests, take a life-long vow of celibacy. It’s one of their commitments to their religious service. So for not one but two nuns to turn up pregnant, there were questions.

According to an Italian outlet ANSA, the two women belonged to two different orders in Sicily. Both of them traveled to Africa.

One of the women, 34, learned that she was expecting a child after she went to the hospital complaining of stomach pain. As a result of her pregnancy, the woman was transferred to Palermo and may have to leave the monastery to raise her child.

The other woman, who was a mother superior, returned to her native Madagascar after doctors determined that she was a month pregnant. Her age was not released.

The Sun reports that both women were African. With the Mother Superior working in an order that supports “fallen women and their children.”

A source told The Sun, “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. An investigation has been launched. They both breached strict rules of chastity but the welfare of their children is uppermost. The most likely outcome is they will leave their religious service.”

The church said that while they were shocked, they wanted the incident to have been kept private.

A few too many things have been kept private in the Catholic church. Perhaps the church feels that the world will perceive this most recent development as some sort of attack against the effectiveness of vows of celibacy. And that’s certainly something to consider. But for these women, if the encounters were consensual, they should just chalk it up to women wanting to walk a different path.

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