Church stunned by sex scandal in Kerala

Published 27 June 2008  |  
Christians in southern Kerala were stunned after a sex scandal involving a Catholic nun was circulated over mobile phones and the Internet, last week.

The Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, a religious order under the Catholic Church expelled the 37–year–old woman, after a video featured the nun having illicit relationship with a driver for a Christian hospital in Aluva.

"This is really embarrassing for the church," Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil of Verapoly, president of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council said.

The Archbishop was however glad that the Church acted "promptly and in exemplary manner" adding, "when things like this happen, we have to deal with it sternly."

"This incident shows that religious life demands great sacrifice and constant vigil against human frailties," the archbishop said.

A superior head of the congregation, Sister Vincent Mary said, "When we came to know about it, we confirmed it with the nun and she agreed to leave the congregation" for breaking her vows.

The Church fears that, the incident is a sign of the growing communal power in the state, which uses its "devilish dimension and plot with a clear agenda of maligning the Church," according to Father Paul Thelakkat, of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala.

"Everyone in the church and every decent man or woman will feel ashamed of it and feel sorry about it," he added.

When the media questioned Father Thelakkat, if the incident would have a negative impact, the Christian leader said, "Nothing would dampen the enthusiasm of the church in Kerala, which is known as the "vocation garden" of India.”

Kerala, which renders about 60 percent of the country's 120,000 sisters and priests, has over 20% Christians.

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