The Catholic Church has ordered an investigation after two nuns returned from a missionary assignment in Africa pregnant.
According to The Sun UK,the two women, who belonged to separate religious orders in Sicily, are expecting children despite their vows of chastity.
Both nuns are African and were posted to their home continent as part of their charity mission.
One of them, a mother superior, found she was several weeks pregnant while the other woman, aged 34, discovered the news when she complained of stomach pain, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
Her religious order has not been identified, but reports say she belonged to a convent in Sicily’s Nebrodi mountains.
She has now moved to Palermo to prepare for the birth of her child.
The mother superior, whose age is not known, is based at an institute that helps “fallen women and their children.”
A church source in Rome said:
“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.”
She has already returned to her home country, according to reports, but the double scandal has caused concern among the church hierarchy.
“There is consternation at this news,” a church source in Rome, where the Catholic Church has its headquarters, told The Sun.
“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.”