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Mar 21, 2009 at 11:14am IST

Nuns are ill-treated in church, reveals cardinal's book

Thiruvananthapuram: After a former nun dropped a bombshell by revealing in her autobiography about the sexual abuse and mental harassment nuns go through in the Catholic Church, a sitting cardinal has written a book in which he says many nuns are ill-treated.

The book titled Straight from the Heart by Varkey Vidayathil talks about how a section of the priests treat the nuns making them wash their clothes and cook food, all without any pay.

The biographer who is also the spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops' Council says he has penned down exactly what the cardinal has told him.

“In many of the bishop conferences he has heard such complaints coming up and even though they are rare they are surely happening. That is what he has said in the book,” says Syro-malabar church spokesperson Paul Thellekat.

Last year, a study by the Catholic Church found that 25 per cent of the nuns in Kerala were unhappy with life inside the four walls of a convent. This book Straight From The Heart confirms the result of that study.

“I would say to a great extent our nuns are not emancipated women. They are often kept under submission by the fear of revenge by priests. That's how the priests get away with whatever humiliation they heap upon them,” says Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar church, Cardinal Varkey Vidayathil.

The bishop also says in his biography that there is a lot the church and the communists can do together for the common man, an argument that has not gone down well with pastrol council which feels such comments will certainly misguide the Christian voters to the CPM's advantage in an election year.

But on the issue of nuns, even the pastoral council maintains a long silence, perhaps it is time for the church in Kerala to introspect.

With inputs of R Raghuraj