Pulse, rage, abuse – nun tells story of life in Kerala church


A this young man had once remonstrated with me about an affair between his aunt, who was a nun, and the parish priest. He told me that this same priest constantly advised him to be virtuous and celibate and not to go astray because he was celibate. During the special confession sessions at the silent retreat, her voice filled with pain, a nun confessed to me that she had caressed a novice. During the Sacrament of Penance too, some priests have a lustful approach towards nuns who come to them to confess their sins to God. I can say based on what has been revealed to me from time to time that what appears in the press about events in the convents is sadly true and correct.

I know convents where nubile nuns are sent to the priests. The kind of depravity to which these young nuns are subjected in the presbytery is appalling. This includes having to stay naked for hours together while the libidinous priests get on with them. Some of the priests are such sex maniacs that they won’t stop even when the exhausted nuns beg them not to go on anymore. These incidents were told to me by some of the victims. From many sources, I also know of older nuns who use young people for sex. Often, the advice victims choose to follow to lessen the mental trauma caused by such incidents becomes another cross they must bear.

The counsellors, who are mostly male priests, also constantly pursue these nuns for their own sexual gratification. A young nun who accompanied an elderly nun to the presbytery once had a bizarre experience. The priest lifted the girl on his knees and caressed her for many hours. She confessed to me that this seduction also made her lustful, and it ended in carnal relations. The experience of a brother too, who was abused by homosexual priests in the seminary and lost his mental balance, is tragic. For a whole year he had to suffer from depravity. Clinically depressed, he returned home and abandoned monastic life. Another seminarian also told me that he had had a similar experience. This young man, fresh out of his childhood, was assaulted by the priest in charge of the seminary; the priest had wanted to sodomize him. When the boy resisted, the priest tied him to the bed and got what he wanted. Fearful and unable to tell his family about this trauma, the boy requested a transfer out of this seminary and moved to another.

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It would be wrong to think that only monastic orders belonging to the Syro-Malabar Church suffer from these evils. As can be seen from reports and other evidence, Christian monastic orders more often than not have pockets of license and degeneracy. Sexual exploitation and immorality are endemic. Mansions and cathedrals built with money collected at home and abroad are monuments to hypocrisy. By collecting money from believers for consecrations and sacraments, priests continue to accumulate funds for the Church. The primary purpose of the apostolic activities of priests is to raise money – in the name of the sacraments, funeral rites, novenas and holy days, and for housewarming, consecration, etc. – when they should serve the faithful without any pecuniary considerations.

The sermons delivered by these same priests put off the audience. Their audience suffers in silence, cursing the imposition imposed on them, unable to respond. There are many examples of fulminations by immature priests – posing as gospel – overstepping the bounds of decency. A sermon given by the vicar of Karakkamala is an example: “I have consecrated houses in our parish…I am grateful for the affection, hospitality, cleanliness and respect you have shown me. However, one of the houses I visited recently hadn’t been swept for days. Leftover food lay in every room. I had to consecrate the hearth while keeping my nose covered…’ I thought these words came from overwhelming insensitivity and arrogance. It was obvious from his humiliating words that this was not a consecration to bless this family. Instead of educating the family on the importance of cleanliness, what he had done was denigrate it in front of the whole parish.

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One of the priests, at a youth retreat, also gave a lustful speech. He was talking about his supposed efforts to reunite a warring couple who had stopped talking to each other. After reaching their home, he said, he first chose to interview the woman. “Father,” she protested, “should I share my body with that drunk?” It stinks so much; I will not do it. The man had a different version. “Father, tell her to wash her shirt once in a while… I can’t sleep with her on because of the smell.” This “revelation” was made in a group of children ranging in age from three and a half to seventeen. Priests use many schemes to sneak into covens under cover of darkness. The apparent reason for the visit is to meet an acquaintance of theirs. They have fun in the guest room of the convent. The food, and everything else, is served like royalty. Then begins the hours of safe and secure sex with the chosen friend.

Everything comes to a happy conclusion when early in the morning before departure, he hands a framed picture of the Holy Spirit to Mother Superior. ‘Father… What a beautiful and uplifting picture… Where did you get that from? We are lucky! We’re going to ride it here for good, the ecstatic nuns will chatter. Many others have confessed to me first-hand accounts to this effect; others who have had people say these things to them have also spoken to me of similar instances. The experience of a nun from another order is an excellent example. She worked in an institution run by one of the archdioceses. His colleagues were priests. After a while, she arrived at the Provincial House claiming to suffer from severe pain in her stomach. At the hospital, after the initial assessment, she was taken straight to the delivery room. After delivering the child, the Church asked family members to pick her up. The priest, the father of this child, continues to carry out his priestly functions with total impunity.

This excerpt from ‘In the Name of the Lord: A Nun’s Story’, written by Sister Lucy Kalapura and translated from Malayalam by Nandakumar K., is published with permission from Harper Collins India.


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