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Photo of pregnant nun? Church says no, her appearance is due to ill health

IN SHORT: A pregnant nun might be the butt of jokes and against the strictures of the church. But there’s no evidence the woman in a photo shared on social media is pregnant.

A photo showing a woman dressed in a white habit of the type worn by nuns in the Catholic church is circulating on Facebook in Kenya.

Facebook users who posted the photo made fun of it, saying that the woman in the photo looked pregnant.

“I thought I had seen it all then boom a pregnant sister(nun),” one user wrote, adding grinning emojis to his comment.

Catholic nuns take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These require them to give up the right to personal property, to marry or to engage in sex. Catholic priests take the same vows. Nuns and priests are therefore not supposed to have children.

The photo has been posted here, here, here, here, here and here.

There have been media reports of nuns becoming pregnant in the past. But does this photo show such a case? We checked.


Church shocked by the ‘indecent posts’ 

A reverse image search of the image led us to news websites in Cameroon that have reported on the photo.

One of the reports said that the photo shows a Catholic nun from Cameroon. It added that the Archdiocese of Yaoundé had said the nun had been ill and was not pregnant. A diocese is an area over which a Catholic bishop has control and an archdiocese is the regional centre over which an archbishop presides.

We looked for the archdiocese’s Facebook page and found a post with the photo, dated 4 December 2022.

It reads in French: “Quand la perversion envahit le monde, il n’est plus aucun lieu où ne passe la satire et l’infecte parole … A nous tous qui sommes choqués par les publications indécentes au sujet de la soeur, que le Seigneur nous donne de tenir tête au malin et qu’il accorde la guérison à la soeur.”

This roughly translates to: “When perversion invades the world, there is no place left for satire and infected speech … To all of us who are shocked by the indecent posts about the sister, may the Lord give us the strength to up to the evil one and heal the sister.”

We reached out to the archdiocese for more information and will add this when we receive it. But there is no evidence that this photo shows a pregnant Catholic nun.

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