The Catholic church has launched an investigation into two missionary nuns who were discovered to be pregnant while working in Africa, despite their vows of chastity.
The two women, who reportedly belong to separate religious orders in Sicily, Italy, are both now facing pressure to quit the Church after discovering they were expecting children.
One of the nuns, a mother superior, only realised she was pregnant when she visited hospital, complaining of stomach pains, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
Both nuns are believed to be originally from Africa and were posted to their home continent as part of their charity missions.
However, the scandal has caused ‘consternation’ among the clergy.
Speaking to The Sun, a Church source in Rome said: “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.”
Earlier this year Pope Francis admitted that many nuns had been sexually abused, describing it as a “serious, grave problem”.
“We have to fight this,” he said in January. It’s believed that both nuns, have now returned to Italy to prepare for the births of their children.