Kerala women’s body wants minimum age for nuns

June 3rd, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 3 (IANS) The Kerala State Women’s Commission has asked the state government to ensure that girls who want to be nuns are at least 18 years old. “We have received complaints and the recommendation that we gave to the state government is based on it. Action will be taken against those parents who send their daughter who is below 18 years to become nuns,” commission chairperson D. Sreedevi told reporters here Tuesday.

“The common practice is that when a girl is sent to a convent to become a nun, her share of the parental property is normally given to her to meet the expense of her study. And when she decides to drop out of the convent, she gets nothing. So there should be a programme to take care of and to rehabilitate such girls,” said Sreedevi.

Paul Thelekkat, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, told IANS that the rules on how a girl becomes a nun are very clear.

“This is the universal Catholic norm and is based on the canon law. Only a girl who completes her class 12 will be admitted. In the first year they are known as ‘aspirants’, then they have two years training known as ‘postulancy’ and then another two years doing ‘novitiate’,” said Thelekkat.

“It is not before the age of 30 that she becomes a full fledged nun. So the question of initiating any minor girl as a nun does not arise.”

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