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Indian court backs Catholic nun’s call to ban movie on clergy, sisters

An Indian court this week has ordered the suspension of the release of a movie that supposedly shows priests and nuns involved in “sexual relationships.”

The High Court in Delhi noted an appeal raised by a Catholic nun who asked for a stop to the release of the Malayalam film “Aquarium” for being allegedly “blasphemous.”

Sister Jessy Mani of the Sacred Heart Congregation claimed that the movie “depicts the sexual relationships of nuns with two priests.”

The nun said the movie portrays the “religious life of Catholic priests and nuns … merely as sex toys,” adding that there are scenes that are “highly derogatory” and tarnish the reputation of the Church.

Father Babu Joseph, former spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, said the portrayal of priests and nuns in “Aquarium” was “insidious.”

“While we respect the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Indian Constitution, it cannot be stretched to such an extent that you begin to deliberately step on another’s toe,” said the priest in a report by Crux.

“Hurting a community’s sentiments is not anyone’s prerogative and it becomes all the more delicate when it comes to depicting a certain section of the community that is being held in high esteem,” he added.

Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said the Christian community is “routinely stereotyped” in Indian cinema.

“Under the guise of ‘cinematic liberty’ the portrayal in bad light of the clergy and community deeply offends our religious sentiments,” George said in the same Crux report.

The movie was completed in 2013 with the title “Father, Son and the Holy Spirit” but was not approved for release by the Central Board of Film Certification for reportedly violating standards.

The Kerala High Court has earlier suspended the release of the film.

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