Gangraped Nepal nun now faces expulsion from nunnery

The Times of India reports a harrowing story of violence and ignorance. Please read it first before coming back to this post.

This story is shocking: for a woman, from a powerless and disadvantaged background, who has chosen to live a life of simplicity in accord with the precepts of her religion, to be so abandoned by those who should be protecting her.

This story is by no means unique. I have heard of such cases many times. The rejection and denial by the Buddhist authorities in such cases only fuels more attacks. The nuns know that if they are raped they will be expelled, so they do not report the attacks, and men come to know that they can rape nuns with impunity.

The Nepalese Buddhist authority says that such cases never came up in the Buddha’s time, and appears to be arguing that one has to be a virgin to be ordained. This is an astonishing level of ignorance – repeatedly refuted in the comments to the article (the blog commenters know more about Buddhism than the authorities…). Half an hour with a Vinaya book would have showed him that rape did in fact occur in the Buddha’s lifetime, and the Buddha was very clear: there is no offence for the victim, and the perpetrator has committed one of the most heinous crimes possible.

But it’s not the factual mistake that is the real worry: it’s the disturbing way that a half-baked allusion to a mythical past somehow acts as a blanket excuse for such unfeeling dismissal. Supposedly ‘Buddhist’ ideas are being used to diminish compassion and justify cruelty.

Rape is no surprise. It is, shamefully, a part of human life everywhere. The incidence of violent crimes against women is horrific, no matter where or when you live. But there are things that can be done about it, starting with identifying that the rapist is the criminal, and he should be punished, not the victim.

It is a long road, and there is no simple solution. As people committed to Buddhism as a spiritual path, we need to recognize the close links between the status of women in the Sangha and the wider picture of violence to women. If the patriarchs of a religion treat women like this, how can they expect to set an example for the rest of society? The outcome of the consistent denial of women’s equality and refusal to recognize the fullness of women’s humanity is all too predictable. Recent figures from the UN reveal that over 60% of men in Thailand think it is sometimes justifiable to beat your wife, a figure that is second worst in the world.

Now Thailand has a female Prime Minister. Yingluck said in an interview that there is equality for women in Thailand; this is true in law, but far from true in practice. Hopefully her presence will do some good.

We need to get over surprise and denial. Rape and violence against women is a sign of a mind that is sick. But such minds do not exist in isolation. They emerge from a culture where women are routinely objectified, denigrated, regarded as lesser – the Tibetan word for woman means ‘inferior birth’.

Denigration of women runs deep in Buddhist culture: it is there in the absence of women’s voices, in the texts that speak of women as ‘black snakes’, in the refusal to allow women ordination, in the persecution of those who speak up about discrimination, in the routine beatings in homes of ‘good Buddhists’, in the abominable trade in sex slaves in Buddhist countries, in the silence of the patriarchs on women’s issues, in the monopolization of resources and information by men, in menstruation and other taboos on women’s bodies, in the meditations on the ‘repulsiveness’ of female bodies, in the patronizing control rules of the garudhammas or Amaravati’s ‘Five Points’, in the inane locker-room talk of Buddhist men, in the routine externalization of male desire projected as emanating from the feminine, in the denigration of concern for women as ‘Western feminism’. And it is there, in its most brutal and pure form, in the gang rape and subsequent rejection of a young nun from the lowest class of society.

Not that this is in any way a ‘Buddhist’ problem. It is a human problem, which finds expression in just about every form of human culture. Western culture demeans and reduces women in its own ways, but until we get our act together we can’t hope to help others.

I’ve been through a slow, uncertain, and sometimes agonizing internal process. I gradually came to recognize how I was participating in the sexism of the Sangha culture I had joined, and started trying to untie it bit by bit, and to do what I can to help others. It is not obvious; it is a corruption deeply embedded in culture and language, and it erupts in feverish emotion whenever the pattern of denial is challenged.

The more I raised the question to consciousness, the more I realized how bizarre it all is. To treat or think of women as in any way ‘evil’ or ‘lesser’ is to regard half of humanity as somehow built wrong. It is as absurd as to criticize the sky for being inadequate, or the earth for being wrong. We need to stop participating in this madness. We need to speak out. We need to stop complying. We need to act.

UPDATE: The Nepal Buddhist Federation, who’s representative is quoted in the article, appears to be a legitimate body which is doing good work in Nepal. If you’d like to help go to their website and leave them a message asking them to reconsider their policy regarding nuns who have been raped. Here’s the message I left:

I am writing concerning the recent article in the Times of India concerning a nun who was gang raped and subsequently expelled from her monastery. A representative of your organization was quoted as saying that a nun who has been raped cannot continue to be a nun. This is not true: the 1st parajika offence for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis is only for consensual intercourse. In addition, it is not a compassionate and helpful attitude, which as you can see from the many comments to the article, has caused a great deal of criticism of Buddhism. I humbly beg you to reconsider your policy and urge that nuns who are the victims of such heinous crimes be accepted and cared for in their communities.

48 thoughts on “Gangraped Nepal nun now faces expulsion from nunnery

  1. “The Nepalese Buddhist authority says that such cases never came up in the Buddha’s time”

    I’m speechless.

  2. Thank you for saying this Bhante. The more men take a stand whether they are monks or laymen the sooner this kind of thing will become socially unacceptable as well as legally/morally unacceptable.

  3. Thank goodness for Ajahn Brahm and you for speaking up for woman. The English word for woman in womb/man.. meaning we have a womb.

    I was raped at 8 and still considered myself a virgin when I was teen and logically thought it over; because I knew that did not count. (no one could touch my pure spirit).

    Please keep speaking up .. for women.. !! Hearing the women Buddhist nuns speaking on Youtube gives me so much peace.

  4. Equating rape with “having a relationship” or “marriage” as the Nepalese Buddhist authorities seem to think – mind-boggling really.

    If Buddhist authorities are prone to so much “misinformation” and myths-building, how is the laiety supposed to know any better …

  5. The question has to be asked:

    Why does the Buddha in his teachings make his view of women so ambiguous.

    Surely he must have known (especially in India in the time of the Buddha) that if he didn’t make his views clear regarding women any incinuation that women were “less” than men would be used by stupid and unscupulous men to denigate and use women for there own purposes.

    If he/she wanted Buddhism to survive he should have made this clear!

    To the reasonably intelligent it would be obvious that the Buddha’s comments when speaking about women are not denigating ,,,but it is also obvious that they can be easily be misunderstood.

    Most of the people I have met including monks or ex-monks who seem to have interpreted wrongly the teachings of the Buddha with regard to women are extremely stupid men; ignorant with regard to women, extremely sexually frustrated (the ones that could not “get any” when they were young or got knocked back by women once too often) and some homosexual (having said this I am not discriminating against homesexual men and some of them are the best Buddhist, I am talking about sexist homosexual men only)

    The Tibetans although apparently originally a matrical society were very sexist; they do though do lots and lots of practices these days that support women even if alot of these are ridulous and even verging on what we in the West would consider pedophilia.

    In the end as Buddhist always tell others “it is karma” so whether Buddhism survives will also come down to karma.

    Possibly the the karma of denegrating women and the Buddha’s lack of fortitude in this aspect may well signal the end of Buddhism…including monks…so sexist ex-monks ..ummm i’ll have fries with that and make mine black with one!

    …to all those who have been told by great holy Buddhists “it is just your karma” well back at ya!

    Ajahn Sujato and Brahm I am sure you will have a high rebirth…you won’t be the ones selling your bodies on the streets in the next life but to those monks who will be …. well don’t expect to be able too charge too much..10 bucks at the most that is if any of the women you abused in this life pull up in a limo for your services!..(apologies to those ladies who just have to do that job to make a living for other reasons) also don’t expect women to step over you if your are reborn ants on the path to the “western feminist” high paying job.

    Men may discriminate…but men need to remember….. that karma does not.

    • Insightful and funny, Dhamma. 🙂

      I love this the best:

      “Men may discriminate… but men need to remember… that karma does not.”

    • ..never said it did..but I also never said I enjoyed or wish bad kamma on others..seems you do

    • Thank you dhamma – karma will get them (and I wish it was not so; wish all were just already Kindhearted). I am not the vengeful type; but you did put a smile on my face). Peace..

    • Thanks Betty Ann,

      Hope I didn’t sound venegeful but it is the truth –

      I use to work with a guy who use to be a monk who had this attitude that women are inferior beings – he had the women thinking he was ‘superior’ for awhile but as far as I know never managed to turn all the women into his servants as he seemed to think was his right in life – conversely I think it may have turned out the other way – he is entangled with so many strong women he doesn’t seem to have much freedom or independence at all!

  6. Although other traditions can be very sexist they are doing many many practises to get the other half of the population “women” into their groups- and in doing so their families – because women have more influence over the family – ordaining women needs to become “normal” in Buddhism or early buddhism or how can they survive. The alternate tradtions will dominate and other will be seen as sexist dinasours and die out.

  7. In response to expelling the raped nun from her monastery:

    I am sickened and appalled by your lack of not only compassion, which is bad enough, but also knowledge of the vinaya. There is absolutely NO scriptural support for your position to expel this nun. It is the rapists who need punishment, not the victim.

    Please change this as soon as possible and stop giving Buddhism a bad name the world over.

    Thank you,
    Ani Palmo

    • Dear Ani Palmo,
      So glad to hear your clear message. Was there a specific place on the website where you left it? I went to the site and didn’t see anywhere, except there was a contact form under “contact us”. Is that where you left your message? I also want to e-mail them. An unbelievably heartbreaking story…

      Also thanks Ayya Adhimutta for the website address.

    • Thank you for your posts I feel more informed now.

      Although I can’t even begin to comprehend why anyone who is raped would even be thought of as being “held” responsible I mean are all the people in countries where war is happening held responsible, are asian people held responsible or black people held responsible for being born black or asian are they allowed to ordain?

    • Thich nu Tinh Quang, can you provide more information and references pertaining to the Dharmagupta Vinaya in relation to the issue? Thanks.

  8. One needs to stop confusing culture and cultural conditioning from buddhism. For petes sake – buddha held the hands of untouchables – he was not ambiguous about women and how to treat them. It was obvious though that creating the order of nuns and creating vows as things went wrong to prevent future issues was strongly impacted by cultural conditioning. Thats the karma of the place it’s people – its not something that is fixed by philosophy and doctrine. It is fixed by societal bravery to adopt and uphold the rights of individiuals and groups who are being mistreated. People need to step up, and the nuns are perhaps needing to be part of that, so people have to reach out and help them. May it be so … I pray.

    So called buddhist countries are perhaps asian in this context but there is buddhism through-out the world now. When individuals are the targets of crimes and action needs to be taken then many people running monasteries lack the gumption to take legal action on behalf of their community because they are afraid. Fearlessness – its almost the same as enlightenment, and we don’t tend to have people who are already fearless and enlightened on the path. They are still trying to get there – so its a bit hard to expect them to be perfect.

  9. More info (from Facebook) re. who to contact about this

    ‎”Nepal Gov. Offices to CC (Carbon Copy) in your e-mail:”Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation

    Ministry of Information & Communication

    Ministry of Law and Justice

    Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare

    also, some writing from Ayya Tathaaloka (from the Alliance For Bhikkhunis Face Book Page) re. this issue:

    Sometimes cultural traditions may differ, even gravely, from what the Buddha taught.

    Many of the Buddha’s great disciples had been married before they entered monastic life, including the Buddha himself, and his foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami, credited with founding the Bhikkhuni Sangha. According to Buddhist canonical texts, one of the Buddha’s two foremost women monastic disciples, Khema Theri, a great teacher and leader of the Sangha, was also married before she entered into Buddhist monastic life. There are numerous other examples in the Buddhist texts.

    Of course, if a monastic commits an intentional and grave sexual misconduct, they are no longer a monastic. However, Vinaya offers many protections for both women and men from both false accusation of sexual impropriety and from there being circumstances that might provoke others to behave improperly towards a male or female member of the monastic community. Due to no fault of their own lust, if the monastic is raped, they are considered blameless. In both Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Parajika One, the Vinaya mentions several instances of this happening — to both men and women — and affirms that the monastics are blameless. This is affirmed in the Mulasarvastivada, Dharmaguptaka and Pali-text Vinayas.

    In the case of a woman, even if a child is born, the bhikkhuni is not to laicized (unless it is her wish to disrobe), but rather the monastic community is to provide her with a bhikkhuni companion to support her and help her raise the child, *without* her having to leave monastic life. Then, as a great exception, even with child, she may live the monastic life.

    The Buddha was very kind, compassionate and understanding, meanwhile upholding and exemplifying an excellent discipline. But these days many people, even those who are ordained Buddhist monastics, do not know this discipline well. And in places where there is no longer a Bhikkhuni Sangha, the sparse 8 or 10-precept nuns’ discipline can sometimes provide meager protection and guidance for such renunciate women.

    I pray that knowledge and right practice of the Buddha’s teaching of both Dhamma and Vinaya may rise and increase once again in our Buddhist monastic communities, along with all of the fruits and benefits that come together.

    With compassion and metta

  10. Bhante Sujato,

    Can you provide us the first rule of the Parajika in Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Praktimoksha?


    • I have found the Mulasarvastivada’s version in Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies. It seems that the word “chanda” is absent in the Mulasarvastivada’s version.

    • This is beyond sick; not only is she a young girl she is a nun, not only is she a young nun (a person who has taken a vow of celibacy) but this was a gangrape it seems possibly in broad daylight in public; not just a rape by an over amorous drunken young man but by a group of men (possibly older men, fathers etc) not only is she gangraped on a public bus by a group of men but then to be ostracised by the very people who are suppose to protect her and support her!!

      I hope people are being more than disgusted and are being proactive by emailing the appropriate authorities supplied here on this website.

  11. Hi

    Does anyone no the name of the “Monestry” (or should I say the building where some ordained people live) that expelled or was threatening to expel the Nun in this article.



    • The website had someone speculating that she was a nun at the Karma Samten Ling nunnery in Pharping, which is under the direction of the Kagyu lama Gyalpo Rinpoche. He is a young lama (thirty-three) just out of his three-year retreat in May, and he has a center in Hong Kong by the same name and a couple others in Nepal. I sent an email to their Nepal address:

    • HI DK,

      Thank you for that info..if that is true then …why doesn’t surprise overwhelm me?


    • Thanks, DK. Also the following news sent to Matt Frazer from Ven Heng-ching Shih, a senior bhikkhuni in Taiwan. She says they have been trying to help also, and that Dr. Christie
      Chang, the present President of the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist women, has been contacting her friends, especially those in Nepal, to ask for their help. Yesterday her friend tried to visit the nun, but the doctor did not allow it as she was still in shock.

    • Hi,

      i could not get an email through on the above email address if just got spammed.

      I sent it to the Karmarpa Head Office – General Secretary if that is any

      I looked at the nunnery – all the nuns look about 5-10 years of age – is it a nunnery or a Buddhist is it a babysitting centre or orphanage or something??

      Being expelled from an orphanage for being gangraped – even worse!

    • ..The nun is still in shock – the shock of being raped and then the shock of the being expelled from the place she lived for that – yeap it might take some time alright.

      It is almost about as bad as Schapelle Corby – I mean 20 years jail for smuggling abit of “grass” when it probably was her father or brother anyway, and being labelled a drug smuggler by her own country and ignored by her own country. Murderers get less than that!

      And this poor girl gets 20 years for that in a Thai (is it) prison!! It wasn’t even a hard drug and is actually legal in alot of places.

      anyway I will get off my soap box and go to work now 🙂

  12. Hi,

    i could not get an email through on the above email address if just got spammed.

    I sent it to the Karmarpa Head Office – General Secretary if that is any use

    I looked at the nunnery – all the nuns look about 5-10 years of age – is it a nunnery or is it a Buddhist babysitting centre or orphanage or something??

    Being expelled from an orphanage for being gangraped – even worse!

    • In Nepal and Tibet, the monasteries have long served as a kind of boarding school–it was traditionally the only option for an education. The young ordinands have only novice vows, and these days many disrobe when they come of age. The monastic option was less common for young girls, of course–fewer nunneries, and their families did not get the prestige factor they got with their sons. Plus, their labor was needed around the house–in many cases even after they became nuns.

    • So I am guessing the reason for the expulsion is some sort of “its her karma” thing – but then what I don’t understand is if the other girls are not from ‘high karmic” families, poor orphans etc why punish one with expulsion but accept others and say they are going to care for educate etc them etc.

      If the other girls where little tulkus from wealthy buddhist families I could understand but apparently they are not – so what is the reason for expelling her for being raped – I just don’t understand it?

      Maybe I should just not think about it as it is doing my head in it all seems so wrong!

    • the post above my reasoning (if you can call it that) is based on the fact that most linage systems are based on karmic inheritance – abit like private school in the west – if daddy is a rich lawyer/doctor etc you get in and do well if he is not you maybe have buckleys of gettin’ in or doin’ well!

  13. Dear Dhamma,

    I’m reading your writing and feeling a good deal of empathy and agreement.

    I think what we have to do is build up alternative structures ~ which is tough, though, as it’s going against the flows of support – if that makes sense!!! – often it seems like hearing difficult story after difficult story, facing obstacle after obstacle. It can be tiring, disheartening.

    – but, luckily for wonderful organisations like Sakyadhita International, now we are able to educate, challenge and act in these kinds of situations. To challenge the status quo. And yet, organisations like Sakyadhita really do run on thin air. There’s so much they do, and yet so much more they could do with more resources. . . but it’s like this as pioneers,

    Though, these factors also often means the organisation and people with in it have great integrity. And I know that the founder of Sakyadhita built the organisation up from nothing and against great odds. But, she did it. And it wasn’t easy.

    – as Bhante S. mentioned above, there is active support and concern and strong attempts to aid this nun. I hope her story will turn out well. But it will take a while, of course. And it’s a very very tough and difficult situation. I think the thing is to raise awareness, and to get behind the places that are making a difference. At least that’s my current strategy (otherwise it can all just be too discouraging)

    – i know of amazing pioneer nuns who have, despite very strong disadvantages and obstacles made a BIG difference, cut a path for others to follow, and really changed the currents of the world and the sangha. Often they were able to do this because of the kindness, generosity and farsightedness of a few teachers and people who helped them out. I feel that working with issues such as womens place in the sangha really touch the heart of samsara (if that makes sense) and really can go against some of the strongest currents in our world. which makes it really really tough. and why it can make such a big difference.

    – I think all of us *can* make a difference. It’s a matter of how aware of issues we are, and how much we are prepared to act and support in a tangible way. And how much we can keep going in the face of obstacles and disapointment. I think part of the secret is finding friends who are also acting constructively and doing something, and then there can be great joy.

    i remember staying with my teacher during the Japanese Disaster, and feeling all the despair and helplessness of the situation, great sorrow. And she remembered that there were nuns in Japan, and wondered whether anyone was caring for them. So we spent a few days writing round, finding how we might support, and gathering together support from round the world (then Sakyadhita International took up the cause which was great). Here’s the FB page from that time: .

    Anyhow, it was a great lesson for me to see how the feelings inside changed around. So many lay-friends would drop by. Disheartened, despondent from the events. My teacher would encourage them to act from the compassion in their hearts. Even just to do something small. And would also comment that monasteries and movements actually get most their support from many small donations, not so much from a few large ones – that small acts really make a tremendous difference. Anyway, people would donate, even just $5, or resolve to do something small, and their whole energy would change. So, I try to remind myself this, when all seems too dark.

    – this is just stream of conscious writing, i hope you don’t mind. I hope you don’t feel I’m lecturing. This is not particularly directed at you, speaking to myself as much as anyone. but inspired by the feelings reading your writing brought up. i often don’t write, and thought to this time . .

    – i’m going away for a few days now, so sorry if i can’t write for a while. . .

    • Hi Bhikkuni Adimutta,

      Thank you for that.

      Yes I checked out the website you mentioned and it is good to see women building support structures for others though their own initiatives and with the support of men, not just the tools of male lamas used to subdue and dominate other women.

      Much metta

    • Dear Venerable Adhimutta,

      Thank you for reminding us that “small acts really make a tremendous difference”.



  14. Perhaps this has already been noted, but there is a follow up article here:

    Below it, there is a comment by Dorje which seems to be a press release from the NBF:

    NBF Press release :Clarification Dated, Kathmandu, 19th July, 2011. Dear Sudeshna Sarkar ji Please refer to your news article titled Gangraped Nepal nun now faces expulsion from nunnery dated Jul 11, 2011, in Times of India. The second part of the title is misleading and has caused lots of pain in the Buddhist community all over the world, which is natural. Nepal Buddhist Federation has never said that she is expelled from the nunnery and that she lost her religion, as has been wrongly quoted. Ani Karma Lhamu alias Sangita Lama, the nun in question has been brought to Nepal from Siliguri, India, and is currently admitted in TUTH in Kathmandu. The members of the NBF personally met her and her relatives in the hospital where her condition is still very unstable. NBF also met the authorities of the Karma Samtenling Nunnery at Pharbing, which she left a year ago when she went to India to pursue further studies. She is not expelled from the nunnery. Acharya Norbu Sherpa during the press conference only reacted to the question whether the nun still maintains celibacy. He spoke in reference to breaking of vows in the vinaya rules about monks and nuns in general and not specifically referred to the present case which, he said, even was not expected in Buddha’s time. Such philosophical debates are his personal views and are not the official stand of NBF. NBF in collaboration with our allied Association Tamang Lama Gedung Sangh and the concerned nunnery is taking steps to accommodate her back into the nunnery when she recovers and discharged from the hospital. NBF will do everything in its power to help restore the dignity of the nun and continue to fight for justice. As you know that Buddhists in general has been suppressed in Nepal during the 240 years and only last few years, we are finding some space of expression in the emerging democracy. Yet it is a fact that most of the activities of the NBF for the preservation and promotion of our religion never get the required coverage in the media and this is a continuous struggle for us. You may now realize Government’s apathy to our community in Nepal, as you have rightly said in the following article that the nun finally got admitted into the Government hospital only after lots of political and social pressure. Unfortunately, such harsh treatment to monks and nuns do not generally make news in our country which has approximately 5000 monasteries, living in difficult conditions from Drachula to Taplejung. On the contrary the monasteries and nunneries in general in Nepal has been a subject of systematic negative media campaign for the last few years including such baseless allegation of possessing weapons and our monks and nuns live in perpetual fear. Under such circumstance, your regular write ups on the plight of our nun are a welcome step. I hope you will continue to take up the plights of monks and nuns in Nepal and help us retain the dignity of the place of birth of Lord Buddha. We will assure you of our cooperation. Ven. Jigdol Sherpa Vice President, Nepal Buddhist Federation
    Agree (1)Disagree (0)

    • Thanks so much, this is very useful. The situation for Nepalese Buddhists is indeed difficult, and hopefully this terrible event can help bring more support their way.

    • Ajhan Sujato,

      The post by “Dhamchoe” seemed in itself positive and it seems the bit about the expulsion is wrong and that the Buddhist orphanage did not expell her or possibly even consider it – but on reading the article below I am curious how anything is any better; possibly and possibly obviously this is just an ariticle biased and twisted by the media, that is why it seems so kinda weird.

      The article states:

      “We are discussing the formal Buddhist policy that says a nun who loses her celibacy, even though involuntarily, can’t remain a nun any more,” said Ang Kaji Sherpa, general secretary of the Nepal Adivasi Janajati Mahasangh,


      Is there such a policy? or is she saying it is a policy in alternate forms of Buddhism but not in the Vinnaya or is it in the Vinnaya?

      If a Monestry is robbed or plundered does that mean all the monks have to disrobe?

      Also I am not suggesting that it should be the rapist who should be publicly named not her (unless she is OK with this) as they too have families who may be shamed by the action of men who are or were probably undertaking responisible and respectable jobs in the community such as bus drivers etc who are/were fathers, brothers, husbands and sons etc – but also rape young girls? although usually in the West it is more likely that the abuser not the victim is named publicly.

    • This is very reassuring to see that that nunnery did not in fact expel her, as has been reported. Also the first we’ve heard of a name for the woman.

      The “Lama” in “Sangita Lama” by the way does not indicate that she is a Buddhist lama. It is a Tamang surname.

    • Hi

      Yes that is good to hear she was not expelled.

      Does she have a say in what is going on and in what her needs are with regards to this incident and whether she wants public recognition or to be publicly named or does she just do what she is told and have no say due to her position in the hierachy?

    • Hi

      Yes that is good to hear she was not expelled.

      Does she have a say in what is going on and in what her needs are with regards to this incident and whether she wants public recognition or to be publicly named or does she just do what she is told and have no say due to her position in the hierachy?

      Or possibly she has to obey the 5-10 years and ask their permission first if they were ordained before her or something?

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