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Nun joins Facebook, gets kicked out of convent

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A Spanish nun has been kicked out of her closed religious order after clocking up 600 friends on Facebook.

After 35 years closeted at the 700-year-old Santa Domingo el Real convent in Toledo, Maria Jesus Galan is back living with her mum, and has declared she rather fancies visiting New York and London.

The convent reportedly acquired a PC 10 years ago, believing that by banking online and the like, it would help minimise the sisters' contact with the outside world, presumably because ecommerce would enable them to avoid known dens of iniquity, such as banks and supermarkets.

Sr Maria Jesus Galan commandeered the order's PC to digitise the convent's archives – Dominicans are known for their focus on education.

However, things went awry when she joined Facebook and quickly built up a network of 600 friends. Her fellow brides of Christ apparently disapproved, and according to Sr Maria, "made life impossible".

Eventually she was driven out of the convent, and is currently back at her mother's.

According to The Telegraph, the Dominicans refused to comment on the issue, and the Archbishop of Toledo called the fracas "an internal matter".

Sr Maria's expulsion does appear to be a result of internal strife, rather than any Church position on Facebook.

However, it comes just weeks after the Pope issued a warning to social-networking Catholics not to trivialise or dilute the message of Christianity in order to reach a wider message.

The papal warning illustrated the problems the Catholic Church has been having in formulating a position on digital communications. In the last few years, assorted members of the hierarchy have taken vastly differing positions on the net, describing it variously as "dehumanizing" and "blessed".

Which is not exactly a surprise, given what happened in the wake of that other comms revolution, movable type. ®

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