One would almost think that this must have come from the Onion, but alas it is legit.

A Catholic bishop in Kerala has landed in trouble after adopting a young woman in Kochi in defiance of the Church’s Canon Law.

Fifty-eight-year-old Bishop John Thattungal of Cochin stunned a meeting of priests of his diocese October 1 when he made the controversial announcement that he had adopted a 26-year-old woman, one of the four daughters of an Orthodox Church priest from Pathnamthitta district, Church sources said.

He also claimed that he had the consent of the woman’s family for adoption, which was carried out at the sub-registrar office in Mattanchery here, September 15. The woman was residing at a home-stay inside the Bishop’s House compound for a while, but left for Pathanamthitta after the controversy surfaced.

The bishop had reportedly met her during a pilgrimage abroad along with her parents a few months ago.

Thattungal was quoted by a local newspaper as saying that he had only “fatherly love” for the woman in whom he found “spiritual enlightenment”. He had reportedly been impressed by her “spirituality and divine experience” during the holy journey.

However, the priests of his diocese term his claims as senseless and against the Church laws and tradition. They also questioned his moral and ecclesiastical right to adopt a laywoman.

Bishop Thattungal too hit back at his critics, saying he was being victimised by vested interests for unearthing some frauds. But Acharuparambil denied there was a lobby working against the Cochin bishop.

I mean what is this guy thinking? Adopting a 26 yr old woman?

My favorite part is that he is now claiming to be a victim of special interests! Who would that be, the powerful Catholic-anti-bishops-adopting-a-grown-woman lobby?

I realize that I see everything through a political lens these days when the first thought that popped in my head is that he should just go on national television and say, “Uh …here’s the thing … if it seems crazy that I would adopt a grown woman …uh … it’s because it isn’t true. When I was thirty two uh .. she was just a baby! My opponents have babies. Uh … I just didn’t want to be punished with a baby when they are all needy and smelly so I … uh … made the choice to wait until I adopted. But the real issue is the economy and President Bush …”

Then the media could say that he won the debate and the Pope was cranky and aggressive. Issue solved.