FOLLOWING our report yesterday that the Catholic Church in Poland is not at all happy that the country had signed up to the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing violence against women, comes astonishing news from Italy, where a priest posted a notice on his church’s noticeboard that asserted that women brought violence upon themselves by dressing provocatively and being lousy cooks.
The message blamed the deaths of 118 women killed by men in Italy in 2012 on the “filthy clothes” they wore, and the “cold suppers” they dished up to their families.
The Christmas notice, originally penned by an ultra-conservative Catholic named Bruno Volpe and posted on Father Piero Corsi’s church’s notice board in the small seaside town of San Terenzio near La Spezia in northwestern Italy, sparked widespread condemnation. The leaflet read:
Is it possible that men have turn crazy all of a sudden? We don’t believe so. The point is that more and more women provoke, fall into arrogance, believe [themselves] to be independent and exacerbate tensions.
Children are left outside alone, homes are dirty, meals are served cold or are fast-food-like, clothing is filthy.They [women] trigger the worst instincts, leading to violence and sexual abuse. They should do a self-examination and think: did we ask for it?
A copy of the leaflet was posted online and triggered wave of outrage. Corsi’s Facebook page was flooded with angry comments and was shut down. Maria Carnieri, head of Telefono Rosa, an NGO fighting violence against women, called for the Pope and Italian Prime Minster Mario Monti to intervene.
La Spezia bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti ordered the leaflet to be removed and distanced himself from Corsi. The priest’s words, he said, were:
Contrary to the church’s common feeling on the matter.
But an unrepentant Corsi told Radio Rai:
I don’t know if you are a faggot or not but what do you feel when you see a naked woman? Is it not a woman’s violence [sic] to unveil herself that way?
He then claimed in La Repubblica newspaper that the words:
Had been exploited by liar journalists for whom jail wouldn’t be an adequate sentence since they deserve the death penalty.
He later issued an apology and said he would quit the priesthood, due to the “pain and regret” he felt for:
The controversy caused by his imprudent provocation.
But he then backtracked and denied both the apology and any intention of resigning.
According to this report, domestic violence against women is a serious problem in Italy although a report by a United Nations mission in June said it was
Largely invisible and under-reported.
A third of women in Italy had reported being victim of serious domestic violence, a UN report citing data from Italian statistics agency ISTAT said.
Volpe’s original text attacked pornography and erotic television advertising but said women shared the blame for:
Provoking the worst instincts, which then turn into violence and sexual abuse. How often do we see girls and even mature women walking on the streets in provocative and tight clothing?
The mayor of Lerici, Marco Caluri, said yesterday that the article was:
Astonishing and deeply offensive.
Telefono Rosa’s Carnieri added:
I thank the bishop who had the paper taken down but I’m still not satisfied because I think someone needs to talk to this person and understand why he has these attitudes.
I think he needs to make a deeper examination of his conscience that goes beyond apologies.
Corsi denied reports that he intended to resign as priest and in an interview published on the web site of the weekly Oggi, he said he would be carrying on with his work.
After everything that’s happened, which has certainly been well beyond what I intended or expected, I think there’s need for calm, rest and silence to respond with the serenity and harmony required to carry on.
Another Catholic priest in the news this week is the Rev Peter Petroske, who has been sentenced in Detroit for driving drunk and naked.
The priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Detroit from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, will have to pay $1,200 in fines and court costs. He was sentenced yesterday to 12 months’ reporting probation and ordered to attend Alcoholic Anonymous meetings three times a week by 19th District Judge Richard Wygonik.
Hat tip: Canada Dave and BarrieJohn (Detroit report).