An Italian priest has raised eyebrows and ire by placing the blame for domestic violence and rape squarely on women who he says dress provocatively and fail to properly perform their household duties.
Father Piero Corsi of San Terenzio, Liguria is being urged to resign after writing his shocking comments in a Christmas message and posting them on his church door.
The offending leaflet is titled, "Women and femicide- healthy self-criticism. How often do they provoke?" It reads:
How often do we see girls and mature women going around scantily dressed and in provocative clothes?
They provoke the worst instincts, which end in violence or sexual abuse. They should search their consciences and ask: did we bring this on ourselves?
Citing the 118 women who have been killed in crimes of domestic violence across Italy in 2012, Corsi asserts that the victims had pushed men to their breaking points:
Is it possible that all of a sudden men have gone mad? We don't believe it. The fact is that women are increasingly provocative, they have become arrogant, they believe themselves to be self-sufficient and end up exacerbating the situation.
Children are abandoned to their own devices, homes are dirty, meals are cold or fast food, clothes are filthy.
Outraged parishioners posted Corsi's misogynistic missive on Facebook, bringing the incident to national, then international attention. Ligurian Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti weighed in on the controversy, saying the priest's remarks were "unacceptable and go against the church's common feeling on the matter."
Women's rights advocates and other concerned Italians have called on Corsi to resign. Italian news outlets reported that he did indeed step down, but the priest vehemently denies this, claiming a resignation letter attributed to him was "probably a fake." Corsi said he plans on "taking a rest" but that he would not retire.
When pressed on his views during a radio interview, Corsi further inflamed Italians by asking the host, "I don't know whether you're a queer or not, but what do you feel when you see a naked woman?"
"Are women themselves not causing harm by unveiling themselves like this?" he asked.
Corsi's remarks come just days after Pope Benedict XVI slammed gay marriage as "unnatural" and a "threat to justice and peace" during a speech celebrating World Day of Peace.