The Pope may have called for peace during his Christmas message, but the Italian Catholic community was thrust into controversy over the holiday when a priest posted on his church's bulletin board a text about domestic violence against women that seemed to place blame on the victims. The text was also posted on the Catholic website Pontifex.roma.it, which L'Huffington Post says has a reputation for being homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist. On that site it was attributed to Bruno Volpe, who has written in support of the priest, Piero Corsi. The screed claimed that men can't have possibly just turned violent — and that women who don't take care of their homes must share the blame for violence. Reuters has a translation and la Repubblica has an image of the flyer itself.
Babies left to themselves, dirty houses, cold meals and fast food at home, soiled clothes. So if a family ends up in a mess and turns into crime (a form of violence which should be condemned and punished firmly) often the responsibility is shared.
The text also blamed women for wearing provocative clothing.
James Mackenzie of Reuters explained the extent of the problem of violence against women in Italy, noting a UN report which found that a third of Italian women had been reported being domestic violence victims, and 127 women were murdered by men in 2010 for "honor, men's unemployment and jealousy by the perpetrator."
Now, let's also point out that the the priest responsible for posting the note, Piero Corsi, has a nasty habit of posting offensive and inflammatory items to the bulletin board. He previously put up cartoons lampooning Islam. And Mark Easter of L'Huffington Post explained that in responding to a journalist's question about his recent controversy Corsi lashed out with an anti-gay slur.
Mackenzie reported that both the mayor of the village of San Terenzo di Lerici that houses the church and the bishop of the province denounced the flyer. Reports of Corsi's resignation were later contradicted.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.