Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Priest Antonio Rungi wants beauty contest – for nuns

[Source] August 24, 2008:

An Italian Catholic priest is launching a beauty contest with a difference – it will be open only to nuns.

Father Antonio Rungi, from Mondragone in the province of Caserta, near Naples, said he expected at least a thousand nuns to enter the “Sister Italia” contest. It would at first run online, but he hoped it would then become a “real pageant” on the lines of the annual Miss Italy contest, complete with a parade and interviews.

Father Rungi, a moral theologian who has his own blog, said the nuns would not wear swimsuits or revealing outfits. He said what he valued most in a woman was “inner beauty”. Asked for his feminine ideal however, he replied “Well, I would say Sophia Loren”.

The contestants must be aged between 18 and 40, and can be either full members of an order or novices. Father Rungi said he expected many of those who applied to be young, attractive – and non-Italian.

“Do you really think nuns are all wizened, funereal old ladies?” he said. “Today it’s not like that any more, thanks to an injection of youth and vitality brought to our country by foreign girls”. He said there were nuns from Africa and Latin America who were “really very, very pretty – the Brazilian girls above all”.

Father Rungi, who has organised religious services on Naples beaches where sunbathers can say the rosary, said that photos of the contestants would appear on his blog at the beginning of next month so that readers could vote for their favourite.

The nuns can decide whether to wear their full habits, including veils, or let their hair down. Each photo will be accompanied by an account by the nun herself of her life, personality, daily activities and spiritual development.

“Nuns are women above all else, and beauty is a gift from God,” Father Rungi said. He told Corriere della Sera it was the nuns themselves who had suggested the idea to him while helping him to run prayer services on the beach. “Many have assured me they will take part”.

He said he realised he risked being seen as a publicity-seeker. “But you need a bit of courage to do something like this. Nuns deserve much more attention they they get”. He said nuns had both “physical and spiritual beauty”, and often did social, caring or hospital work in which an “attractive presence” was an advantage.

He said the “Sister Italia 2008” contest was a way of showing that female beauty was “not just the plasticised beauty you see on television”.

“There is also such a thing as a chaste ideal, which comes from the heart and the soul, and has a beneficial effect on those who come into contact with it. After all, did not the Russian writer Dostoyevsky say that beauty would save the world?”.

He admitted that not all Catholics were in favour of the idea. “I have had some e-mails from Christians who perhaps have not grasped the evangelising spirit of the initiative, or the potential of the internet, which is a marvellous tool for spreading the Christian message. Unfortunately some people still have a closed mentality”.

There is no equivalent contest in Italy for priests – at least, not yet. However for the past four years a calendar featuring handsome young priests and seminarians posing against Rome landmarks has been a best seller at newspaper kiosks, selling 40,000 copies a year.

August 24, 2008 - Posted by | Bad Nuns

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