Vigil to protest domestic violence

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Dozens of women and men were on hand at a "Take Back the Night" vigil to protest domestic violence. (Photo by Alex Collins/Glendale News-Press / October 28, 2008)

An Italian Catholic priest is under fire for a Christmas message he made that apparently blames women for domestic violence. Perio Corsi's text, titled “Women and femicide — healthy self-criticism. How often do they provoke?” contains the lines, “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?”

Corsi, the leader of a church in San Terenzo in northern Italy, also described modern women as “arrogant” and accused them, among other things, of serving cold food and not cleaning their houses. After his text was published online he first apologized for it and then retracted his apology. He has also dismissed demands for his resignation.

More than 100 Italian women were killed in domestic violence incidents in 2012, a third more than the previous year.

Q: Do Corsi's words reveal an entrenched cultural view of women and domestic violence?

I believe Perio Corsi's sermon reflects a grossly uninformed and errant view of the issue of domestic violence. It also reflects a belittling view of womanhood that is held by some people in the modern world, and that may in fact be entrenched in some regions or people groups. But I also believe that slowly these negative estimations of women are changing. Whether or not the overall modern cultural view of women ends up in a good place depends on whether or not it understands and follows God's biblically revealed will for the role of men and women.

Both men and women are created by God in his image. Both genders, along with every age group and nationality are redeemed the same way through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for us. God instructs us to kind and gentle to each other regardless of gender, putting the needs of others before our own. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” is the second great command linked with loving God with all our hearts. Yes, God has appointed specific roles in marriage and family life that some reject as old-fashioned or chauvinistic, but when they are properly understood and faithfully applied women and men are both esteemed and elevated.

Pastor Jon Barta
Valley Baptist Church


Unfortunately, recent anti-feminist remarks by the Italian priest, Piero Corsi, illustrate only too well that male chauvinism is far from dead. In the United States, domestic violence is a leading cause of death for women from ages 15 to 44, with more than 1,200 women fatal victims annually.

Worldwide one in three women will suffer some form of violence committed against them, and in some cultures this violence is sanctioned. For example in 2011 there were 943 honor killings of women in Pakistan alone.

In contrast, although women were considered second-class citizens in Christ's time, he never treated them that way. He publicly spoke and interacted with women, something that was not considered culturally appropriate. There were many women who followed him and contributed financially to his support, the most well-known being Mary Magdalene. But several others are mentioned including Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward, and two other Mary's, both mothers of Jesus' disciples. (Matthew 27:55–56; Luke 8:1–3)

Jesus had deep respect for women. He gave one woman the compliment of having “great faith,” one of only two people that he acknowledged this way (Mark 7:24–30). We know that many women followed him all the way to the cross, while only one disciple, John, did so. And at a time when women were not considered a credible witness, Jesus first appeared to a woman after his resurrection and gave her the responsibility of bearing witness to his disciples (Mark 16:9; Luke 24:9–12).

I'm not sure where Father Corsi is deriving his views of women, but it is clearly not from the gospel and example of Jesus Christ! Unfortunately, being a clergyman, his words garner much more attention than they are worth.

Pastor Ché Ahn
HRock Church