Canceled: Beauty contest for nuns

Father Antonio Rungi says his pageant plans were "deliberately misinterpreted."

Published August 27, 2008 9:30PM (EDT)

This just in: The beauty competition for nuns announced earlier this week by an Italian priest has been canceled. I guess that means it's time to retire the jokes about nuns participating in a bathing suit competition in hopes of being crowned with a diamond-encrusted wimple. (Wait, just one more: The convent's answer to the burqini? The habitini!)

Father Antonio Rungi, who came up with the idea, said he was forced to cancel the event after the public "deliberately misinterpreted" his "innocent initiative." Rungi said he received a number of fiery e-mails in response to his pageant plan, including one that told him he was going to hell. The outrage didn't stop there: "My superiors were not happy ... they did not understand me either." Uh-oh, one hopes the superior understood him.

Rungi spoke to Reuters Tuesday in an attempt to clarify his intentions to his critics. Yes, he originally emphasized that "external beauty" is a "gift from God," and, yes, he sang the praises of "really very, very pretty" nuns from all over the world ("the Brazilian girls above all") -- but Rungi said he wasn't going to put nuns on a catwalk. He added that his pageant would have taken a "complete" look at contestants and evaluated inner beauty as well -- you know, just as in almost every major beauty pageant across the globe.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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