27 Aug 2008

Italian priest plans beauty pageant for nuns

2:00 pm on 27 August 2008

An Italian priest says he is organising the world's first beauty pageant for nuns to erase a stereotype of them as being old and dour.

Father Antonio Rungi says The Miss Sister Italy online contest will start on his blog in September.

"Nuns are above all women and beauty is a gift from God," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.

He is asking nuns to send their photos to him, saying that internet users will then choose the winner.

Father Rungi stressed that nuns were not being invited to parade in bathing suits, saying it will be up to them whether they pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.

"You really think all nuns are old, stunted and sad? This isn't the case anymore," he said.