Miss Sister 2008 courts one of Christianity’s deadliest sins?

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Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.”-Blaise Pascal

Like the movie Sister Act, it’s an amusing tale that comes with the shaking of the head and a smile. As we get serious about organizing beauty contests for nuns, Fr. Antonio Rungi’s idea of an “inner” beauty derby for nuns seems very secular, even raunchy, especially if Christians consider vanity, along with pride, as one of humanity’s deadliest sins.

Fr. Rungi, a theologian and school teacher in Naples, Italy, believes nuns need a boost in visibility and an online voting contest may be the answer.

The “Miss Sister 2008” contest will start in September on a blog run by the Rev. Antonio Rungi and will give nuns from around the world a chance to showcase their work and their image….Nuns will fill out a profile including information about their life and vocation as well as a photograph.

We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits,” Rungi said. “But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn’t hide it.” AP (O8/25/08)

The controversial beauty contest gets mixed reactions. There are those who ask if there’s really a need to improve a nun’s visibility and if it needs a competition to do that. The liberals think the “pageant,” a part of modern life, is just fine, but some suspect it can can lead to a non-religious a business franchise like the Miss Universe contest.

Evil-conscious Christians fear the derby is Satan’s way of wagging its tail into the nunnery’s door. The beauty competition can become a butt of jokes and a topic of wild speculations. Another thinks beauty contests among the religious can be “habit-forming” and may be addicting.

“It’s an initiative that belittles the role of nuns who have dedicated themselves to God,” says president of Association of Catholic Teachers, Alberto Giannino, told Italy’s ANSA news agency on Sunday. AP (08/42/08)

The line separating propriety and vulgarity is thin. Whatever goes on in the minds of Catholics, Fr. Rungi might be subliminally touched by secularism, making him a bit cozy with the world. With Vatican’s traditionally conservative stance many wonder what the late Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI think of his idea. (PhotoCredits: Lovemetwee;Bsidez)=0=

Update: Facing strong pressure from the clergy and lay people against the nun beauty contest, on August 28, 2008, Fr. Rungi decided to stop the plan. Interested in projecting the inner beauty of nuns, he said he didn’t mean to have the nuns do a catwalk, like in a physical beauty pageant. He claimed he was misunderstood. =0=

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