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The headline in Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, blares: “Teacher in mini-skirt fired by diocese.”
Caterina Bonci, a 38-year-old religion instructor described as a “leggy, long-haired blonde,” has caused a major sensation, getting axed by the Catholic Church from her position in state-run schools.
Bonci says authorities decided she was simply too attractive and dressed too sexy to teach about God after 14 years on the job.
“They shouldn’t treat me like this after 14 years of teaching,” Bonci said. “It’s pure nastiness.”
“I have always been attacked by my female colleagues and by the rest of the staff because of my attractiveness,” Bonci continued. “And if you consider that at our parent-teacher meetings it was always the fathers who came to see me, one can see why I have so often been at the center of attention and a target for gossip.”
The headmaster at her former school, Father Alcide Baldelli, said some parents and teachers had complained about Bonci because she would “show up in a mini-skirt.”
Bonci says she had never worn mini-skirts to work, and had “the right to wear a bikini if I go to the beach, and to wear a skirt the same length as thousands of other women … . I am not a nun.”
The Church claims it’s Bonci’s divorce which led to her firing, as divorce goes against Catholic doctrine.
Bonci says authorities have known about her marital status for years, having been separated 10 years ago and divorced in 2000.
Baldelli said officials allowed Bonci to continue only because the breakup of her marriage wasn’t her fault, and she had a daughter to support. It was recommended she apply for an annulment and continue on short-term contracts in the meantime.
Bonci has become a hot topic on local talk shows on the Adriatic Coast, and is now seeking reinstatement.
“I would like my job back. I think it is my right,” she said.
Local Bishop Vittorio Tomassetti in Fano, Italy, says it’s too early to reach a final decision on her request for her job back.