Catholic priest Fr Piero Corsi has stirred up some controversy in the wake of his Christmas message in which he asserts that with women becoming increasingly “provocative,” they have brought physical and sexual violence upon themselves.

The Journal reports on Father Corsi’s Christmas message, which was posted on the door of his church in the small parish of San Terenzo, near Lerici and La Spezia in northwest Italy. Father Corsi’s went viral after angry locals posted it to Facebook, where it spread first nationally and then internationally.

In the message, Father Corsi wrote “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?”

In the message, Father Corsi went on to say that he believed the 118 women killed in acts of domestic violence in Italy in 2012 were a result of men being pushed to their limits.

He continued, “Is it possible that all of a sudden men have gone mad? We don’t believe it.”

“The fact is that women are increasingly provocative, they become arrogant, they believe themselves to be self-sufficient and end up exacerbating the situation. Children are abandoned to their own devices, homes are dirty, meals are cold or fast food, clothes are filthy.”

Luigi Ernesto Palletti, the region’s bishop, responded to Father Corsi’s message by saying the message was “unacceptable and go against the church’s common feeling on the matter."

Despite reports saying otherwise, Father Corsi is insisting that he has not resigned in the wake of the controversy.

The mayor of San Terenzo said the message had left the town’s residents “dumbfounded and indignant.” An elderly female resident told Sky Italia television that Corsi “should keep a low profile as he has lots of secrets he would not wish to come out.”

Fr Piero Corsi