Thursday, September 06, 2012

Charity never fails...

I read somewhere that St. Maria Goretti was more concerned that her attacker would commit mortal sin than she was for her life.  As she lay dying in the hospital, the young Saint forgave her attacker.

The proof of her forgiveness manifested itself in a dream experienced by the would be rapist while in prison.  In the dream, Allessandro was visited by the Saint, extending her forgiveness to him in the form of a lily. 

Fifty years later, her murderer joined Maria's mother to be present at the canonization of her daughter in 1950.

It seems to me that the victim can indeed forgive the perpetrator.  The miracle of Allesandro's conversion suggests to me that without that kind of charity, one is not yet completely healed.



  1. This is a great sermon on Maria and Alessandro.
    Purity is so vital.

  2. Terry, I always try to understand Maria and other virgin martyrs, but I am always lost on the conclusion that I draw from it: That Christian parents should tell their daughters that they would rather see them dead than get raped. Yes, the Church does not teach that being raped is sinful, but it does seem to present being raped as some sort of moral failure, some sort of shrinking from duty.

    So, for instance, if a man says "if you run away I will kill you" ... does a woman have to run away and be killed? If he says "remove your clothes or I will kill you," does she sin by complying (since the actions of running away or removing clothing are in themselves morally neutral, and her intention is not to facilitate rape but avoid danger, I think moral theologians say no, not at all).

    I just remember what Pablo once said, that dying is better than being raped because purity is so important -- this implies that a woman who is raped loses her purity, something that I have seen denied by none other than St. Augustine. Does someone who gets raped lose their purity? I always though purity was a matter of the heart?

    It's almost like Catholic parents or husbands are supposed to be disappointed by their wives and daughters who get raped, and see moral failure in them.

    1. I think I've answered this before. I'm talking about something else here entirely. I'm talking about forgiveness of an offender. I don't want to get hung up on that stuff right now. Please let it go. Thanks Merc.

    2. Merc - it's cool - no problem at all. I just didn't want to get into that aspect. I'll try to address it later.

  3. The sermon I linked to focuses on that amazing story of forgiveness, I was referring to Allessandro's purity which he destroyed through bad books and company. Which led to his attack.

    I believe the heroic thing Maria did was refuse him to prevent his mortal sin, not her own.

  4. One only wonders what "bad books" were in the 1910s! If only they could see what's out today ...

    Of course, maybe I'm fooling myself. Smut has always existed, hasn't it?


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