The Goretti Group looks like your standard abstinence-only educational team — they certainly rely on the same themes and messages. The “Purity at all Cost” tagline struck me as a little strange, to say the least — at all cost, really? — until I googled their namesake, Maria Goretti.
Maria Goretti is a Catholic martyr, who was killed by her would-be rapist. She’s a saint because, apparently, it’s better to die than to be unchaste.
Her murderer and attempted rapist was forgiven and attended Mass with Maria’s mother, where he took communion (something not offered to many pro-choice politicians). He claimed to pray to Maria and referred to her as “my little saint.”
When Maria was canonized, here’s what Pope Pius XII told the crowd:
“We order and declare, that the blessed Maria Goretti can be venerated as a Saint and We introduce her into the Canon of Saints.” Some 500,000 people, among them a majority of youth, had come from around the World. Pope Pius XII asked them:
“Young people, pleasure of the eyes of Jesus, are you determined to resist any attack on your chastity with the help of grace of God?”
A resounding “yes” was the answer.
That’s right, ladies: Better dead than not a virgin. Better to die than to survive rape.
Note that it was never attempting to fight off her rapist that made Maria great; it was her supposedly choosing death over sexual “impurity” — because apparently, being raped means that you’re impure. Did I mention she was 12?
And other Popes have followed suit with the Virginity or Death! theme:
Pope Pius XII was not the only Pope who had high praise for the Saint. While most saints are often left to local care after their canonization, St Maria Goretti received two Papal visits to her shrine. On September 14, 1969, Pope Paul VI visited her shrine in Nettuno and honored her with these words:
“The value of Christian virtue is so great, so overwhelming, so imperative, that it is worth more than life. Purity is not just a separate part of our being. It belongs to our existence as a whole, it is essential for our life. Purity brings us in harmony of body and soul.”
Ten years later, on September 1, 1979, Pope John Paul II honored St Maria Goretti with a visit and spoke before thousands of faithful:
“Maria Goretti, so illuminating with her spiritual beauty, challenges us to a firm and secure faith in the Word of God, as the only source of truth, to remain firm against the temptations of this world.”
“Young people, look at Maria Goretti, don’t be tempted by the tempting atmosphere of our permissive society, which declares, everything is possible. Look to Maria Goretti, love, live, defend your chastity.”
“Young people, don’t be afraid to carry the torch of your life, light and ideals into modern society.”
Unless you’re raped or you have sex, in which case probably better to snuff out that torch.
Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.
Now there’s a message I want to send to my daughters.
UPDATE: Just go read Natalia.