I have a friend who is an atheist. When I decided to become a catechumen and join the Church, she didn’t speak to me for a few weeks. However, we are now on speaking terms again. I’m having issues though, in that she questions many things about the Church and I obviously don’t have all the answers. Earlier today, we had quite a heated discussion about St. Maria Goretti.
Just a bit of background before I continue. I was raped when I was a little girl, by a grown man. My friend knows about this.
She happened to read about St. Maria Goretti this past week and was telling me she thinks the whole story of St. Maria Goretti is a load of BS made up by the Church. She had many objections to the story, but the one that stands out to me is, she doesn’t understand how Maria was able to fight off her rapist.
She feels Maria’s would-be rapist simply chose not to rape her. That he could have overtaken her if he liked… and it was, therefore, no virtue on her part to “resist”. If she had the ability to resist and succeed, then it wasn’t really rape.
She also commented that having St. Maria Goretti as the patron saint of girls who’ve been raped is a slap in the face. She feels I should be insulted by this. Because, she was able to resist being raped, which means (in her opinion), that indirectly the Church is implying that being raped is a child’s own fault, i.e., according to the Catholic Church, I personally am not as virtuous as St. Maria Goretti because I “gave in” to my rapist…
I’m not saying I believe what my friend is saying. I want to understand the Church’s teaching on this. But… I do have to admit I am stumped by her argument. I mean, from my personal experience… I personally fought my rapist, I screamed and punched him and so on, but it was to no avail as he was bigger and stronger than me. I really had no choice and could not fight him off…
I don’t know what to say to her about this. I am at a loss. Maybe I need to read a little more in depth about St. Maria Goretti’s story as I’ve only read a very short account of it. In any event I’d be grateful for anyone’s insight or thoughts.