I was very disappointed, even distressed, to read the article by Mary Kenny, reprinted from The Irish Catholic, referring to St Maria Goretti.
Her martyrdom had nothing whatsoever to do with rape.
I wonder if the author has even read the Saint's biography? She was not yet twelve, but more importantly was not "working in the fields." Maria was keeping house and minding her baby sister while her mother was working outside - her husband having recently died. And the murderer was not any young man, but a member of the same household, he and his father being share-farmers with the Gorettis.
Rape was not an issue, for Alessandro required Maria's agreement to his suggestions, which he had proposed several times before, threatening death if she told her mother.
Some years ago an article in The Catholic Weekly suggested that it was farcical to hold Maria up as an example because rape is not a sin for the victim. The implication was that Maria's action was foolishness.
Mary Kenny's expression "silly jokes" is hardly strong enough to counter the arguments of those who mock chastity and virginity.
I repeat, the word "rape" should never enter into any conversation about St Maria Goretti. She is patroness of youth and her image is of modesty and purity. Every morning and every evening St Maria Goretti said the "Three Hail Marys" in honour of Our Lady's immaculate purity.
Perhaps, by way of redress, AD2000 could review and promote Father Geoffrey Poage CP's biography of St Maria Goretti, In Garments All Red, a TAN publication.