Zippy has an excellent post up on St. Maria Goretti. I have nothing specifically to criticize it, but I want to add my thoughts.
I understand the desire to try and downplay St. Goretti’s martyrdom for purity – I truly do. When one thinks of the Elizabeth Smarts of the world, who specifically made the choice to do whatever their attacker told them to in order to get back to their family and now serves as an activist for the abused and traumatized, the mind rebels to think that she would have been better off dying as a martyr to purity.
Furthermore, it is natural for every man to tell the women in his life that if they are attacked, they are to do what the attacker tells them to in order to get back alive, as opposed to resist.
Then there’s St. Maria Goretti, who stands as a symbol of a higher, holier way. What happened to her is deeply uncomfortable and unsettling. It was a horrible, horrible situation. That she died for her purity is disturbing, and it should be, because it was a disturbing attack.
But our response to it can be summarized like this: Aslan is not a tame lion. If purity is really something to aspire to, if it really is holy state, than the logical extrapolation from there is that dying to keep your purity is a holy, heroic thing. It is an unavoidable conclusion if we start from those premises. I don’t like it. I don’t think anyone does. But there it is.
The truth doesn’t exist to make us feel better. It exists because it is true. It exists independent of us and our desires, our worries and fears.
After all, Aslan is not a tame lion.