Over at the Two-Cent woman the hostess makes some comments about St. Maria Goretti, quoting St. Augustine.
It struck me in the thread that Augustine’s quotes were rather odd. I actually think the Saint was incorrect.
The Two-Cent Woman quotes him here:
St. Augustine taught this very clearly in The City of God, Chapter 18. He wrote, “…purity is a virtue of the soul…what sane man can suppose that, if his body be seized and forcibly made use of to satisfy the lust of another, he thereby loses his purity? For if purity can be thus destroyed, then assuredly purity is no virtue of the soul; nor can it be numbered among those good things by which the life is made good.” He goes on “I suppose no one is so foolish as to believe that, by this destruction of the integrity of one organ, the virgin has lost anything even of her bodily sanctity. And thus, so long as the soul keeps this firmness of purpose which sanctifies even the body, the violence done by another’s lust makes no impression on this bodily sanctity, which is preserved intact by one’s own persistent continence. ”
But the Saint is totally contradicted by Pope Pius XII:
Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity
The Pope is clear: St. Maria Goretti could have lost her virginity and her purity to a rapist. St. Augustine is wrong; virginity is a physical state that can be taken by force.
Later, Two-Cent Woman quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Another question comes to mind as well, “Is a virgin still a virgin, if she is raped against her will?” Yes, she is, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Virginity. The entry explains in the very first two sentences, “Morally, virginity signifies the reverence for bodily integrity which is suggested by a virtuous motive. Thus understood, it is common to both sexes, and may exist in a women even after bodily violation committed upon her against her will. ”
The Catholic Encyclopedia is contradicted, again, by Pope Pius XII (and it’s talk of being a virgin “morally” is just nonsense):
Never has there been a time when the palm of martyrdom was missing from the shining robes of the Spouse of Christ [the Church]. Even today in our very degraded and unclean world there are brief examples of unearthly beauty. The greatest of all triumphs is surely the one which is gained by the sacrifice of one’s life, a victory made holy by the blood-red garments of martyrdom. When, however, the martyr is a child of tender age with the natural timidity of the weaker sex such a martyrdom rises to the sublime heights of glory.
This is what happened in the case of Maria Goretti, a poor little girl and yet very wonderful. She was a Roman country maid who did not hesitate to struggle and to suffer, to shed her life’s blood and to die with heroic courage in order to keep herself pure and to preserve the lily-white flowers of her virginity.
Once again, Pius XII is clear: St. Maria Goretti was at risk of losing her purity and Virginity. It is not just a state dependent on one’s will.
I think the problem is that people are conflating pure and impure, virgin and non-virgin, and moral and immoral. To be pure, to be a virgin, is to be in a holy state.
To be raped is not a sin, but it DOES mean – horrible as it is – that one is no longer pure and no longer a virgin.
Think about how absurd this is. If Virginity and Purity are actually dependent on the Will, it is also the case that anybody who intends to have sex but is interrupted and then regains self-control is no longer a virgin and no longer pure. But that’s not true. The state is physical.
This is very difficult stuff, but we were never told it wouldn’t be. After all, Aslan is not a tame lion.