Summary: Contraception enabled many to adopt sinful lifestyles without fear of pregnancy, and the other results were predictable and damaging.

July 6, 2018

Feast of St. Maria Goretti

Our God is a God of mercy and compassion, but He is also the God of justice and equity. Defenseless people are His particular specialty. Crimes against those who cannot defend themselves, who have no physical or political power, are very offensive to the divine Justice. In biblical language, such sins “cry out to God for punishment.” So the prophet Amos in his day spoke for the Lord when he denounced those who cheated the poor and put them in such positions that they had to sell themselves as slaves to pay their debts. Moreover, since those people had been warned to be just and kind, and were not, God told them that the prophetic witness itself would dry up, and they would then wander through life without any guidance at all.

In the days of Jesus, people were then scandalized when He associated with people like St. Matthew, or Levi, who was a tax farmer. Frankly, Matthew was considered scum by the Jews of his community, because he extorted taxes from them and lived off the rake-off he could get from those funds. But Jesus saw qualities in Matthew that made him not only worthy of the sacrifice of Christ, but trainable in evangelization. Ultimately, his qualities, turned by repentance and strengthened by the grace of Christ, gave us the first Gospel, and gave him a crown of martyrdom and eternal life. If we listen to the voice of Christ, we will be saved and made missionaries to this world.

In these days of the “Me, Too” movement, when we are hearing stories of abuse everywhere, even some involving an American cardinal, we have to admit that the fifty years since the sexual revolution have been catastrophic for this country, and for Christ’s Church. Contraception enabled many to adopt sinful lifestyles without fear of pregnancy, and the other results were predictable and damaging: abortion, an STD epidemic, a collapsing birth rate that has murdered Social Security, and a rampage of sexual abuse, both homosexual and heterosexual. And both kinds are seriously sinful and criminal.

So Maria Goretti, who was murdered on this day in 1902, is the obvious patron of all victims of sexual abuse. It’s good to reflect on why she fought off Alessandro Serenelli when he attempted to rape her. His later testimony revealed that the reason for her vigorous refusal, which infuriated him so much that he stabbed her fourteen times, is that she feared for his spiritual loss. She looked at him as a child of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and mourned that his actions would condemn him to eternal punishment and loss of eternal joy. So in her witness to the love of Christ, she was an evangelist for all times. She was truly a martyr to the faith, and should inspire us to care for all victims of abuse, and to pray for the abusers’ conversion and healing.

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