6 July: Pius XII during the Canonization of St. Maria Goretti – AUDIO

Here is a snippet from the sermon Ven. Pius XII gave for the canonization of St Maria Goretti, whose feast is today.

Pius, the Last Roman Pope, from about 1950 onward, seeing what was going on in society called for greater purity.  What would he think about today?

The place: St. Peter’s Square, completely jammed
The date: 24 June 1950
The occasion: the canonization of St Maria Goretti

Full text HERE.

What you hear Pius XII say in the recording:

Perchè, diletti figli, siete accorsi in così sterminato numero alla sua glorificazione? Perchè, ascoltando o leggendo il racconto della sua breve vita, così somigliante a una limpida narrazione evangelica per semplicità di linee, per colore di ambiente, per la stessa fulminea violenza della morte, vi siete inteneriti fino alle lacrime? Perchè Maria Goretti ha conquistato così rapidamente i vostri cuori, fino a divenirne la prediletta, la beniamina? Vi è dunque in questo mondo, apparentemente travolto e immerso nell’edonismo, non soltanto una sparuta schiera di eletti assetati di cielo e di aria pura, ma folla, ma immense moltitudini, sulle quali il soprannaturale profumo della purezza cristiana esercita un fascino irresistibile e promettente : promettente e rassicurante.

Why, beloved children, have you rushed in such boundless numbers to her glorification?  Why, hearing or reading the account of her brief life, so much like a pristine gospel narrative for the simplicity of its line, for the painting of its setting, for the very flaming violence of the death, were you touched even to tears?  Why has Maria Goretti conquered your hearts so quickly, even to the point of becoming your favorite, your darling?   Thus, there is in this world, manifestly overwhelmed and sunk into hedonism, not only a sparse crowd of the chosen, thirsting for heaven and pure air, but a throng, but an immense multitude, upon which the supernatural fragrance of Christian purity works an irresistible and promising allure: promising and encouraging.

Some visuals to go along with the sound.

Maria Goretti was murdered in the course of an attempted rape, which she resisted to the point of being mortally wounded.  The Church teaches that those who die bearing witness to Christ, to the Faith, or to some virtue or quality inseparable from the Faith, in that moment manifest the virtues in a heroic way and are, therefore, able to be proposed even for elevation to our altars.  Something about St. Maria Goretti captured the imagination of the Catholic faithful in the early 20th c., as did, for example, St. Therese de Lisieux.  Their lives show us that we can, in fact, try – with the help of grace – to be clean in a world that is fallen and fallen far.  It is not hard to understand why even some Catholics react with strong negativity about Maria Goretti.  They’ve gone the way of the world.

Also, my contact with exorcists informs me that St. Maria Goretti is a mighty intercessor and a serious terror of demons, surely after the heart St. Joseph… known for his purity.   Joseph most chaste… Guardian of virgins… Solace of the wretched… Patron of the dying… THE Terror of demons.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. michele421 says:

    An honest question. Is a woman who doesn’t fight a rape for fear of being hurt guilty of a sin of impurity? If so, why?

  2. Blaise says:

    St Augustine considered this more or less indirectly in the City of God. In his context he was considering whether it was better to kill yourself than to allow yourself to be raped. His relevant point was, I think, that a rape victim loses nothing of their purity by physical violation: it is their soul which matters. I think it follows that a rape victim who through fear does not resist physically but resists spiritually in their soul is guilty of no impurity.
    I see that as wholly compatible with Sr Maria Goretti being a martyr of chastity in resisting both spiritually and physically.

    St Maria Goretti ora pro nobis.

  3. Antonin says:

    My niece was the victim of a randomized rape in a park. This kind of thing is rare but the impact on her life has been incalculable. She has graduate degree, is a beautiful woman but cannot work, is unable to maintain or enter into any relationship and will likely never marry. A part of her died that day. I grieve and suffer for her and am enraged at her attacker who will be out in another four years.

    Pray for rape victims. Violence against women is a real thing and the impact on women and families is more than you can possibly imagine. The only comfort and healing that can come from this violation is from Our Lady herself who will be the conduit if graces to restore what was stolen

  4. Antonin says:

    To answer your question Michele….there are three responses to extreme stress..fight, flight, and faint. All our defensive mechanisms. So someone who faints will appear not to be fighting it they are defending themselves to the best of their instinctual abilities.

    This is why soldiers need to train so much. They need to be trained to overcome deeper primordial instincts and let other learned behaviours compensate so they can act. When the heat of an actual battle happens, the brain in flooded with cortisol and we can only use the amygdala (survival centre). So soldiers need to train that part

    But often many people faint in time of stress …not literally faint – they withdraw

  5. seeker says:

    How could she be? Taken from a theological and intellectual perspective the elements of sin are not present: grave wrong, knowledge that it is a grave wrong and full consent. An assault cannot be those things to the victim. One wouldn’t consent to assault, but maybe to not dying during it. Big difference.
    From any other perspective, also no. Sadly, many victims of sexual abuse and assault have felt they contributed on some level which just shows how much evil is at play. Legal reforms have stopped victims from being attacked by defense attorneys for inviting assault, I guess it will take longer for the vestiges of that attitude to die out in our beliefs.

Comments are closed.