IN HIS Letter from Rome February 15, Desmond O'Grady mentions the real reason for the canonisation of St Maria Goretti almost as an aside, a suhsiduary clause in a long sentence in a long article.
It is, as your correspondent says, foolish and snobbish to expect an eleven-year-old peasant girl to be a theologian or a model of Victorian good manners. And I could never see that resistance to rape was necessarily a sign of holy purity, but the natural reaction of a terrified child.
The real point is that, in Mr O'Grady's words, "Without anaesthetic she underwent a five-hour operation and died, after forgiving her assailment, the following day".
This, surely, was St. Maria's heroic virtue, and one has only to read your letter page on occasions to see how her example is needed.
Alan Foss 3, Plant House, Newlands Park, Sydenham SE26 5PD