Angelus Address Focuses on St. Maria Goretti

John Paul II Calls Her an Example for Adolescents and Youth

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 7, 2002 ( John Paul II dedicated his Angelus address today to recall the example of St. Maria Goretti, on the centenary of her death. Here is a translation of the papal address which was given in Italian.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. One hundred years ago, on July 6, 1902, Maria Goretti died, mortally wounded the day before by the blind violence that struck her. My venerable predecessor, the servant of God Pius XII, proclaimed her a saint in 1950, proposing her to all as a model of courageous fidelity to the Christian vocation, to the supreme sacrifice of her life.

I wished to remember this important event with a special message to the bishop of Albano, underlining the current importance of this martyr of purity, whom I hope will be more widely known by adolescents and young people.

St. Maria Goretti is an example for the new generations, threatened by a mentality of lack of commitment, which finds it hard to understand the importance of values on which it is never licit to descend to compromises.

2. Although she was poor and lacking in school education, Maria, who was not yet 12 years old, had a strong and mature personality, formed by the religious education she received in the family. This enabled her not only to defend her own person with heroic chastity, but even to forgive her murderer.

Her martyrdom reminds us that the human being is not fulfilled by following pleasurable impulses, but by living his or her life in love and responsibility.

I know well how much you, dear young people, are sensitive to these ideals. In the hope of meeting you in two weeks in Toronto, today I wish to repeat to you: Do not let the culture of possessions and pleasure lull your consciences! Be vigilant and alert «sentinels,» in order to be genuine protagonists of a new humanity.

3. We now turn to Our Lady, after whom St. Maria Goretti was named. May the most pure of creatures help men and women of our time, especially young people, to rediscover the value of chastity and to live interpersonal relations in reciprocal respect and sincere love.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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