I've brought this up a million times, and I'm going to keep pointing it out because our Church (for as much as I love Her) is *TERRIBLE* at communicating/handling anything revolving around sexual abuse.
Recently, the Pope announced the beatification of Bl. Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos. Unfortunately, the VAST majority of reporting on this fact highlighted her martyrdom as opposed to the virtues she espoused during her life.
Most articles highlight what I red lined above and to survivors of assault, this reads like a slap in the face. If it wouldn't be a breach of confidentiality, I'd share a screenshot of a thread on this very post that shows victim after victim struggling to come to terms with the inadvertent lesson being taught by this manner of framing:
We have GOT to stop framing holy women like this. For God's sake, there are *STILL* people arguing about Our Lady's perpetual virginity 2,000+ years later. There are *STILL* people arguing about St. Joan of Arc's virginity (was she or wasn't she raped?). There are *STILL* people who treat St. Maria Goretti's story as strictly about purity when the true crux of her example rested on mercy and forgiveness, even unto torturous pain akin to the Cross.
Can you think of any discussion around male saints like this (aside from St. Joseph whose discussion only exists in periphery to Our Lady)? Can you think of ANY male saint whose virginity/purity is called into question with the same aggression as any number of female saints I could throw out?
You can't, ya know why? Because it doesn't happen. Because the Church doesn't frame male saints in the same way it frames female saints. That is a HUGE problem because it diminishes women to one, singular facet of their being when, as these female saints' lives can attest, their virtues are so much more than "chastity." Campos, herself, was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, was going to medical school specifically to help impoverished children, and was well known to provide aid and comfort to the elderly.
She is a saint due to how she LIVED, not how she died.
Also, I have yet to see ANY evidence that Campos' murder was related to anything beyond yet another bruised male ego (which is the source of every male raping a woman since the dawn of time). So unless we're claiming that every woman who dies at the hands of angry, entitled men is automatically a saint for trying to protect herself from his violence, we should be focusing on those things that DID make her a saint. Or are we suggesting that women who survive their assault only survived because they didn't try hard enough to protect their bodies?
Seriously - the Church has got to do a better job understanding how Her communication around sexual assault can (and must) be improved.
May Blessed Isabel be forever remembered and celebrated for the heroic virtues she lived every day and inspire many new generations of saints.
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