Guest Author - Linda J. Paul
Tonight was the grand premiere of “The Secrets of Mary Magdalene” at my U.U. Church. We were honored to be able to present several of the editors and authors who contributed to the making of the DVD. After the movie we had a question and answer period. Of course, Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” was brought into the discussion.
One of the questions was “Why is the Catholic Church so angry about this information?” “After all the book is a work of fiction.”
The answers to that question were actually quite enlightening. There were many thoughts on the subject including opinions that the church was afraid of change and that old traditional views are not easy to sway.
My personal view is that since the Catholic Church has always thrived on patriarchal principles, any viewpoint that puts a woman in a position of spiritual power is threatening. And, certainly, with all of the publicity that the Magdalene has received over the past few years, she is being seen in a much different aspect than she has been viewed in the past.
“The Da Vinci Code” may be fictional, but it also piqued interest in the Gnostic Gospels and other non-canonical ancient documents. And, now, with the Gospel of Judas making the news, the Catholic Church is being forced to try and explain the discrepancies between the old texts and the traditional scriptures.
The concept that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute has been adhered to by the church since the year 591 when Pope Gregory the Great made the public announcement that Mary Magdalene had definitely and without question been a prostitute. But, this cannot be backed up in any scriptures of Biblical text. This was the way that the Church decided to denounce, degrade and demoralize a very intelligent and loyal follower of Jesus.
After all, Mary was an inconvenient woman. There was really no way to avoid the fact that she is mentioned 13 times in the New Testament. She, of all the disciples, stayed by the side of Jesus through the whole crucifixion, and as the first to witness the resurrection of Jesus. This in essence, made Mary Magdalene the Apostle of the Apostles.
However, the attempt to slander Mary Magdalene fell short of it’s purpose. The main reason for this was the fact that the Magdalene was human. There are not many female spiritual role models for women to look toward. The Dali Lama, Buddha, Krishna, God, Jesus, Gandhi, etc., are all very powerful role models for men. The only woman who has served as a spiritual role for womankind has been the Virgin Mary.. And, what woman can live up to a virgin who sacrificed her entire life to her offspring, who was also the son of God?
Mary Magdalene filled the gap quite nicely. She was a loyal, devoted, loving, passionate, compassionate, and lovable woman who admittedly made mistakes. She was one of us.
It has not been as much the Christian women who embraced the Magdalene for who she really was. It has actually been women who do not hold the same patriarchal views of the church that have championed Mary Magdalene. For many Pagan women she is a powerful Goddess image.
As the story of Mary Magdalene unfolds through the media and more people are seeking information about her life and times, she is becoming a legend that the Catholic Church is having a very hard time accepting. Mary Magdalene may not be able to speak for herself, but her voice is being heard in the teachings and writings of both men and women who are telling her story as it should have been told hundreds of years ago.
Yes, the Church of Rome is afraid. The patriarchal hierarchy is starting to crumble and as it does woman are slowly beginning to find their places in positions of power. And, the Magdalene is there every step of the way to guide their footsteps.