Mary of Magdala in the 
Prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has composed a special prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is a beautiful prayer, but in one area it falls short. Pairing Mary Magdalene with "the adulteress" and claiming that she too sought happiness "only in created things" reinforces a centuries-long - but historically and biblically incorrect - view of Mary as a prostitute or public sinner. We're asking Pope Francis to publicly correct the record on Mary of Magdala. 

Mary of Magdala & Women in Today's Church

Pope Francis has called for a deeper conversation around women and the Church. Correcting the record on Mary of Magdala would be an important contribution to the conversation.

There is no biblical evidence that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute or public sinner.
Instead, in three of the four Gospel accounts, the Risen Jesus first appears to Mary, and she is the only person - man or woman - to be placed at the empty tomb in all four Gospels. Since Mary reported the good news of the Resurrection to the apostles, she was named apostolorum apostola - the Apostle of the Apostles - by early church leaders such as Hippolytus of Rome and Gregory the Great.

The portrayal of Mary of Magdala as a repentant prostitute has overshadowed her true role in the early Church and has contributed to the marginalization of women in the Church throughout the centuries and even to this day.

Correcting the record on Mary of Magdala would provide a good historical and biblical starting point to discuss the role of women in the Church today.

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Catholic Women Speak, a groundbreaking, thought-provoking anthology of essays on women and family life that asks questions and explores issues that do not find space for open discussion in the Church. The writers are women who represent a broad international perspective and come from a variety of personal backgrounds who believe that the Church cannot come to a wise and informed understanding of family life without listening to women. "Pope Francis has repeatedly said that he wants a "messy" Church, a Church that is not afraid to take risks in order to live the joyous adventure of faith. This book expresses the messy realities of women's lives, realities that challenge the Church's current practice in many ways, realities that the Church must acknowledge in order to communicate the Gospel to future generations."-from the foreword Among the contributors, who represent a rich diversity and complexity of Catholic women's lives, are: Tina Beattie, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Ursula King, Margaret A. Farley, Christine Schenk and Elizabeth Johnson.