Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, the Eastern Orthodox tradition never recognised it and Pope Gregory the Great deliberately fudged unconnected incidents in the gospels and trashed her reputation to make a point about repentance. In savaging the reputation of a woman who was as close to Jesus as any of his male disciples for his own misguided message, however, you have to acknowledge this act was the result of underlying sexism at the very least as well as falling far far below any decent standards of love, integrity or honesty. The facts are that Mary stood by Jesus when the men ran away and that she was the first to the see the risen Jesus on the ‘morning after’; and modern thinking is that she was of a higher social status and may even have help support Jesus during his ministry. Whatever she was however her pivotal reputation has been degraded in a way that casts shame on those who did it and the truth needs to be trumpeted widely.


The Wikipedia entry on Mary Magdalene is accurate and uncontroversial and indeed Googling ‘Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute’ throws up numerous sites all telling the same thing: that Mary was probably a woman of higher status who supported Jesus in his ministry; that arguably she was as close as any disciple; that the myth of her being a prostitute was a conflation of her being named Mary, of Mary of Bethany washing Jesus’ feet and of an unknown ‘sinful woman’ similarly washing his feel. Pope Gregory the Great made an example of Mary as a repentant sinner but given the total lack of anything other coincidence there has to be the possibility that this gigantic error was more than merely an ignorant & incompetent mistake. The Roman Catholic church took the massive step of reversing it’s historical position on Mary in 1969 but popular culture persisted with the myth. In 2018 Pope Francis took the biggest step yet in creating a major feast day for her in line with the male apostles. The Orthodox communion has always recognised her importance and many of the Protestant churches disagreed with the then Roman Catholic church position. The blackening of her character for political reasons remains the thing she is known for however and that should not be tolerated. When the truth becomes something to be sacrificed in the light of political expediency you know that there’s a rotten canker at the heart of your organisation. 

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