By Mary Joyce, website editor


Painting of Mary Magdalene by Karmie Varya

Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection, was elevated this year from prostitute to apostle according to a June 10, 2016 press release from the Catholic News Agency. It only took 1,425 years to clear her name!

It was Pope Gregory the Great who destroyed her reputation when he falsely declared from his pulpit in 591 AD that Mary Magdalene was not only the prostitute mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, but also had committed seven cardinal sins.  He added that she anointed Christ’s feet with perfume she’d used “to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts.”

While one pope destroyed Mary Magdalene’s name for a very long time, Pope Francis finally has cleared it. 

Pope GregoryPope Francis

Pope Gregory the Great – Pope Francis, the world’s current pope

The press release quotes Archbishop Arthur Roche as saying that Mary Magdalene “is the witness to the risen Christ and announces the message of the Lord’s resurrection just like the rest of the Apostles.”  

He explained that for this reason “it is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman should have the same rank of Feast as that given to the celebration of the Apostles in the General Roman Calendar.”

Catholics around the world will celebrate Mary Magdalene’s new Feast Day for the first time on July 22, 2016.

It’s worth noting that the legend of Mary the penitent whore is found only in the Western Church.  The Eastern Orthodox Church always has honored Mary Magdalene as the first witness to the resurrection.