Friday, July 21, 2023

A Superb Article on St Mary Magdalene

Tomorrow is the feast of St Mary Magdalene, and in preparation for it, I strongly commend to our readers’ attention an article by Mr Clement Harrold published today in the Church Life Journal, “A Retrieval of the Traditional View of Mary Magdalene From the Fringes of Theology.” The author gives a very well-argued explanation and defense of the Western tradition (which of course informs the traditional liturgical texts of her feast day) that Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the Resurrection, is the same person as Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the woman who anointed the Lord’s feet both times. It turns out that the dismissal of this tradition as a mistake is not so cut-and-dried as many would have us believe, and the arguments in favor of the traditional view, while perhaps not absolutely dispositive (as the author himself recognizes at one point) are actually very strong. As our readers certainly know, the revised liturgical texts for the feast of Mary Magdalene in the post-Conciliar Rite, including the new preface for her promulgated in 2016, accept her solely as a witness to the Passion and Resurrection. If Mr Harrold’s argument is correct, this will not be the first time that the reform will have sinned in haste, and refused to repent at leisure. Feliciter tibi, optime!

The Dinner in the House of Simon the Pharisee, 1560s, by Paolo Veronese (1528-88); public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

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