Pope Francis has declared the 2015-2016 liturgical year the Jubilee Year of Mercy in hopes of renewing the Church’s efforts of highlighting God’s infinite mercy. Here at FutureChurch we welcome a Year of Mercy and pray that the Church will be infused with God’s mercy at every level.
Materials are being released in advance of the December start and we’ve noticed one major problem with the prayer for the year: the reputation of Mary of Magdala, which we’ve worked so hard to restore, is being smeared yet again. The prayer, which you can view in its entirety here, reads in part: “Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things (our emphasis); made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.”
Now, FutureChurch has absolutely no problem recognizing the human faults and failings of our saints — in fact we can all draw personal strength and inspiration from recognizing that the saints who came before us weren’t perfect. But we do have a problem when those “faults” are works of pure fiction.
By lumping Mary of Magdala in with “the adulteress,” the prayer asks us to recall the reputation of the composite Mary of Magdala, rather than the Magdalene of scripture and history. We’re asked to recall the tale we were told years ago — that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute — and forget what we’ve learned since then — that Mary of Magdala infact was one of Jesus’ most influential apostles and she was not a prostitute.
Unfortnately, this prayer will be seen, read, and said by millions over the course of the Jubilee of Mercy and taken at face value. Catholic publishers have already begun sending out prayer cards, it’s being posted on websites, and religious education directors are ordering materials. FutureChurch is dedicated to restoring the memory of the true, scriptural and historical Mary of Magdala and will do whatever we can to continue to correct the record. And we invite you to join us in this effort.
We will start using the hashtag #ReclaimMagdalene when we post to Facebook or Twitter, whenever we correct the record, publicize our materials on Mary of Magdala, or when we promote your Mary of Magdala Celebrations this July. And we ask you to do the same. By using the hashtag #ReclaimMagdalene, Facebook and Twitter users will be able to easily search posts that put forward an accurate picture of Mary of Magdala and connect them with other users who care as deeply about this early church leader as we do.
Check out our resources on Mary of Magdala and keep an eye on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter to find out more about how you can #ReclaimMagdalene and help undo the miseducation of millions this year.