One of Jesus’ favorites was Mary Magdalen. The Pharisees looked down on Magdalen as a “sinner” (Luke 7:39) and thought Jesus should shun her. But Jesus loved Magdalen and admired her enormous humility, repentance and faith. He let her kiss his feet and told the Pharisee named Simon:
“Dost though see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them.” (Luke 7:44)
To Magdalen, Jesus said: “Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Jesus held Magdalen up on a pedestal as a woman of superior virtue, as he did with his mother, Mary. He did not make Magdalen an “Apostle.” In a sense, he raised her above the Apostles. After he died and rose, Christ appeared to Magdalen outside the tomb. He honored her with this very special visit and entrusted her to tell the Apostles what she had seen instead of appearing to the Apostles himself. That tells you how highly Christ held Magdalen.
The Apostles Mark, Luke and John permanently transcribed Christ’s high esteem for Magdalen in their gospels for all those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. John writes how the Apostles listened intently as Magdalen told them: “I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.” (John 20:18) The way Mark, Luke and John write about Magdalen is feminist—if feminists want to pay attention. Even at a time in history when men dominated, the male Apostles had no problem proclaiming how they viewed women like Magdalen as equals in holiness and leadership.
Christ did not reward faith and love with “leadership titles” as we do here on earth. Rather, he rewarded faith and love with eternal happiness, as he told the repentant robber who hung next to him on a cross: “Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Journalists who twist the Pope’s words should think about why they are obsessed with attacking the Pope’s right to express his faith. It is crucial to respect the right of Catholics to be openly Catholic and not watered-down Catholic, because this will ensure that we all continue to have the ability to express our beliefs in peace, whether we are Catholic or not. To remain free, we must let others say things we disagree with.