G.C. Petitions: Don’t Talk Bad ‘Bout Mary

This is among my favorite petitions for General Conference:

Resolve Not To Impugn Mary Magdalene
WHEREAS, the clergy of the United Methodist Church spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and
WHEREAS, Mary Magdalene, who was healed by the casting out of seven demons by Jesus and is a component of the Gospel story ( Mark 16: 9; Luke 8:2) ,   and
WHEREAS, women with whom Mary Magdalene kept company included Mary, mother of Jesus, and other women of good reputation and she and some of these women traveled with Jesus in His  proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God (Matthew 27: 55-56, 61; 28:1;  Mark 15: 40, 47; 16:1; Luke: 8:2-3; 24:10;  John 19:25), and
WHEREAS, Mary Magdalene supported them from her own means, ministered to Jesus, was at the crucifixion, and was the first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection ( Matthew 27:55-56, 28:1; Mark 16: 1, 9;  Luke 8:2-3;  John 20:1, 13-14) and
WHEREAS, there is nothing in the Books of the Gospel to indicate that Mary Magdalene  was a “sinner” or a “prostitute” [Harnish, James A., A Son Is Given: Witness to the Resurrection (scriptures for the church seasons), p. 63, unknown binding, 1996; Knight, Kevin (Ed.), “St. Mary Magdalene,” Catholic Encyclopedia, on line at http://www.newadvent.org <http://www.newadvent.org&gt; : 2006 version], and
WHEREAS, in the year 591, in a sermon given to monks at the Basilica San Clemente in Rome, Pope Gregory misidentified Mary Magdalene as a sinner and prostitute and that castigation became a tradition in the Roman Catholic (but not in Eastern Churches) and Protestant churches (Carroll, James, “Who Was Mary Magdalene?” The Smithsonian, pp. 117-119, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, June 2006; Darman, Jonathan, “Religion: Who Was Mary Magdalene?”, Newsweek/MSNBC, on line at http://www.msnbc.msn.com <http://www.msnbc.msn.com&gt; ., pp. 3-4 (2007); Collins, Father Raymond F., “Mary,” Holy Company: Christian Heroes and Heroines, Elliott Wright, Ed., p. 580, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.: 1982), and
WHEREAS, there is nothing for which reason Mary Magdalene should be confused with the woman in Nain who was a “sinner,” Mary of Bethany, or any woman who was a prostitute (see, Luke 7:11, 37-48, 10-38-42; John 8:3-11, 11:1-2), and
WHEREAS, in 1969, the Roman Catholic Church abandoned Pope Gregory’s characterization of Mary Magdalene with the reform of the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar (Collins, Ibid.; Darman, Ibid.;  Newsweek/MSNBC, on line at http://www.msnbc.msn.com <http://www.msnbc.msn.com&gt; .,
pp. 3-4 (2007); Filteau, Jerry, “Scholars Setting Record Straight on Mary Magdalene,” Catholic News, Washington, D.C., May 1, 2006 and http://www.cathnews.com/news/605/23.php <http://www.cathnews.com/news/605/23.php&gt; ); Pinksky,
Mark I., “Something about Mary Magdalene,” reprinted from the Orlando Sentinel, Atlanta, Georgia: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 6, 2004, pp. B 1-2], and
WHEREAS, those of the Protestant faith, including Methodist, have regrettably continued the tradition of sinner and prostitute and have perpetuated it, especially as part of the Easter story [Willimon, William H. and Patricia P. Willimon, Eds., The International Lesson Annual, 1992-1993, Nashville: Abingdon Press (1992), p. 254]  and
WHEREAS, our clergy need not step on the back of another person to convince others to accept the Gospel message, and
WHEREAS, the clergy of the United Methodist Church should be advised of the origin and error of the tradition and should be counseled against repeating it,
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that our clergy not impugn Mary Magdalene’s reputation by referring to her as a sinner or prostitute.

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