The Da Vinci Code

Gospel Expert Rebuts Da Vinci Code

Mary Magdalene and Jesus are not exactly new topics to the Catholic Church. The editors of Catholic Update have set out to help people sort out the buzz being generated by next week's release of the of Sony Picture's film, The Da Vinci Code.

In Saint Mary Magdalene: Redeeming Her Gospel Reputation, noted journalist Carol Ann Morrow explores the renaissance of interest in Mary Magdalene, the "Apostle to the Apostles," that has occurred in recent decades.

Morrow depends upon the expertise of Fordham University theologian Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., to help "decode" the confusion about Mary. The woman from Magdala is named "Apostle to the Apostles" -- a title used more often by eastern-rite Christians -- because she is the first witness to Easter's resurrection of Jesus. It was Mary who brought this news to the other followers of Jesus.

Confusion about her identity set in over time as talented preachers, notably Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century, used Mary's story to help illustrate how each person is called to new life in Jesus. In his compelling sermon he combined several Marys from the Gospels into one character, a sinner who changes her ways. Dr. Johnson has written extensively on women in the Christian tradition, including the 1992 breakthrough book, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, and the 2004 book, Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints. She describes Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code as a "fun novel" but as "pure fiction."

Dr. Johnson offers four ways to "redeem" our understanding of Mary Magdalene. We can respect her role as Witness to the events of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The women "are always the thread of continuity" in the story, explains Johnson. Mary Magdalene, as Disciple, was a "founding mother" of the Church, and a Partner of Jesus, as were other early followers, as well as Evangelist, one who helped bring the Gospel to others. Morrow notes that the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene each year on July 22. Her article can be read at www.AmericanCatholic.org.

Source: St. Anthony Messenger Press
CINCINNATI, May 11, 2006 /PRNewswire/ --

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