The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Today, the Congregation for Divine Worship has released a decree, Resurrectionis dominicae, dated June 3raising the commemoration of St. Mary Magdalene from a memorial to a feast. Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation, has written a lengthy article for L’Osservatore Romano, currently in Italian, discussing the decision of the Holy Father to raise the commemoration of St. Mary Magdalene to a feast. Here is an interesting portion of the decree:

Nostris vero temporibus cum Ecclesia vocata sit ad impensius consulendum de mulieris dignitate, de nova Evangelizatione ac de amplitudine mysterii divinae misericordiae bonum visum est ut etiam exemplum Sanctae Mariae Magdalenae aptius fidelibus proponatur. Haec enim mulier agnita ut dilectrix Christi et a Christo plurimum dilecta, “testis divinae misericordiae” a Sancto Gregorio Magno, et “apostolorum apostola” a Sancto Thoma de Aquino appellata, a christifidelibus huius temporis deprehendi potest ut paradigma ministerii mulierum in Ecclesia.

(Emphasis supplied.) We are, of course, particularly interested in the decree’s reference to the New Evangelization. As you may recall, the New Evangelization was a major theme of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. However, since February 28, 2013, not much has been heard about the New Evangelization. (And, perhaps, with good cause: it seemed to be little more than a buzzword for many people.) It is, therefore, interesting to see St. Mary Magdalene being mentioned as an example in the context of the New Evangelization.

What is also interesting is the extent to which St. Gregory the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas are cited in the decree and Archbishop Roche’s article. Particularly the description of Mary Magdalene as “apostolorum apostola,” apostless of the apostles. Obviously, this is, as Rorate Caeli noted in a series of tweets, a more or less literary appellation. However, at a time when the enemies of the Church have decided to renew their efforts for the so-called ordination of women, such language must be used carefully—or not at all—lest false equivalences be drawn. If we have learned nothing else from the Synodal process, we have seen that the progressives will twist, contort, and restate facts until their conclusions, once thought ridiculous, become “inevitable.” Add to this the modern (Modernist?) fetish for the language of “rights” and “equality,” and you’ve got a powerful brew.

Of course, none of this is a reason not to celebrate Mary Magdalene’s feast. It is a reason to ask for her intercession that the teaching of the One she loved so dearly be upheld and defended in His Church, however.