Women in Church Leadership
Mary of Magdala
Calling out the Legionaries of Christ in their exploitation of St. Mary of Magdala

On August 26, 2014, Women’s Equality Day, Jason Berry reported on a new, $100 million mmdollar project by the Legionaries of Christ in Israel to develop the Magdala Center at the Sea of Galilee.   A 138-page booklet, Magdala: God Really Loves Women is being used to promote the center and to raise the millions needed to cover the costs. 

The title is misleading.  The book gives little attention to how God “really loves women,” or the true history of Mary of Magdala’s role as a primary witness and leader in the early Church.  Rather, it draws a comparison between the disgraced founder of the Legionaries, Fr. Marcial Maciel Delgollado and Mary Magdala.  This is not the kind of equality that women seek; just the opposite.

The Magdala Project Director, Fr. Juan Maria Solana, displays his logic in the 138 page booklet.

  1. Marcial Maciel has the same initials, MM, as Mary Magdalene; therefore, they have a profound connection.

  2. Mary Magdalene was shamed, traumatized and judged harshly just as  Maciel was shamed, traumatized and judged harshly; therefore they have a profound connection.

  3. Mary Magdalene had a problematic hidden past before her deliverance just as Macial had a problematic past before his deliverance; therefore they have a profound connection.

All this Legionaries’ brand logic is laid out to make the case that Mary Magdalene is redeemed and a saint as so it will be true for  Maciel.  This is good for their business, but it epitomizes how St. Mary of Magdala continues to be exploited.  For those who don’t know the real story of Mary of Magdala’s witness and leadership or Macial’s corruption, the offensive associations being made by Solana will pass uncritically.

For over eighteen years FutureChurch has sponsored thousands of educational celebrations around the world to restore St. Mary of Magdala’s true identity as a primary witness to the resurrection and an important female leader in the early Church.  There is no biblical evidence to support the mistaken notion that she was a prostitute or the anonymous sinful woman named in Luke 7:36-50. Early Church fathers named her the “Apostle to the Apostles,” and in 1969 the Catholic church changed the lectionary reading on her feast day acknowledging that she was not a prostitute.  

It is painful to see a site like the Magdala Center controlled by the Legion of Christ and for Mary Magdala’s reputation to be so crassly muddied again in their efforts to raise money.  

FutureChurch is asking its membership and all concerned Catholics to write to Solana asking him to  discontinue the booklet and “reconsider how your represent Mary of Magdala’s history in the Church. “