We thank FutureChurch for alerting us to this.
On April 14 and 21, 2015, Rita Houlihan organized and sponsored two lectures at Fordham University by Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, csj, who went about setting the record straight about Mary of Magdala.
Sr. Johnson immediately got to the heart of the issue stating, "Mary of Magdala was one of Jesus' most influential apostles-and she was not a prostitute. Mary kept vigil at the cross throughout Jesus' crucifixion, discovered the empty tomb after Jesus' resurrection, and was then commissioned to 'go and tell' the good news."
The problem began in 591 when Pope Gregory characterized Mary of Magdala as a repentant prostitute, a label that "stuck" eclipsing her important leadership and apostolic roles, even today.
"Making her a prostitute has allowed her leadership role among the disciples to be generally forgotten," said Dr. Johnson. "For those who prefer a Church with an exclusively male hierarchy, it is easier to deal with her as a repentant sinner than as an apostolic woman who had a voice and used it."