Today is her feast day, and to commemorate it, here is an excerpt from my recent book about her.
“One of the cornerstones of the argument that only men can be priests comes from the documentation of the facts on the ground during Christ’s ministry on earth, where the Church has consistently maintained that the leader of the apostles was Peter and it was upon him that the Church was built by Christ and because only men were chosen as apostles, only men can be ordained as priests.
“Yet, Brock (2003) makes a good case that Mary Magdalene was the first apostle:
“Apostolic authority, without question, was a key issue in the early Christian churches. It insured that the one carrying the gospel message was a bona fide messenger. The criteria by which various early Christian authors attributed apostolic authority to certain followers of Jesus and not to others in early Christian documents provide insights into the politics of various factions of the early church. For example, Mary Magdalene was so esteemed among some early Christians that they bestowed on her the honorific title, “apostle to the apostles,” and yet for others she holds no apostolic status at all and is instead known as a reformed prostitute, a concept for which there is no biblical basis.
“What did it take to be an apostle and were women included in that group? Hippolytus, an early Christian bishop and martyr of Rome (ca. 170-ca. 236), wrote:
“Lest the female apostles doubt the angels, Christ himself came to them so that the women would be apostles of Christ and by their obedience rectify the sin of the ancient Eve….Christ showed himself to the (male) apostles and said to them…“It is I who appeared to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as apostles.” (pp. 1-2) Brock, A. G. (2003). Mary Magdalene, the first apostle: The struggle for authority. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
“If this is true, and I believe it is, because I cannot see how God approves the unequal status of women which the world has proclaimed since time immemorial.” (pp. 29-30)
Lukenbill, D. (2014). Women in the Church, St. Catherine of Siena, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, & Criminal Reformation. Sacramento, California: The Lampstand Foundation.