Originally posted by charles1952
I poked around a little and found that some believe Pope Gregory's statement makes sense. Not that it's 100% proven or anything, but still
I agree, but for me that is also why the whole thing is so very interesting. And politically driven.
Worthy of note, in an odd twist, the gospel reading in church today, was Luke 7:36 to 8:3
Anyway, there are a number of recent theologians who have come to the same conclusion as Pope Gregory, but there is also some disagreement as to
whether Simon the Pharisee is the same person as Simon the Leper. Only Luke refers to Simon as a Pharisee, so the general feeling is that, given the
overall context, that the woman who anoints the feet of Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee, is not the same woman referred to by Mark, Matthew
and John, and that while Mark, Matthew and John's story does refer to Mary Magdalene, Luke's does not. I have a tendency to agree, and it is
because Luke refers to Mary Magdalene, by name in the very next verse, that I do so. Why would he not make the literal connection if the connection
existed? And if Jesus knew the woman, the story of her anointing his feet, as it played out situationally, and as a lesson, makes no sense. Further,
Luke describes those women, Mary, Susannah and Joanna, as supporting him from their own means, would Jesus forgive their sins, and then live off their
immoral earnings? I find that hard to believe.
But above and beyond that, and what makes Gregory's homily political, is that he instituted, via that homily, firstly, that Mary was a penitent. And
yet, she was forgiven and told by Jesus, that she was free of her sins. No penitence required. More importantly though, he not only linked her to
the Mary who had seven demons cast from her, but he defined those demons as carnal sins, and gave those sins names. No where are the demons explained
until Gregory explains them, and further links her to sin by attaching Mary to the sinful woman.
Gregory is recorded historically as the Pope that brought patriarchy firmly to fore in the Roman Church and his ideas are clearly influenced by the
works of Boethius, in my opinion, particularly in his neo-Platonic ideas of women as the originators of sin, and that it is this, that influenced his
perception of Mary. In the weltenschauung of Gregory and Boethius women were responsible for the 'fall', and men their hapless victims. Even if
Mary had not been 'sinner', she would still be a 'sinner' by grace of her gender, that is how the church and it's intellectual body felt about
women at that time. This coupled with the wider politic, the defeat of Gothic rule in Rome under Justinian, and the subsequent problems that
followed, there was some need to rule with a firm hand, and as was Rome's way, that generally meant restrictions upon women, and it can be concluded
that Gregory was simply saying what everyone wanted to hear, it was all the fault of loose women.
But since there is no record of Gregory's reasoning on the matter, that is pure speculation
His reasoning may have been sound, in connecting
characters, not necessarily correct but sound all the same, but that does not excuse the license that he exercised in naming the 'seven demons' and
making them all refer to sins of the flesh. There, as far as I can tell, he had no basis.
And, still...if his reasoning is sound, doesn't that make the 1969 turnaround all the more intriguing?