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6233Re: Gnostic Gospels Chapter 1

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  • lady_caritas
    Jun 30, 2002
      --- In gnosticism2@y..., coolas25 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > Elaine Pagels says that "Even today the pope traces his--and the
      > primacy he claims over the rest--to Peter himself, 'first of the
      > apostles,' since he was 'first witness of the resurrection." Now,
      > I've gone to Catholic school for about 12 years. We were always
      > taught that Mary Magdaline was the first to see Jesus resurrected.
      > So I guess my question is. Does the pope really believe that Peter
      > was the "first witness of the resurrection"? If so, why is it
      > in Catholic school that Mary was the first to witness Jesus
      > resurrected?
      > Thank you,
      > Colleen

      Hi, Colleen,

      You are undoubtedly more acquainted with the Catholic tradition than
      I, but I'll take a stab at your question. Please feel free to
      correct any misconceptions I might have about Catholic apostolic
      succession. The literal view of the resurrection was useful for
      orthodox Christians in validating apostolic succession and authority
      as successors of the Apostle Peter. Catholics believe Peter was
      chosen as the new leader because he was the first apostle to see
      Jesus after he had risen.

      Even though Mary Magdalene might be named by some accounts to be the
      first witness to the resurrection, she would not have had the same
      status as Peter according to Catholics. My understanding is that she
      would be considered an apostle to the apostles by Catholics, but
      certainly not in the running for leadership, since delegated
      authority, according to orthodox tradition, was reserved for the
      eleven remaining apostles (after Judas' death). Catholics believe
      only the apostles could designate their successors, and legitimate
      heirs are seen to be the Pope, bishops, priests.

      Suffice to say that Mary Magdalene certainly was quite a prominent
      apostle in the Gnostic tradition, to the dismay of the other
      apostles, Peter in particular. :-) Gnostics, not sharing the
      orthodox belief in bodily resurrection, would attribute more meaning
      to those who receive Gnosis. "Resurrection of the spirit" is
      important in this lifetime.

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