Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
New York publishing giant Simon and Schuster has chosen the Christmas season as the perfect time to publish a 96-page novella that depicts Mary as fleeing the scene of the crucifixion, describing herself as “unhinged” and claiming the world was not worth redeeming.
L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, calls the book The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, a vicious “character assassination” of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“The author, an Irish ex-Catholic named Colm Toibin, presents us instead with a Bible-burning ‘reimagination’ of an alienated Mary that fled the scene of her son’s death in fear for her own life,” Bozell writes.
” . . . (T)his anti-Mary is filled with bitterness and rage. She describes herself as ‘unhinged’ and bubbling with contempt for her son’s demented followers, to the extreme that she threatens the Gospel writers with a knife. She lives as a bandit, stealing to survive.”
This outrageous book depicts the disciples as “fools, twitchers, malcontents, and stammerers.” Mary says Jesus’ preaching sounded false to her, saying “I could not bear to hear him, it was like something grinding and it set my teeth on edge.” Of the death of Jesus, she proclaims that “when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it. It was not worth it.”
It should come as no surprise that Toibin’s last book was titled New Ways to Kill Your Mother.
Even more outrageous than the book itself are the glowing reviews it got from the Christophobic press. New York Times reviewer Mary Gordon revels in Toibin’s disrespect of Mary, claiming her pristine persona has been used for too long to berate the modern woman.
“Mary, the mother of Jesus, has given Christianity a good name. None of the negatives that have made Christianity a byword for tyranny, cruelty and licensed hatred have attached to her,” Gordon wrote in her review. “The problem with all this is that it has led to centuries of sentimentality — blue and white Madonnas with folded hands and upturned eyes, a stick with which to beat independent women.”
Washington Post reviewer Ron Charles was less enthusiastic about the book, but did comment on how refreshing it was that this shameful attack on religion has not yet sparked any outrage or boycotts. He wants to believe this is a “reassuring testament to the West’s tolerance for such artistic license and Toibin’s prominence. Some of us are a lot calmer nowadays about creative re-imaginings of sacred figures.”
Bozell concludes by calling Toibin’s book what it is – “a gratuitous assault on Christianity and its central drama of salvation.”
He adds: “Toibin and other God-hating authors are consciously conspiring to empty out the churches, and Christian believers cannot always refuse to condemn them. Speaking up for Christ and His mother (and ours) is a solemn duty, not an option.”
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