The Right Opinion

The Malicious Mangling of the Virgin Mary

By L. Brent Bozell · Nov. 16, 2012

A Christian can be crushed gazing at the picture of Mary standing at the foot of the cross, watching her beloved son suffocate and die. But in that vision, she stands there for hours, patiently enduring her suffering. For two millennia, she has been a role model for Christians, a woman who practiced obedience in the most difficult of human circumstances, with fervent hope for what this sacrifice will offer all mankind as it struggles with sin.

This is why it seems so hard to reflect that vision of patience when black-hearted “artists” practice character assassination on the Blessed Virgin Mary to strip her of every virtue: her patience, her obedience, her courageous love and her prayerful faith in God. On Nov. 13, Simon and Schuster launched a vicious little 96-page novella titled “The Testament of Mary.”

The author, an Irish ex-Catholic named Colm Toibin, presents us instead with a Bible-burning “reimagination” of an alienated Mary who fled the scene of her son’s death in fear for her own life. Two decades after the Resurrection – or was there one? – this 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.

Her son’s followers must be stopped from making Jesus a god, “or else everything that happened will become a sweet story that will grow poisonous as bright berries that hang low on trees.” Toibin describes the scene of the crucifixion in mercenary terms: “It was like a marketplace, but more intense somehow, the act that was about to take place was going to make a profit for both seller and buyer.”

Christ’s disciples are “fools, twitchers, malcontents, stammerers,” while her son’s preaching sounded to her “false, and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him, it was like something grinding and it set my teeth on edge.”

There is no God in her father or her son. She proclaims of the death of Jesus only: “when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it. It was not worth it.”

Toibin’s last book of literary criticism was titled “New Ways to Kill Your Mother.” In this book, he murders the mother of God.

In a positive critique in The New York Times, reviewer Mary Gordon explained “The making of the Gospels is portrayed not as an act of sacred remembrance but as an invasion and a theft. The Evangelists – which are they? Luke, perhaps, or John? – are portrayed as menacing intruders, with the lurking shadowy presence of Stalin’s secret police.”

In our nation’s most prestigious newspaper, an author and his feminist reviewer can conjure up the apostles of Christ as Stalinist torturers. But when a Danish newspaper published cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad as a freedom-of-speech test in 2005, the Times would not show them as “a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols.”

This is what Toibin’s book is: a gratuitous assault on Christianity and its central drama of salvation. The Times reviewer recognized that and enjoyed it.

“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 began. “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 book reviewer Ron Charles was less laudatory: “If you’d enjoy a tale predicated on the idea that Christian faith is a toxic collection of ‘foolish anecdotes’ based on a ‘fierce catastrophe,’ Merry Christmas!”

Charles found it refreshing this garbage bag of words “hasn’t sparked outrage or boycotts – 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.”

He somehow left Catholics out of the picture as he expressed relief that “Evangelicals in this country may finally have caught on to the fact that fiery condemnation plays right into the marketing plans of books that would otherwise ascend into oblivion.” He notes Toibin’s tome has been “widely praised in England, but Toibin is a larger presence there, and churchgoing isn’t.”

Somehow, he’s not making the obvious connection: 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.



Doktor Riktor Von Zhades in Western KY said:

"If the world hates you remember it first hated me, If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as it loves its own people. But I have chosen you to be different from those in the world. So you don’t belong to the world, and that is why the world hates you."

John 15:18-19

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Ct-Tom in NC replied:

Thanks, Doktor. You saved me the trouble of looking up the reference. As usual, Jesus says it all.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Tapdaddy in Indiana said:

Toibins attempt at writing a book resulted in trash like so many other attempts. Be courageous and take a shot at mohammed, oh you can't do that they shoot back with real bullets.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Just another attack on Christianity by another liberal who mocks people of faith. But you can bet he would never write such an article about Mohammed. He knows the Moslems would sign his death warrant but also knows that Christians might disagree with him but would never try to kill him.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Gregory in Yakima said:

The confection of the New Testament, based on flawed narratives written by unknown authors many decades after the tales they depict, is responsible for the veneration of human kind's most cherished and lamentable traits.

Whether Jesus ever even lived or not, the story serves as a platform to enshrine tolerance and intolerance, love and hate, faithfulness and betrayal. Missing are the relevant facts available but eagerly ignored by those who benefit by the constant repetition of the Bible's fundamentally flawed text.

In an irony so condensed that few can untangle the contradictions, any post contradicting the falsehoods, is likely to be savaged by those who sincerely believe they are upholding Jesus life and the teachings of the New Testament.

"Let he that has not sinned cast the first stone" is part of the golden rule, the epitome of tolerance and enlightenment, a philosophy of living that would prevent most violence and war. Those who profess to be Christian should repeat it as a mantra because most Christians on the Patriot Post don't seem to remember.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Jayve in ABQ, NM replied:

Make sure when you go to meet your maker, inform Him of how "flawed" he is. Good luck with that.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Jon Wardlow in Port Orchard WA replied:

Psalm 37:13 "but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming."

I often feel like I should rush to God's defense when I see attacks like this book or even comments here, but He doesn't need my help.

I love "Let he that has not sinned cast the first stone" as a lesson to me, who has been far from perfect in my own life. This has taught me to forgive others that have hurt me because I have often failed others. I'm not perfect and not in a position to judge others.

From Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:
"for he seeth that his day is coming; either the day of the Lord, which he has appointed to judge the world in, and which comes suddenly, at unawares, as a thief in the night, and is known unto the Lord, though to none else; or the day of the wicked man's ruin and destruction, to which he is appointed, and which is the same; and so the Targum is, "the day of his calamity": which the Lord observes is hastening on, when he will be for ever miserable."

I can only say that whereas it should stir our spirits to defend God, I will not let this world steal my joy. This Christian *on the Patriot Post* knows there is a Judge of men who doesn't need me to defend Him but the human in me cannot always stay silent because that is the 'nice thing to do'.

[I myself am not a Catholic but] This attack on the character of a primary figure of the Bible is sheer hatred for God and all things good and righteous. It sounds like this book is a character assassination very in line with the liberal mindset.

Side note: Gregory you seem to often forget that Christians don't pop from their mother's wombs with their religion attached. I never forget how the world thinks, I started there then became a Christian by choice via God's grace to me. I'm a Christian by choice - but I didn't hand my brain in at the church door. The world won't always be due the kindness and tolerance of God's long-suffering ... all believers can hope for is a change in the heart of His children (BEFORE they meet Him in person.)

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Orf in Pennsylvania replied:

Gregory, you cannot contradict Biblical references with you silly assertions. Get a life and stay away from blogs that you cannot possibly understand.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

What's the matter, Greg? Can't stand it because Christians believe in something different from you? Oh, how stupid of me, of course liberals know all the answers and us poor misguided fools who try to live a moral life must be taught bettrer. Lying, covering up mistakes, abortions, having babies you can't take care of, living off the sweat of others, anything goes as long as it feels good to you, must be the new mantra of the day. Forget all that moralality BS about hard work, being responsible for your own actions, taking care of your family, and not depending on the government for a living.. How foolish of us! When does the re-education camps open?

Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

ArmyofOne in MN replied:

Lots of words..but so FOOLISH!

Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Jeri L in Boston, MA said:

When I was a little girl many years ago, my mother told me that if I was ever in trouble I should pray to the Blessed Mother. I have never forgotten that and there is not a day which goes by that I do not carry her in my heart. I might be a disgruntled Catholic who struggles with some of the things my Church has done, but I have never lost my faith. Take pity on Tobin because he is small in mind and heart. PS - I am also an Irish Catholic.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Jeri L in Boston, MA said:

When I was a little girl many years ago, my mother told me that if I was ever in trouble I should pray to the Blessed Mother. I have never forgotten that and there is not a day which goes by that I do not carry her in my heart. I might be a disgruntled Catholic who struggles with some of the things my Church has done, but I have never lost my faith. Take pity on Tobin because he is small in mind and heart. PS - I am also an Irish Catholic.

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA said:

Coming soon to a theater near everyone. %*((

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM

pete in CA said:

"when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it. It was not worth it."

In the case of Toibin and so many others these days, I have to agree.

But as a Christian I am still bound to pray for them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

Toiben's words will condemn him, not I. God will judge you for what you have written and not what we Christians should say in return. Mr. Toiben, you have slapped me, but I turn the other cheek. Ask and He may forgive you for you know not what you do.

Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 2:40 PM