Colm Toibin’s book, The Testament of Mary, is now the subject of a Broadway play; it opens today at the Walter Kerr Theatre. There is no question that Toibin is a gifted writer, but it is not easy to see who is going to be drawn to this play, even if it runs for only 12 weeks. His novella was not written to endear himself to Christians—he posits that Mary does not believe her son was the Son of God—though in fairness there is nothing vicious about his work.
Toibin fancies that Mary is not the pious, obedient woman we have come to know. Instead, she very much had a mind of her own, declaring that her son died in vain. Speaking of the crucifixion, she says, “I fled before it was over but if you want witnesses then I am one and I can tell you now, when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it. It was not worth it.”
Toibin, who is a homosexual ex-Catholic, is not exactly a champion of the Catholic Church. Indeed, he is a vociferous critic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. He is entitled to his views, though it must be said that his attempt to persuade Christians of the fallacies of their religion falls flat.