You bring up a very interesting topic. Paul's views on women. It was Paul's views in his writings that the Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant Churches have used to keep women from participating at higher levels at church and voicing their opinions. The Catholic Church was right to apoligize for caling Mary a simple prostitute. She may have been. But her sins were forgiven as I demonstrate below.
Here is the passage which created a huge rift between men and women in the church:
(1Corinthians 14:34-35) "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
This passage is indeed a strong one.
Now I've read some of the Gnostic Gospels which refer to Mary of Magdalene. I believe these Gospels to be valid. It was the Roman Catholic church that decided what books to include in the 66 Canonical Book Bible. There were many books deliberately left out. If indeed what Paul wrote here is the absolute, then why did Jesus have so much reverence for Mary of Magdalene?
Here's a clue:
(Luke 7:37-38) "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment."
(Luke 7:44-48) "And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."
Now we learn later in the book of John that this woman was Mary of Magdalene.
What is the point of these passages? It shows that Mary of Magdalene loved the Lord Jesus with all her heart, mind and soul and she was in complete humility and submission to Jesus. She knew He was the Son of God. This is why Jesus made such a great example of her. It is a great lesson in humility which even Jesus' Disciples needed to learn. A lesson in which we could all learn from.
When a believing woman is single she should be in complete submission to God. When a woman is married she is in submissiont o her husband who is then in submission to God. Does this make a married woman of lesser value? No. Because both husband and wife become one and are both in submission to God and equal heirs to the promises God made.
In the book of Genesis we read: "therefore shall a man leave his family and cleave unto his wife and the two shall become one." They are not two separate people anymore, but one.
This is why Paul said what he did. As long as there were good men to spread the Gospel, the woman were to listen and learn. This was only to avoid power struggles between men and women in the churches. There IS a certain amount of dignity in silence and "taming the tongue." For when one keeps silent, they keep from offending anyone. Very difficult to do.
Then there is another point. During Old Testament times, there were periods when God raised up women to do His work. When there are no good and righteous men left, then God raises up a woman as He did with Ruth, Debra, Esther, etc. Debra was a general leading the Israelites to victory. She had many men in submission to her.
God does what he does , because He is God and He can do what ever He wants.
But that is just my understanding of this. I know I still have much to learn.