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  #16  
Old May 1, '12, 5:37 am
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divinefaith divinefaith is online now
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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Originally Posted by fred conty View Post
Although this is a nice explaination on Mary's virginal conception, it dose'nt address the virginial birth process.

Now I understand that Mary's giving birth did not remove her virginal status. But the question remains, just how did that come about? Since the Bible nor the Fathers have shed any diffinate light on this, then it would be pure speculation to conjecture this process.

Yes/No? What do you think?
the explanation linked by Verbum did briefly mention Mary's 'physical integrity'...dont know what its specifically referring to...

Last edited by divinefaith; May 1, '12 at 5:54 am.
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  #17  
Old May 1, '12, 5:48 am
Uzziah1 Uzziah1 is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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Originally Posted by fred conty View Post
Although this is a nice explaination on Mary's virginal conception, it dose'nt address the virginial birth process.

Now I understand that Mary's giving birth did not remove her virginal status. But the question remains, just how did that come about? Since the Bible nor the Fathers have shed any diffinate light on this, then it would be pure speculation to conjecture this process.

Yes/No? What do you think?
The reason why in partu virginity is a big issue is that one of the early popes, Martin I, signed-off on a decree that Mary remained a "virgin" even "in parturition" -- even in giving birth. I will have to look up the exact language. In effect it means that Mary did not actually "give birth" in the normal sense of the word.

For me this creates a theological crisis. The Scriptures are as much "an infallible teaching of the Church" as the decree of Martin I. Yet, Luke's gospel indicates that Mary gave birth in the normal fashion when it says that she and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem after the days of "their" purification -- Mary and Joseph's -- were achieved (where Mary would have needed purification from having the normal "blood" of childbirth touch her outer body, and Joseph would have needed purification because he assisted Mary at childbirth, and so became sullied by the same "blood."} The two bird sacrifice described in Luke 2 is the normal purification sacrifice after a normal bloody birth.
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  #18  
Old May 1, '12, 6:06 am
fred conty fred conty is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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the explanation linked by Verbum did briefly mention Mary's 'physical integrity'...dont know what its specifically referring to...
"physical integrity" I agree with, although it dosen't say what everyone wants to hear, and that is "hymen". It could be referring to non-cesarian.

My own opinion is that the birth was natural thru the normal birth channel with physical integrity made possible thru divine intervention. In short a miracle.

I don't find that difficult to believe when Moses raised his arms and the waters parted.

Just a thought.
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  #19  
Old May 1, '12, 6:13 am
fred conty fred conty is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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Originally Posted by Uzziah1 View Post
The reason why in partu virginity is a big issue is that one of the early popes, Martin I, signed-off on a decree that Mary remained a "virgin" even "in parturition" -- even in giving birth. I will have to look up the exact language. In effect it means that Mary did not actually "give birth" in the normal sense of the word.

For me this creates a theological crisis. The Scriptures are as much "an infallible teaching of the Church" as the decree of Martin I. Yet, Luke's gospel indicates that Mary gave birth in the normal fashion when it says that she and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem after the days of "their" purification -- Mary and Joseph's -- were achieved (where Mary would have needed purification from having the normal "blood" of childbirth touch her outer body, and Joseph would have needed purification because he assisted Mary at childbirth, and so became sullied by the same "blood."} The two bird sacrifice described in Luke 2 is the normal purification sacrifice after a normal bloody birth.
I agree that it could have been bloody even tho miraculously virginal because the birth seemed normal in every other sense. In fact that would seem to emphasize how normal it was.

Just a thought.
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  #20  
Old May 1, '12, 7:05 am
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divinefaith divinefaith is online now
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

I agree with those who are saying that Mary had a natural birth with the same natural physical results as other mothers. thanks guys
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  #21  
Old May 2, '12, 8:34 pm
Verbum Verbum is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

Hi Fred,

Mary's physical integrity while giving birth is a dogma. No speculation needed. How this actually happened is pure speculation and, frankly, futile.

Verbum
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  #22  
Old May 2, '12, 8:40 pm
Mintaka Mintaka is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

Mary did have a completely natural birth.

Natural the way it was meant to be in Eden, before Eve and Adam sinned.

We weren't meant to have to live with pain and suffering at one of the great times of life. In a fallen world, women and men have to suffer. In the way the world was meant to be, it was not so.

I suppose you could also get upset because Adam and Eve got to be friends with the plants and animals in Eden, and because they didn't have to work hard. But the moral of the story is that we're right to be a little disappointed with how things are now, not complain about life in a perfect world having been too perfect. Sheesh.

There's speculation in some theological traditions (kinda useless, because of course God dwells in eternity, so there probably wasn't a plan B to cover a contingency that didn't happen) that if Adam and Eve had not sinned, God would have become Man as their child instead of Mary's. And that in such a case, Eve would have given painless birth, though probably not virgin birth. (The other speculation is that Adam and Eve would have had sex and had their same kids Cain and Abel and Seth in a painless way, with all marital love, sex, and desire unshadowed by the annoyance of concupiscence. But of course it's a bit late to speculate on that now.)

Either way, Mary's painless birth is not so much about her being "ooh, so special and not touched by anything ooky", but about the new Eve getting a moment of getting to live the blissful way God wants all humans to be able to live. She would suffer unimaginably during her life and during Jesus' Passion, but just not right then. At the Nativity, God treated His mother with the gentle and tender love He wants to show all of us. For all the women and all the human race who have to suffer and die in childbirth and whose pain He knows, He wanted it just once to work out. Suffering would come later; the actual moment of the Nativity was all joy. (And this is why many Nativity pictures show Mary looking remarkably perky for a woman who just gave birth. She isn't supposed to look exhausted and in pain. At the foot of the Cross will be time enough.)

Mary's virgin birth is about a lot of different kinds of symbolism; but possibly most of all to show that God could make all things new and keep them new, and that the new Eve represented all women at once, in something of the same way that Jesus was the representative of all Humanity as well as being God.
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  #23  
Old May 3, '12, 2:35 am
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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Originally Posted by Verbum View Post
Hi Fred,

Mary's physical integrity while giving birth is a dogma. No speculation needed. How this actually happened is pure speculation and, frankly, futile.

Verbum
Now the question is... What exactly is physical integrity referring to? I understand that it is taught Mary did not undergo pain... however I am not sure if that also means she didn't have to undergo the physical changes associated with childbirth.
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  #24  
Old May 3, '12, 4:37 am
Uzziah1 Uzziah1 is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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Originally Posted by divinefaith View Post
Now the question is... What exactly is physical integrity referring to? I understand that it is taught Mary did not undergo pain... however I am not sure if that also means she didn't have to undergo the physical changes associated with childbirth.
I have read that physical integrity meant that Mary in no sense "opened," and that there was no "breaking of water" -- no "puerperal flux" from her womb, no mix of gestational fluid, meconium fluid and blood.

I have always disagreed with this concept. It seems to contradict the Church's own infallibly-chosen Scriptural canon -- in other words, the Church's own teaching IN Scripture.
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  #25  
Old May 3, '12, 5:03 am
Mintaka Mintaka is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

Oh, forgot the painless Scriptural Messianic prophecy, so I'll post that first.

Isaiah 66:7 - Before she went into labor, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a male child.

First off, I want to emphasize that the Church doesn't say Mary experienced no physical signs of pregnancy and childbirth. Obviously, her breasts developed, because she nursed the child. Nobody's saying her pelvis didn't alter its shape, or that any of the other physical changes of motherhood didn't occur.

All right, let's get on with physical integrity.

First of all, no hymen is totally hermetically sealed, even before the time a girl hits puberty and starts having her period. There's always a tiny gap for fluid to pass through,that every girl is born with; there's just not much fluid until you're having a period. Throughout a girl's life, both before and after puberty, the gap slowly grows outward. Eventually, even without having sex, it's going to be nothing but gap, often long before middle age. So maintaining a hymen's physical integrity throughout life would be a sort of miraculous youth thing (which goes along with the Eden theme). Maintaining it during birth might be a matter of somehow going through the gap, or somehow making the hymen vastly more elastic for a few moments and then putting the gap back to its previous size. But we don't know.

The usual explanation for Jesus' ability to pass through was John 20:19, when Jesus got into the room where they were gathered without actually opening the doors or breaking them. (This is the part when us geekier Catholics start invoking the book Flatland, about how a three-dimensional person in a two-dimensional world would seem to have miraculous powers of teleportation, when in fact it's perfectly natural not to be bound to two dimensions. But of course, Jesus didn't have to do it that way.) Others preferred to compare the whole thing to "sunlight through clear glass". But of course, nobody really knows the mechanics; we just know what we've been taught happened.

There are some fairly robust statements about this in the tradition, most notably the "Protoevangelium of James." This fictional text is very very early and includes tons of stuff Christians believed in a novelized form, and this doctrine is no exception. It takes a sort of Doubting Thomas approach with the character of the midwife Salome, and is thus very definite in presenting this doctrine. Ahem.

But generally, the early Christians and medievals didn't want to get quite this explicit about it, because geez, we're talking about our mom's private bits here. They believe it, they state it, but they're not interested in going into details because it gets a bit salacious and creepy. But physical integrity is what's taught always. (And of course, St. Luke was a physician and there were Jewish and Greek doctoring traditions involving women practitioners, so he or a female colleague might have been in a position to know for sure.)

The verse that the Church Fathers and Scripture scholars have loved to quote down the ages about the virgin birth is this bit from Ezekiel's vision of the future perfect Temple:

"Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looks toward the east; and it was shut. Then the LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it. Because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:1-3) This verse is also referred to, partially, by Mary's title of "Porta Coeli", gate of heaven.

There's also Songs 4:12, which talks about "a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up," but that's more a general virginity thing.

I could say more, but I think I'll stop here. It's not exactly the kind of topic where you can argue apologetics with people about it, or should, because it's going to encourage some anti-Mary people to really drag her name in the dirt. But of course, after several generations of this sort of "you don't have to talk about it because people know" approach, combined with modern discomfort for even the most well-known Biblical signs and miracles, a lot of people today haven't learned about it and don't know. I hope I haven't caused anybody difficulties or been too explicit.

So yeah, it's not wrong to speculate about miracle logistics, and it can be very interesting. But you shouldn't work too hard on it.

Here's a page at EWTN talking about the limits of how far we can be super-definite about the doctrine.

Here's a good page talking about various specific patristic references to this doctrine, papal teachings, etc.
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  #26  
Old May 3, '12, 5:22 am
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
Oh, forgot the painless Scriptural Messianic prophecy, so I'll post that first.

Isaiah 66:7 - Before she went into labor, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a male child.

First off, I want to emphasize that the Church doesn't say Mary experienced no physical signs of pregnancy and childbirth. Obviously, her breasts developed, because she nursed the child. Nobody's saying her pelvis didn't alter its shape, or that any of the other physical changes of motherhood didn't occur.

All right, let's get on with physical integrity.

First of all, no hymen is totally hermetically sealed, even before the time a girl hits puberty and starts having her period. There's always a tiny gap for fluid to pass through,that every girl is born with; there's just not much fluid until you're having a period. Throughout a girl's life, both before and after puberty, the gap slowly grows outward. Eventually, even without having sex, it's going to be nothing but gap, often long before middle age. So maintaining a hymen's physical integrity throughout life would be a sort of miraculous youth thing (which goes along with the Eden theme). Maintaining it during birth might be a matter of somehow going through the gap, or somehow making the hymen vastly more elastic for a few moments and then putting the gap back to its previous size. But we don't know.

The usual explanation for Jesus' ability to pass through was John 20:19, when Jesus got into the room where they were gathered without actually opening the doors or breaking them. (This is the part when us geekier Catholics start invoking the book Flatland, about how a three-dimensional person in a two-dimensional world would seem to have miraculous powers of teleportation, when in fact it's perfectly natural not to be bound to two dimensions. But of course, Jesus didn't have to do it that way.) Others preferred to compare the whole thing to "sunlight through clear glass". But of course, nobody really knows the mechanics; we just know what we've been taught happened.

There are some fairly robust statements about this in the tradition, most notably the "Protoevangelium of James." This fictional text is very very early and includes tons of stuff Christians believed in a novelized form, and this doctrine is no exception. It takes a sort of Doubting Thomas approach with the character of the midwife Salome, and is thus very definite in presenting this doctrine. Ahem.

But generally, the early Christians and medievals didn't want to get quite this explicit about it, because geez, we're talking about our mom's private bits here. They believe it, they state it, but they're not interested in going into details because it gets a bit salacious and creepy. But physical integrity is what's taught always. (And of course, St. Luke was a physician and there were Jewish and Greek doctoring traditions involving women practitioners, so he or a female colleague might have been in a position to know for sure.)

The verse that the Church Fathers and Scripture scholars have loved to quote down the ages about the virgin birth is this bit from Ezekiel's vision of the future perfect Temple:

"Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looks toward the east; and it was shut. Then the LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it. Because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:1-3) This verse is also referred to, partially, by Mary's title of "Porta Coeli", gate of heaven.

There's also Songs 4:12, which talks about "a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up," but that's more a general virginity thing.

I could say more, but I think I'll stop here. It's not exactly the kind of topic where you can argue apologetics with people about it, or should, because it's going to encourage some anti-Mary people to really drag her name in the dirt. But of course, after several generations of this sort of "you don't have to talk about it because people know" approach, combined with modern discomfort for even the most well-known Biblical signs and miracles, a lot of people today haven't learned about it and don't know. I hope I haven't caused anybody difficulties or been too explicit.

So yeah, it's not wrong to speculate about miracle logistics, and it can be very interesting. But you shouldn't work too hard on it.

Here's a page at EWTN talking about the limits of how far we can be super-definite about the doctrine.

Here's a good page talking about various specific patristic references to this doctrine, papal teachings, etc.
I agree that it is too explicit to talk about Her body part changing. I actually posted this thread after I was asked about this topic by a relative of mine. It got me thinking whether or not theology has/hasn't touched on this before... If there is a held belief on that..then I wouldnt mind knowing it ...

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Originally Posted by Uzziah1 View Post
I have read that physical integrity meant that Mary in no sense "opened," and that there was no "breaking of water" -- no "puerperal flux" from her womb, no mix of gestational fluid, meconium fluid and blood.

I have always disagreed with this concept. It seems to contradict the Church's own infallibly-chosen Scriptural canon -- in other words, the Church's own teaching IN Scripture.
So are you saying its a held belief among theologians?
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  #27  
Old May 3, '12, 5:26 am
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

And I would like to add..This isnt the most pleasant topic for theologians to discuss
I am simply trying to find out if the teachings on Mary's virginity in theology has mentioned anything on this...
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  #28  
Old May 3, '12, 5:41 am
Uzziah1 Uzziah1 is offline
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First off, I want to emphasize that the Church doesn't say Mary experienced no physical signs of pregnancy and childbirth.
I believe you are wrong on this. When Pope Martin I signed-off on the decree of the Lateran Council ...

"If anyone does not in accord with the Holy Fathers acknowledge the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary was really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God in the Word Himself, who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned."

... he meant, "She remained a sealed box."

... which seems to mortally conflict with the doctrine that Christ at all moments before His death was "fully God and FULLY MAN." At least a moment in earthly time would have been necessary for Him to pass out of the physical sealed box.

... which seems to mean that He wasn't ALWAYS "fully God and FULLY MAN."

It appears that the two doctrines war with each other.
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  #29  
Old May 3, '12, 11:05 am
fred conty fred conty is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

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I believe you are wrong on this. When Pope Martin I signed-off on the decree of the Lateran Council ...

"If anyone does not in accord with the Holy Fathers acknowledge the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary was really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God in the Word Himself, who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned."

... he meant, "She remained a sealed box."

... which seems to mortally conflict with the doctrine that Christ at all moments before His death was "fully God and FULLY MAN." At least a moment in earthly time would have been necessary for Him to pass out of the physical sealed box.

... which seems to mean that He wasn't ALWAYS "fully God and FULLY MAN."

It appears that the two doctrines war with each other.
How does "without loss of integrity brought Him forth" equate to " experienced no physical signs of pregnancy and childbirth."?

Integrity means wholeness. Integrity means without sickness. Any pregnant woman is not considered sick, or abnormal. That is a natural process. So to me what Pope Martin I said does not conflict with natural appearance and the carring of the infant in the womb nor that of childbirth. Of course in Mary's giving birth, she remained a virgin, but that still does not mean she could not give birth in a natural way, because that is not a loss of integrity to give birth to a child, unless it is virginity, which has already been said to have had divine intervention.

Now I would be the first to admit that it could be simply miraculous, and all of a sudden the child Jesus was there. But that doesn't seem to be what scripture says, "he was like to us in all things except sin." However everyone has their own opinion.

Just a thought.
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  #30  
Old May 9, '12, 4:28 am
Uzziah1 Uzziah1 is offline
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Default Re: Mary and childbirth

"Without loss of integrity" means, as far as I know, "Her reproductive tract remained closed, at all moments in time." If gestational fluids -- the "water" of "breaking water," which are gestational fluids mixed with urine, meconium, and blood -- came out, then it requires that meconium fluid have "turned spiritual'" for at least a moment in time. Okay. I can accept that.

But if God disposes of "the effluvia of childbirth" by creating what amounts to an ILLUSION that it as coming out of her birth canal, it seems to amount to God generating a DECEPTION, and also evidence CONFUSING humanity.

To say that Mary never opened up also seems to amount to a declaration that Scriptural allegations that Jesus was "born." are untrue. Scripture uses the exact same Greek words for Jesus' birth that Sctipture uses for John the Baptist's birth.

Also, the Book of Wisdow infallibly declares that "all kings" are born in the same way.

The thing that bothers me most about the miraculous birth doctrine is that it seems to "dehumanize" Jesus. IS He "fully man" if He wasn't even BORN like one, as a matter of doctrine? Was He ALWAYS "fully man" during His stay on Earth if, doctrinally, Mary ALWAYS remained a "closed box" implicitly requiring as a matter of perfect logical necessity that He "turn mystical" long enough to get out of the "enclosed box," in partu virgin Mary's womb?
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