"Behold thy mother": a question on the scriptural defence for the perpetual virginity of Mary


I was just responding in another thread to a good answer I received about Mary being ever virgin. From what I gather Mary did this to serve God fully, to be a devoted mother to Jesus, to be a role model for future Christians and because to live a celibate life is to be in a holier state. See 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.

However I want to ask about the scriptual defence that is used alongside the traditional one.

A constant argument I hear from Catholics when defending the perpetual virginity of Mary is that Jesus appeared to give her to St. John to look after her because she was now a widow and her only Son was about to die on the Cross, and why would Jesus have asked John (a non-relative) to look after her if she had other children?

However, now I have a question I have thought about right around the time of my last post:

How would a Catholic defend an argument that says Mary didnt remain a virgin, but just was not able to bear other children? Or that she lived a normal married life, but it was God’s will that she didnt have any more children?

I feel the Catholics have a reasonable scriptural argument to defend Mary being ever virgin, even though some attempts have been made by Protestants. However I feel the argument stood firm, until the question like the one I posted above is thrown in, because the proof about a non-relative looking after Mary after Jesus died is no longer relevant.

Thanks for your responses


It’s a question of whether or not a regular Jewish person knew not to touch the New Ark of the Covenant.

Any Jew knows what happens when the Old Ark of the Covenant was touched by unauthorized hands.


Or that she lived a normal married life, but it was God’s will that she didn’t have any more children?

Thanks for your responsesThe problem there is that there is nothing in scripture or tradition that would support such a theory. There is never anything said to even remotely imply that Mary was barren after the birth of Jesus.

Is it theoretically possible? Perhaps.
Is it supportable in any way? No.

More substantive are the various historical sources that offer some information. IMO, the case you have mentioned about the last acts of Our Lord from the cross is of better substance.


To imply that Mary or Joseph couldnt have children would be out of the question. Being barren was seen as a curse or disfavor by God, being sterile was seen as even more of a curse. It would actually hurt the doctrine of the Virgin Birth and Perpetual Virginity far worse than saying She had other children.


We have to remember that Saint Joseph was a saintly, righteous man of God. He knew the scriptures and all the old testament stories about not touching something that God has claimed as His Own for a Sacred Purpose. Now, Gabriel told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife into his home, but that was merely to reassure Joseph that Mary had not fallen into fornication, for Joseph was a very holy man.

Then Gabriel hit Joseph with a BOMB:
The child in Mary’s womb is conceived by the Holy Spirit,
is the Son of (Yahweh) God, and will be named JESUS meaning
YAHWEH SAVES. Now Joseph being a righteous man knew immediately from this that Mary was, uniquely among all human beings before or since, a sacred vessel of the Deity Itself.
Mary was now HOLY GROUND for God the Son of God was taking His sacred flesh from her and in her womb.
There is no way that Joseph (( or any other reverent Jew knowing such a thing )) could ever have looked upon Holy Mary as a common future sex-partner ever again. And to bring sinner-children into the world through a womb that bore God?!?!
That would have been unthinkable to the both of them, for
they were both righteous people and had a tremendous, trembling reverence for sacred things. So we can see that…
Scripture does address this issue, but sometimes we have to be more contemplative than just going by a literal reading of the text and leaving it at that.
God bless,


If you had the chance to commit adultery with God’s wife would you?


I know that Mary is piously known as the spouse of the Holy Spirit…

but there’s something about the term “God’s wife” that just doesnt sound right to me, even for a cradle Catholic.


How do we know that Mary and Joseph knew that she had bore God the Son? I know from the scriptures that she knew Jesus was the “Son of the Most High”, "Saviour, and “Christ the Lord”. I don’t see the title of “God” anywhere though.

If she knew He was God at the time, why didnt she understand what Jesus meant when He said “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

There is no evidence from the texts that they (Mary and Joseph) knew that the Child was God incarnate. Did they know He was going to be God’s new covenant with men? We don’t know that either.


But we know now that’s not the case.


Are we sure that they knew Jesus was going to be the founder of the New Covenant?


Technically, there is no evidence in Scripture saying that she was ever-virgin either. Of course, the Church has a rich tradtion of her perpetual virginity.


What is not the case?


Roofer hit the nail on the head. :yup:

The OT penalty for adultery is death. Leviticus 20:10 states: And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. This is repeated in Deuteronomy 22:22

The idea that the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the bearer of God, would fall into bigamy, is a doctrine of demons.


That being barren is a curse from God.


It was something that was looked down upon, having children was seen as a great blessing while not being able to have them was seen as not so much of a blessing.

The only other way your question works is that if you suggest they were using contraception.


You are insisting that being barren means that someone was cursed by God. That is not the case. That may have been the Jewish thought of the time, but that is no longer considered to be true. Just because people thought that being barren was a curse doesnt mean it was true.

Some people are born without limbs, many are born with mental illness and some are not able to bear children. I don’t think they have been cursed. Or are you suggesting otherwise?

Are you suggesting that it was impossible that Mary was not able to conceive naturally?

We also havent considered Joseph. Maybe he was not able to be a father, we don’t know. Many men have been born this way. Im not married myself, so for all I know, I too may be unable to father a child if I was to be married. You never know.


I understand what you are saying, it never was a curse. In that culture at that time however it was seen as such.

Also I was talking about Joseph this whole time along with Mary.

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