Catholic and/or Orthodox question John 19:26-27

This question is often asked of Protestants in regards to the brother of the Lord but I have never heard or remember hearing a Catholic response. Why John?

Jhn 19:26-27 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home].

Why would Mary have gone with John and not with the children of Joseph from his previous marriage? It is the Orthodox view that James is the step-brother of Jesus from a previous marriage of Joseph. Why John and not her own family? James would become the distinguished Bishop of the Jerusalem Church.

She traveled with them it appears or some family members:

Luk 8:19-20 Then came to him [his] mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. And it was told him [by certain] which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.


This is a synopsis of your view from the following website:

Today, the most commonly accepted view is that they were Jesus’ cousins. Of the four “brethren” who are named in the Gospels, consider, for the sake of argument, only James. Similar reasoning can be used for the other three. We know that James the younger’s mother was named Mary. Look at the descriptions of the women standing beneath the cross: “among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Matt. 27:56); “There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome” (Mark 15:40).

Then look at what John says: “But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25). If we compare these parallel accounts of the scene of the crucifixion, we see that the mother of James and Joseph must be the wife of Clopas. So far, so good.

An argument against this, though, is that James is elsewhere (Matt. 10:3) described as the son of Alphaeus, which would mean this Mary, whoever she was, was the wife of both Clopas and Alphaeus. But Alphaeus and Clopas are the same person, since the Aramaic name for Alphaeus could be rendered in Greek either as Alphaeus or as Clopas. Another possibility is that Alphaeus took a Greek name similar to his Jewish name, the way that Saul took the name Paul.

So it’s probable that James the younger is the son of Mary and Clopas. The second-century historian Hegesippus explains that Clopas was the brother of Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus. James would thus be Joseph’s nephew and a cousin of Jesus, who was Joseph’s putative son.

Clopas is the brother of Joseph according to your view. Her deceased husband’s brother. These children are her nephews. It would have been somewhat customary for the surviving brother to be involved in her care based upon
Deut 25:5 or certainly the rest of her family.
Is it the Catholic contention that Mary had NO surviving family. Elizabeth? Salome?
Why would she have gone with John?

NOTE: Do not just use scripture. If there are patristic traditions that state that Mary had no family; please share them.

There are Patristic traditions, actually…and in fact, it wasn’t until the last 150 years or so, outside of minuscule heresies, that the entire Christian faithful believed Mary had no immediate family and remained a Virgin. :slight_smile: If you study the writings of John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and even John Wesley, you’ll find they all believed she remained a virgin as well. What’s funny is that many arguments made by Protestants today, especially some Evangelical leaders, was refuted by these same men.

I have absolutely no interest in discussing the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. I pray this thread does not derail into that. That has been done already. I am hoping to discuss the topic I posted from the Catholic and Orthodox perspective. :slight_smile:
Family in this case is nephews, brother-in-law, step-children, sister, or cousin. I do not wish to discuss some Protestant views about biological children.

It’s Catholic tradition that John’s mother was Salome, who was Mary’s “sister” (although, again, the word sister had a much broader connotation back then, so we can’t be sure if Mary and Salome shared the same parents). John the Apostle would therefore have been Jesus’ maternal cousin, perhaps even first cousin. The identification of the mother of the sons of Zebedee, Salome, and Mary’s sister has to do with looking at the various lists of women present at the Crucifixion. For everyone’s convenience I’ll reproduce them here and bold the names of the women who are thought to be the same person. I should also point out that St. Salome is also sometimes identified with Mary the wife of Cleopas and is thus called St. Mary Salome. It really all depends on whether you believe there are three women or four in St. John’s account of the Crucifixion. (Also, I don’t think that the identity of John’s mother, Salome, and Mary’s sister is part of Sacred Tradition, just popular inference.)

“There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:55-56)

“There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him; and also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.” (Mark 15:40-41)

“And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance and saw these things.” (Luke 23:49)

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” (John 19:25).

It’s pretty easy to identify the mother of the sons of Zebedee as Salome. The Virgin Mary’s sister is a bit trickier as you can see. Mary the wife of Clopas is identified with Mary the mother of James the younger and Joseph/Joses, as the article you’ve quoted points out. Eusebius in his Church History says that Hegesippus says that Clopas is the brother of St. Joseph. So “sister” might mean “sister-in-law” and refer to the other Mary. I personally believe that there are four women in John’s account and that Salome is the sister being mentioned. Of course, I’m hardly impartial, since St. Salome was my confirmation saint. :stuck_out_tongue: Here’s the article of St. Salome from the original Catholic Encyclopedia.

All I know for sure about Salome in the Orthodox tradition is that she’s called St. Salome the Myrrh-Bearer.

I heard an interesting reflection on EWTN on why Christ gives his mother to the beloved disciple, traditionally believed to be John. Essentially, the idea is that Christ is giving His mother to us - the Church and the Church to her. This act may also signify the adoption of the world into the family of God through Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. It would have been traditional to entrust her to direct family, but Christ, being God, deliberately chooses not to do this. It would make sense to me if he is doing this as a sort of gesture to entrust his Mother to us (as we are all Christ’s beloved disciples), and us to His Mother - indicating our state as “adopted” sons and daughters of God. I can’t say this has any sort of stamp of imprematur on it, but it makes sense to me so unless the Church pronounces this view as heretical, I’ll subscribe to it.

I know that people like to repeat this sort of idea.

But there is no reason for it.

It is basically poetic license at work.

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