Consummation and the Holy family


Now I was always told that though Mary and Joseph were married and he had children they were married. And she was a virgin. So there was no consummation in their marriage? I must not be understanding of something. Was this before our laws were valid as the church has stated?



Who told you Joseph had kids?

  1. They were married.

  2. Mary remains a perpetual vigin.

  3. Jesus had no siblings.

That’s really it.


The Catholic Church did not exist until after Jesus was crucified, so there were no Catholic Church laws at the time Joseph and Mary were together here on earth.


There is one tradition that Joseph was a widower with children from that marriage.


I have heard that, but since we aren’t required to believe it, and it seemed odd to me that God would choose a man encumbered by already having children, I never gave it much credence.

Either way, wouldn’t affect how he treated Mary in the confines of their marriage.


So the idea that their marriage could not be consummated is not true? I am sure so. But because of this?


The Church teaching on this is quite clear. There was no consummation with Mary and Joseph.

[quote=CCC]499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.154 In fact, Christ’s birth "did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it."155 And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.156


They did not have intercourse. Mary remained a virgin, as a couple they remained continent. Is that what you are asking?


I know that. But what about Catholics. Can you also get married and not have intercourse? Like the Holy Family? I always thought getting married was about intercourse and procreation by Catholics. I know she is the perpetual virgin.



Encumbered? Encumbered? I always thought children were a blessing from God, not an encumbrance. Children were most specifically considered a blessing in Judaism. As Joseph is traditionally shown as an older man, the tradition of his being a widower would tend to point to older children, perhaps already grown and on their own.


And, the other children mentioned in scripture in the household of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were relatives.


Bad choice of words perhaps, but since we don’t have specifics his his previous marriage, I cannot say. Believe me, my children are not an encumbrance, but one would presume I would view them as such if I left them when my wife died and remarried to raise our son. Again, if we assume he did have children, and they were all grown and loving elsewhere, sure. But frankly, I don’t care much at all. It doesn’t affect my view of the Holy Family or Joseph’s Saintly nature. To me, it comes off as needless trivia that can raise confusion in those not theologically well-developed if obssessed over. That’s why I never worry myself over such details, until the Church says otherwise.


Well said, :thumbsup:


One problem with that theory, Scripture never call the other children ‘relatives’.


Yes, a valid marriage does not require consummation but consummation makes a valid marriage indissoluble. In some case, permission can be granted for perpetual continence in a marriage - a Josephite marriage. It’s rare.


The marriage must be ordered towards family. There is no obligation to actually have children (though Mary and Joseph did, and their family unit raised Jesus and functioned as intended). Couples are allowed to practice continence during their marriage, and there are many vocations which encourage it. They didn’t perform the marital act, therefore there was nothing done in regards to sex that went against the natural order.


Canon Law (Can. 1061 §1.) Tells us that a marriage is ratified and consummated; if the spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh.

§2. After a marriage has been celebrated, if the spouses have lived together consummation is presumed until the contrary is proven.

Catholics can be validly married and not have intercourse.

For a just cause, the pope can dissolve a non-consummated marriage between Catholics at the request of both parties or of one of them, even if the other party is unwilling.

A marriage that is valid and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human power and by no cause, except death.


Here is a Catholic Answers tract that can help:


Consumation is not required for a marriage to be valid, even today. In any case, Mary and Joseph’s marriage was ordained by God, so no other rules apply.


I see. And you say “the Pope”. That means no other Bishop or Presbyter could? Or as we have in our diocese, the Judicial Vicar.

A conjugal act in the human fashion? What other “fashion” is there between humans? :confused:

What about someone younger not Catholic that has had kids and not got married? Is a Catholic free to marry them? If that person isn’t Married?


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