Deeper understanding of no relations?


#1

I know Protestants (and I feel they mean well)believe Mary had other children with Joseph, which would mean they were intimate as husband and wife…but as a Catholic, I know they weren’t. I’ve always wondered sometimes just why, exactly, Mary wasn’t given to her husband in the intimate sense. After all, they were married, and so relations would certainly not be a sin, and they simply would have been living in a way that would be very pleasing to God…marital relations, and the offspring that comes from it. My understanding of this, I feel, however, has deepened just recently, the more and more I absorb my Catholic faith, and I’m just wondering if my understanding is right. The reason Mary didn’t belong to her husband in the intimate sense is that she was considered, in a way, to belong to the Holy Spirit, since it was the Spirit which “overshadowed” her and conceived in her womb without the help of an earthly man. If this is truly the only reason, then what, exactly, is meant by her belonging to the Spirit? It’s still hard for me to quite understand, and I still have moments of wondering why Mary couldn’t have had relations with her own husband? I know it’s delicate, but I don’t mean any disrespect, I just seek deep understanding.


#2

If we say that “Mary belonged to the Holy Spirit,” it should not be seen in the sense of a wedded lover. The Holy Spirit is God, and the Holy Spirit has overshadowed her. We should have a sense of viewing her as the Tabernacle overshadowed by the Shekinah, or as being the Ark. In both cases, these were set aside for God. People were forbidden from entering the Tabernacle or from touching the Ark. Why? I don’t think it should be seen as a literal polluting, as of man passive off some literal dirtiness to either, but of a lack of reverance for the holy and the sacred; of not respecting what was set apart for God.

Mary had been set aside for God. She had been overshadowed like the Tabernacle and the Ark. She had literally carried God in her womb. I don’t think we appreciate that in the way a righteous first century Jewish man would. We don’t appreciate Jesus’ divinity when it comes to these aspects.

There’s also arguments that Mary had taken a vow of virginity and that Joseph had no expectations of marital relations and himself could have been an older widower, from Mary not understanding how she could have a child (She was married at the time, and would have had some understanding of where babies came from. To tell a married woman that she woyld conceive shouldn’t necessitate the question “how?”) and as suggested in the Protoevangelium of James.


#3

I never understand why Protestants would believe this. Martin Luther and the other founders of Protestantism all believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary.
Which Protestants are you referring to?


#4

Crown of Stars, as a former Catholic, I can tell you why I don’t believe Mary was a perpetual virgin. To begin with, let’s remember what Jesus said about the Corban rule (Mark 7:1-13). Here, Jesus shows us how we are to test traditions. Following His example, I find Matt 13:54-56 says,

[quote=Matt 13:54-56 (DR)] And coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues, so that they wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude: And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he all these things?
[/quote]

Notice, this is the testimony of the people Jesus grew up with. They played games together, they went to school together, their families traveled to and from Jerusalem on feast days together. Notice the context - father, mother, brothers, sisters. This is a family unit headed by Joseph and Mary. I don’t see how this is anything like Abraham telling Lot, “We shouldn’t fight, for we are brothers”. Keep in mind, we know the exact relationship between Abraham and Lot because God tells us plainly in His Scriptures. The only thing Scripture says about these brothers and sisters of Jesus is that they are brothers and sisters. Add to that, the fact that Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit (the same Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary at the conception of Jesus), and I would hope we can both agree He knew what the relationship was between Jesus and His brothers and sisters.

To me, this is clear that these other brothers and sisters were children of Joseph and Mary. When I compare the Scripture to the “tradition” made dogma (as outlined in Mark7:1-13), I find the “tradition” makes the Word of God void. I love and respect Mary. She is exactly what Scripture says she is - blessed among women. What I find so sad is that, as a Catholic, you can’t even consider the possibility that these might be children of Joseph and Mary; not because of anything found in Scripture, but because of the “infallible” dogma of the church.

As far as why the early reformers clung to the idea of her being a perpetual virgin, I would point out that Luther and Calvin were both Catholic priests, raised up and trained in these things. Furthermore, the reformation did not begin because of any abuses of Mary, but rather over indulgences and other such abuses, so I don’t think they looked very far into the Marian dogmas they were taught.


#5

So basically what you’re saying is that Luther and Calvin were wrong on perpetual virginity because they were too Catholic? So for the first 1500 years of Christianity nobody got this right? When did somebody finally figure out that Catholics and early Protestants were wrong?

-Fr ACEGC


#6

Helvidius made a similar argument in the fourth century. After Saint Jerome systematically tore his arguments apart by referring to both scripture and earlier testimony from the ECF (compared to which Helvidius’ arguments were seen as novel and not consistent), Mary’s perpetual virginity was never seriously questioned again until well after the Reformation.

newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm

Kenneth Keating also deals with this point extremely well in his book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, recapping Saiint Jerome’s arguments in a more contemporary style and also providing additional insight into the topic.


#7

It’s interesting that you bring up ‘qorban’ as a defense against Mary’s perpetual virginity. After all, ‘qorban’ permitted an adult child to weasel out of his obligations of supporting his parents as they grew old. We see what Jesus thinks of that tradition:

[Jesus said:] “Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.”

Now… if Jesus really did have full siblings – younger than he, since he was the child who “opened the womb” (Luke 2:23), then they would be required to support Mary upon Jesus’ death. And, given Jesus’ testimony in Mark 7, we would expect that He wouldn’t allow them to shirk their responsibillity. Yet… if there were full siblings, Jesus allowed them to do precisely that:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

(John 19:26-27)

So… if you’re right – that is, if Jesus had full siblings – then His last act before dying was to contradict His teachings against the Pharisees. (That just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It’s far more consistent to suggest that He didn’t have full siblings, and that this was the reason that He placed Mary in John’s care.)

Notice the context - father, mother, brothers, sisters. This is a family unit headed by Joseph and Mary.

Yes – Catholics would agree that this is referring to the extended family, whom the people of his hometown would know well.

[quote=Cachonga] I don’t see how this is anything like Abraham telling Lot, “We shouldn’t fight, for we are brothers”. Keep in mind, we know the exact relationship between Abraham and Lot because God tells us plainly in His Scriptures. The only thing Scripture says about these brothers and sisters of Jesus is that they are brothers and sisters.
[/quote]

Does this really imply full siblings, though? Is Scripture silent on this issue? Matthew and John show us that this is not the case:

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

(Matthew 27:55-56)

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

(John 19:25)

The “James and Joseph” mentioned by the people of Nazareth are the children of Mary, alright – Mary, the wife of Clopas, the sister of Mary. Therefore, we precisely have what you say you don’t see: an exact definition of the family relationships (Jesus’ aunt and her children, His cousins), as well as the more informal use of ‘adelphos’ to mean “close relative.”

To me, this is clear that these other brothers and sisters were children of Joseph and Mary. When I compare the Scripture to the “tradition” made dogma (as outlined in Mark7:1-13), I find the “tradition” makes the Word of God void.

When I compare the Scriptures I’ve quoted here with the “tradition” of the Reformation, I find that this “tradition” makes the Word of God void. :shrug:

(p.s., the Scriptural argument I present here is the is essentially the one that Wesrock cited – that is, the argument Jerome makes against Helvidius.)


#8

Excellent!

It is so important to remember that “Protestants” includes people like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, people I don’t even consider to be Christian.

Fundamentalists (including all the “non-denoms” and Baptists) are on the fringes of Christianity (the “Fenny places” in Ezechial). Some (myself included) would not consider them to be Christian because of their denial of Baptismal regeneration (Fundamental Christian belief) along with Sacramental Eucharist and Holy Orders. I know some will consider this too narrow, but there it is! :wink:


#9

Hi!

Consider the vow of Celibacy taken by many both in the Priesthood and outside of it…
it is a choice to remain chaste in the service of God.

Scriptures don’t speak much on the Virgin and Joseph… yet, what we are given to know is that they were part of the Remnant chosen from Israel by Yahweh God to remain faithful to Him.

Both the Virgin and Joseph were awaiting the Messiah… there’s much that we do not know because Scriptures are not a tell-all-story-book; yet, we Know that both of them were informed of the Holy Spirit’s Intervention… did you notice that they did not blink an eye? There’s no mention of how startled they were when the angel/vision referenced the Holy Spirit! This is because they were in tuned with God (they understood the relationship).

Have you noticed how people get all flustered when a famous person is in their presence (or even if they own/hold an item that is said to have belonged to someone famous)?

Could you imagine how it would have felt to be chosen by God to be His Vessel or to be Jesus’ adoptive father?

If common folk feel so much joy from vain human experiences, could you not see how two devote Believers could remain chaste after the Conception and Birth of God?

Maran atha!

Angel


#10

Except that it is clear from Scripture itself that these other brothers and sisters could not possibly have been children of Joseph and Mary.

There are only four brethren of Jesus named in the Gospels: **Matthew 13:55 ** “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”

**Mark 6:2-3 ** - “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”

Let’s begin with James. There are two men named James among the disciples. One, of course, is the brother of John and the son of Zebedee. This cannot be him then. So, this is the other James, called in Scripture James the less: Mark 15:40: “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom were Mary Magdalene, and ** Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joseph,** and Salome.” (emphasis added)
So James is indeed the son of a woman named Mary. Not only that, but Joseph is his brother. That’s two of the four, right? Then, in Matthew, reciting the names of the twelve: Matt 10:3: “…'James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.” (emphasis added)
This too is talking of James the less, as the other James, son of Zebedee, is spoken of in the previous verse. It is NOT a trick or really that hard! * Alphaeus* is this James’ father, not Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of the Lord.

Now go to John also speaking of those witnessing the Crucifixion: John 19:25: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (Mary) and His mothers sister, *** Mary the wife of Cleophas***, and * Mary Magdalene*.” (emphasis added)
Look up John 19:25 at blueletterbible.org/ and click the ‘C’ icon (for the Strong’s Concordance), then click the Strong’s number for the name Cleophas. It comes up “father of James the less, the husband of Mary the sister of the mother of Jesus.”

Did you get that? That Mary, who was the mother of James the less, and of Joseph, from Mark 15:40, is the wife of Cleophas, the father of James the less, and she is called the ‘sister’ of Our Lord’s mother - Mary!

So, two of the four ‘brothers’ have been identified as the children of parents other than Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Of the brothers named, that still leaves Jude and Simon. Next, Jude: Acts 1:13 ** "…James, the son of Alphaeus , and Simon Zelo’tes, and ** Jude the brother of James…" (emphasis added)
There goes Jude out of the mix! *** Matter of fact, Jude says the same in his own epistle: Jude 1:1 "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ *** and brother of James…" (emphasis added)
Lastly, Simon. Simon, called the Zealot, is identified as coming from Cana, not Nazareth as were Joseph, Mary and the Christ! Luke 6:15 "and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and ** Simon who was called the Zealot
," (emphasis added)

Mark 3:18 “Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and ** Simon the Cananaean**…” (emphasis added)

Matt 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. (emphasis added)
Simon is a Cananean, while Jesus is a Nazarene!

We see that Simon the Zealot being from Cana, and a ‘brethren’ or ‘brother’ of the Christ. Let’s go to John’s Gospel, chapter 2. Mary and Our Lord are invited to a wedding there! So, close business associates, maybe, of Joseph from the carpentry trade, or more likely - family, or brethren, relatives, are having this wedding! Like, maybe the Holy Family had actual kinfolk in Cana, be they cousins, in-laws, nephews, aunts, uncles, all of which are routinely called ‘brethren’!

Remember what Mary said to the servants? She told them to ‘Do as He says.’

Think about that a second? What would give this humble woman from Nazareth any position to so speak to the servants of someone else in an entirely different town, at their wedding? The simplest and most easily understood answer would be – she is a family relation to those giving the wedding feast…

So Simon is from Cana, and a ‘brother’ of the Lord! He’s not a sibling though, but very likely related. And James, Joseph and Jude all have the same father and mother, and it is not Joseph and the Virgin Mary, but their mother is named Mary and called the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary. Even here ‘sister’ may not mean blood sibling (just as ‘brother’ does not always mean blood sibling, as we know from Genesis 14:14: “And when Abram heard that his brother [Lot] was taken captive…”), or we have two sisters with the same name in the same family.


#11

Hi!

…once they established, and held, that each individual person can determine for him/herself what God actually means to convey through Sacred Writings… well the sky’s been their limit!

‘…why follow “xyz” when they are waaaay too Catholic? …just upload your own understanding and teach that as the fundamental tenet/s of the faith–and don’t be afraid to be flippant or extremely creative!’

Maran atha!

Angel


#12

I can’t even begin to imagine the inferiority complex any (hypothetical) blood siblings of Jesus would surely have had growing up, due to their inability to live up to the example set by their older brother.

Why can’t you be like your brother Jesus?
He never gives us a moments trouble.
He always makes his bed.
He always picks up his toys.
He is never a minute late for curfew.
He always brings Dad’s camel home clean.
He never talks back.
He even cleans the ring out of the bathtub and hangs up his clothes.


#13

Hi!

…just a couple of aah hmms…

It is doubtful that Jesus, as impoverish as He was, would have attended school–it was not customary for poor people to have access to education back when:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]14 When the festival was half over, Jesus went to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The Jews were astonished and said, ‘How did he learn to read? He has not been taught.’ 16 Jesus answered them: ‘My teaching is not from myself: it comes from the one who sent me;

(St. John 7:14-16)
…the play thing is also questionable since even today in impoverished parts of the world children wake up to a job (securing food or doing choirs or actual jobs); but it is possible that there were “play” times for Jesus.

…as for the “reformation;” taking apart a system, demolishing it to the ground, and reinventing the wheel is hardly reformation.

…still, the events were not solely as you and many believe: ‘champion Luther to the rescue of the poor souls.’ His battle was for autonomy, not simply against unrighteous practices.

This of course does not mean that Luther did not point out some errors (as the selling of indulgences).

Maran atha!

Angel

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#14

[quote=edward_george] So basically what you’re saying is that Luther and Calvin were wrong on perpetual virginity because they were too Catholic? So for the first 1500 years of Christianity nobody got this right? When did somebody finally figure out that Catholics and early Protestants were wrong?
[/quote]

You obviously misunderstood what I was saying. The reformers didn’t do the same intense study on issues that weren’t related to the abuses they were addressing. Regardless, I do not consider them infallible in any way (same goes for ECF’s).

[quote=Wesrock] Helvidius made a similar argument in the fourth century. After Saint Jerome systematically tore his arguments apart by referring to both scripture and earlier testimony from the ECF (compared to which Helvidius’ arguments were seen as novel and not consistent), Mary’s perpetual virginity was never seriously questioned again until well after the Reformation.
[/quote]

There were some ECF’s that did speak of Mary having other children with Joseph (I’ve gone through a move, so I don’t have the sources handy, but I will try and find them). As I stated above, I don’t believe the ECF’s were infallible, and you can find almost anything to support nearly any position you may want to take, even from the same ECF (did you know that during the Reformation, both Catholics and Reformers quoted from Athanasius against each other?).

[quote=Gorgias] It’s interesting that you bring up ‘qorban’ as a defense against Mary’s perpetual virginity. After all, ‘qorban’ permitted an adult child to weasel out of his obligations of supporting his parents as they grew old. We see what Jesus thinks of that tradition:
[/quote]

It’s appropriate. I can use the same method for other “infallible” traditions made dogma of the church, but that’s not the topic of this thread.

Now… if Jesus really did have full siblings – younger than he, since he was the child who “opened the womb” (Luke 2:23), then they would be required to support Mary upon Jesus’ death. And, given Jesus’ testimony in Mark 7, we would expect that He wouldn’t allow them to shirk their responsibillity. Yet… if there were full siblings, Jesus allowed them to do precisely that:

Are you saying that Jesus (the elder brother) is responsible for the actions of His younger siblings? What is your evidence of that?

So… if you’re right – that is, if Jesus had full siblings – then His last act before dying was to contradict His teachings against the Pharisees. (That just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It’s far more consistent to suggest that He didn’t have full siblings, and that this was the reason that He placed Mary in John’s care.)

First, there is no account of His brothers being around when He was crucified. Second, John was “the disciple Jesus loved”. As a disciple of Jesus, and no siblings around, it was appropriate for Him to entrust His mother to the care of a trusted (and loved) disciple (John).

Yes – Catholics would agree that this is referring to the extended family, whom the people of his hometown would know well.

This does not describe an “extended” family. Please, do not add to what the Scriptures say!

Does this really imply full siblings, though? Is Scripture silent on this issue? Matthew and John show us that this is not the case:

Could you point out where Matt 27:55-56 or John 19:25 says these were the “brothers” of Jesus? You know they were not the only people with these names. When I was in college, I had a group of friends, several of which were named Mike. We distinguished one from another by there major (i.e. - Business Mike, Computer Mike, Music Mike, etc…). In the same way, I notice the Scriptures refer to James, James the less, James the brother of the Lord, even James the son of Alpheus, and cannot help but think that James was a popular name at the time (likewise, Simon, Joseph and Judas (or Jude) were also used of more than 1 person within Scripture).

The “James and Joseph” mentioned by the people of Nazareth are the children of Mary, alright – Mary, the wife of Clopas, the sister of Mary. Therefore, we precisely have what you say you don’t see: an exact definition of the family relationships (Jesus’ aunt and her children, His cousins), as well as the more informal use of ‘adelphos’ to mean “close relative.”

You’re making a claim that Scripture doesn’t support. Again, where in Scripture are these sons of Mary, the wife of Clopas identified as the “brothers of Jesus”? Furthermore, has the church ever “infallibly” defined these 2 as brothers of Jesus, or is that just the opinion of some ECF (Jerome or any others)? What of the other 2 brothers? And the sisters (2 or more, since it uses the plural)? All the church has “infallibly” stated about the matter is that the brothers and sisters of Jesus are NOTchildren of Joseph and Mary (again, this is based on the tradition made dogma, not the Scriptures)…

When I compare the Scriptures I’ve quoted here with the “tradition” of the Reformation, I find that this “tradition” makes the Word of God void.

(p.s., the Scriptural argument I present here is the is essentially the one that Wesrock cited – that is, the argument Jerome makes against Helvidius.)

I would make the same argument against Jerome I made here. Did Jerome address any of the points I raised? I’ll look it up myself and see. Regardless, I maintain my belief that Joseph and Mary did, in fact, engage in normal, marital relations resulting in 4 more sons and 2 or more daughters.


#15

[quote=AmbroseSJ] t is so important to remember that “Protestants” includes people like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, people I don’t even consider to be Christian.

Fundamentalists (including all the “non-denoms” and Baptists) are on the fringes of Christianity (the “Fenny places” in Ezechial). Some (myself included) would not consider them to be Christian because of their denial of Baptismal regeneration (Fundamental Christian belief) along with Sacramental Eucharist and Holy Orders. I know some will consider this too narrow, but there it is!
[/quote]

This might be a little nit-picking, but I don’t believe Mormons, JW’s or “non-denoms” should be properly considered Protestant, since they cannot trace their origins back to the Reformation. Just my 2 cents worth on that.

[quote=Erich] Except that it is clear from Scripture itself that these other brothers and sisters could not possibly have been children of Joseph and Mary
[/quote]

I believe I have already addressed many of your references above.


#16

Hi, Erich!

Excellent post! :clapping::clapping::clapping:

The breakdown is superb! :extrahappy::extrahappy::extrahappy:

God Bless!

Maran atha!

Angel


#17

Hi, Erich!

…wait, they had camels and a bathtub?

…I suspect that, just as His blood siblings, these are luxuries that Jesus did not enjoy!

Maran atha!

Angel


#18

If we’re going that route, there is not one mention of Mary (the Virgin) having other children. Nowhere is anyone but Jesus referred to as a son or daughter of Mary (the Virgin).

Meanwhile, neither Hebrew nor Aramaic had a word for cousin. In every day speaking to one another, referring to close relatives simply as “brethren” was far more common than referring to your relatives by circumlocution. When written into the Gospels, it’s a simple matter for it to have been transliterated when writing or speaking Greek.


#19

Hi!

No one is saying that you are not able to maintain your personal beliefs–clearly, the Church did not raid the compound of those “intellectuals” who killed themselves because their theology convinced them that Jesus would come in a spaceship, hidden in the tail of the comet, and beam them away into the Kingdom of Heaven… an opinion they held till they committed suicide!

What we are saying is that your opinion is wrong because it is based on flawed assertions.

Maran atha!

Angel


#20

Hi!

…by that logic none of the Protestants should be considered Protestants since they have veered off from their founders tenets.

Maran atha!

Angel


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