Did Mary actually give "birth" to Christ?


#1

I have a question regarding the birth of Jesus and Mary’s labor. My wife says that she was taught in her Catholic upbringing that Mary did not undergo physical labor, and that Jesus just “appeared: next to Mary. Thus, she was able to maintain her state of virginity. I on the other hand, was taught that she did give actual birth, but because of her selection as Mother of Jesus by God, she did give birth (as any other woman) but maintained her virginity. I also saw some hour-long television program on A&E or something like it, in which they interviewed physicians who talked about Jesus being conceived outside the uterus, blah-blah-blah, and thus Mary still was a virgin. I think the show took it a little too far, but the question remains: was Jesus “born”, or did he just “appear” next to Mary? Or does he Church itself not know for certain?

Thanks


#2

In my opinion, this issue is still unsettled. The Magisterium, through its Bible, seems to say that Jesus was normally born, in the usual sloppy, slimey, bloody, tissue-tearing fashion.

But then the Magisterium, in its Counciliar Canons and Encyclicals, seems to say that Jesus was miraculously born – not “born” in the classic sense at all.

I’ve got to get to work. I’ll comment further on this later.


#3

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=64428


#4

Someone correct me if I’m wrong but here’s what I think:

Mary did not experience the physical pain of childbirth due to her Immaculate Conception. However, Mary did in fact give birth to Jesus; She just didn’t experience the pains of childbirth.

Two things you might want to bring up to your wife: First, A&E is not a good place to learn about you Catholic Religion. Second, virginity is lost through the marital act, not childbirth.


#5

Thank you, Jerusha.


#6

[quote=Madia]Someone correct me if I’m wrong but here’s what I think:

Mary did not experience the physical pain of childbirth due to her Immaculate Conception. However, Mary did in fact give birth to Jesus; She just didn’t experience the pains of childbirth.

Two things you might want to bring up to your wife: First, A&E is not a good place to learn about you Catholic Religion. Second, virginity is lost through the marital act, not childbirth.
[/quote]

Hi, Madia.

When the modern Church says that Mary is a “virgin in partu,” it does not mean that she did not have sex. It means that Mary’s personal region remained perfectrly unbroken and untraumatized in giving birth.

My personal suspicion is that “virginity in partu” did not always have that meaning in the Magisterium, that “parturition” referred to the nine months of Jesus’ gestation, so that “in partu virginiuty” original DID refer to no sex during Mary’s nine months of pregnancy. My suspicion is that later radical Mariology has impacted the Church’s expression of its teaching, so that the current Magisterial pronouncements in effect deny that Jesus was “born” in the same sense that you or I were “born.”

In my opinion, by the way, just as Mary experienced “dormition” – apparently, “flatlining” – before her assumption, despite her Immaculate Conception, she also experienced great pain in giving birth, just as the Book of Revelation affirms at the plaintext level. Read it. It says so. See Revelation 12:2.


#7

I had always been taught that, although Mary was saved from Original sin, she still had to suffer the pain of chilbirth because she still had the physical effects of original sin, just not the Spiritual. It makes no sense for Jesus just to have 'appeared" at Mary’s side. If she felt the pain of her son dying on the Cross why would she not feel the physical pain of his birth. If he miraculously appeared at her side, why did she need to be pregnant at all? Jesus could have come into the world as a 30 year old man to begin his ministry, through God all things are possible! But God chose to come into this world as fully human and fully God. He chose to be conceived in a womb, come into the world through childbirth, be nursed by a mother and protected by a human stepfather. He chose to be a vulnerable infant. Through this we learn many lessons, the dignity of a pregnant woman, the dignity and personhood of an unborn baby, the beauty of the family, Mother, father, child.


#8

[quote=BibleReader]Hi, Madia.

When the modern Church says that Mary is a “virgin in partu,” it does not mean that she did not have sex. It means that Mary’s personal region remained perfectrly unbroken and untraumatized in giving birth.

12:2.
[/quote]

Just curious, where are you getting this?


#9

I disagree with your exegisis on that passage in Revelation. I believe it refers to the sorrow she feels for her spiritual children due to their persicutions and afflictions, not physical pain.

Also, you may want to read this section of “The Mystical City of God”:
geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/7194/book4c4.html


#10

Thank you, Jerusha.

YW. I got an answer. Does no good to go over the whole thing again, although further development of the subject is welcome.


#11

I had always been taught that, although Mary was saved from Original sin, she still had to suffer the pain of chilbirth because she still had the physical effects of original sin, just not the Spiritual.

Mary was excluded from original sin; It was not removed from her soul as it is removed by baptisim. Hense, she would not suffer the pains of childbirth. However, she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam.

newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm


#12

[quote=Peace-bwu]Just curious, where are you getting this?
[/quote]

Lateran Council of 649

**“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.”
**


#13

I have heard it said that Jesus passed through the birth canal in the same way he passed through the locked doors of the upper room after his resurrection.


#14

Interesting question:

Mary was born without the stain of sin.
So she was free originally and permanently from the effects of sin.
One of the effects of sin (vis. Genesis) was an increase of pain during childbirth.

The follwing was pronounced in Genesis 3:16

   To the woman he said, 
   "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; 
   with pain you will give birth to children. 
   Your desire will be for your husband, 
   and he will rule over you." 

Using the logic that Mary had no pain during childbirth because her sinless nature freed her from that curse, is it also true that her husband did NOT rule over her?

Peace


#15

[quote=EA_Man]Interesting question:

Mary was born without the stain of sin.
So she was free originally and permanently from the effects of sin.
One of the effects of sin (vis. Genesis) was an increase of pain during childbirth.

The follwing was pronounced in Genesis 3:16

To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

Using the logic that Mary had no pain during childbirth because her sinless nature freed her from that curse, is it also true that her husband did NOT rule over her?

Peace
[/quote]

The argument that Mary DID suffer terribly in giving birth to Jesus is this.

One of the consequences of Original Sin was death. Genesis 3:22-23.

Now, God could easily have assumed Mary up into Heaven without having her “flatline.” See 2 Kings 2:11, where Elijah was assumed into Heaven while talking, and he wasn’t even immaculately conceived.

Despite this fact, God did not preserve Mary from “flatlining.” The Church affirmatively teaches that before being assumed, Mary experienced “dormition” – “flatlining” without rotting, but death nonetheless.

If the immaculate conception did not save Mary from death, why does everyone automatically conclude that it saved her from labor pains???

And, when they unnecessarily conclude this, they are warring with an express plaintext level statement in Revelation 12 that the woman who would give birth to “a son – a boy destined to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod” – would give birth as she “wailed aloud in pain as she laboured to give birth.” Revelation 12:2.


#16

[quote=EA_Man]Interesting question:

Mary was born without the stain of sin.
So she was free originally and permanently from the effects of sin.
One of the effects of sin (vis. Genesis) was an increase of pain during childbirth.

The follwing was pronounced in Genesis 3:16

   To the woman he said, 
   "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; 
   with pain you will give birth to children. 
   Your desire will be for your husband, 
   and he will rule over you." 

Using the logic that Mary had no pain during childbirth because her sinless nature freed her from that curse, is it also true that her husband did NOT rule over her?

Peace
[/quote]

E.A Man ya got that one all messed up. As what you bring up is not Catholic teaching. The Marian doctrines are, for Fundamentalists, among the most bothersome of the Catholic Church’s teachings. In this tract we’ll examine briefly two Marian doctrines that Fundamentalist writers frequently object to—the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. See the rest of that article here and then read this

That should balance things out as to what we mean by these concepts.

If as St. John proclaims in Revelation, Jesus is the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, then what prohibits it from having been divinely applied to the Blessed Virgin at her conception since it was also applied to the OT saints retroactively, was it not?

And if the Ark of the Covenant had to be holy and pure as it was, then how much more the ark of the New Covenant which carried the incarnate Son of God?
Pax tecum,


#17

[quote=Madia]Someone correct me if I’m wrong but here’s what I think:

Mary did not experience the physical pain of childbirth due to her Immaculate Conception. However, Mary did in fact give birth to Jesus; She just didn’t experience the pains of childbirth.

Two things you might want to bring up to your wife: First, A&E is not a good place to learn about you Catholic Religion. Second, virginity is lost through the marital act, not childbirth.
[/quote]

You are correct.


#18

The Protoevangelium of James?
Origen citing that work as a prooftext?

Not very convincing

In any event, you have not answered either the lead-off questions;

(W)as Jesus “born” or did he just “appear” next to Mary?
(D)oes the church know for certain?

Or mine;

If Mary was spared pain in childbirth, was she also spared the other aspects of the “curse” of Eve (Genesis 3:16)?

Peace


#19

The Nicene Creed declares: “He was born of the Virgin Mary…” The angel Gabriel announced to Mary, “…you will conceive in your womb and bear a son…” No equivocations there!

Some Catholics go so far in defending the purity of Mary that they negate the Incarnation itself in the process, which is totally unnecessary.

Mary actually conceived Jesus in her womb and actually gave birth to him. That is what the Church declares in both the Scriptures and in the Creed.


#20

There’s nothing wrong with Mary having labor pains or giving birth vaginally as far as I can see. The labor pains were increased due to Sin, not caused by it. Anything coming out of there is going to be a bit uncomfortable, but for humans it is inordinately painful, far more so than we can observe in other creatures of the world.

Personally I REALLY don’t like the idea of Jesus just “appearing” next to Mary, and I won’t believe that unless it’s absolutely and clearly dogmatically defined. There is NOTHING “impure” about physical childbirth, nothing inherently defective about it, and to insist that Mary didn’t have natural child-birth is an attack on both her humanity and the humanity of Jesus. That’s just my opinion, however :slight_smile:


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