Did Mary remain a virgin?

I went to a protestant church (my bf’s church) and was surprised to hear the pastor say that Mary did not remain a virgin, that she and Joseph had many children after Jesus… This is something I have never heard before.
He mentioned it in scripture (but I forgot what it was).

So what I want to know is how to defend her being the Blessed Virgin Mary and to know what verse in the bible he used to come to that conclusion.

Thanks in advance for the replies! <3

For background : (I grew up catholic but never lived out my faith, as my parents didn’t really take us to church or teach us anything about it. I have very little knowledge of the catholic faith, but I am getting back into my faith.)

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This is false information.

If Mary had other children, even if she had all girls, then Jesus would NOT have been allowed to “give” his mother to the care of John. It would of been a totally “illicit” and wrong thing to do.

In fact, if Joseph had children (as some people speculate) they would of had obligations to care for her over any words of Jesus.

The whole thing where Jesus uses the words “brother” is an extremely poor translation from Hebrew and has little bearing on what we think of as a brother today.


I’ve heard somewhere that the word for brother could also mean cousin/relative too


Yeah no, wrong interpretation on his part.

Yeah, from what I read from them, Protestants think that Jesus had brothers and therefore Mary was not perpertual virgin.

The verses they use are like, MT 12:47 “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to You.” and Gal 1:19 … James “the brother of the Lord”.

These have been debunked. They were not the Lord’s brothers but of course the Protestants would have none of that.

Many think it is because Jesus’ brothers were non-believers. But then you’d have the issue of “James” because James was an apostle and was listed as a “brother” (likely cousin as we know it today). Male lineage was a big thing. Men were brothers. Note, the only time in the Bible “cousin” is used, it’s applied to females. John the Baptist would have been considered his brother, even though Mary and Elizabeth were “cousins”.

There’s a lot of mental gymnastics that goes on to justify why Jesus would have done his actions. The only one that makes sense given the time is that Jesus did not have any other living male relatives.

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Hmm. If they think that Jesus had brothers (and sisters) then they should probably venerate Mary as Mother of God, and the siblings as Brothers of God and Sisters of God.

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That would be correct. We see that in St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 1:19

“But other of the Apostles saw I none, except for James, the Lord’s brother”

There were two Apostles named James; James, son of Alphaeus and James, the son of Zebedee. Neither of which could be Jesus’ biological brother.


Scripture only positively affirms that the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus. Scripture identifies some people as the brothers and sisters of Jesus but whether or not those people are the biological children of the Virgin Mary is not stated. So, the pastor went too far when he said that the Virgin Mary didn’t remain a virgin and that she and Joseph had many children, if he meant she gave birth to other children besides Jesus.

Scripture says, Joseph “took his wife [Mary], but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24) This Scripture only positively affirms that Joseph and the Virgin Mary did not have marital relations before the birth and naming of Jesus. Although the word “until” is often used to imply a change of circumstances afterwards, that is not always the case. Thus, the use of the word “until” in this Scripture could imply that Joseph had marital relations with the Virgin Mary after Jesus was born and named but not necessarily.

There is a very early Christian tradition, described in a 2nd-century work sometimes referred to as the Protoevangelium of James, that Joseph was an old widower with children, including at least two sons, from his previous marriage, when he married the Virgin Mary. Those children of Joseph by his previous marriage could well account for the so-called brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in Scripture.

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If I remember correctly what I read a few years ago, Greek speaking Semites used the word “adelphos” which at that time could mean - brother, nephew,cousin . One of the priests I had assisted who was from Democratic Republic of Congo told me, as we discussed this very matter that it was still common in Africa for someone to refer to even a distant relative as “brother” in his mother tongue Lingala. In Lingala, the word for "brother (and “sibling, relatives cousin, family, brother, sister, neighbor, friend family member on the same level”) is ndeko .

Another passage they use to try and justify that is Matthew 1:25 . . . as if the Evangelist were commenting on the sexual activity of St. Joseph - or our Blessed Mother.

Protestants (and even a considerable amount of Catholics) are unaware that Mary remained a virgin before Christ’s birth, during Christ’s birth, and after Christ’s birth.

As Catholics we are obligated to believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary as it has been defined as dogma in the Lateran Council.

The expression perpetual virginity, ever-virgin, or simply “Mary the Virgin” refers primarily to the conception and birth of Jesus. From the first formulations of faith, especially in baptismal formulas or professions of faith, the Church professed that Jesus Christ was conceived without human seed by the power of the Holy Spirit only. Here lies the decisive meaning of expressions such as “conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary,” “Mary’s virginal conception,” or “virgin birth.” The early baptismal formula (since the 3rd century) state Mary’s virginity without further explaining it, but there is no doubt about its physical meaning. Later statements are more explicit. Mary conceived "without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after his birth" (Council of the Lateran, 649).


i would stay away from any protestant church that preaches disrespectful & blasphemous sermons about Our Lady

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So I found the line he used:
Matthew 1:25 “but he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son.” (NIV)
He emphasized on the word ‘until’ meaning that they did have relations and was no longer a virgin.

From usccb website:
(NABRE) " He had no relations with her until she bore a son"

[1:25] Until she bore a son: the evangelist is concerned to emphasize that Joseph was not responsible for the conception of Jesus. The Greek word translated “until” does not imply normal marital conduct after Jesus’ birth, nor does it exclude it.

I’m not sure I understand that explanation.

so you are looking at english language interpretations of aramaic translated into hebrew translated into greek translated into latin re- translated into english interpretations that Our Lady is not a Perpetual Virgin

why can’t you just accept the Magesterial teaching of the Church?

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I had never questioned it before until I heard that, so I am trying to get to the bottom of it to understand.

a) stay away from protestant services

b) accept the teaching of Mother Catholic Church that Our Lady is a Perpetual Virgin

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That almost suggests that there isn’t an answer. What are you afraid of? Learning church teach and apologetics should be encouraged.

i’m not afraid of anything with regard to the magesterium

i accept it

Mariam, I’m glad your learning more about the faith! Asking questions is a great way of learning more. But it does seem like your boyfriend is leading you astray a bit. Most of these differences will come from Protestants belief in something called Solo scriptura, this means ‘The Bible alone’.
A short summary of this principle here:

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