Ever Virgin, Ever Sinless?


#1

I’m sorry, I’m sure this has been asked before, but I’m new, so maybe you can entertain me with a reply?

My husband isn’t Catholic. We recently discussed the Chruch’s view on Mary because my son came home with some literature from a Baptist church that reads, “Mary is mentioned a few times in the Bible. She also gave birth to X, X, X, X…Jesus’s brothers and sisters.” I was a little taken back by that to say the least. Frankly, I couldn’t believe I was reading it!

For some reason, I can explain these things to everyone but my husband (proximity bias?).

His bottom line question is, “Who cares?” He doesn’t know or care if Mary was a virgin after the birth of Christ, or if she was and remained sinless. My feeling is that a lot of the ways I incorporate Mary in to my life are dependent upon these things being true. None of it makes sense without these two concepts. What it boils down to is that my husband doesn’t care because those things aren’t impt to what he believes about Mary (which isn’t much).

So my question to you is this: Can you clarify the Church’s position on perpetual virginity and perpetual purity (sinlessness?), and maybe explain why YOU think they are impt to our understanding? I fully intend to use your replies to communicate this better to my dh. I could explain it to a room full of people better than I can explain it to him alone.

Thanks in advance,

Mama


#2

Hi MamaSusie, welcome to the forums!

You asked such a great question, and I am sure it one near and dear to our hearts, so expect alot of great answers and observations from the posters here. We love Our Lady on Catholic Answers Forums!

So hold on tight for your responses and Welcome!

God Bless,
VC


#3

Mama,

I particulary like the explantion of Mary’s perpetual virginity through the Ark of the Covenant This is a good one from This Rock.

Another explanation I like about her Immaculate conception is that Jesus never called Mary by name in Scripture. He always referred to her as “woman”. Eve, until she sinned, was called woman also, until she sinned.

As for your sons “proof” of Children, they are anything but. There is not one geneology tree for Mary’s Children. I am out of time now, but I’ll look for another good article.

God Bless,
Maria


#4

Thanks all! I did print a copy of the Protoevangelium of James for my dh, which I’m sure he will read and digest (I read some of it to him as I was trying to answer his questions). Again, his question was, “Ok, so even if she was a virgin and was sinless, who cares?” I’m really having trouble with articulating, “ME! That’s who cares! And here’s why…”

Looking forward to your replies.


#5

the church dosen’t bind these things on our conscience because it’s being pushy or bossy. they bind them because it’s true. the more truth we have the better relationship we have with Jesus. even if it’s about his mother. Jesus came to us, through his mother. Then it can’t be wrong for us to go to him through his mother also. He did it. remember…NO MARY, NO JESUS, KNOW MARY, KNOW JESUS…


#6

Mamasusie,

I think it might be hard for us, not knowing your husband’s personality, to offer suggestions that would necessarily “capture his mind and heart” on this issue. Perhaps, Our Lady herself can help you with that (i.e. ask her to help you).

Perhaps you can offer these two meditations:

  1. Mary is the ONLY mother who was chosen by her Son. Not only that, but Mary was created by that Son. It has been said of Mary that “The Bird which built the nest was hatched therein.” Awesome, isn’t it? Now, if your husband could create his mother, and give her whatever gifts he wanted to (assuming that he was all powerful), wouldn’t he do so?

  2. Just as God willed that salvation would come into the world through One Man (Jesus) because Sin and Death entered the world through one man (Adam), so too it is fitting and proper that God would will that a woman (Mary) would contribute to this salvation in a unique and pre-eminent way, since a woman (Eve) contributed to the fall of mankind. As Eve was the mother of us all in our *nature, *could we say that Mary is the mother of us all in our *supernature – *and could we posit that it is fitting that Mary would have no other child of natural relationship since she was the mother of us all in a supernatural relationship. “Behold your mother” was addressed to all disciples of Christ.

Just some thoughts. I have not given these too much thought, so please let me say that they are not theologically nuanced – but perhaps that was not what you were looking for. Also let say that if anything that I have said in anyway contradicts the authentic and true teaching of the Church, then ignore what I said above – all errors are my own.

I hope this helps somewhat. What do you think?
God Bless you!
VC


#7

Something interesting to consider…two passages from the Bible…

Gen 3:15…God promised to put enmity between the Woman & Satan…Catholic Christians interpret that as God chosing a virgin to bear the Word Incarnate.

Luke 1:28-30 Hail Full of Grace - in the orginal Greek, Luke chose a word to denote that Mary was full of grace from the very moment of her existence. This has always been interpreted by Catholic Christians to mean that she was saved, by Christ’s Death and Resurection, at the moment of her conception. She was conceived without sin in order to carry the New Adam (Jesus). God created Mary (the new Eve) without sin just as He created the first Eve without sin, and He saved her at the moment of her conception because God is not restrained by time and space as are His creatures.

The brothers and sisters or Jesus are his cousins. If one turns to the passages in Acts and tries to count the number of people that Baptists and others claim that Mary would have given birth to, she would have been in perpetual labor, rather than a perpetual virgin.

She is the new Ark of the Covenant…no man would have dared to ever touch her.

Jesus gave her over to the care of the Apostle John…if she had other sons, this would have been one of the gravest of all insults to his other brothers.


#8

As to why it matters, all the doctrines and dogmas pertaining to Mary are in support of some Church teaching about her Son, Jesus Christ. IOW, it isn’t that the Church has set out to find as many ways as possible of exalting her, although it wouldn’t be wrong to do that, but it looks at Christ and meditates on his life, his mission and what he accomplished and reasons, “God made Mary full of grace (Lk. 1:28), so what does that mean in relation to her Son? Why would God do that? What part in the redemption and salvation of humankind did that have?” And the answers all are, "Because it was necessary for Christ to be born without any taint of sin attached to him through his mother who is the Second Eve as he is the Second Adam.

If you were going to start humankind all over again, would you want perfectly holy people as the progenitors of that race or ones with sin spoiling their nature, their intellect, and their will? We know what the answer is to that. God began the human race over again with the conception of Mary and the Incarnation of her Son. That is why it is important.

As to the “brothers and sisters of the Lord,” they are his cousins and other relations, or perhaps children by a first marriage of St. Joseph, but that is unlikely. Nowhere in the NT are any other children of Mary listed than Jesus. She is always referred to as the mother of Jesus or the mother of the Lord, but never as the mother of anyone else. And Jesus gave her to John when he was on the cross. If she had had other children, no matter if they had followed Jesus or not, they would have been obligated to care for her. But, there were no other children, so Jesus gave his mother into the care of John.


#9

Thanks again.

I think his big hang up is “Why do you believe she REMAINED sinless, especially when Christ said all have sinned…none is sinless, not one.”


#10

[quote=MamaSusie]I’m sorry, I’m sure this has been asked before, but I’m new, so maybe you can entertain me with a reply?

My husband isn’t Catholic. We recently discussed the Chruch’s view on Mary because my son came home with some literature from a Baptist church that reads, “Mary is mentioned a few times in the Bible. She also gave birth to X, X, X, X…Jesus’s brothers and sisters.” I was a little taken back by that to say the least. Frankly, I couldn’t believe I was reading it!

For some reason, I can explain these things to everyone but my husband (proximity bias?).

His bottom line question is, “Who cares?” He doesn’t know or care if Mary was a virgin after the birth of Christ, or if she was and remained sinless. My feeling is that a lot of the ways I incorporate Mary in to my life are dependent upon these things being true. None of it makes sense without these two concepts. What it boils down to is that my husband doesn’t care because those things aren’t impt to what he believes about Mary (which isn’t much).

So my question to you is this: Can you clarify the Church’s position on perpetual virginity and perpetual purity (sinlessness?), and maybe explain why YOU think they are impt to our understanding? I fully intend to use your replies to communicate this better to my dh. I could explain it to a room full of people better than I can explain it to him alone.

Thanks in advance,

Mama
[/quote]

Here is a quick response. In Jesus’ time, there was no word for “cousin” or “step-children” (Jesus spoke Aramaic and no word existed for “cousin). When mention is made of Jesus’ brothers, these have been identified as cousins or perhaps the children of St. Joseph, which would have made them step-brothers of Jesus.
Scripturally, in Luke 2:41-51, when Jesus is founding the Temple, no mention is made of children (sons and daughters) with Mary or Joseph or any sibling with Jesus. Also, Scripturally, in John 19:26-27, Jesus commits the care of Mary to the Apostle John. Why would Jesus have done that if he had brothers to care for Mary?
This is from an Early Church Father: “For if Mary, as those declare who with sound mind extol her, had no other son but Jesus, and yet Jesus says to His mother, Woman, behold thy son,’ and not Behold you have this son also,’ then He virtually said to her, Lo, this is Jesus, whom thou didst bear.’ Is it not the case that every one who is perfect lives himself no longer, but Christ lives in him; and if Christ lives in him, then it is said of him to Mary, Behold thy son Christ.’ What a mind, then, must we have to enable us to interpret in a worthy manner this work, though it be committed to the earthly treasure-house of common speech, of writing which any passer-by can read, and which can be heard when read aloud by any one who lends to it his bodily ears?” Origen, Commentary on John, I:6 (A.D. 232).


#11

The Sacred Scriptures say that there is not one who is good except my Father in heaven. Why are Jesus Words not believed? :eek: God Bless


#12

[quote=SPOKENWORD]The Sacred Scriptures say that there is not one who is good except my Father in heaven. Why are Jesus Words not believed? :eek: God Bless
[/quote]

Why don’t you tell us why Jesus can then be called good? After all, he’s the one who said it.


#13

[quote=Della]Why don’t you tell us why Jesus can then be called good? After all, he’s the one who said it.
[/quote]

Because He is God the Son.Whoever sees Me sees the Father.Makes sense to Me. :confused: God Bless


#14

Remember, the Protoevangelium of James is great reading but I have been cautioned as to its “unbiblicalness.” It may give us some insight into what occurred with the virgins dedicated to the Temple and Jewish traditions but it is not considered extremely reliable as it was not written by the James, cousin of Jesus.

I think that the reasons she remained ever sinless was because she was “full of grace.” For something to be full, it means that there is no room for anything else. She was born without sin and this would include original sin, which “contributes” to our concupisence(sp?) - our inclination to sin.

If Mary was full of grace and had no original sin then she was perfectly in tune as to what the Lord wanted. She had this disposition even as a young girl - all her life. Although she may have been tempted, her will not to sin is greater than ours. We fall much more easily than Mary because of our concupisence. Mary was always completely obedient.

Her will was/is God’s will. Since God came to us through Mary it only makes sense that God comes to us through Mary now. Everything ever written about Mary reveals some understanding about Jesus, she always reflects Him. It’s not about Mary, the doctrines about Mary are really about Jesus.

There are some great writings from the early church fathers that talk about Mary - I wish I had them to post but I know someone here will post them. They show the early church’s understanding and teaching about Mary, how they understood her perpetual virginity and her sinlessness.

When someone quotes the passage in the bible about “all have sinned,” ask them does that include infants, children under the age of reason, mentally retarded, etc. “All” most always has exceptions as when the bible talks aobut “all of Jerusalem comig out to be baptized,”; did ALL of Jeruslaem really come out to be baptized? I don’t think so. It’s common sense.

Someone here please post some of the early church fathers about Mary for her to read. Thanks.


#15

[quote=MamaSusie]I’m sorry, I’m sure this has been asked before, but I’m new, so maybe you can entertain me with a reply?

My husband isn’t Catholic. We recently discussed the Chruch’s view on Mary because my son came home with some literature from a Baptist church that reads, “Mary is mentioned a few times in the Bible. She also gave birth to X, X, X, X…Jesus’s brothers and sisters.” I was a little taken back by that to say the least. Frankly, I couldn’t believe I was reading it!

For some reason, I can explain these things to everyone but my husband (proximity bias?).

His bottom line question is, “Who cares?” He doesn’t know or care if Mary was a virgin after the birth of Christ, or if she was and remained sinless. My feeling is that a lot of the ways I incorporate Mary in to my life are dependent upon these things being true. None of it makes sense without these two concepts. What it boils down to is that my husband doesn’t care because those things aren’t impt to what he believes about Mary (which isn’t much).

So my question to you is this: Can you clarify the Church’s position on perpetual virginity and perpetual purity (sinlessness?), and maybe explain why YOU think they are impt to our understanding? I fully intend to use your replies to communicate this better to my dh. I could explain it to a room full of people better than I can explain it to him alone.

Thanks in advance,

Mama
[/quote]

Does your husband understand that you view Mary as mother of all Christians and Queen of Heaven? Have you explained to him that you think Jesus wants us to honor His mother and remember her role in bringing salvation to the world? Ask him if he would like it if people said untrue things about his mother or if people downplayed her involvement in his life or ignored her at family functions. If you start with why you believe Mary to be important, maybe that would help him understand why you think Mary’s perpetual viriginity and sinlessness are important.
Honestly, being from a Protestant background myself, I can understand why your husband just doesn’t care about this issue. Protestants simply do not have any idea why Catholics think Mary is so important. It is completely foreign from any concept they have of Christianity.


#16

[quote=SPOKENWORD]The Sacred Scriptures say that there is not one who is good except my Father in heaven. Why are Jesus Words not believed? :eek: God Bless
[/quote]

Examples of Jesus calling other people “good” (in the English NIV translation):
Matthew 12:33 (through the metaphor of trees), also Luke 6:43
Matthew 12:35, also Luke 6:45
Matthew 22:10
Matthew 25:21, 23
Luke 23:50 (Actually, the Gospel-writer says this, not Jesus himself)
Other new testament books referring to people as good:
Acts 11:24
1 Timothy 4:4 (in the context of all creation)
1 Timothy 4:6
1 Peter 2:18
This is not a comprehensive list, seeing as how any passage that exhorts us to goodness is admitting the possibility that people may be good.

Also, the verse you quote, in context, denies a connection between Jesus’ use of the term “good” here and sinlessness. “There is One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” Obviously, there is more to “good” as it is used here than simply being sinless. I’d be interested to know what the Greek word used here is and what Hebrew connotations it may have had. It is you who have decided that by “good,” he means “sinless.” If that were the case, your sins could not be taken away, because then, you would be “good,” too, and no one is “good” but God.

Consider, too, that the Bible also says, “There is none who does good, not even one,” and yet the Bible talks about doing good all the time. You can’t just pull a verse out of the context of the whole of Scripture and give it a meaning that contradicts the rest of Scripture.


#17

[quote=SPOKENWORD]Because He is God the Son.Whoever sees Me sees the Father.Makes sense to Me. :confused: God Bless
[/quote]

Okay, so then Jesus, as God is/was incapable of creating his mother as a perfect human being, full of grace (Lk. 1:28), because of the death he was to die for her and all of us? And if you say he couldn’t, then how could the saints of the OT be saved who were looking forward to the day of redemption?


#18

From scripture catholic website:

Mary is Ever Virgin
Exodus 13:2,12 - Jesus is sometimes referred to as the “first-born” son of Mary. But “first-born” is a common Jewish expression meaning the first child to open the womb. It has nothing to do the mother having future children.

Exodus 34:20 - under the Mosaic law, the “first-born” son had to be sanctified. “First-born” status does not require a “second” born.

Ezek. 44:2 - Ezekiel prophesies that no man shall pass through the gate by which the Lord entered the world. This is a prophecy of Mary’s perpetual virginity. Mary remained a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus.

Mark 6:3 - Jesus was always referred to as “the” son of Mary, not “a” son of Mary. Also “brothers” could have theoretically been Joseph’s children from a former marriage that was dissolved by death. However, it is most likely, perhaps most certainly, that Joseph was a virgin, just as were Jesus and Mary. As such, they embodied the true Holy Family, fully consecrated to God.

Luke 1:31,34 - the angel tells Mary that you “will” conceive (using the future tense). Mary responds by saying, “How shall this be?” Mary’s response demonstrates that she had taken a vow of lifelong virginity by having no intention to have relations with a man. If Mary did not take such a vow of lifelong virginity, her question would make no sense at all (for we can assume she knew how a child is conceived). She was a consecrated Temple virgin as was an acceptable custom of the times.

Luke 2:41-51 - in searching for Jesus and finding Him in the temple, there is never any mention of other siblings.

John 7:3-4; Mark 3:21 - we see that younger “brothers” were advising Jesus. But this would have been extremely disrespectful for devout Jews if these were Jesus’ biological brothers.

John 19:26-27 - it would have been unthinkable for Jesus to commit the care of his mother to a friend if he had brothers.

John 19:25 - the following verses prove that James and Joseph are Jesus’ cousins and not his brothers: Mary the wife of Clopas is the sister of the Virgin Mary.

Matt. 27:61, 28:1 - Matthew even refers to Mary the wife of Clopas as “the other Mary.”

Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:47 - Mary the wife of Clopas is the mother of James and Joseph.

Mark 6:3 - James and Joseph are called the “brothers” of Jesus. So James and Joseph are Jesus’ cousins.

Matt. 10:3 - James is also called the son of “Alpheus.” This does not disprove that James is the son of Clopas. The name Alpheus may be Aramaic for Clopas, or James took a Greek name like Saul (Paul), or Mary remarried a man named Alpheus.


#19

Thanks so much, guys. I don’t know if this is really answering HIS question, but I’m certainly enjoying it.

Kristina P., generally, when I approach things with him, I tend to dwell a lot on Jewish history. A lot of what we do comprises of historical Jewish practices combined with the new covenant. For example, in explaining Mary to my husband, I illustrated that in the line of David, the “kings”, for example solomon, had their mothers sitting to the right of them at the throne. When someone really wanted/needed something form the king, they went to his mother and asked for her help in getting their needs met. This was unique to this line, and to these kings, and is the same as our Christ the King in this line. Even family asked the mother of the king for intercession with the king…in no other culture or blood line do we see this. I think that’s terribly interesting, but probably not what moves my husband.

My husband is a very Biblically based, sola scriptura, Christian. If it’s not in the Bible it doesn’t count. I was raised Catholic, then fell away to attend protestant churches with my husband, while taking religion and literature courses with Jews, then ultimately returned to the Faith. So I have defended the protestant perspective in detail, and understand where he’s coming from. The problem really lies in what qualifies as “evidence.” Being an attorney, he has the potential to be VERY skeptical about law. However, he also has the potential to be VERY faithful to what he believes to be the Truth. :slight_smile:


#20

Thanks so much, guys. I don’t know if this is really answering HIS question, but I’m certainly enjoying it.

Kristina P., generally, when I approach things with him, I tend to dwell a lot on Jewish history. A lot of what we do comprises of historical Jewish practices combined with the new covenant. For example, in explaining Mary to my husband, I illustrated that in the line of David, the “kings”, for example solomon, had their mothers sitting to the right of them at the throne. When someone really wanted/needed something form the king, they went to his mother and asked for her help in getting their needs met. This was unique to this line, and to these kings, and is the same as our Christ the King in this line. Even family asked the mother of the king for intercession with the king…in no other culture or blood line do we see this. I think that’s terribly interesting, but probably not what moves my husband.

My husband is a very Biblically based, sola scriptura, Christian. If it’s not in the Bible it doesn’t count. I was raised Catholic, then fell away to attend protestant churches with my husband, while taking religion and literature courses with Jews, then ultimately returned to the Faith. So I have defended the protestant perspective in detail, and understand where he’s coming from. The problem really lies in what qualifies as “evidence.” Being an attorney, he has the potential to be VERY skeptical about law. However, he also has the potential to be VERY faithful to what he believes to be the Truth. :slight_smile:


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