I need help!


I am Protestant but working my way to become Catholic. My pastor of my church does not believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Here is his note to me and I have no idea how to answer it. Any help would be appreciated.


While studying for my sermon today, I came across Matthew 1:25. It reads as follows:
"But he[Josepeh] had no union with her [Mary] until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
Being the kind that notices details, I thought it was strange that the word ‘until’ was used here. Having checked my Greek source material books, the word ‘until’ in the Greek is heos. It is defined as " a conjunction, preposition, and adverb of continuance until (for time and place). Another dictionary defines it’s use in this particular instance as “until or unto, marking a terminus and spoken both of time and place… until what time, until when…” With out citing all the sources but with no intention to deceive, the writer of the verse is clearly making a statement that Mary’s viginity went until after the birth of her son, at which time it is clearly implied that Joseph did have union with her. I am sure there was the customary wait of time for purification of blood after the birth of the child which Luke says was 8 days. This one little word seems to dispell what so many may have always wished to believe about Mary, that which to me seems absolutely unlikely. That Mary stayed a virgin here whole life. This one little word seems to show that after the birth of Christ she had a normal sexual relationship with her husband, having a number of other children. The text could have easily emphasized her continued virginity by simply leaving out the work ‘until’ and supplying another word like ‘and’. Another great Catholic tradition bites the dust.

Like I said, I need help with this one!!


I recommend reading what the Church Fathers, especially St. Jerome, who knew Greek very well, have to say on the subject.

From St. Jerome against Helvidius:

Now we have to prove that just as in the one case he has followed the usage of Scripture, so with regard to the word till he is utterly refuted by the authority of the same Scripture, which often denotes by its use a fixed time (he himself told us so), frequently time without limitation, as when God by the mouth of the prophet says to certain persons, Isaiah 46:4 “Even to old age I am he.” Will He cease to be God when they have grown old? And the Saviour in the Gospel tells the Apostles, Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Will the Lord then after the end of the world has come forsake His disciples, and at the very time when seated on twelve thrones they are to judge the twelve tribes of Israel will they be bereft of the company of their Lord? Again Paul the Apostle writing to the Corinthians says, “Christ the first-fruits, afterward they that are Christ’s, at his coming. Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet.” Granted that the passage relates to our Lord’s human nature, we do not deny that the words are spoken of Him who endured the cross and is commanded to sit afterwards on the right hand. What does he mean then by saying,“for he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet” ? Is the Lord to reign only until His enemies begin to be under His feet, and once they are under His feet will He cease to reign? Of course His reign will then commence in its fulness when His enemies begin to be under His feet. David also in the fourth Song of Ascents speaks thus, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us.” Will the prophet, then, look unto the Lord until he obtain mercy, and when mercy is obtained will he turn his eyes down to the ground? although elsewhere he says, “My eyes fail for your salvation, and for the word of your righteousness.” I could accumulate countless instances of this usage, and cover the verbosity of our assailant with a cloud of proofs; I shall, however, add only a few, and leave the reader to discover like ones for himself.

For St. Jerome’s argument, see: newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm

Read more quotes from the Fathers: catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

The Greek word that he’s talking about implies nothing about the state of affairs after the event; it’s simply silent on the subject.


Not really sure how much help this will be but lately, I was looking at the different titles we have for Mary. I was paying attention to the title Ark of the Covenant. And I seem to remember watching a video somewhere where a priest was talking about the parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant in the Olt Testament i.e. both contain the word/Word of God, manna/Living Bread, and priest’s staff/ High Priest. He also mentioned how the Ark of the OT was made of pure umblemished gold (Immaculate Conception) and was NEVER to be touched (Perpetual Virginity). Just thought it interesting and perhaps a question to ask your pastor.


Didnt you know that you cannot be saved by works? Grace! Only by Grace! :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

It is amazing that your Pastor will throw out 2000 years of Christian teaching on his own personal understanding of a single word. But never mind the Catholic tradition. Go see what the Orthodox have believed all this time! It has nothing to do with Catholicism. It is the teaching we have received from the Apostles.


“Working to become Catholic” meaning I have not yet started RCIA classes, but your Grace alone comment is taken well!:thumbsup:


[quote=t68ware]While studying for my sermon today, I came across Matthew 1:25. It reads as follows:
“But he[Josepeh] had no union with her [Mary] until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”


So it is a translation problem. From the Douay Rheims Challoner Bible:

[quote=t68ware]And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus. Mt 1:25

Although Joseph had seen the angel and obeyed, he obeyed out of faith. When Mary brought forth the baby Jesus, Joseph saw with his own eyes the Incarnation. In this respect he ‘knew’ Mary – not as his conjugal partner – but as the Mother of God for the first time. Know here means recognize, acknowledge.

[quote=t68ware]This one little word seems to show that after the birth of Christ she had a normal sexual relationship with her husband, having a number of other children.

Mary’s Spouse was the Holy Spirit. Joseph was her guardian. Having an adulterous relationship with Joseph would have been ‘normal’ in what way?

As for having other children, how would Mary have been able to make the arduous journey to Jerusalem with four or five other small children in tow?

[quote=t68ware]Another great Catholic tradition bites the dust.

It’s probably safer in the dust than on a high horse. Ask Saul of Tarsus.

Why are you discussing this with your pastor? :confused:


Dear One,

Why worry about what this pastor has to say when you already know what the truth is. As St. Paul said, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Pray for this pastor and attend Mass.



The booket “Beginning Apologetics 6 - How to Explain and Defend Mary”, by Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, on page 18, has the heading “Protestant Reformers Defended Mary as Ever Virgin”.

I don’t think I can copy the text in here, because that would be a copyright violation. It does quote Calvin as saying “what folly this is” to believe that Mary had other children. Zwingli believed that Mary “forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.” References are cited as well.


I think your pastor has misunderstood what heos means.Here is an article about it.


Try these articles. Up Front (This Rock: November 1992)

Mary: Ever Virgin

Mary’s perpetual virginity (This Rock: December 1991)

Was Mary a Perpetual Virgin? (This Rock: December 2005)

How to Explain the Perpetual Virginity of Mary (This Rock: July 2000)

**CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part I (This Rock: August 1992)



It is alomst certainly just a manner of speech. “Before he had made love to her she was pregnant” would be our English idiom, which could also be taken by a non-native speaker to imply that he did make love to her.

St Joseph would not have had carnal knowledge of a woman chosen by God. People in the Ancient world simply didn’t think in terms of sexual repressions and the need to overcome them.


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