John 19:26-27, where Jesus gives Mary to John, is pointed to by many theologians as proof that Mary did not have any other children. Couldn’t we use the same passage to prove that Joseph, also had no children from a previous marriage? After all, If Mary had step-sons and daughters wouldn’t they be obligated to take her in?
John 19:26-17 provides a strong argument in favor of Mary’s perpetual virginity. But the strongest argument is the sacredness of her womb which bore the Son of God. Her womb was a living tabernacle. To conceive another child which would have been conceived in original sin, would been to desecrate it. None of this is true of St. Joseph. The Church leaves open the possibility of Joseph being older and a widower with a grown family. Such children could have died or moved away. But it is also possible that he was younger and celibate.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.