Jesus' death


I don’t get it. Christians say that Mary did not die but ‘fell asleep’ therefore why do we so proudly profess that Christ died. Isn’t death a result of original sin, of which Jesus did not have? Pls. explain!


The Church does not say one way or the other whether Mary died. There is no definitive teaching on the matter.

As to Original Sin, Mary was preserved from all stain of Original Sin. This is caled the Immaculate Conception-- a doctrine of the Church.


Christ died as an act of his Humanity, in union with us. “For our sake he made him to be sin whoknew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21). The junction of Christ’s divine nature and His human nature constitutes His unique mediation between man and God.

The Church does not know whether Mary died. Generally, it is held that, in union with her Son, she did die. But the Church is ultimately silent on the subject.


The Church does not say one way or the other whether Mary died. There is no definitive teaching on the matter.

Yes, there is.

All of the Eastern Churches, including those in communion with Rome, make it clear that Our Lady did die.

Furthermore, in the Roman office for the feast promulgated in 1950 when Pius XII dogmatized the Assumption, the fifth Matins lesson, quoting St. John of Damascus, says “But she yielded obedience to the law established by him to whom she had given birth, and, as the daughter of the old Adam, underwent the old sentence, which even her Son, who is the very Life Itself, had not refused i.e., death].”

Lex orandi, lex credendi. If it’s in the liturgical formularies of the Church, it’s the teaching of the church.


Thank you for the clarification. I stand corrected – with appreciation . :tiphat:


I would disagree with you that we proudly profess that Christ died… there is no triumph in Christ’s death - after all it was the sins of mankind which caused His death. The triumph is, rather, in the Resurrection. Obviously Christ couldn’t have rose from the dead had He not died first, but if you think of the memorial acclamation at Mass “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, there is no joy in proclaiming that He died. The joy is expressed in stating that He is risen, followed by hope and anticipation in acclaiming our belief that He will come again. You could look at it this way - had Christ only died, where would the Church be? It simply wouldn’t exist…Christianity flourished because of the Resurrection of Christ rather than His death.


Hi 031064

Jesus dies to fulfill the Scripture. Exodus 12:1-14
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 1 "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. 4 2 If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. 5 The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. 7 They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. 8 That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole, with its head and shanks and inner organs. 10 None of it must be kept beyond the next morning; whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up. 11 3 "This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. 12 For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first–born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt-I, the LORD! 13 But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you. 14 "This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.
Jesus is the perfect lamb that was slain and His blood washes away our sins. If you recall in the OT it is always the blood of an animal that makes atonement for sin. Jesus sacrifice is the final blood atonement for sin.



No, I don’t think I posed the question well enough, sorry. I don’t get how Jesus and Mary, who were BOTH not affected by original sin, somehow managed to die, becuase (in my mind) this is scripturaly impossible. Didn’t God say that death was a result of original sin? Therefore Christ and Mary should not have died, rihgt. (BTW, I am curious and am not AT ALL trying to make a fuss- I appreciate your patience.) :slight_smile:


I don’t have a good answer with regard to Mary, but in Jesus’ case His death was not a consequence, it was an offering. In covenant languge, He offered his life in payment for the covenant broken by the chosen peoples’ unfaithfulness. (see Scott Hahn’s works for more on covenants)


It seems clear that those who lack Original Sin can still physically die; it’s just that they are not required to do so.

It’s not scripturally impossible, since Scripture clearly testifies that Jesus died, and he of course lacked Original Sin.

Jesus, of course, chose to die as a key part of his mission to redeem the universe. Though no power could have taken his life from him against his will, he freely permitted himself to be killed.

Mary we know less about. Per the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, she was preserved from Original Sin from the first moment of her existence. She therefore might not technically have been required to undergo physical death.

(I’m not sure whether we have clear Church teaching on the exact effects of the Immaculate Conception, though. My previous understanding was that it would include immunity to death, but a recent thread in which an Orthodox brother requested the exact parameters of the doctrine seemed to indicate that the matter is not settled. Possibly Mary was just pre-emptively placed in the same state as a baptized Christian, in which case she would have had sanctifying grace throughout her life but still would have been liable to physical death. Anyone have evidence on this one way or the other?)

Much as in the case of Jesus, though, Mary’s preservation from Original Sin (even if it does free her from liability to die) does not prevent her from undergoing physical death if she (or God) so wished.

Incidentally, “fell asleep” is early-Christian-speak for “died,” since it was felt that physically deceased Christians were not truly dead but alive with the Lord. So saying that Mary “fell asleep” would actually mean she did die, not that she didn’t.



Are you sure about this. The language of the definition of the Assumption is careful not to state it either way:

#14 "passed from this life. "
#44 “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

I have heard Karl Keating also address this and he has noted the careful language here as well. While Karl does believe she may likely have experienced death, the Church has not made such an explicit statement. Your inference is reasonable, but it is an inference and I think it could be understood as a matter of her “completing the course of her earthly life” like the definition states.


The dogmatic definition on the Assumption of Mary does not say whether or not she died. But the remainder of the same Apostolic Constitution does refer repeatedly to her death. Thus the death of the Virgin Mary is not defined infallibly, but would still fall under the ordinary Magisterium.

  1. “In the same way, it was not difficult for them to admit that the great Mother of God, like her only begotten Son, had actually passed from this life.” (n. 14)

  2. " ‘Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death….’ " (n. 17, quoting the Sacramentarium Gregorianum)

  3. " ‘As he kept you a virgin in childbirth, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb.’ " (n. 18, quoting the Byzantine liturgy)

  4. “…this feast shows, not only that the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary remained incorrupt, but that she gained a triumph out of death….” (n. 20, referring to the feast of the Assumption)

  5. " ‘It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death.’ " (n. 21, quoting St. John Damascene)

  6. " ‘…she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.’ " (n. 22, a quote attributed to St. Modestus of Jerusalem)

  7. “Hence the revered Mother of God…finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven….” (n. 40)

from Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus


O.k, I pretty much get that now, however, continueing with this concept- if Christ freely chose to give himself up (and he DID have the power to rretain His life), then is this not suicide? (In NO way is this meant to be offensive, forgive my ignorance, if you must). :confused:


I think this is a really good question. Here’s my take. It was not suicide because He is God. In order to redeem us from death, he went there to get us out. The act of salvation was an act more of love than of power. He COULD have just waved his hand and stopped the train.


It is not suicide because his murderers operated with free will. He did not “commit” suicide, but rather committed humility and submission. It was an incredible statement of love. And I would venture to guess that is the reason He chose this method rather than clicking His fingers. :slight_smile:


We go even further and say with Paul “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”

Necropolis is an ancient word meaning ‘city of the dead’. But we bury those who have fallen asleep in a cemetery, from the root ‘to put to sleep’.


Christ had no sin, and was conceived by a woman conceived without Original Sin, and so, was not subject to the normal process of decay and death. Jesus makes it fairly clear that His death is totally voluntary in nature:

John 10: 17-18

17 Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.

18 No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.


O.k, I pretty much get that now, however, continueing with this concept- if Christ freely chose to give himself up (and he DID have the power to rretain His life), then is this not suicide? (In NO way is this meant to be offensive, forgive my ignorance, if you must).

Ok, this is my (admittedly simple) way of understanding this:

When I was a little girl, I was with my parents in the car, when a drunk driver came barreling down the road straight at our car…
My Daddy, who was driving, drove right up into someone’s yard, trying to get us away from this guy, but there was no way to avoid a crash…
So Daddy turned the car around, so that HIS side of the car took the full impact of the [largish panel truck] vehicle that was, inevitabley, going to hit us.
Mom could have thrown herself into a safer place; Daddy had given her that chance. Instead, she picked me up and threw me into the back seat of the car…
Daddy was:crying: almost severed in half at the waist; the top of Mom’s head was:crying: nearly sheared off by the glass of the windshield.
I, alone, lived.
I am still here, over a half-century later, because my parents:crying: laid down their lives for me…
Was that suicide?? :nope: :nope:
No; that was love…
When I was a kid, I used to get upset when other people prayed, “Our Father Who art in Heaven”, because their fathers were right around us in the church when we prayed; my father was the one who was in Heaven…It took me a while to figure out that they meant God, not Daddy.
But this is why I am a:gopray: Christian believer. Because I got a live demonstration of what it means to lay down one’s life for another person…Jesus, you see, to me, looks like…Well. He is Irish. He has blond hair, blue eyes, and wears a belt and suspenders. He is the only Person in the world Who I can:yup: trust not to ever let me down…You have to :love: love Somebody like that…

God bless, & HTH.


Your faith is truly a gift from God (isn’t it always?). How many little girls would have turned from a God who could be so cruel as to allow her parents to die so cruelly?

I’ll be meditating on this for at least the rest of the day. Maybe share it with my sixth-graders in class tonight.


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