Mary Ever Virgin


#1

Hello all,

I have just read some information on Mary Ever Virgin. I have digested the concept of Mary being virgin till the day she died, from some essays on New Advent (and of course before the birth of Christ) and I understand this, but it is the 'during’ the birth of Our Lord part wich I find difficult.

To my thinking one wouldn’t lose virginity by giving birth in any case… but the catechism states the Mary remained ‘intact’. I don’t want to be crass about this but how did this occur? is the Catechism speaking of physically intact? and if so, what is the Chruch’s statement on how the birth process occured?

Thanks in advance
Gareth :confused:


#2

[quote=Gareth] is the Catechism speaking of physically intact? and if so, what is the Chruch’s statement on how the birth process occured?
[/quote]

Yes, physically intact. The Bible says of Jesus, “[H]e will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick…” (Matthew 12:20) and, apparently, neither would he damage the Virgin’s hymen being born but his birth would be as miraculous as his conception, passing from Mary’s womb into the room as easily as he would later pass through shut doors of the house to appear to his disciples after his resurrection. (John 20:19, 26).


#3

[quote=Todd Easton]Yes, physically intact. The Bible says of Jesus, “[H]e will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick…” (Matthew 12:20) and, apparently, neither would he damage the Virgin’s hymen being born but his birth would be as miraculous as his conception, passing from Mary’s womb into the room as easily as he would later pass through shut doors of the house to appear to his disciples after his resurrection. (John 20:19, 26).
[/quote]

Good answer, Todd!


#4

From what I understand this is just a pious tradition(small “t”) that she remained “intact” through the birth of Christ. If I am wrong please show me the authority and I will submit.


#5

[quote=Todd Easton]Yes, physically intact. The Bible says of Jesus, “[H]e will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick…” (Matthew 12:20) and, apparently, neither would he damage the Virgin’s hymen being born but his birth would be as miraculous as his conception, passing from Mary’s womb into the room as easily as he would later pass through shut doors of the house to appear to his disciples after his resurrection. (John 20:19, 26).

[/quote]

I’ve checked a few bibles and the verse from Matthew you quote, according to the notes, has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Jesus or Mary being a virgin despite that birth. The notes also reference interpretations by St Jerome and St Hilary which again which cast no light on your interpretation.
I’m not saying you are wrong but I would be interested to know where your interpretation comes from.


#6

[quote=thistle]I’ve checked a few bibles and the verse from Matthew you quote, according to the notes, has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Jesus or Mary being a virgin despite that birth. The notes also reference interpretations by St Jerome and St Hilary which again which cast no light on your interpretation.
I’m not saying you are wrong but I would be interested to know where your interpretation comes from.
[/quote]

That understanding has a long history. Yet, it is not dogma. We may believe it, but we may chose not to. I’m in a rush now, but we just finished a long discussion on it on another “Ever-Virgin” thread. If you search, you may find it. There’s been some answer in the Ask the Apologist section, as well.


#7

[quote=awfulthings9]That understanding has a long history. Yet, it is not dogma. We may believe it, but we may chose not to. I’m in a rush now, but we just finished a long discussion on it on another “Ever-Virgin” thread. If you search, you may find it. There’s been some answer in the Ask the Apologist section, as well.
[/quote]

Okay, thanks.


#8

[quote=awfulthings9]That understanding has a long history. Yet, it is not dogma. We may believe it, but we may chose not to. I’m in a rush now, but we just finished a long discussion on it on another “Ever-Virgin” thread. If you search, you may find it. There’s been some answer in the Ask the Apologist section, as well.
[/quote]

Hey, I had a chance to dig. You have to scroll down a bit, but it’s in this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=88686.

Someone also posts the links to the “Ask the Apologist” question.


#9

[quote=jimmy]From what I understand this is just a pious tradition(small “t”) that she remained “intact” through the birth of Christ. If I am wrong please show me the authority and I will submit.
[/quote]

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.

510 Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).

As in many mysteries of our Faith (the Incarnation, the Real Presence, the Trinity, etc.) it does very little good to ask HOW something was done or is possible - if we knew that it wouldn’t be a mystery. People seem to be stuck on the premise --especially in religious matters – that if WE SMART HUMANS can’t understand how something works, it must not be possible. A little thought in applying this to other issues shows the fallacy and presumption of this line of reasoning. Nobody really knows how gravity works; we can just observe it, measure it, and take it as a premise when we calculate other things.

The important point is that the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Mother is revealed truth; something that God thinks is important for us to know. We should aproach it from that basis.


#10

Thanks to all who replied. I realized after I posted it that asking ‘how’ was not exactly what I ment, I should have said something along the lines of 'was it considered a miracle in the same way the conception was?" But most people seemed to get what I ment and I thank you all for this…

As an aside, one of the posters mentioned this was a tradition…which can be accepted or not… surly this is not the case if it is in the catechism?

Thanks
GAreth


#11

[quote=Gareth] As an aside, one of the posters mentioned this was a tradition…which can be accepted or not… surly this is not the case if it is in the catechism? Thanks Gareth
[/quote]

The Catechism is not intended to be definitive “rules” but to instruct. To assist us in understanding, as such, there are concepts which would apply to the “age” in which it is written, and not considered unchangeable. The fact that there are, and have been, several approved Catechisms point to teachings which “change” with time. This does not mean the “teachings” of the Church change, but the way of presenting them change. There are concepts given which should increase our understanding, but they are also adaptive and should not be considered mandatory for our understanding. In short, no, you don’t “need” to believe every word of the Catechism, it isn’t written as a rule book, it’s an instruction manual.


#12

[quote=Tom]The Catechism is not intended to be definitive “rules” but to instruct. To assist us in understanding, as such, there are concepts which would apply to the “age” in which it is written, and not considered unchangeable. The fact that there are, and have been, several approved Catechisms point to teachings which “change” with time. This does not mean the “teachings” of the Church change, but the way of presenting them change. There are concepts given which should increase our understanding, but they are also adaptive and should not be considered mandatory for our understanding. In short, no, you don’t “need” to believe every word of the Catechism, it isn’t written as a rule book, it’s an instruction manual.
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At the risk of further derailing this thread, I have to say that this is a particularly unhelpful, inaccurate and misleading answer. Taken at face value, it could be understood as saying “Since Catholic beliefs are constantly restated and developing, you can take or leave the Catechism as you find it helpful or unhelpful.” If this were true the Catechism would not only be unhelpful, but useless and even dangerous. This is patently false. As the late Holy Father said about it in his introduction:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium.** I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith ** and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus’ disciples (cf. Lk 22:32 as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith. Therefore, I ask all the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8).


#13

Thanks for that…

I probably should start another thread since this is now taking another direction…

But if total acceptance of every item of the catechism is not required to be a catholic, what standard of adherence is set?

Would I be right in guessing:
The apostles creed, the correct interpretation of the scriptures including the apocryha as presented by the church, and doctrines specifically mentioned by papal authority, such as the assumption and the divine conception, not sure, but could someone tell me how to tell the difference, and where to look to find the info I would need…

Thanks
Gareth


#14

[quote=Gareth]Thanks for that…

I probably should start another thread since this is now taking another direction…

But if total acceptance of every item of the catechism is not required to be a catholic, what standard of adherence is set?

Would I be right in guessing:
The apostles creed, the correct interpretation of the scriptures including the apocryha as presented by the church, and doctrines specifically mentioned by papal authority, such as the assumption and the divine conception, not sure, but could someone tell me how to tell the difference, and where to look to find the info I would need…

Thanks
Gareth
[/quote]

If you’re seeking understanding, the Catechism is the place. Why are you asking about “total acceptance of every item”? if you find something you don’t understand or feel is incorrect, it is in all probability you looking for inaccuracies. Why do that?


#15

Hi Tom,

I’m not deliberatly seeking inaccurances. I think I should explain. I’m in my early 30s, and was raised a conservative fundementalist (Open Bretheren) I was then sent to a presbytarian high school . Then on leaving school I rejected organized religion as being somthing I had tried and it hadn’t worked for me. I continued to believe in God and the Bible, and to pray off and on despite being desperatly off the rails.

In my late 20s I started looking for answers in eastern religions, but was unable to accept the place Christ is relegated to as in my view he is utterly unique as the Son of God. I also couldn’t believe in reincarnation.

The ‘value’ I found in these religions was the practice of meditation and contemplation which is utterly lacking in the religions I was raised in. So I found myself basically alone, wanting to believe in something I couldn’t accept for a technique only. Then I discovered the Catholic traditions of mysticism, in the writings of Brother Lawrance, St John of the Cross and Tressa of Avila, The cloud of unknowing and the spiritual excercises of St Ignatious of Loyola, also the Imitation of Christ which I use as a devotional.

Then I read an article on praying the Rosary, which I now do twice a day (in an altered form, no assumption or crowning of Mary as queen of heaven, and using Lamb of God instead of Hail Mary), and it really seems to help me. I feel I’ve found a way to be focused on God, my life is changing, properly, in that my behavour is starting to match my beliefs, I’‘m walking the talk’ if you like.

My problem now is this: I want to pray the rosary properly (using the hail Mary but I still think it might be wrong to pay to Mary I use the Lamb of God prayer). Basically everything I look at is pointing me to catholism. I’ve started attending an Anglican church as it’s as close as my conscience will allow me to go at this point. But something in me keeps pulling me towards it. I’m not looking for reasons not to belive in Catholism, but rather for reasons why I can!

It’s hard to understand, how ingrained the belief that the Catholic church is Idoltous worships Mary and is the beast of revelation, but this is where I started from unfortunatly. I think these things probably aren’t true (espeicially revelation), but veneration of Mary still makes me deeply unconfortable… and I remain to be convinced.

So it’s important to me to find out exactly what I would have to believe in order to join the church…

Sorry I know this is long, probably annoying maybe offensive, but maybe you can help me.

Thanks for you patience
Gareth


#16

Think I found what I needed…

catholic-forum.com/saints/mp029.htm

and of course there’s always prayer…

Please pray for me.


#17

Howdy,

I was reading in Matthew the other day and I came across this verse concerning Joseph and Mary.

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” --Matthew 1:24-25

What does it mean by “knew her not” if not by marital relations? Thanks!


#18

Gareth, welcome. Actually it’s Mary who brings many like yourself into the Church. She always leads to her Son, Jesus. I’m confident you will come to understand her role. The Catechism is an excellent reference to begin with in understanding our relationship with our mother Mary. There are also many good books, many listed on CA homepage. I understand your apprehension based on your past teaching and pray you approach the Church with an open heart and mind. a good place to start are these two books.
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God In The Word of God, Scott Hahn
Mary, the Second Eve, John Henry Newman
You will probably find some ideas difficult to accept from your background, simply try to see why Catholics believe as they do, not necessarilly try to convince yourself it’s correct, just to understand. From your understanding, with the grace of God, you will find the truth you seek.
May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you always


#19

[quote=jdc1084]Howdy,

I was reading in Matthew the other day and I came across this verse concerning Joseph and Mary.

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” --Matthew 1:24-25

What does it mean by “knew her not” if not by marital relations? Thanks!
[/quote]

I think you may be having more of a problem with the “until” part of the verse rather than the “knew her not” bit.

Biblically speaking, the word “until” only speaks of what happened up to that time, not (necessarily) what comes after. From the *Catholic Answers * tract, “Brethren of The Lord”:

Fundamentalists insist that “brethren of the Lord” must be interpreted in the strict sense. They most commonly make two arguments based on Matthew 1:25: “[A]nd he did not know her until (Greek: heos, also translated into English as “till”) she brought forth her firstborn son.” They first argue that the natural inference from “till” is that Joseph and Mary afterward lived together as husband and wife, in the usual sense, and had several children. Otherwise, why would Jesus be called “first-born”? Doesn’t that mean there must have been at least a “second-born,” perhaps a “third-born,” and so on? But they are using a narrow, modern meaning of “until,” instead of the meaning it had when the Bible was written. In the Bible, it means only that some action did not happen up to a certain point; it does not imply that the action did happen later, which is the modern sense of the term. In fact, if the modern sense is forced on the Bible, some ridiculous meanings result.

Consider this line: “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death” (2 Sam. 6:23). Are we to assume she had children after her death?

There is also the burial of Moses. The book of Deuteronomy says that no one knew the location of his grave “until this present day” (Deut. 34:6, Knox). But we know that no one has known since that day either.

The examples could be multiplied, but you get the idea—nothing can be proved from the use of the word “till” in Matthew 1:25. Recent translations give a better sense of the verse: “He had no relations with her at any time before she bore a son” (New American Bible); “He had not known her when she bore a son” (Knox).

See the entire tract linked here:
catholic.com/library/Brethren_of_the_Lord.asp


#20

[quote=jdc1084]Howdy, I was reading in Matthew the other day and I came across this verse concerning Joseph and Mary.
“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” --Matthew 1:24-25
What does it mean by “knew her not” if not by marital relations? Thanks!
[/quote]

Knew her not refers to sexual intercourse. He knew her not prior to, nor after the birth of Jesus. We know that by the statement of Mary in Luke chap 1:

[quote=drbo.org] Lk 1, 26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. 33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
[/quote]

Notice that the angel is telling Mary what shall be in the future, Mary responds with her statement of, not her present condition, but of her future condition of virginity. Notice also that the angel left out who the true Father of this child would be, this is to force her to proclaim her vow of perpetual virginity.

[quote=drbo.org] 34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
[/quote]

How “shall”
(in the future) this be done, since (in the future) I know not man. To imply thart Mary was referring to her (then) present condition of virginity is absurd in that the angel is talking of her future condition

[quote=drbo.org] 35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
[/quote]


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