Mary for Protestants

I’d like this thread to be used by all, but mostly our Protestant brothers and sisters, who either don’t understand our love and devotion to our blessed mother Mary, or simply want to learn and understand. To Catholics: Please, I know it’s difficult for all of us to keep emotions down, especially when we’re talking about our blessed mother. To Protestants: Please, understand we’re talking about our mother, we love her, we do not take kindly to insults; speak as if you’re speaking about your own mother.
I think if we can calmly explain our feelings we can all come closer together in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with us all.

Have you ever wondered about Mary’s perpetual virginity? I know the arguments about the “brothers and sisters” could be cousins and nephews, Jesus didn’t speak Greek, He spoke Aramaic. I’d just like to give my opinion. Please note it’s only mine, not the Catholic Churches.
First of all, I don’t think anything in Scripture is by chance, it all has a purpose. I’m not a quoter, I feel giving exact verses often results in taking things out of context, so I will only site chapter, read it all, it won’t hurt.
I find it interesting that, Mt and Lk approach the annunciation (of the birth of Jesus) from different perspectives. Mt, Chap 1 addresses the annunciation from Joseph’s side, while Lk Chap 1 addresses it from Mary’s. I think this is very significant when viewed from the OT book of Numbers.
We know Mary is a young teenager engaged to be married to Joseph. We know they are both good and pious Jews. We know Mary has knowledge of how children are conceived (I know not man). We know that at that time it was not unusual for engaged couples to have sexual relations, actually being engaged was considered a part of being married. We also know that Mary and Joseph did not yet have sexual relations. The question we must ask ourselves is, did Mary and Joseph intend to have sexual relations after their marriage? Now before you go ballistic, it was not uncommon to dedicate yourself to God, actually if we read Numbers chaps 27-30 we’ll find there were even laws concerning these vows.
When we read the rendering in Lk, the angel greets her and tells her she is to conceive in her womb and bare a son. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Put yourself in Mary’s place. So, I’m engaged to Joseph, we will marry, and have a child, it will be a son. Any question? Shouldn’t be “if” we intended to have sexual relations after marriage. “If” we didn’t intend to have sexual relations after our marriage then we’d ask “how can this be”?
The question “how can this be"? makes absolutely no sense if they intended to have sexual relations, remember she knew “how”. So why did she ask “how can this be”?
o.k. that’s the first part. Let’s discuss it.

That’s very interesting Tom. I always just took it to say this: Mary took it that she was going to be pregnant soon and said “How can this be because we haven’t known each YET.”

But that doesn’t make as much sense does it?

You’re hurting my brain. Go away. :smiley: (just kiddin)

[quote=Curious]That’s very interesting Tom. I always just took it to say this: Mary took it that she was going to be pregnant soon and said “How can this be because we haven’t known each YET.”

But that doesn’t make as much sense does it?

You’re hurting my brain. Go away. :smiley: (just kiddin)
[/quote]

Luther and Calvin would have banished you from the reformation for tthat statement ya knuckle head! Apparently they loved that darn “Blessed Mother” enough to defend her perpetual virginity;)

                  Have a good day fella...

Tom makes a lot of sense. For a young Jewish girl engaged to be married, “how can this be?” is a strange response when told by an angel that you are to conceive and bear a son.

JimG

PS: To put it in an Evangelical way, I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. And I accept His mother as my personal mother.

[quote=Curious]That’s very interesting Tom. I always just took it to say this: Mary took it that she was going to be pregnant soon and said “How can this be because we haven’t known each YET.”

But that doesn’t make as much sense does it?

You’re hurting my brain. Go away. :smiley: (just kiddin)
[/quote]

That’s just being illogical :whacky:

When Gabriel announce the news to her, she was already *bethroted *to Joseph; when Mary wondered, “how could this be” obviously she was planning to remain a virgin, hmm? It’s only logical, m8~

I just want to make one clarification that makes this even clearer to the reader.

Luke does not quote, “how can this be?” it quotes " How Shall this be?"
This is a big distinction since shall is in the future tense. It kind of makes it sound like she is making a vow of chastity here.

Saint Jerome does a beautiful job at discussing this in “The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary”.

catholicfirst.com/thefaith/churchfathers/volume29/jerome2919.cfm

Could you start off by explaining why the Church teaches Mary was assumed into Heaven?

What is the sacrament of marriage? Is it for two people to live together and not have sexual relations together? Intimecy is the greatest sign of love for each other.Why would God exclude this from Mary and Joseph? Are we not created so that we may bring life into this world? It really doesnt make any sense to me.So what if they did have other children. How does this deminish or degrade them? :confused:

[quote=SPOKENWORD]What is the sacrament of marriage? Is it for two people to live together and not have sexual relations together? Intimecy is the greatest sign of love for each other.Why would God exclude this from Mary and Joseph? Are we not created so that we may bring life into this world? It really doesnt make any sense to me.So what if they did have other children. How does this deminish or degrade them? :confused:
[/quote]

Mary and Joseph would not have been excluded from the marital act. And it would not have “degraded” them to have engaged in it. However, Tradition (i.e. the consistent witness of Christians) has maintained that Mary did not have relations with Joseph. As previous arguments here have suggested, it is likely that Mary was a consecrated Virgin, due to her apparent surprise at the prospect of being with child. This view is supported in the Protoevangelium of James, and other non-canonical Christian writings.

It should also be remembered that at the time of Mary and Joseph, marriage had not been raised to the level of Sacrament. It was not uncommon for consecrated virgins to be assigned (betrothed) a guardian who would live with her and protect her virginity. This was considered a valid form of marriage, and it was not required that the marriage be fruitful.

In addition, Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant, who bore God Himself within her:

**

2 Samuel 6:2 (David arose and went from Baal- Judah to bring up from there the Ark of God)
Luke 1:3 (Mary arose and went into the hill country to a city of Judah)

2 Samuel 6:9 (how can the Ark of the Lord come to me!)

**Luke 1:43 **(and why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?)

2 Samuel 6:11 (The Ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obededom three months.)

Luke 1:56 Mary remained with her (Elizabeth) about three months.
**
Would not Mary and Joseph have recognized this, and respected her womb as the place God first entered the world, and kept it sacred?

Ultimately I admit that this does not “prove” anything. If it were something so easily proved, this debate would have been settled long ago. However, I hope this has at least shown that it is rational to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Mary and Joseph would not have been excluded from the marital act. And it would not have “degraded” them to have engaged in it. However, Tradition (i.e. the consistent witness of Christians) has maintained that Mary did not have relations with Joseph. As previous arguments here have suggested, it is likely that Mary was a consecrated Virgin, due to her apparent surprise at the prospect of being with child. This view is supported in the Protoevangelium of James, and other non-canonical Christian writings.

It should also be remembered that at the time of Mary and Joseph, marriage had not been raised to the level of Sacrament. It was not uncommon for consecrated virgins to be assigned (betrothed) a guardian who would live with her and protect her virginity. This was considered a valid form of marriage, and it was not required that the marriage be fruitful.

In addition, Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant, who bore God Himself within her:


Would not Mary and Joseph have recognized this, and respected her womb as the place God first entered the world, and kept it sacred?

Ultimately I admit that this does not “prove” anything. If it were something so easily proved, this debate would have been settled long ago. However, I hope this has at least shown that it is rational to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity.
[/quote]

I guess all things are possible. Maybe it will be one of those questions Ill ask when I get there. Although there are alot of more important questions I would like answers to. :thumbsup:

[quote=SPOKENWORD]What is the sacrament of marriage? Is it for two people to live together and not have sexual relations together? Intimecy is the greatest sign of love for each other.Why would God exclude this from Mary and Joseph? Are we not created so that we may bring life into this world? It really doesnt make any sense to me.So what if they did have other children. How does this deminish or degrade them? :confused:
[/quote]

this is a good question. i want to take this from two sides. one as some one who doesn’t quite understand all of the marian doctrines (by understand i mean that i’ve read a number of books and researched it but it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet) and two as some one who “knows” a good amount of the church’s teaching (which i am still struggling with) and can hopefully and humbly put it forward as best i can…

first, this question does have a valid point. if they weren’t intending to have children, why marry at all? according to the church that would actually be an invalid marriage and could be annulled. the first command God gave us was to go forth and multiply. to remain a virgin was a foreign concept for a very long time in judaism (and it seems it might have come about because of pagan influences as they would have temple virgins sometimes to sacrifice. so this question does raise a large stumbling block.

on the other hand, every Christian up until and through the reformation held to the perpetual virginity (martin luther wrote much to defend it). the theory is (at least one of them and the most plausible i think) is that joseph was much older than mary (he was already a full-fledged carpenter and no longer an apprentice to some one as he had his own house. to apprentice back than took an extrememly long time and it would have been with his father who seems to have passed away since joseph has his own house and is no longer an apprentice) and simply put, knew she was consecrated to the Lord as a virgin and so was taking her in (as he was a compassionate man) to protect and care for her but to not have relations with her. this could allow for the fact that joseph was out of the picture when Jesus began His public ministry. it also could explain that joseph might have had another wife (or two as it was allowed back then) and had other children with them (who would have appeared to the rest of the world as Jesus’ half-brothers and sisters but in actuality they shared no blood).

the cousin argument is a good one also as aramaic had no word for cousin. all close relatives were called brothers and sisters. this however becomes tricky when we see that translators have always called elizabeth mary’s cousin and john the baptist a cousin to Jesus while translating other passages as Jesus’ brothers and sisters (especially “james, brother of the Lord”). it is a tricky issue all around as none of us were there. we must therefore look at the earliest records we have to see what our brothers and sisters (in a spiritual sense) who have gone before us thought. they overwhelmingly taught mary’s perpetual virginity. i hope i didn’t ramble too much as i have been dealing with a hyper puppy while typing this.

[quote=SPOKENWORD]What is the sacrament of marriage? Is it for two people to live together and not have sexual relations together? Intimecy is the greatest sign of love for each other.Why would God exclude this from Mary and Joseph? Are we not created so that we may bring life into this world? It really doesnt make any sense to me.So what if they did have other children. How does this deminish or degrade them? :confused:
[/quote]

You must first of all understand the culture of the Jewish people at that time; certainly it’s not like today’s! Mary was counted amongst the Temple’s virgins, I believe, and she intended to remain so. “How shall this be? For I know not a man.”

Also, she was the Ark of the Covenant in flesh, a realisation of the prefigurement of the original Ark. She contains within her a true God, true Bread of Life. If the wooden A.o.t.Cov. was so sacred and holy that if any unworthy human being touched he would be slain, it’s not an overarching statement that Joseph refrained from entering a body so holy and sacred as Mary’s!

[quote=bengal_fan]the cousin argument is a good one also as aramaic had no word for cousin.
[/quote]

As is also true in Arabic. A cousin is called “son/daughter of my uncle/aunt.”

all close relatives were called brothers and sisters. this however becomes tricky when we see that translators have always called elizabeth mary’s cousin and john the baptist a cousin to Jesus while translating other passages as Jesus’ brothers and sisters (especially “james, brother of the Lord”).

Actually, the word Luke used in 1:61 (suggeneia) does not refer specifically to cousins, but to kindred in general, without specifying the relationship. Also, the familial relationship between John and Jesus is never mentioned.

This brings up another interesting point. We know that Mary was of the tribe of Judah, as was Joseph. However, Elizabeth was from Levi, one of the “daughters of Aaron” (Luke 1:5). How could they be related?

Since tribal membership was reckoned through the father (the society was patriarchal), I figured that Mary’s mother may have come from Levi, at least through her own mother’s side. This would explain several things. For one, an analysis of the texts describing the women who were at the cross leads to the 95% inevitable conclusion that “Salome,” “the mother of Zebedee’s sons,” and “His mother’s sister” were one and the the same. This would explain why John was the “disciple that Jesus loved”–he and James were first cousins. It would also explain why John was well known in the high priest’s household–there was a family connection.

it is a tricky issue all around as none of us were there. we must therefore look at the earliest records we have to see what our brothers and sisters (in a spiritual sense) who have gone before us thought. they overwhelmingly taught mary’s perpetual virginity. i hope i didn’t ramble too much as i have been dealing with a hyper puppy while typing this.

In any case, it is true that the New Testament texts are ambiguous concerning whether Mary was perpetually virgin or not. What convinced me was that her perpetual virginity was attested from the earliest non-canonical writings of the Church.

DaveBj

This is too nice of a thread with Christ’s love shining from the posts to let it sink out of site.

Bump.:slight_smile:

thanks to everyone who contributed here. i’ve learned much, which is unusual for me. :slight_smile: i’m a convert, and have a degree in baptist theology. i’d not heard many of the teachings here, such as the tradition in jewish society for young women to remain virgins and have ‘guardians’.

i’d like to point out, though, that ‘Would not Mary and Joseph have recognized this, and respected her womb as the place God first entered the world, and kept it sacred?’ makes it sound as though the marital act is less than sacred. care to clarify?

[quote=SPOKENWORD]What is the sacrament of marriage? Is it for two people to live together and not have sexual relations together? Intimecy is the greatest sign of love for each other.Why would God exclude this from Mary and Joseph? Are we not created so that we may bring life into this world? It really doesnt make any sense to me.So what if they did have other children. How does this deminish or degrade them? :confused:
[/quote]

It was not unheard of at that time. In fact if you read Numbers, chap 30 you’ll see there were even “Laws” governing how the husband must act when taking in a woman under a vow into his household. Numbers 30 is the reason Joseph would not even think of having sex with Mary. Read numbers chaps 27-30, it’s not too long, you’ll see why Mary was under the house of David, since she was an only child and daughter.

[quote=SPOKENWORD] What is the sacrament of marriage? Is it for two people to live together and not have sexual relations together? Intimecy is the greatest sign of love for each other.
Why would God exclude this from Mary and Joseph? Are we not created so that we may bring life into this world?
[/quote]

The explaination for this is Joseph, Mary and God all knew that in actuality Mary was “married” to the Holy Spirit. I know it sounds a little strange, but think about it for a second. Whose child was Mary carrying? Joseph’s or God’s? Who “overshadowed” Mary and impregnated her? Joseph or God? Read Mt, again. Joseph was not going to marry her, since she was impregnated by someone else. He only decided to marry her to protect her from the punishment (stoning to death) for being pregnant out of weflock. So Joseph’s “marriage” to Mary was for appearance and never sexually consumated.

[quote=SPOKENWORD]So what if they did have other children. How does this deminish or degrade them? :confused:
[/quote]

It would make absolutely no differene would it? Then why do you suppose it’s such a big block for today’s Protestants? It wasn’t an issue in the 16th century, for over 1500 years it was accepted. As has been posted, Luther and Calvin were devoted to Mary. It’s only in recent times that it has become an issue. Why? It’s because it’s an official teaching of the Catholic Church. If you can prove this wrong, you prove the Church is wrong.

Luther and Calvin would have banished you from the reformation for tthat statement ya knuckle head! Apparently they loved that darn “Blessed Mother” enough to defend her perpetual virginity;)

Have a good day fella…

LOL! Rats! I’d make a pitiful Catholic AND Protestant! :crying:

j/k. I was merely pointing out that Tom made sense. I guess I’ve been guilty sometimes of just glossing over the scriptures, assuming I understand their meaning, when sometimes I probably don’t even get the gist of it! :eek:

Hrm…I guess I have more questions/concerns about Mary’s Assumption then perpetual virginity. But that’s for another topic.
Good thread ya’ll. :thumbsup:

P.S. I’m not a fella :wink:

I will make a feeble attempt to give some discussion on the assumption dogma. hopefully it will get some others with more knowledge than i to will add.

The Assumption of Mary has been referred to in christian writings and sermons since the 4th or 5th century. At the Council of Chalcedon (451), Roman Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria Augusta said that they wanted to possess the body of the Mother of God. St. Juvenal (Bishop of Jerusalem) stated that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb was opened and found empty. The Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven. A feast of the Assumption of Mary was was celebrated in Palestine before the year 500 and was celebrated in Egypt and Arabia also, in Gaul (modern France) it was found in the sixth century. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith.
The Assumption of Mary is goes hand in hand with another Marian dogma of the Catholic Church, the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.” The term “Immaculate Conception”, when referring to Mary, does not refer to a conception without intercourse as was the case with Jesus’ birth. Mary was conceived of a union between her parents (Joachim and Anne), and is completely human (some people think that Catholics view her as a deity, this is not true) The Immaculate Conception refers to the special grace granted to Mary that caused her to be born without original sin in order to be a pure and acceptable vessel for the Son of God. Since Mary had no original sin, she was not bound by the “wages of Sin” which is death.
Whether or not Mary died a physical death or was assumed while alive was not defined by Pius XII, some believe that she was assumed while still alive, however the tradition of her tomb being found empty would indicate that she probably died a physical death prior to being assumed. A physical death, however, would not have been necessary. The body and soul were not separated so that the body would corrupt, the body and soul were taken to Heaven together where we believe that Mary was crowned “Queen of Heaven”.
These are two of the things in the Catholic faith that protestants seem to have a real problem with. I myself was raised a baptist and converted to Catholicism. It is often said that someone who is not Catholic cannot understand the relationship that we have with Mary. After being on both sides of the issue, I think that this is probably true. Hopefully this helps clear it up a little.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.