Mary, Immaculate Conception, Original sin, and Jesus' birth


Because Mary was conceived immaculately, does this mean she was free from the punishment of having pain while giving birth to Jesus?

Michael :confused:


[quote=Christus Rex]Because Mary was conceived immaculately, does this mean she was free from the punishment of having pain while giving birth to Jesus?

Michael :confused:

That’s a great question. The Church fathers held that Mary gave birth without pain.


[quote=Christus Rex]Because Mary was conceived immaculately, does this mean she was free from the punishment of having pain while giving birth to Jesus?

Michael :confused:

Hi, Christus Rex. The question you ask here is traditionally expressed, "Was Mary a virgin in partu?," meaning, “Did Mary’s flesh retain the characteristics of a virgin in the process of giving birth?”

While the Church Fathers who speak on the subject *generally *agree that the birth was painless (we’ll get to a Church Father who squarely DISAGREES in a moment), there is a higher degree of disagreement on other aspects of the birthing process. Did Mary “break water”? Did Mary nurse Jesus? Was there an afterbirth? Controversy raged on such subjects.

In judging whether Mary suffered pain, we should remember that, for instance, Mary’s assumption into Heaven appears to have been inferior to that of Elijah. Mary experienced “dormition” – she “went to sleep” (her heart stopped? she “flat-lined”?) before she was glorified and assumed – while Elijah does not appear to have experienced “dormition.” I.e., Elijah wasn’t immaculately conceived, and experienced nothing resembling death when he was assumed; Mary was immaculately conceived, yet *she experienced death-like “dormition,” ANOTHER Original Sin consequence, didn’t she? *

We should also remember that John of Patmos who wrote the Book of Revelation apparently is John the Apostle who actually took care of Mary after Jesus’ death, until her death, so that he, John the Apostle, would have had first hand access to Mary’s description of giving birth. With this in mind, we should give very heavy weight to John’s description of “male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod” who was “caught up to God and his throne”:

**She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. **Revelation 12:2.

In my opinion, John of Patmos is a far, far, far more authoritative source than all of the other Church Fathers combined – John of Patmos is an inspired Scripture writer who would have heard the account of Jesus’ birth “from the horses mouth.”

Theologians try to ignore this verse by saying that it is symbolic, that the “woman” is the “Church.”

I agree that that, in essence, is the *sensus plenior *level interp of the “woman.”


What gives those theologians the right to completely ignore the literal level interp, while they bow down to the sensus plenior level, only?


Assuming that John of Patmos is John the Apostle who wrote John’s gospel – a fairly safe assumption, NOTE WELL THAT JOHN HIMSELF TWICE PUTS INTO THE MOUTH OF JESUS HIMSELF A REFERENCE TO MARY AS “WOMAN”: John 2:4, John 19:26.

Pretending that the plaintext level woman suffering terrible labor pains in Revelation 12:2 isn’t Mary is simply inexcusable.

Mary suffered horribly in giving birth to Jesus, in my opinion.

Why would God arrange for a painful birth, despite the temptation to think otherwise because of the interplay between her immaculate conception and Genesis 3:16? To affirm Jesus’ humanity, and therefore the pain of His suffering. I.e., He came in with a shock; He left with a shock.

Which brings us to the tautology at Wisdom 7:5-6, which the painless birth folks also squarely contradict: “For no king has any different origin or birth, but one is the entry into life for all; and in one same way they leave it.” Jesus was a king, and therefore subject to this verse. See Matthew 21:4-5, which says that Jesus was a “king.”


Just because she was concieved without Original Sin (ie, she was concieved already with Sanctifying Grace)…doesn’t mean that the physical effects of original sin did not effect her body. She was still born a daughter of Adam afterall.

For example, she probably still died (before her ressurection and Assumption), and we know she still suffered sorrow, hunger, thirst, and fatigue.

When we are baptized, we still are physically un-glorified and mortal until the Second Coming…it is simply our souls which have been restored to Grace.

Mary was concieved “already baptized” as it were so that for no instant was she not in a relationship with God…as things were supposed to be. But that doesn’t mean that she didn’t have all those physical effects of original sin, which even we retain after our baptisms.

The Church Fathers generally did hold that she didn’t feel pain…but as other posters have pointed out, this has evidence against it and is losing favor.

I will say this. IF she truly did not feel pain, then it was NOT because she was Immaculately Concieved. For baptized Christian Women in a state of santifying grace still have pain in childbirth. IF she did not feel pain, it was because Christ did not want to hurt his mother, and in the miracle of the Virgin Birth, came out without inflicting pain on her.

But I think she probably felt at least some.

The Church teachers that she remained a Virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ, and that she was physically a virgin as a sign is almost universally held. Her hymen did not break by a miracle of God. Some theologians believed that Christ passed out of her like he walked through the locked door after his Ressurection (through the quality of “subtlety”), others believe God simply allowed it to stretch miraculously. Either way, she retained her virginity.

As for all those other questions, it is generally thought that she nursed Christ, and all the other natural parts of birth happened.

But it was not thought to be a bloody birth, which would have made Mary ritually unclean. Theologians generally held that she underwent her Purification out of obedience and humility only, not because the birth made her ritually unclean.


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