Mary: Mother of God or Mother of Jesus/God the Son?

The other day I was watching a debate between Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. and Protestant Dr. Walter Martin regarding the role of the Virgin Mary in Christianity. In part of the debate, Fr. Pacwa states that since Mary is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. However, Dr. Martin argues against this logic by stating that one could further conclude that Mary would be called Mother of the Trinity since God is Trinity.

Unfortunately, the moderator moved on to a different topic before Fr. Pacwa had the chance to counter the argument. However, I understand that the title Mother of God (Gk. Theotokos) was given to Mary at the Council of Ephesus because it reflected that Mary was the mother of the person (Gk. hypostasis) of Jesus, God the Son, fully God and fully Man, and NOT the mother of His human nature (Gk. ousia). However, I also understand that God is WHAT Jesus is (ousia) and the Son/Jesus is WHO He is (hypostasis). Based on this, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call Mary the Mother of God the Son, since it reflects that she is the mother of the person of Jesus and not his divine nature?

I am not trying challenge Church teaching in any way; I am just trying to get a better understanding of the doctrine.


Jesus is one Person; not two. And Mary is His mother. In Lk. 1: 43 Elizabeth says: “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Obviously, Elizabeth had no problem with this. Nor ought we.

Fr, Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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