[quote=glow8worm]How exactly can I convince a non Catholic that Mary was a virgen her whole life? My friend insists Mary couldn’t have possibly lived her whole life as a virgen, and be married to Joseph.
My friend also insists that Mary had other children. He is convinced of this because of the passages in the Bible that refer to Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Where are the passages that the word in hebrew is the same for brothers and cousins? And which passages does Jesus refer to all human kind as His brothers and sisters?
You will only get frustrated tying to convince him. Instead, just explain it to him this way, and let him think about it.
I think there are 4 people in the New Testament who are called “brethren of the lord”. With regard to two of them - James and Joseph - it can be shown they are not the children of Jesus mother, but of another Mary, the wife of Celophas, who is said to be the Blessed Virgin Mary’s “sister” (actually her cousin).
In Matthew 13, we read: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude” (Mt 13).
Here we are told that James and Joseph are his “brethren”. Later, we are told that James and Joseph are the children of another Mary who is at the foot of the cross.
“And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Mt 27:55-56).
In John 19, we are told who this other Mary is: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen” (John 19:35).
By reading these three passages together, we can see that at least two of the “brethren” of Jesus, are actually his cousins, and not the children of His mother.
After showing that these two “brethren” are actually Jesus’ cousins, I would point out that the Bible often calls cousins, or relatives, “brothers”. For example, in Genesis 14:4, Lot is said to be Abraham’s “brother”, but in Gensis 1126-28, we are told that Lot is actually his nephew. I think there is another place in Genesis 11 to 15, where it also says Lot was his “brother”.
After showing that the Bible does sometimes refer to relatives as brethren; and after showing that at least two of the “brethren” of the Lord are His cousins, I would ask it they would agree that it is possible that the other two are also his cousins. If they are honest they will acknowledge that it is possible. Then point out that the Bible never says that any of these “brethren” are the children of Mary (Jesus’ mother).
Something else to mention is that Jesus gave Mary to John, when He was dying upon the cross - “woman behold thy son; son behold thy mother: and from that hour the disciple took her to his own” (John 19).
If Mary would have had other children, according to Jewish law it would have been their responsibility to take care of her. Since she had no other children, Our Lord gave her to St. John to be cared for.
There was an apocryphal writing from the 2nd century which said some of the “brethren” of Jesus were children of Joseph from a previous marriage, but this has never been held by the Church.
St. Isidore: “ But some suspect the brethren of the Lord to be sons of another wife, following the idle fancies of apocryphal writers, who have coined a certain woman called Esca. But we understand by the brethren of the Lord, not the sons Joseph, but cousins of the Savior, sons of a sister of Mary, aunt of Our Lord, who is said to be the mother of James the Less, and Joseph, and Jude, whom in another place of the Gospel we find called the brethren of the Lord. And that cousins are called brethren, appears from every part of Scripture.”
If you do a google search for “brethren of the Lord”, you will probably find a lot of good information.