Hi guys I was having a discussion with a Protestant yesterday about the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mother. As our conversation went deeper he brought up the passages of Matthew 12:46-50 and Matthew 13:54-58 to back up his position that Mary had other kids. I showed him the Greek and everything but hes says that just because a word can have different meanings doesn’t mean that we can put any meaning we want for the verses. He says that they have to be literal “brothers” because they are mentioned in the same verse as Mary and Joseph. He says it would’t be logical that they are being refered to as his cousins or something else. Basically he states that a “literal” brother best fits the context of the passages. How do I respond?
That the Catholic Church has taught since the at least the 2nd century that Mary was a perpetual virgin. That untold numbers of scholars and saints over hundreds and hundreds of years have studied this passage and all other passages in the bible that could possibly imply that Mary had other children and Perpetual Virginity is the consensus.
St. John Chrysostom
But he knows better than them, right?
So I am getting most of this from Tim Staples “Behold Your Mother.” Your best bet would be to look at the book yourself, but here is the cliff notes version for your argument.
Ok, so this is mostly focusing on the verse Matthew 13:55. Let us look at these brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. One of the brothers mentioned is James, whom we see St. Paul referring to as a brother of the Lord, and one of the apostles (Galations 1:17-19). There are two James who are apostles, James the son of Zebedee (not the one mentioned in the passage in Matthew, because he was dead by the time Paul wrote the letter to the Galations, according to Acts 12:1-2). Therefore it must be James the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:15-16) or Clopas (Matthew 27:56). Clopas is a Greek spelling of the Aramaic name Alphaeus, so this is the same James. Joseph, James’ brother is also mentioned as the son of Mary, wife of Clopas, whom John calls Jesus’ mother’s sister (John 19:25). Matthew 27:56 refers to these men, Jesus’ “brothers” again, as sons of Mary, the wife of Clopas. Now if we look at Jude 1:1, we see that Jude or Judas is the uterine brother of James, who we have just proven not to be a literal uterine brother of the Lord. So, three of the four brothers of the Lord can be easily shown not to be uterine brothers, but more likely cousins or close relatives. So let us then consider Simon. There is no biblical proof of this claim, but a second century historian by the name of Hegesippus reports that Clopas is the brother of Joseph (Jesus’ adoptive father) and that he had a son named Simon. This can be found as referenced by Eusebius of Cesarea in Eclesiastical History, 4:22:4 and 3:11:1.
Hope this helps.
Multiple meanings of the Greek word aside, the biggest evidence I saw of Mary not having other children was the fact that Our Lord gave her into the care of St. John from the cross. Had Jesus had actual siblings, Mary would have gone to live with one of them, not with St. John.
(See John 19:26)
Often this comes from a rejection of the “spirit” of celibacy. Protestants don’t “get it.” Jesus says it is the better way! Well then, if a loser like me can be a celibate, certainly the Mother of the Lord can be too.
What is illogical is that Jesus would entrust Mary to John’s care from the cross if Jesus had siblings who would be there to do that.
Or St. Jerome, defending the PV…so I would ask your friend…who is more believable…his interpretation of the passages or St. Jerome?
When debating a protestant, it’s best to refer and quote the Jewish encyclopedia and other sources that testify the truth because they tend to reject any Catholic source. But for you, you can refer to shamelesspopery.com/did-mary-have-other-children/ for your debates.
A piece of the link I posted on the previous post:
There’s an explicit example of this in the Bible. From Genesis 11:27, Gen. 12:5, and Gen. 14:12, we know that Lot is Abraham’s nephew – the son of Abraham’s brother, Terah. Yet Genesis 14:14 and Gen. 14:16 refer to Lot as Abraham’s “brother.” In English, this would be wrong – they’re not brothers, they’re uncle/nephew. In Hebrew and Aramaic, it’s right. They’re relatives who aren’t direct ancestors/descendants.
This is an old topic. Tell him younger brothers never advised older brothers.
There is an ancient tradition, expressed in the second-century Protoevangelium of James, that says Joseph was an older widower with children when he married a young Virgin Mary.
This ancient tradition shows that there is at least one way for Jesus to have “literal” brothers and sisters and for Mary to remain a perpetual virgin. Another way that Jesus might have “literal” brothers and sisters and yet Mary to remain a perpetual virgin would have been for Joseph and Mary to adopt some children.
Another obvious problem is Mary’s response to Gabriel, that she does not have relations with a man. If you tell a normal girl who’s engaged that she’s going to get pregnant, she’s not going to be confused by that. If you tell a girl who is intending to be celibate, that’s a different story.
Thanks guys for all of the answers. It sure does help. God bless!
I completely agree. See my blog article, The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
the twelve apostles knew for certain whether or not Mary, the Mother of God, gave birth to other children. there is no reason the Twelve would have kept this secret or ignored it. we find no division within the early Church over this doctrine. from a historical perspective, i am uncertain as to when the objection to Mary’s Perpetual Virginity first arose, but as others have indicated we have very early historical references to affirmations of the doctrine.
What kind of Protestant is he?
Martin Luther and all the other founders of Protestantism not only believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity but stated that in writing.
Protestants have as many as 30,000 groups. What do you expect?
back in that time frame they had no words for niece cousin and extended relation so evey one was a brother or sister:shrug:
This is both untrue and unhelpful.