Seeking the Intellectually Honest!

Greetings my fellow brothers and sisters! Be well and happy today. :slight_smile:

My motivation for starting this thread is to hopefully gain a better understanding of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. What I am hoping is to have a dialogue or perhaps even a single post that provides…I guess I’m looking for an epistomological justification or explanation that isn’t dogmatic or doesn’t makes an appeal to authority. I’m more interested in the ontological implications of this belief. Questions I guess I would want answered, but not necessarily limited too, would be: Outside of dogmatic assertions, why is this belief necessary for us? What benefit does this provide? What is the critical aspect(s) of this belief that makes it a requirement in order for our faith to be whole? In other words, why is our faith incomplete if we do not believe this doctrine? Again, these questions aren’t intended to be exhaustive but only to hopefully illustrate what I’m driving after. Just to reiterate, I’m not interested in dogmatic assertions or appeals to authority (i.e., We need to believe this because person X said so).

My role in this dialogue is not to be confrontational. I will not try to debunk the belief. Any contributions that I make to this thread, they will be to ask for clarification or for further understanding of a point, and to ask questions that bring ideas to their logical conclusion. I am interested in an honest dialogue and exploration of this topic. An so, I am calling on the intellectually honest to help me to understand this doctrine better. No others need to apply. :slight_smile:

Thank you in advance for your time.

Kind Regards,

I encourage both Catholics and non-Catholics to read these:

Perpetual Virginity (496-507):
Brethern of the Lord:
Mary: Ever Virgin:

I believe Mary’s yes is not a decision made repetitively or a weighing out of pro’s and con’s that weighed out in God’s favor when asked a favor.

In part it must have been a state of being that placed her in view of God’s will in any given circumstance and when seen she always chose it. As the events and circumstances of daily life unfolded the unspoken or perhaps the non-discursive question "what would God have me do? was always in view and always chosen.

Her motherhood required hr immaculate conception. Could she say no to the conception ‘after’ saying yes to motherhood? If she said no to motherhood what good is her conception? This is resolved if we understand her yes as a characteristic of perpetuity inherent in the sinless state.

It’s a peek into the nature of our consciousness without sin.
Satan had to break that down in the Garden.

I’ve been pondering this lately so I hope you don’t mind me pondering on the thread

Finrock, here are two more articles for your consideration:

My motivation for starting this thread is to hopefully gain a better understanding of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. What I am hoping is to have a dialogue or perhaps even a single post that provides…I guess I’m looking for an epistomological justification or explanation that isn’t dogmatic or doesn’t makes an appeal to authority.

There’s really nothing to dialogue about.

You either believe the Bible, or you don’t.

First off, let’s clear the air about one thing: Mormon deceased Living Prophets from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young onwards have made it clear that Mormons call it the Virgin Birth by courtesy only.

No sense in hiding it here.

So if you want to be intellectually honest, we need to be honest about LDS doctrine, especially when Mormons appeal to their own “authority” all the time to support it when it deviates from the Bible.

Next, this is an issue that has been dealt with before. As I recently said to one person on this issue (reply and private message edited):

What your posting about Matthew 1:25 fails to mention is Matthew 28:20–the same Gospel, where the same Greek particle EOS is used.

“Lo, I am with you always, even until [EOS] the end of the world.”

If EOS in Matthew 1:25 means that Mary and Joseph had marial relations after the birth of Jesus, then EOS in Matthew 28:20 means that at the end of the world, Jesus will no longer be with us.

Be consistent.

Furthermore, the term “firstborn son” has a technical meaning among Jews to this day.

A Jewish woman has a “firstborn son” if and ONLY if her first pregnancy results in the LIVE BIRTH of a MALE CHILD. This child is sujbect to the Law of Redemption of the Firstborn.

If her first pregnancy ends with abortion, stillbirth, miscarriage, or the birth of a female baby (living or dead), and her second pregnancy ends in the birth of a male child, this is NOT considered her “firstborn son”, and has no need to be redeemed.

BTW–In modern Jewish practice, the father gives five silver dollars to the Cohen (priestly descendant of Aaron) who says the appropriate prayers, and then donates the money to charity.

In other words, in Jewish usage (and Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels, remember) “firstborn son” does NOT mean the mother ever had other children afterwards.

As I said, you either believe the Bible or you don’t.

Hello Eucharisted! I hope you’ve been doing well. :slight_smile:

I read those articles. Thank you for providing them. Although they do provide a Catholic justification for the doctrine, much of it is an appeal to authority (i.e., It’s true because Church Father’s believed it, etc.). Now, there were some points that seemed interesting to perhaps explore, but it is difficult to have a dialogue based on links. If you don’t mind, of course, perhaps you can answer my post in your own words? No pressure, however. :slight_smile:

Kind Regards,

Hi Benadam! Nice to meet you. :slight_smile:

I don’t mind at all, although I’m afraid your ponderings may be too deep for me. I’m a neophyte when it comes to understanding the perpetual virginity of Mary doctrine and so forth. What “yes” are you referring to in your post?

Kind Regards,

Good day FCEGM! I’m glad to meet you. :slight_smile:

Thank you for the links. I haven’t read them yet, but I will. Although I appreciate the links, it does make it difficult for me to ask specific questions when I come across points I may not fully understand or which I would like to explore. If you don’t mind, can you share your perspective that might shed light on what I’m getting at in my original post? Please, only if you have the time. Thank you.

Kind Regards,

Good day to you Cluny! It’s nice to meet you. :slight_smile:

I imagine that for you these issues are elementary as you’ve probably had years to master the understanding of this doctrine. For me however, there is much to dialogue about. I do believe in the Bible, but unfortunately I, personally, have found the Bible unable to provide the answers to my inquiries in my original post.

I’m not sure how this part of your post is relevant to the purpose of this thread, but you’ve misunderstood Mormon doctrine. Mormons believe unequivocally that Jesus was born of a virgin. In every sense of the word, Mary was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Christ. This is Mormon doctrine.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. Unfortunately your contributions are pretty much antithetical to the purpose of this thread and haven’t provided any answers to my inquiries. I’m not trying to disprove the doctrine of perpetual virginity of Mary, I’m trying to understand it. Assertions and dogmatic appeals to authority are useless in this case. :slight_smile:

Kind Regards,

Mary’s perpetual virginity is consistent with the significance of the incarnation of God the Son. The Son, who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, used the consent of Mary to take to himself a human body and soul.

The person of Jesus is absolutely unique because He is both God and man. Mary was uniquely used by God. “He whom the whole world could not contain shut Himself up within your womb, oh Mary.” God himself came into the world through Mary’s body. She was totally consecrated to His use. She was holy, set aside for a sacred use. In the history of the church she has often been compared to the ark of the covenant.

In the same way that the Ark of the Covenant would not be put to another use because it was set aside for one holy use, Mary’s body was holy because she was the Mother of God/the 'God bearer".

In marriage, Jesus said a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. Mary was not free to do this with a man after she conceived Jesus because she was totally consecrated to God.

If Mary’s son had been a mere man - a holy prophet or rabbi - there would be no reason why she couldn’t have had other children by Joseph who appeared to be Jesus’ father. But that wasn’t the case.

According to mainstream Christian belief, Jesus was the ‘only begotten son of God’. He was ‘eternally begotten of the Father’ ‘God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, one in being with the Father’. I understand that, according to Mormon doctrine, the eternal Father had many begotten sons. so Jesus was special only in that he was the first or the best? If this is your understanding, the perpetual virginity of Mary wouldn’t seem so important I guess?

To add to Claires concise explanation ( but probably not as concise ).

The bonds between persons structures our union with God. The Father’s bond with His Son Unites human nature to God. God chose a woman to be His mother from whom He recieved His humanity and become man. God could have done otherwise but for our sake He chose to prepare a Holy place to recieve Him and prepare a body. Jesus is human and divine Mary is human. So that man could bond with God by means natural to our state God unites the humanity He recieved from His mother to ours through a person who is of the earth and bound to Him by natural human maternity.

God chose to enter the world through a Woman. The first Adam was formed from a sinless earth. It’s fitting that the second Adam is as well.

Mary said ‘Be it done to me as you say’ (pp) this is Mary’s yes.

Mary’s ‘yes’ to this plan means through her the earth recieved it’s Savior. Since God doesn’t violate our free will. If we apply that concept , God’s respect of our will and His knowing who will say yes to the demands of His love, remembering God is love, it follows that her yes extends to her immaculate conception. No one could do that so it follows as I suggested in my first post that Mary’s yes is an attitude that is perpetual and characteristic of our original sinless state.


Hello, Finrock - :slight_smile:

Briefly, God is free to do anything in whatever manner He chooses, but the way He does things is always perfect and most fitting for what is to be accomplished. Thus, e.g., with the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary it was most fitting that His Son be conceived and born to a woman preserved from Original Sin. And thus it was fitting that the Mother of God be a virgin inviolate throughout her life. This fittingness was recognized quickly by the Fathers who so readily see her as the New Eve and the Ark of the New Covenant. For a fuller presentation which will help you see the depth of theology regarding the Blessed Virgin and her prerogatives, I highly recommend Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life, TAN Books.

Further, one cannot isolate the Incarnation of Christ from other factors (i.e., His being born a Jew; His being born of a particular woman; that particular woman being a virgin before His birth and remaining a virgin after; that particular woman remaining virginal in the midst of a marriage). Marital intimacy is certainly not a desecration of any woman, nor is birth a desecration of any woman’s womb, but it would be a desecration to impregnate in the ordinary way for ordinary purposes a womb consecrated to God. Especially in Mary’s case God Himself consecrates her womb (as opposed to a human man consecrating a virgin to God). So the desecration violating what is holy would be unjust to God’s honor, to say the least.

Mary Most Holy is thus the “ever virgin.” Her prerogative is the consequence of her divine motherhood which totally consecrated her to Christ’s mission of redemption." (From a catechesis of Pope John Paul II on the Blessed Virgin Mary given August 28, 1996.)

If you haven’t yet done so, the two articles I recommended will help you better understand this Catholic teaching.

Thank you for reading the articles. However, you misunderstand authority. It is Sacred Tradition that Mary was a virgin before, during, and after Jesus’ birth. Sacred Tradition is the teachings of the Apostles. The Church Fathers were early Christians who defended the Catholic Faith against heretic and, of those who were clerics, who taught Christians the Faith of the Catholic Church. Now, you might have a concern with the teaching of the Church in that, as a Mormon, you believe the Church apostasized. However, history vindicates Catholics; you will find that some of the Church Fathers had friends who were the disciples of the Apostles, and you will find that these Fathers taught exactly what the Apostles had taught, and these teachings - this Apostolic Tradition - have been passed down from generation to generation, by mouth and by writing, to the present day, as the Catechism of the Catholic Chhurch - which is a systematic presentation of the Christian Faith - shows. Furthermore, another proof that the Catholic Church has not apostosized is the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark is the earliest gospel, written during the time of Saint Peter, and it was written by the son of Saint Peter, a boy named Mark, who was urged to write down everything Peter had taught so the Church could preserve his teachings. Mark wrote down everything as he remembered it, so the events in the gospel are not in chronological order, and not every event in Jesus’ life is recorded, nor is every detail of every event recorded. Now, the Catholic Church preserves this Gospel in the New Testament. So, if the Church had apostasized, the Gospel would not be included in the Bible, for, if the Church had turned away from the truth, than any historical writing would reveal the Church’s apostasy. Some say the Church changed the gospels - either the words themselves or their interpretations - but there is no evidence for this claim, and, in fact, there is great evidence that the Church has always preserved the Scriptures and their interpretations.

Regarding the interpretation and preservation of the Bible, I made a thread about it:

And so you can better understand Sacred Tradition, here is a thread on it:

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