St. Joseph's Virginity


I am confused. I have heard that the Catholic view on Joseph being a virgin from a few different perspectives. Can anyone tell me what the Church teaches?

Was Joseph always a virgin?

Was he a widower who had children when he married Mary?

We just don’t know?

Is it super important either way? Obviously it is important that he and Mary remained virgin during their marriage.

Are there any other teachings that really hinge on this?

Thanks a bunch!

P.S. I have tried the search function, but it won’t turn up anything. Am I the only one it is not working for?


The short answer is no. No, we don’t know, there’s no formal teaching on these aspects of St Joseph’s life. And no, there is nothing pertinent to salvation in believing one way or another, which is WHY there’s no formal teaching :slight_smile:

Although his having children from a previous marriage would better explain those individuals who the people of Nazareth thought were Jesus’ (half?) brothers and sisters, since they would’ve assumed Joseph was also HIS father.

For what it’s worth, most of the early non-canonical writings that directly discuss the matter, such as the Protevangelion of James or the *History of Joseph the Carpenter, *seem to agree in stating that he was an older widower with children from a previous marriage. I’m not aware of any that state that he was young.


There is no definitive teaching.

But, early, authoritative, but non-scriptural, texts say he was a widower with children from his previous marriage.

God Bless



I seem to be losing you here… It seems to me you are handling the topic a little too smugly. I feel you are trivializing this whole topic. Referring to “your students” as if this is to give you some sort of credibility.

I don’t think it is right to allude to Joseph having to seduce his wife in order to have relations with her. Remember that we are talking about a very holy act here.

You mention “of course Joe was a virgin” perhaps you would like to explain to me where you got this idea so clearly from? Because you certainly haven’t backed it up here. This by the way is what I am looking for, as the two people above have done a good job in explaining.

It seems to me you are using this thread as a sort of sounding board for nothing more than your personal opinions, and grievances with the scrutiny that Christianity has had to endure in recent times.

As for the latter part of your email, I have no idea what you mean. It seems to go on about… well I really don’t know what.

Please if you can’t be serious, take a step back.



I agree with LilyM and her explanation. There really isn’t anyway for us to know for sure (unless we can ask him if we go to Heaven?), and the Church certainly allows the faithful to hold either opinion.

Here is the opinion of Fulton J. Sheen, if you are interested.

God bless you!


And here is some good info which talks about both views.

Evidently St. Jerome felt strongly that St. Joseph was a virgin (and Aquinas took up the argument as well.)



I say that’s the best answer I have ever read on this issue. Great article.


Saint Joseph, though human, and with his lineage described by Saint Matthew, acted as an angel, protecting the Virgin Mother and Christ. Since he utters not one word in scripture, very little is known of him. As with many figures in scripture, the notable exception being Christ, Saint Joseph came to sudden prominence, fulfilled his role, then faded to obscurity.

Our duty is to marvel at God for providing for every need, both then and now.

Christ’s peace.


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