Teaching of the Catholic Church I am having trouble with...that make me doubt others


#1

Hello everyone. In reading my catechism and then my Catholic Bible (The New American Bible) I came across scripture that I cannot reconcile with the Church’s teachings. These then makes other teachings suspect (in my mind).

  1. Mary’s Ever Virginity. Yes I read the comments in the Library. To me, it does not clearly reconcile the following:

Matthew 1:25: He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. The notes say: The Greek word translated “until” does not imply normal marital conduct after Jesus’ birth, nor does it exclude it. However, from my point (and I realize I am but a mortal with limited knowledge and wisdom) but if there were no relations that need all be said. The verse would look like; "He had no relations with her. (Period) She bore a son and named him Jesus. The “until” serves no purpose (in my mind) unless there was “relations”, as it would serve as clarifying “when” there were relations and that being not until Jesus was born. Does not Jesus say that he is not the author of confusion?

Matthew 13: 46-50: While he…his mother and his brothers appeared outside… someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside…

Matthew 14:55: Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us?

Mark 6:3: Is he not…and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?

Luke 8:19-21: Then his mother and his brothers came…“Your mother and your brothers are standing outside…”

John 7:3: So his brothers said to him…and 5: For his brothers did not believe him.

Acts 2:14…and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Galatians 2:19…, only James the brother of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 9:5…as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

Luke 2:7:and she gave birth to her firstborn son…

I guess where I am is, I know the Catholic response…I cannot reconcile it with what I read. And it troubles me.


#2

Do you know how I finally reconciled this, beyond simple submission to the Church’s teaching (which is how I generally and prayerfully attempt to handle anything I don’t understand or with which I may struggle and in the end, my heart is always conformed or by His Grace, being conformed)? Imagine yourself as Joseph for a moment. You’ve had, what, two visitations by the Messenger of the Ancient of Days about this Child and you’ve believed them: that the Baby is the Son of the Most High. You’ve had the Handmaid of the Lord committed to your care. Knowing Who the Baby is and how He came to be born, do you imagine you could make a request for the marital embrace from His Mother? Any sensible man would be afraid to touch Her. Hope that helps.


#3

Maybe this will help:

“Brethren of the Lord”

When Catholics call Mary the “Blessed Virgin,” they mean she remained a virgin throughout her life. When Protestants refer to Mary as “virgin,” they mean she was a virgin only until Jesus’ birth. They believe that she and Joseph later had children whom Scripture refers to as “the brethren of the Lord.” The disagreement arises over biblical verses that use the terms “brethren,” “brother,” and “sister.”

There are about ten instances in the New Testament where “brothers” and “sisters” of the Lord are mentioned (Matt. 12:46; Matt. 13:55; Mark 3:31–34; Mark 6:3; Luke 8:19–20; John 2:12, 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5).

When trying to understand these verses, note that the term “brother” (Greek: adelphos) has a wide meaning in the Bible. It is not restricted to the literal meaning of a full brother or half-brother. The same goes for “sister” (adelphe) and the plural form “brothers” (adelphoi). The Old Testament shows that “brother” had a wide semantic range of meaning and could refer to any male relative from whom you are not descended (male relatives from whom you are descended are known as “fathers”) and who are not descended from you (your male descendants, regardless of the number of generations removed, are your “sons”), as well as kinsmen such as cousins, those who are members of the family by marriage or by law rather than by blood, and even friends or mere political allies (2 Sam. 1:26; Amos 1:9).

Lot, for example, is called Abraham’s “brother” (Gen. 14:14), even though, being the son of Haran, Abraham’s brother (Gen. 11:26–28), he was actually Abraham’s nephew. Similarly, Jacob is called the “brother” of his uncle Laban (Gen. 29:15). Kish and Eleazar were the sons of Mahli. Kish had sons of his own, but Eleazar had no sons, only daughters, who married their “brethren,” the sons of Kish. These “brethren” were really their cousins (1 Chr. 23:21–22).

The terms “brothers,” “brother,” and “sister” did not refer only to close relatives. Sometimes they meant kinsmen (Deut. 23:7; Neh. 5:7; Jer. 34:9), as in the reference to the forty-two “brethren” of King Azariah (2 Kgs. 10:13–14). "
The rest of the article.

Pax tecum,


#4

The more I search the web…the more confused I get. Is there “other” Catholic churches?

truecatholic.org/

Is Mel Gibson a “Roman Catholic”?

ask.yahoo.com/20040405.html

Sorry for my infant knowledge base.

:slight_smile:


#5

DISCLAIMER: I am not being mean and I intend no malice:

I think the “brother” issue is a case of “pointing out the sliver in your ‘brother’s’ eye while ignoring the log in your own.” I always hear this from protenstants (I used to be one remember?). They claim that when the word “brother” in the new testemant is used it means exaclty “blood/genetic brother.” All the while not even recognizing the different uses of the word “brother.” I think the protestant denominations are the most “guilty” of this. Frequently in protestant churchs members refer to each other as “brother Ralph”, or “Brother Steve” or “brother Tom”. Clearly even unto this day we use “brother” to denote a relationship with someone that is not necasssarily a blood/genetic relationship. St. Paul himself stated " I am your father in Christ." Now, do we take that to mean St. Paul was the literal father of the people he was adressing? No. When Christ was on the cross he told the beloved disciple, St. John, “Son, behold your mother, mother behold your son.” Were they related by blood/genetics? No! I think not.

As far as “he had no relations with her until she bore her first born.” Well, if you look at the sentence, all that is saying is that they did not have intercourse before the birth of Christ and nothing more. It does not imply in any way that they had sex after the birth, only that they did not have sex before the the birth. (I feel strange even writing that Joseph and Mary had sex.)


#6

[quote=Cath.orProtes.?]The more I search the web…the more confused I get. Is there “other” Catholic churches?

truecatholic.org/

[/quote]

That site says “The Catholic Church Has Elected Pope Pius XIII”.

This is clearly not authentic, because there was never a Pius XIII. There are numbers of sects claiming something close to being Catholic. Examples are the “Old Catholics” and the “American Catholic Church”.

Roman Catholics all have in common that they are obedient to the Pope in Vatican City (Rome). None of the sects are, for various reasons.

hurst


#7

I think you can find this aspect of us as being part of the Family of God not only in the Catholic Church, but in other non-Catholic Christian traditions - where some would address each other “Brother So-and-So” or “Sister So-and-So.” So the meaning of brethren between people of God has a clear understanding within Christianity also.


#8

and did not know her till she brought forth her son – the first-born, and he called his name Jesus (Matthew 1:25 YLT)

If the use of the word “till” always implied a reversal of conditions after the event described, we must conclude from 2 Samuel 6:23 that David’s wife Michal had children after her death:As to Michal daughter of Saul, she had no child till the day of her death. (2 Samuel 6:23 YLT)

And, we must also conclude from Acts 8:40 that once Philip got to Caesarea he stopped preaching the gospel, even though Philip is still called an “evangelist” many chapters later in Acts 21:8:and Philip was found at Azotus, and passing through, he was proclaiming good news to all the cities, till his coming to Cesarea. (Acts 8:40 YLT)

Obviously, neither Michal’s nor Philip’s condition changed after the “till” event. So we must conclude that Mary’s virginal condition may not have changed after the “till” event (the birth of Jesus).

Matthew 13: 46-50: While he…his mother and his brothers appeared outside… someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside…

Matthew 14:55: Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us?

Mark 6:3: Is he not…and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?

Luke 8:19-21: Then his mother and his brothers came…“Your mother and your brothers are standing outside…”

John 7:3: So his brothers said to him…and 5: For his brothers did not believe him.

Acts 2:14…and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Galatians 2:19…, only James the brother of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 9:5…as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

The Protoevangelium of James, a Catholic work by an anonymous author written about A.D. 120, says that Joseph was a widower with children when he married Mary. The brothers and sisters of the Lord mentioned in the Gospels could easily have been Joseph’s children by his previous marriage, whom outsiders would have considered Jesus’ half-brothers and half-sisters though in reality they would have been Jesus’ step-brothers and step-sisters. In Scripture, someone’s half-brothers and half-sister are usually referred to simply as their brothers and sisters.

Luke 2:7:and she gave birth to her firstborn son…

The fact that Jesus is called Mary’s first-born does not imply that any children were born to Mary after Jesus. The term simply means that Jesus was the first to open Mary’s womb.

Consider the following passage from the Old Testament book of Numbers:

40And the LORD said to Moses, “Number all the first-born males of the people of Israel, from a month old and upward, taking their number by names. 41And you shall take the Levites for me–I am the LORD–instead of all the first-born among the people of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the people of Israel.” 42So Moses numbered all the first-born among the people of Israel, as the LORD commanded him. 43And all the first-born males, according to the number of names, from a month old and upward as numbered were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.

It is unlikely that the mothers whose first-born males were only a month old knew that they would have other children in the future, yet their one-month-old babies are called their first-born.

Consider the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah concerning Jesus:"…when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. (Zechariah 12:10)

We know from the Bible that Jesus was Mary’s first-born, does this prophecy not also suggest that Jesus was Mary’s only child too?


#9

The references to brothers and sisters interpreted as kinsman of the same generation never bothered me. I studied Anthropology as an underclassman and this system of kinship is actually fairly common in tribal societies. I think we have to be careful about reading the scripture from our American twenty-first century worldview.

The thing that I like about all the references to Jesus’s family is that he obviously was surrounded by extended family growing up. I’m sure that Mary, despite having only one perfect son, had a house filled with children. I can just imagine, “Mary only has that one kid,” the kinswoman would think. “Hey, James, go over and play with Jesus. He’s a good influence on you. Take your little brothers, I need to make some bread.”

Also, for James, I wonder how Jesus prepared him during his childhood for his later apostleship. How did his kinspeople view the Holy Family–they surely would have noticed the virtue and extraordinary love of the family? I look forward to knowing these things in the next world (God willing and I persevere).


#10

With all your questions here you need to understand what the writers of that time and culture were trying to say. There style of writing etc is different to ours.
First born son was always said regardless of whether there were any more children.
Close friends and cousins were always called brothers and sisters and they still do this.
Theres no conflict between these quotes and catholic teaching when you look right into it.


#11

also remember that Jesus told John,
“behold thy mother”… which, if Mary
had other children, would have been
a terrible insult to them… it also says
that “after that hour the disciple took
her into his home”…

again, if she had other children, whom
she had relations with, as would be
assumed from the verses such as
found in Matthew 13, she’d probably
have lived in one of their homes, not
John’s… if the term brethern in those
verses were literal…

or, so it seems to me…

:slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Cath.orProtes.?]The more I search the web…the more confused I get. Is there “other” Catholic churches?

truecatholic.org/

Is Mel Gibson a “Roman Catholic”?

ask.yahoo.com/20040405.html

Sorry for my infant knowledge base.

:slight_smile:
[/quote]

The True Catholic Church is a truely nutty sedevacantist congregation. Don’t know whether the “pope” is excommunicated already-probably is. Moreover, he is invoved with the occult: he attempts to practise divination with a pendulum: read here and here (Warning: the site is sedevacantist and the links go to a group supporting the claim of “Pope Michael” who’s another fake). He has the audacity to claim that a person rejecting his use of divination “sins against the Holy Ghost” :smiley:

Incidently, I believe there was something improper regarding his supposed elevation: upon his “election” as pope he claimed that his papal authority allowed him to ordain people as bishops even though he wasn’t one himself. So he ‘ordained’ “Cardinal” Bateman who after his ordination graciously ‘ordained’ him as a ‘bishop’ and a ‘pope’.

I apologize if this is a bit of a rant, but some people get on my nerves…


#13

BTW Karl Keating wrote something about him a year or so ago:
catholic.com/newsletters/kke_040406.asp


#14

The other replies have been excellent. I’ll only add that if Mary had other children, Jesus would not have given the care of Mary to John at the foot of the cross. Indeed, if he had, it would have been a great insult to those other children.

Also, you need to understand what it means to be consecrated. The womb of Mary is a consecrated place, set aside by God. She is the Ark of the New Covenant. In the Old Testament, people didn’t use the Ark of the Covenant for everyday chores, like hauling grain or water about. People who touched the Ark of the Covenant were killed outright—do you think that an observant Jew (which St. Jospeh was) would have even wanted to have relations with Mary?? She was consecrated, once and for all.


#15

Hello everyone, thank you all for your answers. Some I have never heard and appear to be sound.

Am I to understand that Joseph and Mary were not “married”? Or they were married and Joseph was a widower with children (so it would have been his second marriage)?

Thanks to all, I think after this I have all my questions answered on this one.

Thank you again.


#16

Just in case you have any slight doubts, there is a paper written by Saint Jerome, about the year 383AD, regarding this also.
In his letter against Helvidius he deals with this issue.
newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm
.

In Christ
Scylla


#17

Okay, for some time now I’ve been meaning to to a comparison between the total number of occurrences of the Greek word *adelphos * in the NT and the number of times that word is used **not ** in the meaning of “came-from-the-same-womb” siblings. Tomorrow night at work, when I will have hours of empty time, I’m going to do just that.

Watch this space.

DaveBj


#18

[quote=Cath.orProtes.?]Hello everyone, thank you all for your answers. Some I have never heard and appear to be sound.

Am I to understand that Joseph and Mary were not “married”? Or they were married and Joseph was a widower with children (so it would have been his second marriage)?

Thanks to all, I think after this I have all my questions answered on this one.

Thank you again.
[/quote]

Quickly on your original point:

Really what you are struggling with is a poor translation from the Greek. Not only is the NAB a bad translation (as Rome has mandated its retranslation) but all biblical scholars feel that it is an inferior work. The other aspect is that in the koine greek there is a mode of speach that does not exist in english. The convention is called “middle voice” and there is no completely accurate way to translate it into english being mindful of the shades of meaning.

On your new questions:

Joseph and Mary were married in the proper sense. However, it is not the same type of marriage as one would expect. From other historical sources such as the Protoevangelion of James we see the Mary was a Temple Virgin consecrated to God. Now, what was the normal practice for these Temple Virgins was that they were married to a man for protection and support. In that time period (such as today is some of the mountains of South America) of a woman of age does not have a husband then she would be unable to provide even food for herself.

Concerning the question concerning Joseph having other children from his previous marriage one cannot say. There is nothing is Scripture or any other writting that I know of that would suggest this. However, there is also no writting that says that Joseph and Mary had other children or that Jesus had step or natural brothers or sisters. If you carefully follow scripture well you will notice that everytime that someone is mentioned as a brother of Jesus you will find another place is scripture where it tells you who is that persons mother and/or father. It really is a moot point that just takes a little bit of study.


#19

[quote=Cath.orProtes.?] In reading my catechism and then my Catholic Bible (The New American Bible) I came across scripture that I cannot reconcile with the Church’s teachings.

  1. Mary’s Ever Virginity:
    Matthew 1:25: He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
    However, from my point (and I realize I am but a mortal with limited knowledge and wisdom) but if there were no relations that need all be said. The verse would look like; "He had no relations with her. (Period) She bore a son and named him Jesus. The “until” serves no purpose (in my mind) unless there was “relations”, as it would serve as clarifying “when” there were relations and that being not until Jesus was born. Does not Jesus say that he is not the author of confusion…

I guess where I am is, I know the Catholic response…I cannot reconcile it with what I read. And it troubles me.
[/quote]

The perpetual virginity is spelled out in Luke chapter 1, Matthew chapter 1, and Numbers chapter 30. He knew her not prior to, nor after the birth of Jesus. We know that by the statement of Mary in Luke chap 1:
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbo.org
Lk 1, 26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. 33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Notice that the angel is telling Mary what shall be in the future, Mary responds with her statement of, not her present condition, but of her future condition of virginity. Notice also that the angel left out who the true Father of this child would be, this is to force her to proclaim her vow of perpetual virginity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbo.org
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
How “shall”
(in the future) this be done, since (in the future) I know not man. To imply thart Mary was referring to her (then) present condition of virginity is absurd in that the angel is talking of her future condition
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbo.org
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Now to Josephs side of the story, we read in Matthew his “announcement”. He is told she is a virgin, and is with child from the Holy Spirit. He accepts her into his house under a vow of virginity. Read Numbers chapter 30 about what a man must do when he recieves a virgin under a vow into his house as his wife.


#20

If Mary had other children (sons, in particular), then Jesus would never, could never, have given her over to the care of John when He was on the cross. Such an action would have gone against Jewish law and custom, and would have torn Mary’s (and Jesus’) family apart. Jesus would never have put Mary in the position of having to choose to disobey Him or else leave her other children.

Further, the brothers would never have allowed it (imagine in the middle east today the reaction of his brothers if a man gave his mother into the care of a non-relative). The brothers would have forced Mary back into their homes, to avoid the loss of face if for no other reason. And yet the scriptures say that, from that hour, John took her into his home.


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