Virgin


#1

Some people may be offended by this question-- but it is something I have difficulty with.

I accept the fact that Jesus was conceived through Divine Intervention. I accept the fact that Mary and Joseph lived together without sexual relations. However, I have difficulty with the teaching that she gave birth without loss to her physical virginity.

It is not an important teaching to me, as it makes no difference to my practice of the Faith. “If the Church teaches it, I believe it.” Is this actual doctrine??


#2

Yes it is. You can find it in the CCC where:

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.154 In fact, Christ’s birth "did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it."155 And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.156

If you think about it, it is no more miraculous than the virginal conception.

Also, folks from the reformation such as Luther said:

“A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not **a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ **. . .”

and Zwingli (Baptists are an offshoot) said:

“I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.”

For here to be a pure, unsullied virgin after the birth, it would seem to be a requirement during as well.

Peace,

MilesJesu


#3

Thank you for your quick :slight_smile: and well-reasoned response. I have no idea why it was so easy to accept those two parts of it, but so difficult to accept the third. And mainstream Prots have no difficulty with all three?? :o


#4

Today, most mainstream Protestants accept that Mary was a virgin when she conceived, but they believe that she did not remain a virgin after Jesus’ birth but instead bore other children ‘in the natural way’. I have no idea if they think she was a virgin after giving birth but before ‘knowing’ Joseph. The Reformers accepted all three, but later generations of Protestants rejected most (if not all) of the Marian devotion and doctrine practiced and believed by the Reformers.


#5

So what is the position of “high church” Episcopalians and Lutherans?


#6

Isaiah 7:10-14 10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” 13 And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a YOUNG WOMAN (VIRGIN) shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el. (all caps and parenthesis mine)

“Young Woman” in Isaiah 7:14 can be translated also as “Virgin” – either way. But it only makes sense to translate it as “Virgin”. Why? Because the early Church translated it that way. Also St. Matthew’s gospel has it that way. Also merely a “young woman” conceiving and bearing a child isn’t a greater “sign of the Lord” than any other woman conceiving and bearing a child. But it IS a great act of the Lord for a “VIRGIN” to conceive and bear a child.

Matthew 1:21-23 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).

Notice “a virgin shall conceive AND bear a son” (all caps. mine).
So a Virgin conceives a son.
A virgin (the same Virgin here obviously) BEARS a son.

For the first time in history about 400 A.D. someone calling himself a Christian named “Helvidius” denied the perpetual virginity of Mary. St. Jerome writing against the heretic Helvidius in regards to this, called Helvideus’ ideas “…novel, wicked, and a daring affront to the faith of the whole world.”

And the Blessed Virgin Mary had always planned on maintaining her virginity. If someone told the girl next door that when she gets married she was going to have a child she WOULDN’T say “how can this come about?” If she is of age, she knows biology and KNOWS how this can come about. But when the Angel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary in Luke 1 that she is going to have a child she responds “how can this come about . . ?” This response of hers only makes sense if she was a virgin and planned on remaining a virgin.

St. Fulgentius (about 500 A.D.):
“In the wife of the first man, the wickedness of the devil depraved her seduced mind;
in the mother of the Second Man, the grace of God preserved both her mind inviolate and her flesh. (inviolate = completely intact and without corruption)
On her mind, it conferred the most firm faith; from her flesh it took away lust altogether.
Since then man was in a miserable way condemned for sin, therefore without sin
was in a marvelous way born the God-man.”
-Serm. 2, p. 124. De Dupl. Nativ. (underlining and parenthesis addition mine).

Hopefully this info. helps too.


#7

Doesn’t address my questions, but may address the questions of others.

So, according to Catholic theology, anyone who disagrees with the concept of Mary forever virgin, disagrees with the Divinity of Christ? :wave:


#8

Jerusha; you stated:

. . . “I have difficulty with the teaching that she gave birth without loss to her physical virginity.”

I (and others) attempted to demonstrate to you where the Church teaches this and perhaps some reasons why the Church teaches this. Then you stated. “Doesn’t address my questions.”

Apparently I misread the question. It sounds like you are really saying: “I have difficulty BELIEVING the teaching that she gave birth without loss to her physical virginity.” ??

Is this a correct statement? If this is correct then I can only reaffirm what MilesJesu stated, “If you think about it, it (the Virgin Birth) is no more miraculous than the virginal conception.” If I am making an incorrect assertion please clarify? Thank you.

Also, the perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an important teaching to me, as it does make a difference to my practice of the Faith. Perhaps not my outward actions that others can see, but my inward disposition (as God can see). Why? Because if I just happen to agree with 99% of what the Catholic Church teaches (that’s not submission to the Church, just agreement), then I don’t believe one of the biggest claims of the Catholic Church – That She (The Church) teaches with the authority of Jesus Himself. That She echoes the mind of Christ in ALL of Her official teachings (including the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Perpetual Virginity). This one doctrine of Perpetual Virginity would have other ramifications too that would effect my outlook on Jesus but this is not the thread to get into those issues, but I would say that all Marian doctrines are inextricably intertwined with doctrines about Jesus even though they may not be apparent on the surface.

You also stated: “So, according to Catholic theology, anyone who disagrees with the concept of Mary forever virgin, disagrees with the Divinity of Christ?”

Not necessarily. But those dissenters (on the perpetual Virginity) may have different reasons WHY they agree with the Divinity of Christ, which is also important. But I would say anyone who (knowingly) disagrees with the concept of Mary forever virgin, is not in full submission to the authority of the Church.

Also I’m not suggesting BLIND submission to the Church. I want to affirm you in seeking out these answers. Pray, fast, study, and dialogue to be sure. Keep up the good work! Pray for me too because there is a constant struggle going on in this life for all of us (myself included).


#9

I believe what you question is did Mary remain a virgin after giving birth to Jesus and being married to Joseph afterwards. Some fathers believed Mary remained “ever virgin”, while others believed she indeed bore other children. The Catholic Church today believes she always remained a virgin.


#10

[quote=justcatholic]I believe what you question is did Mary remain a virgin after giving birth to Jesus and being married to Joseph afterwards. Some fathers believed Mary remained “ever virgin”, while others believed she indeed bore other children. The Catholic Church today believes she always remained a virgin.
[/quote]

justcatholic,

Can you give examples of which Fathers actually believed Mary had other children? I was under the impression that they were pretty much unanimous that she remained a virgin. The reason I ask is that I’m debating this very topic with some Protestant friends and it would be helpful to know which Fathers disagreed with the idea of Mary’s perpetual vrginity.

JU


#11

“I have difficulty BELIEVING the teaching that she gave birth without loss to her physical virginity.” ??

Right. I asked the question many years ago, and got a shut-down, rather than a reasoned response. So the question had never been answered.


#12

[quote=Jerusha]Some people may be offended by this question-- but it is something I have difficulty with.

I accept the fact that Jesus was conceived through Divine Intervention. I accept the fact that Mary and Joseph lived together without sexual relations. However, I have difficulty with the teaching that she gave birth without loss to her physical virginity.

It is not an important teaching to me, as it makes no difference to my practice of the Faith. “If the Church teaches it, I believe it.” Is this actual doctrine??
[/quote]

In citing the CCC and the Church Fathers on this question, one should remember that the Bible itself is also an expression of the Magisterium on this issue.

I also consider the Catholic Bible to be a more authoritative expression of the Magisterium than the CCC or the Church Fathers.

Now, what does the Catholic Bible say? A careful reading of it really does convince the reader that Jesus’ birth, rather than being a mystical event, was a perfectly ordinary messy bloody painful human birth.

BIBLE ARGUMENT #1
Matthew’s gospel (which frequently paraphrases the Old Testament Book of Wisdom) affirms that Jesus was a “king.” See Matthew 21:5.

Now read Wisdom 7:5-6: “For no king has any different origin or birth, but one is the entry into life for all; and in one same way they leave it.”

There it is – a straightforward tautology affirming that Jesus’ birth was like that of other kings. Now, if Jesus somehow “beamed down” out of Mary’s womb, would infallible Wisdom 7:5-6 be saying this? Would Wisdom-paraphrasing Matthew’s infallible Matthew 21:5 affirm that He was a “king” if Jesus, contrary to Wisdom 7:5-6, had “beamed down” out of Mary?

BIBLE ARGUMENT #2
Luke’s gospel, at Luke 2:22-24, says that the time came to “purify” “them” (apparently, Mary and Jesus), by offering “‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,’ in accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord.” Luke 2:24.

What dictate? Answer: Leviticus 12:6-8. Let’s read it: “When the days of her purification for a son or for a daughter are fulfilled, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the meeting tent a yearling lamb for a holocaust and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. The priest shall offer them up before the LORD to make atonement for her, and thus she will be clean again after her flow of blood. Such is the law for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl child. If, however, she cannot afford a lamb, she may take two turtledoves or two pigeons, the one for a holocaust and the other for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for her, and thus she will again be clean.”

The ritual is necessary because of a flow of blood!!!

This is clearly not the way “beamer-downers” envision Jesus’ birth.

The “beamer-downers” try to get around this dilemma by saying that Mary and Joseph were lying, putting on a deceptive show to convince the world that Mary’s baby did not “beam down” out of Mary.

Where in Heaven’s name does infallible Scripture even hint that Mary and Joseph were trying to decive the Jewish people?

It simply DOESN’T.

As a matter of fact, this takes us to the next Scriptural dilemma…Scripture uses the exact same terms to describe John’s messy, bloody, painful NON-miraculous birth that it uses to describe Jesus’ birth.

That will be in the next post.


#13

[quote=justcatholic]The Catholic Church today believes she always remained a virgin.
[/quote]

The Orthodox Churches too.


#14

This is clearly not the way “beamer-downers” envision Jesus’ birth.

You don’t have to be a “beamer-downer” to believe. All you need to believe is that God gave her hymen enough stretch at the right moment to allow it to not tear.


#15

I can’t tell if I agree or disagree with your posts because I am not certain where you are going with it. As far as having a messy birth, that doesn’t have anything to do with her virginity does it? I wasn’t a virgen during my labors(wasn’t one before either:rolleyes: ) and my births were still messy. It had nothing to do with the loss of virginity. Sorry if I misunderstood you.


#16

BIBLE ARGUMENT #3
Compare the Greek terms used to describe John’s presumably NON-miraculous birth (no one ever said that Elizabeth was a “virgin”) with Jesus’ supposedly miraculous birth.

ELIZABETH GIVING BIRTH TO JOHN
"But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear gennao]you a son, and you shall name him John.’" Luke 1:13.

"When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child tikto] she gave birth to gennao] a son. "

MARY GIVING BIRTH TO JESUS
"Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear tikto]a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31.

“Therefore the child to be born gennao] will be called holy, the Son of God.” Luke 1:35.

“and she gave birth to tikto] her firstborn son” Luke 2:7.

Interestingly, the root underlying the New Testament Greek term tikto seems to meaning “breaking through water.” It is related to the woman’s water breaking.

So, in Luke’s divinely-inspired gospel, there is not the teeniest, tiniest hint that Mary gave birth in any way different from the way Elizabeth gave birth. In fact, trhe language suggests that they gave birth in the SAME way.

Note that where there IS a difference – in the way Jesus was CONCEIVED – Luke is very careful to point it out.

Conclusion: Mary gave birth the same way Elizabeth gave birth.

BIBLE ARGUMENT #4
Oooooohhhhh, it’s SO important to SO many Catholics that because Mary was immaculately conceived, she have no labor pains in accord with Genesis 3:16, which imposed labor pains on Eve because of the Original Sin.

There are a few problems with this conclusion.

The Church actually affirmatively teaches that at the time of her assumption, just before her assumption, Mary experienced “dormition.” What is “dormition”? Apparently, it’s what we refer to as “flat-lining,” but without any “corruption,” death-generated break-down of the flesh.

NOTE THAT ASSUMPTION PRECEDED BY “DORMITION” IS CLEARLY INFERIOR TO ELIJAH’S NON-IMMACULATE-CONCEPTION-GENERATED ASSUMPTION INTO HEAVEN; ELIJAH EXPERIENCED NO DORMITION!:

“As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” 2 Kings 2:11. Elijah was talking as he was assumed.

Now, if Mary was conceived without the stain of Original Sin, and she nonetheless experienced death-like symptoms, at her assumption, characterizing an assumption INFERIOR to that of NON-immaculately-conceived Elijah, WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THAT MARY WAS RELIEVED OF THE OTHER SYMPTOM OF ORIGINAL SIN, LABOR PAINS?

In other words, doesn’t it appear that God was making a POINT of NOT relieving Mary of the symptoms of Original Sin, though she was relieved of the *stain *of Original Sin?

I’ll make the last Bible argument momentarily.


#17

[quote=BibleReader]As a matter of fact, this takes us to the next Scriptural dilemma…Scripture uses the exact same terms to describe John’s messy, bloody, painful NON-miraculous birth that it uses to describe Jesus’ birth.

That will be in the next post.
[/quote]

Okay, what I am about to relate is true. It is possible to have a non painful childbirth. I have four children. Three of the labors were painful, normal labors. My labor with my oldest daughter, Abbie, was different’ I went to the hospital because I felt different, not because there was any pain. Our military Doctor got annoyed because the staff called him in when I insisted that something was going on with me. WHile he was checking me, my water broke. For three hours, I laughed with my husband and best friend. My only indication that I was having contractions was a strong tightening feeling across my abdomen. My braxton Hicks felt worse.

When it came time to push, I had pain, but not until then. The nurses kept telling me how controlled I was. They were impressed, they thought that I was just a stoic person. I could not convince them that I had no pain.

My next child hurt like %$#@! So Abbie was a fluke. But, it is possible to have childbirth without pain.


#18

[quote=deb1]I can’t tell if I agree or disagree with your posts because I am not certain where you are going with it. As far as having a messy birth, that doesn’t have anything to do with her virginity does it? I wasn’t a virgen during my labors(wasn’t one before either:rolleyes: ) and my births were still messy. It had nothing to do with the loss of virginity. Sorry if I misunderstood you.
[/quote]

Hi, deb1.

Since a messy birth, characterized by a release of amniotic and meconium fluids and blood, requires a breaking of tissues (what “breaking water” refers to), a messy birth is precisely what the “in partu virginity” folks – the “beamer-downers,” as I like to refer to them, to colloquialize their position – deny.


#19

[quote=Jerusha]You don’t have to be a “beamer-downer” to believe. All you need to believe is that God gave her hymen enough stretch at the right moment to allow it to not tear.
[/quote]

Hi, Jerusha.

What I refer to as the “rubber band argument” was struck down centuries ago, when a monk tried to poularize it.

I am frequently criticized for using abusive colloquialisms like “beamer-downers” to describe the *in partu *virginity folks and “the rubber band argument” to describe the hymen stretching argument.

However, I do it because I love Mary, and resent what I regard as fanatics who try to make her body do wierd things, while they simply spit-on inspired Scripture by disregarding it.

THEY are the ones who are abusive to Mary.

By the way, the “rubber band” argument doesn’t solve the whole problem. The “beamer-downers” require that NO tissues in Mary’s genetive tract ever have been broken. That includes the amniotic sac which tears open when the water breaks.


#20

BIBLE ARGUMENT #5

The Book of Revelation SAYS that Mary “wailed alound in pain as she labored to give birth”:

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.” Revelation 12:1-2.

Revelation goes on to make it clear that the “child” referred to is Jesus…

“She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.” Revelation 12:5.

In other words, the “child” is CLEARLY Jesus; therefore, the wailing “woman” is CLEARLY Mary.

IT COULDN’T BE CLEARER.

The “beamer-downers” fall all over themselves trying to ignore this very, very, very clear divinely-inspired Bible verse, arguing that the “woman” is called “woman” because she isn’t Mary. They say that the “woman” is the Church.

Answers to that nonsense:

(1) Why don’t they ALSO assert that the “child” is called “child” because He isn’t Jesus? Who “put the brakes on” their “logic”?

(2) Scripture speaks at BOTH the “sensus plenior” or “fuller sense” level AND the “plaintext level.” Who authorized the “beamer-downers” to ignore the “plaintext” level of Revelation 12:2?

(3) When the “beamer-downers” have to reluctantly admit that the Revelation 12:2 “child” is Jesus, they in effect read HALF of the sentence as having a sensus plenior level meaning, only, and the OTHER HALF of the sentence as having a plaintext meaning, only!!! In effect, ONE side of their “vehicle” has ordinary wheels, while the OTHER side of their “vehicle” has dragster wheels on super-duper struts.

(4) Revelation was PROBABLY written by John the Apostle. Most Bible scholars agree that though there are stylistic differences, perhaps accounted-for by John’s age when he wrote the Gospel of John, and John’s age when he wrote Revelation, there are too many textual m and philosophical similarities to deny the same authorship.

Now, John lived with and took care of Mary after Christ’s crucifixion. (The Church tradition conforms nicely to John 19:26-27.) John, of all people on Earth, was in a position to learn the details of Jesus’ birth from Mary. More to the point, he was KNOWN to be in a position to learn the details of Jesus’ birth from Mary, and he would have known that his readers would know that he was in a position to learn the details of Jesus’ birth from Mary.

In light of this, HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT JOHN WAS NOT ACCURATELY PORTRAYING JESUS’ BIRTH IN Revelation 12:2?..“She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth”?

Answer: There is NO chance that he was not accurately portraying Jesus’ birth.

(5) Let’s lock-in the “Mary” definition for “woman” in Revelation 12:2 a little tighter…

TWICE in his Gospel, John refers to Mary with the term “woman”:

  1. “‘When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you.’” John 2:3-5.

  2. "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” John 19:26.

Now, in light of John’s reference to Mary with the “Woman” title, how likely is it that “Woman” ISN’T “Mary.”

Conclusion: Mary’s labor was VERY painful.

The “bottom line” is that Scripture *dramatically wars with *the *in partu *virginity concept.


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