"virginity even in the act of giving birth"

I was reading paragraph 499 of the Catholic Catechism. It says:

*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.

In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.*

What does this mean?
Does it mean that Mary did not give birth to Christ by vaginal delivery? If that’s what it means, then does that mean that Jesus was in Mary’s womb, and then…suddenly, he was outside the womb, laying in Mary’s arms?

Or what?

My bible study leader taught us this and I still don’t get it. She said that it means Mary did not give birth to Christ by vaginal delivery. It left me confused, too, though.

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Our Blessed Mother’s “Perpetual Virginity” is a dogma of the Catholic Church. Perpetual means “Ever- Virgin” and no time in her life was she anything other than a Virgin, even during the birth process when Jesus was born.

Some of the early Church Fathers have described the Virgin Birth of Jesus as a light passing through a window that does no harm to the window. The light does not scratch the window, shatter it nor distort it in anyway.

It was a true miracle birth and Jesus did pass through Mary’s womb. However, Jesus passing through Mary’s womb did so without opening her womb, harming it in anyway, and allowing her womb to be left intact, pure, untouched and Ever-Virgin.

None of the Father’s of the Church as ever argued against the Virgin Birth of Jesus and many of them during the first centuries even wrote about this wondrous event.

I think it is part of the Dogma of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity that the Church seems to fail to instruct the faithful on…is it too mysterious to talk about?

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This is basically what jmjconder said, by Mariologist Mark Miravalle. :slight_smile:

From Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion pages 57-58:

The papal definition of Mary’s continued virginity during the birth of Christ refers to the event that at the appointed time of birth, Jesus left the womb of Mary without the loss of Mary’s physical virginity. The Church understands Mary’s virginity during the birth of Christ as an absence of any physical injury or violation to Mary’s virginal seal (in Latin, virginitas in partu) through a special divine action of the all-powerful God. This divine act would safeguard Mary’s physical virginity which is both symbol and part of her perfect, overall virginity; a virginity both internal and external, of soul and of body.

The Fathers of the Church overwhelmingly taught the “miraculous birth” of Jesus that resulted in no injury to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s physical integrity. St. Augustine stated, “It is not right that He who came to heal corruptions should by His advent violate integrity.” Later, St. Thomas Aquinas would defend the miraculous and painless nature of Christ’s birth. As light passes through glass without harming it, so too did Jesus pass through the womb of Mary without the opening of Mary’s womb and without any harm to the physical virginal seal of the Virgin, who was pure and the perfect tabernacle of the unborn Christ.

Our Blessed Mother’s “Perpetual Virginity” is a dogma of the Catholic Church. Perpetual means “Ever- Virgin” and no time in her life was she anything other than a Virgin, even during the birth process when Jesus was born.

Some of the early Church Fathers have described the Virgin Birth of Jesus as a light passing through a window that does no harm to the window. The light does not scratch the window, shatter it nor distort it in anyway.

It was a true miracle birth and Jesus did pass through Mary’s womb. However, Jesus passing through Mary’s womb did so without opening her womb, harming it in anyway, and allowing her womb to be left intact, pure, untouched and Ever-Virgin.

None of the Father’s of the Church as ever argued against the Virgin Birth of Jesus and many of them during the first centuries even wrote about this wondrous event.

I think it is part of the Dogma of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity that the Church seems to fail to instruct the faithful on…is it too mysterious to talk about?

Jesus simply passed through the uterine wall.

I would say its exactly the same thing he did 33 years later on Easter Sunday when He passed through the walls in the Upper Room.

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Our Blessed Mother’s “Perpetual Virginity” is a dogma of the Catholic Church. Perpetual means “Ever- Virgin” and no time in her life was she anything other than a Virgin, even during the birth process when Jesus was born.

Some of the early Church Fathers have described the Virgin Birth of Jesus as a light passing through a window that does no harm to the window. The light does not scratch the window, shatter it nor distort it in anyway.

It was a true miracle birth and Jesus did pass through Mary’s womb. However, Jesus passing through Mary’s womb did so without opening her womb, harming it in anyway, and allowing her womb to be left intact, pure, untouched and Ever-Virgin.

None of the Father’s of the Church as ever argued against the Virgin Birth of Jesus and many of them during the first centuries even wrote about this wondrous event.

I think it is part of the Dogma of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity that the Church seems to fail to instruct the faithful on…is it too mysterious to talk about?

Virginity has nothing to do with childbirth.

“A virgin (or maiden) is, originally, **a woman who has never had sexual intercourse. **Virginity is the state of being a virgin. It is derived from the Latin virgo, which means “sexually inexperienced woman”, used typically of adolescents, but also of older women, and even goddesses.” Wikipedia.

It’s not really that hard to understand, read Sacred Scripture; "And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35 And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Lk 1:34-35)

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark

You say “Virginity has nothing to do with childbirth.” That may be true in the secular world…that is not true in the Catholic Church. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity has everything to do with her virginal birth ~ it is part of the Dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary…which means…even during the Virginal (and vaginal birth) of Jesus…

The Church embraces Our Blessed Lady’s “Perpetual Virginity.” In 649, the Lateran Council under Pope Saint Martin I declared: “If anyone does not, in accord with the Holy Fathers, acknowledge the Holy, Ever-Virgin and Immaculate Mary as really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed conceived, by the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus the Word Himself, Who before all time was born of God the Father, and with integrity brought Him forth (incorruptibly bore Him), and after His Birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned.”

So you have given us a worldly definition of “virgin” how do you explain the Catechism of the Catholic Church #499 regarding Mary’s pertetual virginity?

This is based largely on the account of the birth of Jesus found in the Protevangelium of James (a spurious work from the middle of the second century). In this account, Jesus basically “beamed out” of Mary. Personally, I believe that Jesus was born in the usual manner, but that Mary’s “virginal seal” was stuck on His forehead. I see this as irrefutable proof that Jesus is “the seed of the woman”, as well as sealing the covenant in blood (Mary’s). Granted, this is just my opinion, but I believe there is at least as much Biblical evidence for my position as there is for the “infallible dogma” of the church (and I’m not using any spurious works for my position).

As far as comparing His birth with Him entering a closed room later on, keep in mind that He entered the closed room AFTER His resurection! There is no comparison!

You are the very first person I’ve found on CAF who understands what is meant by Mary’s integrity as a Virgin.

Here is some help in explaining…

Regarding CCC 499. One should look at definition number 1 for “integrity” in* the American Heritage College Dictionary*. it reads: “Steadfast adherence to a strict ethical code.” This is key to understanding perpetual virginity. Personally, I prefer to respect the modesty of Our Blessed Mother. All the intimate details of her giving birth were not necessary in the Gospel of Luke.

I agree with Mark - Jesus’ birth did not in any way harm Mary’s virginity, because it did not cause her to become a woman who had had the experience of sex. There are a great many virgins whose hymens are broken from sports activities and other non-sexual activities, and they remain virgins, even so. It is the same with Mary - she remained a virgin throughout her life, even though she gave birth to Jesus in the normal way.

Mark 77 said that virginity has nothing to do with childbirth, it is simply means no sexual intercourse. Well, that’s why I was/am confused. This *is * indeed the meaning of the word “virgin.”

But… it looks like the Church has added a new meaning to the word, in addition to the original meaning?

I have been studying the doctrines of the Catholic Church. In order to be confirmed as a Catholic, I have to believe all that the church teaches.

So then… it looks like I have to belief that Jesus Christ, our Lord, went right through the walls of the uterus and into the world.
Hmmm…that’s quite remarkable for a non-resurrected body. Not impossible (nothing is, for God). Just remarkable. In fact, it is/would be such a first class miracle that it is quite surprising to me that Luke didn’t mention it. He just says that the time came for her to be delivered, andshe brought forth her firstborn son. It’s just like what the scriptures says about John the Baptist’s birth.

Thank you all for your replies. For the moment, I am skeptical. But I will think it over.

While this idea of “beaming out” of Mary’s body is a pious belief, it is certainly not a requirement. All we are required to believe is that Mary was and continues to be ever-virgin.

Also, as you point out, this would have been a miracle, and both the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition teach us that Christ’s first miracle occurred after His sojourn in the desert and His battle with Satan, at the Wedding of Cana.

So then… it looks like I have to belief that Jesus Christ, our Lord, went right through the walls of the uterus and into the world.

No, not at all. :slight_smile:

Oh, on the other hand, I just now read the posts of **grannymh **and rmcrae.
Grannymh - your focus on the word “integrity” is very insightful. In fact, it makes sense to me. It also sounds a lot more logical than if Jesus passed through the walls of the uterus and Luke didn’t even mention this miracle.

“Also, as you point out, this would have been a miracle, and both the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition teach us that Christ’s first miracle occurred after His sojourn in the desert and His battle with Satan, at the Wedding of Cana.”

His first miracle was at Cana. Hmm… good point!

Thank you. I wish you had written this simple explanation on some other “twisted” threads. One of which got yanked.

I try to avoid them as much as I can, especially once they take on a life of their own with the OP long gone. This one, I came in early enough for the OP to still be interested and following along. :slight_smile:

But I’ll be dropping out once it really gets going, I think.

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