Would it have been wrong for Mary not to be 'ever-virgin'?


#1

I’ve always wondered this and I hope I can ask it correctly so you all know what I’m trying to understand.

I understand the connection between the Ark of the Covenant and Mary and why the Church teaches Mary was sinless. And I understand and believe the Church’s teaching in regard to Jesus not having any siblings.

What I’m trying to understand is, why would it be important for her to remain a virgin? I understand that if she wasn’t then the Church has been teaching incorrect doctrine for 2000 years and that’s a huge problem, but that’s not what I’m trying to address here. I’m trying to understand if there a theological significance or reason for her to have remained a virgin all her life. Since she and Joseph were married, it would not have been sinful for them to have marital relations.

I hope I’m asking this clearly enough so you understand what I’m trying to understand. I’d appreciate any help you all could give me.


#2

Think about what it means to be consecrated to God, set apart. Consecrated things are not used for everyday purposes. That’s not to say that everyday purposes are bad, or defiling, etc: but to be consecrated is to be set aside for God. The Ark of the Covenant was so “set aside” that touching it would kill a person. To not understand this, I think, is to lose sight of the utter awesomeness and magnificence of God.


#3

We agree that she was sinless. The fullness of Grace in Mary is like what it should become for us. It should be the first place in us, this place should become all of us is only for God. Mary and Joseph had that before marriage, we believe. In our normal unsupernatural marriages, we learn to give the first place to God by giving to our spouse and children.

God must have looked ahead to the 20th century and saw we would want sex to be God. Without him in our homes because we contracept and without him totally in homosexuality. Sex has become our God remember it, as the biggest part in our selfishness which is a major reason for evil from power, greed and wars.

From the first the church starting with Christ and his Mother and a majority of the apostles gave our century the true freedom of LOVE without sex. This is to show us true freedom is God is God not Sex is God. You can be vibrantly alive without sex but not God. The 1000s of virgins since Christ and his Mother only prove this power over and over in their lives and in their vocations. See John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

God made and sanctifies Sex in Marriage for children. This is a sacrament and created good. But an even more wonderful good is Love that sacrifices all for God.

Brother John


#4

[quote=Elzee]I’ve always wondered this and I hope I can ask it correctly so you all know what I’m trying to understand.

I understand the connection between the Ark of the Covenant and Mary and why the Church teaches Mary was sinless. And I understand and believe the Church’s teaching in regard to Jesus not having any siblings.

What I’m trying to understand is, why would it be important for her to remain a virgin? I understand that if she wasn’t then the Church has been teaching incorrect doctrine for 2000 years and that’s a huge problem, but that’s not what I’m trying to address here. I’m trying to understand if there a theological significance or reason for her to have remained a virgin all her life. Since she and Joseph were married, it would not have been sinful for them to have marital relations.

I hope I’m asking this clearly enough so you understand what I’m trying to understand. I’d appreciate any help you all could give me.
[/quote]

If God’s plan would have been different then of course she and Joseph could have had marital relations and if it was in God plan she could have had other children. But it wasn’t in God’s plan for her as Divinely revealed by God through the teaching of the Church.


#5

Yes, and Impossible as well!
Gods mercy and love are the wonder of wonders. It is this mercy and love which drew forth son from His eternal dwelling in the Father, to this sinful world, that He might redeem that which had fallen. God, in His divine nature is incorruptible and therefore incapable of being touched by sin. It was for this reason that the Eternal Wisdom created a vessel through which His incorruptible nature could take on human flesh. This vessel itself had to be free from all sin, for if even the slightest hint of sin was in her, the moment the divine nature entered into her she would have died. For inevitably that all powerful incorrutp nature would have, by its very essence, repelled sin with such force as to destroy the vessel which contained sin. For this very reason God created the Immaculate Conception. Thus at her proper age the son of the most High entered into her through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through her He took on flesh, so as to be able to take on the sins of the world, from beginning to end, and suffer Himself as payment for those sins.


#6

Yes, in the sense that it is wrong for a woman to bear the children of two different fathers when the first father is still alive (check!) and still taking care of mother and child (check!).

Now, God could have taught us a different morality regarding this situation, but He taught us this particular morality, and Mary’s ever-virginity is completely in accord with what God taught us about women bearing the children of more than one father.


#7

Peace be with you!

I don’t think it necessarily would have been “wrong” persay for Mary and Joseph to have had marital relations. But like someone else said, it wasn’t part of God’s plan, so they didn’t. And the Church has always taught that they didn’t, so they couldn’t have. Jospeh was such a great man, remember, that he was able to look at Mary (probably the most beautiful woman ever to have lived) with ONLY love and NEVER lust. Sex is not the only way to express love, remember. That’s one reason why I think that Joseph is such a good example for all men to look to.

In Christ,
Rand


#8

[quote=Elzee]. . . I’m trying to understand if there a theological significance or reason for her to have remained a virgin all her life. Since she and Joseph were married, it would not have been sinful for them to have marital relations.

I hope I’m asking this clearly enough so you understand what I’m trying to understand. I’d appreciate any help you all could give me.
[/quote]

The virginal birth of Christ points to a miraculous conception (that His Father by Nature is God, not a man) by the Holy Spirit (indicating the Trinity of Divine Persons); that Mary had no more children is one way to indicate that Christ is different in some essential way from all other humans. If she had had other children, there would be absolutely no reason to think Jesus was any different from those siblings in His origin, i.e, that He was God the Son become Man. Thus the Perpetual Virginity safeguards the specialness of Jesus as born miraculously, which safeguards His special conception, which manifests His Eternal Pre-Existence. So there is a “logic” to the Incarnation of God as Man and to His being born of an ever-virgin mother.


#9

[quote=FCEGM] Thus the Perpetual Virginity safeguards the specialness of Jesus as born miraculously, which safeguards His special conception, which manifests His Eternal Pre-Existence. So there is a “logic” to the Incarnation of God as Man and to His being born of an ever-virgin mother.
[/quote]

This is interesting. I’ve never thought of this before. Is this why the reality of Mary being ever-virgin is often ‘hotly’ defended? For some reason, the claim that Mary was not a perpetual virgin seems to be an immediate ‘hot button’ with many Catholics - -more so than other Catholic doctrines.


#10

[quote=Sherlock]Think about what it means to be consecrated to God, set apart. Consecrated things are not used for everyday purposes. That’s not to say that everyday purposes are bad, or defiling, etc: but to be consecrated is to be set aside for God. The Ark of the Covenant was so “set aside” that touching it would kill a person. To not understand this, I think, is to lose sight of the utter awesomeness and magnificence of God.
[/quote]

This sort of thing seems so completely odd to me. For one thing, you say that if Mary engaged in marital relations that would mean she was being “used for everyday purposes”. It is just a little strange to think of it that way.

Other than that, I have no idea what you think Mary’s life was like. It’s not like she sat on a throne all day. I’m sure she had the hard life of the wife of a first century carpenter. I would think her day would be pretty much filled with “everyday purposes”, sunup to sundown.


#11

[quote=Rand Al’Thor]Jospeh was such a great man, remember, that he was able to look at Mary (probably the most beautiful woman ever to have lived) with ONLY love and NEVER lust.
[/quote]

How do you know that? I don’t ever recall the Church teaching that (though I may certainly be wrong). Joseph was not sinless. :confused:

Peace,
javelin


#12

[quote=Elzee]I’ve always wondered this and I hope I can ask it correctly so you all know what I’m trying to understand.

I understand the connection between the Ark of the Covenant and Mary and why the Church teaches Mary was sinless. And I understand and believe the Church’s teaching in regard to Jesus not having any siblings.

What I’m trying to understand is, why would it be important for her to remain a virgin? I understand that if she wasn’t then the Church has been teaching incorrect doctrine for 2000 years and that’s a huge problem, but that’s not what I’m trying to address here. I’m trying to understand if there a theological significance or reason for her to have remained a virgin all her life. Since she and Joseph were married, it would not have been sinful for them to have marital relations.

I hope I’m asking this clearly enough so you understand what I’m trying to understand. I’d appreciate any help you all could give me.
[/quote]

For her, it could have been, if a couple things are understood to be true.

First, if she had (as some claim) taken a vow of perpetual virginity, then obviously it would have been sinful to break that vow.

Second, the phrase “power of the most High overshadowed her” was symbolic of sexual relations. So if it is understood that God, in a supernatural way, had sexual relations with Mary, that would make her His spouse. Thus, any relations with someone else would have been sinful, for both her and the man (Joseph, obviously).

Peace,
javelin


#13

[quote=tdandh26]Yes, and Impossible as well!
Gods mercy and love are the wonder of wonders. It is this mercy and love which drew forth son from His eternal dwelling in the Father, to this sinful world, that He might redeem that which had fallen. God, in His divine nature is incorruptible and therefore incapable of being touched by sin. It was for this reason that the Eternal Wisdom created a vessel through which His incorruptible nature could take on human flesh. This vessel itself had to be free from all sin, for if even the slightest hint of sin was in her, the moment the divine nature entered into her she would have died. For inevitably that all powerful incorrutp nature would have, by its very essence, repelled sin with such force as to destroy the vessel which contained sin. For this very reason God created the Immaculate Conception. Thus at her proper age the son of the most High entered into her through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through her He took on flesh, so as to be able to take on the sins of the world, from beginning to end, and suffer Himself as payment for those sins.
[/quote]

Beautiful in its own way, but this speaks more to the Immaculate Conception than Mary’s perpetual virginity. I don’t see how it argues for the latter.

Peace,
javelin


#14

[quote=javelin]Second, the phrase “power of the most High overshadowed her” was symbolic of sexual relations. So if it is understood that God, in a supernatural way, had sexual relations with Mary, that would make her His spouse. Thus, any relations with someone else would have been sinful, for both her and the man (Joseph, obviously).
[/quote]

But Mary was Joseph’s spouse.


#15

I’ve never heard this being the meaning of that phrase. I’ve only heard it in connection with the ‘cloud of God overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant’ in the OT, which foreshadows Mary as the New Ark. If that’s the case, it doesn’t seem to imply sexual relations?? I’m confused.


#16

[quote=Elzee]This is interesting. I’ve never thought of this before. Is this why the reality of Mary being ever-virgin is often ‘hotly’ defended? For some reason, the claim that Mary was not a perpetual virgin seems to be an immediate ‘hot button’ with many Catholics - -more so than other Catholic doctrines.
[/quote]

Well, let me ask you how you would react if someone made unfounded claims against your mother? THAT’S how Catholics respond when the graces and prerogatives that God has bestowed on her because of her unique relationship with the Most Holy Trinity, and as Mother of God Incarnate come under attack.

That Jesus is an only child is but ONE way that his specialness is indicated; it is not a “proof” of it, of course. He is not special because He was the only child of Mary; His uniqueness is but manifested in this way among other ways.

Jesus was not just another child; Mary was not just another Mom. Mary has been recognized as the ‘New Eve’ to Jesus’ ‘New Adam’ since the Gospel of John and throughout the Patristic period. The circumstances of Jesus’ birth are peculiar in that Mary was the spouse of the Father in a rather literal way. She was therefore bound to God in such a way that intercourse with Joseph would have been spiritually adulterous. While Mary was the legal wife of Joseph she was the spiritual “wife” of God. Our Lord and Savior made it clear that some would become eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom and invited those that could to do so. He further reminded us that ultimately after the Resurrection we would be like the angels, neither marrying nor being given in marriage. The reason for this was obvious on a full reading of the NT.The Church would be the Bride of Christ and all of the saved would participate in a direct nuptual realtionship with God through Christ. Human marriage is but a pale shadow of this powerful reality.


#17

It seems to me that the Protestants that I have interacted with online are offended by the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity just as the doctrine of celibacy for priests offends them.

I wonder why? Are we so obsessed with sex as a society that choosing God over a spouse and family is like settling for second best?


#18

[quote=FCEGM]Well, let me ask you how you would react if someone made unfounded claims against your mother? THAT’S how Catholics respond when the graces and prerogatives that God has bestowed on her because of her unique relationship with the Most Holy Trinity, and as Mother of God Incarnate come under attack.

That Jesus is an only child is but ONE way that his specialness is indicated; it is not a “proof” of it, of course. He is not special because He was the only child of Mary; His uniqueness is but manifested in this way among other ways.

Jesus was not just another child; Mary was not just another Mom. Mary has been recognized as the ‘New Eve’ to Jesus’ ‘New Adam’ since the Gospel of John and throughout the Patristic period. The circumstances of Jesus’ birth are peculiar in that Mary was the spouse of the Father in a rather literal way. She was therefore bound to God in such a way that intercourse with Joseph would have been spiritually adulterous. While Mary was the legal wife of Joseph she was the spiritual “wife” of God. Our Lord and Savior made it clear that some would become eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom and invited those that could to do so. He further reminded us that ultimately after the Resurrection we would be like the angels, neither marrying nor being given in marriage. The reason for this was obvious on a full reading of the NT.The Church would be the Bride of Christ and all of the saved would participate in a direct nuptual realtionship with God through Christ. Human marriage is but a pale shadow of this powerful reality.
[/quote]

Just so you know - the claims are against my mother - I’m Catholic! But I can understand with how I worded my last post why you might get the wrong impression - I shouldn’t post when I’m in a hurry… I’ve just noticed that the disagreement over her perpetual virginity seems to get a stronger reaction than disagreement over her Assumption or Immaculate Conception - at least from what I’ve witnessed. I’ve never thought of the ‘spiritual adulterous’ reasoning you’ve given, and some of the other points made on this thread. They have all been helpful. Thank you!


#19

I think it is pretty obvious that Mary had taken a vow of perpetual virginity, by her question to Gabriel. She certainly would have known how procreation takes place and the mere fact she was betrothed should have hindered this type of question. She asks in the sense of, is God asking me to break my vows and have relations with Joseph? hence the answer of the Angel. If she had asked it for any other reason, then why would she not have been punished in the way Zachariah was?


#20

[quote=Elzee]Just so you know - the claims are against my mother - I’m Catholic! But I can understand with how I worded my last post why you might get the wrong impression - I shouldn’t post when I’m in a hurry… I’ve just noticed that the disagreement over her perpetual virginity seems to get a stronger reaction than disagreement over her Assumption or Immaculate Conception - at least from what I’ve witnessed. I’ve never thought of the ‘spiritual adulterous’ reasoning you’ve given, and some of the other points made on this thread. They have all been helpful. Thank you!
[/quote]

Hiya, sis! :thumbsup:


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