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Why is the perpetual virginity of Mary so important to Catholics? [Ecumenical Vanity]
Reaganaut | 3/17/12 | Reaganaut

Posted on 03/17/2012 2:30:01 PM PDT by reaganaut

I understand the history of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary (ἀειπαρθένος). I know it was taught as early as the 4th century, and I understand the development of "Spritual Marriages" in the Early Middle ages. That isn't what I am asking.

I have a good grasp of the history, doctrine and Biblical texts. I have done a lot of research on the topic. I grew up in Catholic school and Matthew 1:25 always got me in trouble during Catechism class.

Douay-Rheims Bible

And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:25).

"Know" is a very common idiom for sex in Judaism of the period of writing. Again, I don't want to debate the text or history.

Protestants have no issue with Joseph and Mary having a normal marriage and having sexual relations AFTER the birth of Jesus (not before for obvious reasons) and having other children.

What I am curious about is the WHY the doctrine is important to MODERN Catholics (Medieval Catholics I get). Why does matter if Mary was ever-virgin (after the birth of Christ) or not?


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic
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To: surroundedbyblue

That’s because your pastor dosen’t have apostolic succession. I resent the snide tone in your post; insinuating that Catholics are too stupid to think for themselves.

- - - -
There wasn’t a ‘tone’ in it. If you read the thread you will see I have been very cordial. My post was by way of explanation as to why I don’t see the world the same.

I’m not sure why you think that I was implying Catholics are too stupid to think for themselves, I never said that, nor do I believe that. Some of my favorite Biblical Studies professors were professing Catholics and we enjoyed many cordial debates. Whatever your issue, I am not in any way hostile to the Catholic church.

BTW, we do have Apostolic Succession, just not the way you see it. Our authority comes from Christ alone through our faith.


151 posted on 03/17/2012 8:04:18 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: freedumb2003

It doesn’t require Mary to be “pure” which I think you mean sinless (she was not sinless).

That’s the thing God used sinful men and women to achieve His purposes at times, but they were all a foreshodow of the Sinless Messiah.

-JS.


152 posted on 03/17/2012 8:04:58 PM PDT by JSDude1
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To: Ransomed

You are welcome. For me it isn’t a big issue either way, it doesn’t change who Christ is, or the prophecies, or His deity.


153 posted on 03/17/2012 8:21:33 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: reaganaut

Jesus was born of a virgin, in accordance to the scriptures.

After that, virginity would serve no purpose and therefore be vanity.

Whould God demand vanity?


154 posted on 03/17/2012 8:21:47 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: reaganaut

I’m glad I place my salvation on the Messiah rather than a teenaged girl.


155 posted on 03/17/2012 8:24:39 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: narses

I am an Evangelical (Born Again) Christian. My family comes from Catholic, Easter Orthodox, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Charismatic and other Protestant traditions.


156 posted on 03/17/2012 8:27:15 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: JSDude1

I wasn’t asking if it was ‘true’ or not, I have firm beliefs regarding the doctrine.

What I was asking is WHY Catholics believe it and hold it dear.


157 posted on 03/17/2012 8:28:44 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: Grizzled Bear

After that, virginity would serve no purpose and therefore be vanity.

Whould God demand vanity?

- - - -
Now THAT is an interesting viewpoint. I never thought of it being vanity. Not sure I agree, but it is something I hadn’t considered.


158 posted on 03/17/2012 8:31:11 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: mgist; Former Fetus; reaganaut
Martin Luther(lutheran church) was one of the biggest defenders of this concept.

I thought Catholics weren't particularly fond of Martin Luther. In fact, I've seen him condemned as antisemetic right here on FR. Tell me, are you standing against the anti Luther rhetoric?

159 posted on 03/17/2012 8:31:33 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: vladimir998

**They didn’t have to have siblings....See Ex. 13:2, Ex. 34:20**

The potential for more is being taken into consideration by those commands, lest the parents would think that they could wait for a second or later child to sanctify unto the Lord.

**2 Sam 6:23** Michal had no children, but probably wasn’t a virgin......??....your reason for connecting that to this issue about Mary??

**1 Tim 4:13** ‘till, as in ‘it is planned on happening’.

**1 Cor 15:25** ‘till’, as in ‘it’s definitely going to happen’.

So, Joseph knew her not till Jesus was born; leaving him free to ‘know’ his wife after Jesus birth. That’s just plain, untarnished by man-made tradition, common sense.

The same greek word is used for ‘brother’, whether it’s Andrew and Simon Peter, John and James (sons of Zebedee), or “the son of Mary, brother of James, and Joses, ..”etc.

It is not good to ‘actually read the bible’ with man-made traditions clinging to ones mind ahead of time.

Lord bless


160 posted on 03/17/2012 8:47:34 PM PDT by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: cloudmountain; reaganaut
Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel."

There is nothing here denying that they might have enjoyed a normal marriage, including a husband and wife coming together, after the birth of Jesus.

What is wrong with that idea? Does it destroy your goddess worship?

How should a husband and wife/father and mother live? What did Jesus say about a man marrying a woman? Does a man leave his mother and father to cleave to a woman?

Who came down from heaven, gave up his position for a time and offer you salvation?

It wasn't Mary...

161 posted on 03/17/2012 8:51:31 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: vladimir998

I would rather hear what you say is the difference....or for that matter other catholics here on FR. In what way is there a difference? Especially because you seem to indicate there is.


162 posted on 03/17/2012 8:54:58 PM PDT by caww
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To: cloudmountain; reaganaut; rollo tomasi

Hey Cloudmountain,

Won’t you reply to post 81 and 82? If your amazing wisdom is isn’t poured out from God, from where does it flow?


163 posted on 03/17/2012 9:04:42 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: FourtySeven
A dogma is established fact, a settled debate in the Church.

Ok...thanks for clarifying that dogma is an established fact in the catholic church...which would have been based on a collective group or appointed people within the church at certain historical times.....is that correct? which would make it "law"?

164 posted on 03/17/2012 9:06:40 PM PDT by caww
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To: reaganaut

Agree or disagree I think you can find your answer here:

http://www.cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=102


165 posted on 03/17/2012 9:07:24 PM PDT by this_ol_patriot (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner)
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To: Former Fetus; reaganaut
I agree. Besides, where were the other physical brothers? It seems to me that, according to the Gospels, John was the only man at the foot of the cross. To whom else would Jesus consigned His mother?

Jesus had (IIRC) 72 followers. He cut most of them lose (they complained "who can follow this teaching?").

Perhaps none of them were worthy. I've got a brother who is an unapologetic communist and ACLU member.

Idiots, we're all related to some...

166 posted on 03/17/2012 9:08:40 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: reaganaut; cloudmountain
Why do you assume that ancient Greek had the word for cousin?

- - - -
Because I am fluent in Koine Greek. It isn’t just an assumption. The word is anepsios and used in other places in the New Testament.

Hey, cloudmountain...

Facts seem to repulse you the same way holy water repulses vampires and truth repulses liberals.

Whats up with that?

167 posted on 03/17/2012 9:11:15 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: reaganaut
These are just some of the FR threads on this subject. I have bolded the ones that have to do with language as you and I talked about earlier. Just a note on our politically correct society now -- remember when all Bibles said "brethren"? And now they all say (PC style) brothers and sisters? I think this has a lot to do with the misinterpretation of several passages of the Bible.>{?Here's the links I could retrieve -- there are more.

Is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary a Biblical View?
Aeiparthenos (An Anglo-Catholic Priest on Mary's Perpetual Virginity)
The Early Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Heõs Hou polemic is over: Radio Debate Matatics VS White & Svendsen on Perpetual Virginity Mary
Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

168 posted on 03/17/2012 9:19:19 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: cloudmountain; reaganaut
I learned my Bible from priests. They were taught in the seminary about what the Bible teaches. Protestants ARE allowed to interpret the Bible as they like.

Do we have your sincere promise that there is no bias there?

Just kidding. I already know the answer whether you're honest, or not.

169 posted on 03/17/2012 9:20:12 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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Comment #170 Removed by Moderator

To: freedumb2003; reaganaut

**I’m on my way to run an errand, will get back to you later**

And then I went to church and a St. Patrick Dinner! LOL!


171 posted on 03/17/2012 9:21:29 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: vladimir998

I don’t think many denominations recognize or celebrate the Presentation of Mary in the temple for an education. She did, indeed, choose to be a virgin and dedicate her life to God.


172 posted on 03/17/2012 9:24:16 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: reaganaut; dangus
Dangus said...

Well, Catholics believe Mary was sinless, so if anyone should be chaste, should it not be Mary?

Reaganaut replied...

But sex is not a sin, so it wouldn’t apply.

The catholic reply is...

No replies.

How sad...

173 posted on 03/17/2012 9:26:16 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: vladimir998

Ok...I called a catholic friend and this is what he said...

“Doctrine evolves but once Doctrine becomes Dogma, it no longer evolves...it cannot be changed.

We must always abide by the Magisterium, whether it is Dogma or Doctrine.

Neither can change, but our knowledge of doctrine can be furthered... And they are both infallible”.

Does that sound about right?


174 posted on 03/17/2012 9:26:28 PM PDT by caww
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To: reg45

You mention “consumated”. Aren’t you thinking as many people think today.

Was that always the case in Biblical times? I don’t think so. I know of several saints who lived totally celibate lives with their spouse more of a friend than a conjugal partner.


175 posted on 03/17/2012 9:28:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: moehoward

Oh, my. I can’t answer your question or I would probably get thrown off the thread.


176 posted on 03/17/2012 9:31:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Former Fetus

Good thought there with the tone of the voice. I have always thought that Mary’s question was full of wonderment and a little bit of confusion.

And Zechariah;s question was more doubt and sarcasm. That’s why God had him remain mute until he named the baby John.

Attitutde, attitude.


177 posted on 03/17/2012 9:33:46 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Campion

The FR thread about St. Jerome and Helvidius was when my computer balked and wouldn’t let me access any more search links.

I’ll get the rest later.

Great post, BTW.


178 posted on 03/17/2012 9:38:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Colorado Cowgirl

Please read the threads above that are bolded that show the actual interpretation of the Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic.

I’m not a language whiz, so I really fon’t know which is which.

Also my comment about brethren that used to be in our Bibles and now we have the PC “brothers and sisters”

Think “kinsmen” not brothers.


179 posted on 03/17/2012 9:43:47 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: reaganaut

I believe that the Presentation of Mary at the temple took place when she was three years old.


180 posted on 03/17/2012 9:52:19 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thanks for the links, Salvation. I appreciate them.


181 posted on 03/17/2012 10:04:50 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: Salvation

And then I went to church and a St. Patrick Dinner! LOL!

- - - -
Nice! I didn’t get corned beef and cabbage today. Cry. LOL


182 posted on 03/17/2012 10:08:10 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: reaganaut

Hey ya. I caught this on he way out the door.

It is only my opinion, but there are certain things within YOU that have given you you.

And granted I haven’t now read all the replies to your ?

It is my OPINION, that to Catholics Mary is the human INCARNATE of the female counterpart to GOD the Father.

I mean this in the sense that GOD created US in his own image.

There IS a Father. There Is a Son. There IS a Mother. (Just who IS the Witness?)

And yeah, the Mormons got you. You can run. But you cannot hide.

And I only mean that in the sense that you ask THIS question.


183 posted on 03/17/2012 10:08:20 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: JSDude1

** (she was not sinless).**

??


184 posted on 03/17/2012 10:08:57 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

I know of several saints who lived totally celibate lives with their spouse more of a friend than a conjugal partner.

- - - -
Most of them or their hagiographies developed after the rise of the idea of “spritual marriage” in the early 4th century.

The Jews never had such a concept.


185 posted on 03/17/2012 10:11:05 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: Salvation

I believe that the Presentation of Mary at the temple took place when she was three years old.

- - —
But what is the source for that? Judaism didn’t have any of that type of ceremony for women (as opposed to the Nazaritic vow for males).


186 posted on 03/17/2012 10:13:19 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: bigheadfred

I hadn’t thought of it in relation to the LDS teaching of Heavenly Mother.


187 posted on 03/17/2012 10:14:29 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: Claud
a cute little thought from the fisheaters site that was posted.

You're Joseph. Your wife gave birth to God. Would you have sex with her?


188 posted on 03/17/2012 10:16:07 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: bigheadfred

And I only mean that in the sense that you ask THIS question.

- - - -
I was asking because I understand the academic side but not the experiential side.


189 posted on 03/17/2012 10:16:07 PM PDT by reaganaut ("I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: reaganaut

Well, I’ll bump this thread at about this point for further reading but it sure looks like your question isn’t really going to be addressed.

The bible takes historical precedence over oral history.

New International Version (©1984)
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
New Living Translation (©2007)
Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.


190 posted on 03/17/2012 10:19:49 PM PDT by Kevmo (If you can define a man by the depravity of his enemies, Rick Santorum must be a noble soul indeed.)
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To: reaganaut

And that is only about half of the links. Bet you didn’t think this had been discussed so much on FR.

I will have to say, however, that this has been one of the most enjoyable Ecumenical threads that I have every perused. Not too many arguments. Wonderful!


191 posted on 03/17/2012 10:23:21 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: reaganaut

Reaganaut poses an interesting question, and does so in a charitable and Christian fashion, but I think does so exactly backwards. The question could be just as well posed in the complementary manner “why do so many Protestants believe that Christ had a host of siblings”?

I’ll get back to the recast version of that question in a minute, but to reiterate what many have said on this forum, what the vast majority of Christians agree on is that Mary was conceived and born without original sin (the Immaculate Conception), and the Christ was conceived and born of Mary without the conventional requirement of human sexual congress (the Virgin Birth). Those are indicated or explicitly stated in scripture, are long-standing pillars of church tradition, and their denial would be massively consequential - they lead to something other than Christianity.

So if you told the average Catholic you didn’t accept the Virgin Birth as truth, he’d probably shake his head and mumble something like “must be a Unitarian” or the like, since in that case, you’re talking something other than Christianity.

But if you told the average Catholic you’re convinced Christ had true siblings, he’d simply say “we don’t believe that”, but would *not* dismiss your beliefs as corrosive to the mainstream of Christian teaching.

“White out” everything in scripture that supports the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth, and you have a very different belief system; get rid of everything in scripture that suggests Mary raised a thriving household of numerous tikes and, well, it doesn’t really change much of substance as regards religious belief or practice. After all, we don’t know anything about these presumed individuals or their activities as regards our Savior and Redeemer - we’re apparently to suppose they just kinda were there.

Now I believe, as Chesterton did, that small errors in theological matters over the span of historical millenia can lead to serious consequences in practice, so even though the existence or non-existence of those siblings doesn’t impact the *core* of Christianity, getting it wrong could, and probably would, distort the belief system (probably in unpredictable ways) over thousands of years. So the question isn’t unimportant - it’s just less important.

But back to my formulation of the question - why is the existence of true siblings of Christ important to many sincere Protestants? And I’d answer - not for reaganaut, as he is eloquent enough in these matters to deal with that himself - but in my impressions of speaking with many Protestants that it’s because that concept is indicative of the importance of “sola scriptura” to Protestants. If its in the Bible, you can bank on it; if not, forget it.

Of course the problem with that approach is that interpretation can lead to disagreement, ultimately manifest as a multiplication of denominational beliefs that makes loaves and fishes look tame by comparison. As pointed out by others here, heavy hitters in the Protestant line-up like Luther and Calvin had no problem with an ever-virgin Mary - whether it was due to an alternative interpretation of the relevant scripture, or residual Catholic belief or (more probably) a combination of both might be a matter of discussion. But clearly, if one’s approach is “sola scriptura”, one can hardly argue that the answer is unambiguous.

Good Catholics aspire to a true adherence to the truth of scripture (though we seldom know that scripture as well as our Protestant brethren), but we put substantial importance on tradition, the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the Magisterium as well.

As others have pointed out on this thread, the perpetual virginity of Mary has been accepted as dogma for almost two millenia (if not officially declared so until recently) - that means little in the context of “sola scriptura”, but it carries a load of weight with us.

But the bottom line - and I don’t mean to imply reaganaut has any problem with this - I think we can disagree on both “sola scriptura” and the number of actual siblngs Christ had with little consequence if we keep a couple of things in mind: 1) the continual secularization of our society is the major domestic challenge to all of us - Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, observant Jews - so much so that I’d much prefer that the Protestant view of Christian belief form the cultural basis of our society, rather than the secular view; and 2) the challenge of militant Mohammadenism is the major non-domestic threat to the well-being of our democratic society and religious freedom.

If we stay focused on those, we can continue to enjoy well-meaning discussions on theological fine points.


192 posted on 03/17/2012 10:23:34 PM PDT by Stosh
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To: Grizzled Bear

But would there have even been a Messiah without a teenaged girl?

Remember how John leapt in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary, barely pregnant, went to see her.

John recognized Jesus too.

There’s also a lot of the Holy Spirit in the story of the Visitation. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed, “How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to see me?”


193 posted on 03/17/2012 10:27:37 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: reaganaut
Interesting question reaganaut. As a modern-day Catholic I wouldn't necessarily focus on this one matter as "something I hold so close." Rather, I believe that Christ established His Church on earth and that we should adhere to the early teaching of the Church unless we are presented with evidence to indicate that those teachings are clearly wrong. This, IMO, would be why the teaching of the Catholic Church, established at or near Christ's death, should be accepted while teaching from other sects (such as Mormons) are not. Further, I am not aware of any such early teaching that have ever been proven false (others have challenged them surely but have been unable to offer proof as to why they are wrong). Mary, as the mother of God, clearly was a "special" human. I think it would be hard for any of us to fully understand her. She does, however, serve as a wonderful model for us to try to accept the will of God in our lives.

As for some who have posted here that Catholics take issue with her having any type of relations as inferring that sex is a sin, I don't buy that. I think it gets back to the gulf between Protestants and Catholics regarding what it means to fully consecrate yourself to God. Catholic priests and nuns take vows of celibacy as we believe that this is how they can best serve God (the whole avoid worldly distractions bit). It would be logical to assume that the mother of God would do the same.

You noted that you are a historian and have studied this issue in depth. I have no doubt that you have done more research than I ever will. I do accept these teachings more as a matter of faith than having proven them to myself but here are a few biblical references that convince me that I am not just drinking the kool-aid.
http://www.scripturecatholic.com/blessed_virgin_mary.html#the_bvm-IV (see Section IV)

194 posted on 03/17/2012 10:28:08 PM PDT by koraz
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Comment #195 Removed by Moderator

To: reaganaut

**But what is the source for that? Judaism didn’t have any of that type of ceremony for women (as opposed to the Nazaritic vow for males).**

I’ll check on the source. I think it was a thread about St. Anne and St. Joachim.

You are correct that the schooling was meant for the males. That’s why the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was so unusual. There she was with all these boys to be school in the Jewish scriptures.


196 posted on 03/17/2012 10:33:03 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Stosh; reaganaut

>> “why do so many Protestants believe that Christ had a host of siblings”? <<

.
Mostly because the Bible expressly says so in several places.
.


197 posted on 03/17/2012 10:34:43 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
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To: this_ol_patriot

That is an excellent link. Everyone needs to read it.


198 posted on 03/17/2012 10:35:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation; Admin Moderator; Religion Moderator; reaganaut
I think my post got pulled. I'll test fate and try again.

But would there have even been a Messiah without a teenaged girl?

Where would a teenaged girl be without the creator?

Who came first? Jesus was God in the flesh.

Mary is not the object of worship. Her last recorded words in the Bible referenced Jesus..."Do what he says."

199 posted on 03/17/2012 10:43:37 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: editor-surveyor

“Mostly because the Bible expressly says so in several places.”

(Not to be be too much of a wise-acre), but I’m guessing those are the parts that Luther and Calvin missed?


200 posted on 03/17/2012 10:48:28 PM PDT by Stosh
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