Skip to comments.Why is the perpetual virginity of Mary so important to Catholics? [Ecumenical Vanity]
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.
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?
Not to hijack, but I never understood why the notion that Jesus may have sex, something along the lines of The Da Vinci Code, is equally abhorrent. How could this dimmish what he was/is?
>>Personally I think they see it as detracting from the Marian cult <<
I think responses framed with that sort of talk take away from the theological nature of the discussion and instead turn it into hot-button sideways Catholic-bashing.
Good question. I've wish I could hear the tone of their voices. Was Zachariah being sarcastic? Antagonistic? I'm a teacher and I can ask 2 students if they did their homework. One will politely answer "yes, I did" and the second one may be belligerent and stare at me while muttering "yes, I did". You don't think they both mean the same, do you? I'm NOT saying that Zachariah was ugly to Gabriel, all I'm saying is that just because Mary and he asked basically the same question it does not mean they both believed and submitted to God's will the same way!
This has nothing to do with my faith. Whether she chose to or must have remained a virgin isn’t important. I believe, as a Christian, that she was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth.
Mary and Zacharia didn’t ask the same questions, and one showed faith, the other doubt. That still doesn’t support your claim.
However, again, this is not a debate thread and you still did not answer my question but that is ok.
>>How could this dimmish what he was/is?<<
The whole business about conjecture of Jesus’ mortal life beyond what the Bible tells us starts down a path where we lose the point of His life.
Remember, Catholicism is not a buffet-style belief system. It is arguably the most researched, reasoned, debated and adjusted major religion. Part of that research and reason have led to Mary’s role — in the Church and in people’s lives. Included in that is the relevance of Jesus’ early life.
As was pointed out, it can be reasoned out and even argued, but in the end it is a matter of Faith.
Yeah, I’ve read all of that, but thank you for the link.
I am fluent in Greek and Hebrew and read in the original texts and have done quite a bit of MSS research so I am familiar with the differences in a couple of MSS.
Sadly, I find some interpretations stretches based upon what the text in the Greek and use of vocab both in and out of cannon is.
That is an interesting statement that I had not come across before. Thank you.
I suggest you read Scott Hahn’s book for insight.
Here is the description from Amazon.
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
A fresh and enlightening new perspective on Mary, Mother of God, and her central importance in the Christian faith, from the author of the highly successful The Lamb’s Supper.
In The Lamb’s Supper, Catholic scholar and apologist Scott Hahn explored the relationship between the Book of Revelation and the Roman Catholic Mass, deftly clarifying the most subtle of theological points with analogies and anecdotes from everyday life. In Hail, Holy Queen, he employs the same accessible, entertaining style to demonstrate Mary’s essential role in Christianity’s redemptive message.
Most Christians know that the life of Jesus is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. Through a close examination of the Bible, as well as the work of both Catholic and Protestant scholars and clergy, Hahn brings to light the small but significant details showing that just as Jesus is the “New Adam,” so Mary is the “New Eve.” He unveils the Marian mystery at the heart of the Book of Revelation and reveals how it is foretold in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis and in the story of King David’s monarchy, which speaks of a privileged place for the mother of the king.
Building on these scriptural and historical foundations, Hahn presents a new look at the Marian doctrines: Her Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, Assumption, and Coronation. As he guides modern-day readers through passages filled with mysteries and poetry, Hahn helps them rediscover the ancient art and science of reading the Scriptures and gain a more profound understanding of their truthfulness and relevance to faith and the practice of religion in the contemporary world.
Because there is something vestal about it?
Mary's Perpetual Virginity emphasizes the divinity and miraculous conception of Jesus. He was not an ordinary human child, and he was not biologically Joseph's child. Because of this, Mary was "off limits" to Joseph in sexual terms.
Remember for a moment that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, literally the vessel in which the flesh of the New Covenant was contained. What happened to Uzziah when he touched the ark of the old covenant without permission? He was instantly struck dead.
By the way, heos hou ("until") does not necessarily imply a reversal of the situation. Matthew is just emphasizing what happened before the birth of Jesus, because that's important to his discussion at that point.
We know that the Blessed Mother had no other biological children because Jesus consigned her to St. John's care before he died on the cross. Unless you want to take the (rather unlikely) view that Jesus had younger blood siblings who all died before he did, it would have been impossible and sinful for him to give Mary into St. John's care. It would have amounted to him doing exactly what he condemned the Pharisees for in Mt 15:5-6 -- absolving another Jew from his responsibility toward the commandments.
THAT is why it's so important.
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.” This Old Testament prophecy is quoted in the gospel of Matthew (Mt 1:23) and specifically applied to the virginal conception of Christ.
It HAD to be so because it was prophesized as such.
Agreed. Thank you for your measured and well thought out response.
Scott Hahn’s Hail Holy Queen is a very good suggestion. I realize that the doctrine of The Virgin Mary goes back into the Old Testament and has numerous explanations, which are too complex and lengthy to be discussed in posts. Jesus’ mother was simply a huge part of God’s Plan for Salvation. Ironically Martin Luther, the father of Protestants, was one of the biggest defenders of the Ever Virgin concept. It wouldn’t matter to me either way, I love all things associated with Jesus.
You're talking about the virgin birth and you're wrong, to the Biblical Christian it IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. The original sin comes from Adam, through our fathers, thus the fact that Mary was a virgin at the time of Jesus' birth meant that He was sinless. It is only because He was sinless that He was the perfect sacrifice that attoned for all our sins. Without the virgin birth, Jesus would have been just one more Jew executed by the Romans, and we would be dead in our sins.
However, the perpetual virginity of Mary doesn't have any effect on anyone's salvation. And I don't care how many Church fathers wrote about it, God's Word does not say that she remained a virgin and that's good enough for me.
It is a hot button with Catholics and I think Reaganaut is simply asking why?
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BINGO! Thanks for understanding.
I believe a few other posters were thinking that, not necessarily you.
Rather than hijack, I will respond via freepmail my thoughts on this.
WRT purity and marital sexuality:
Based solely on publically available information, it is my opinion that Michelle Duggar is just as sexually pure as any life-long virgin.
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