Thanks for your thoughtful question and also your desire for cordiality.
I wasnt going to respond after reading narses post to you. It was what I was going to say. I’d like to make it clear though, speaking for myself: This isn’t the “only” reason I believe Mary was a virgin for her entire life, but narses’ answer directly and I believe accurately answers your original question, that is, Why don’t Catholics change their mind on the issue? Why don’t we revisit it today? I would simply like to speak a bit more about that question, again to be sure the point I wanted to make would be clear.
Again, it’s Dogma, as narses said. For Catholics this is the equivalent of saying its a law of nature like gravity, or the spherical nature of the earth. So to ask, why don’t Catholics today at least look at the issue again, is the same as asking, why do t we reconsider whether or not the earth is round.
Just as the earth’s spherical nature is established fact (except for a few nitjobs of course) and thus it’s foolish to “reopen” that debate, it is equally foolish for a Catholic to reopen the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity, because that too is established fact. A dogma is established fact, a settled debate in the Church. So this is why, even though we aren’t living in the Middle Ages, we won’t reopen the issue. Besides, as a side note, her perpetual virginity wasn’t made dogmatic until the 19th century, I believe. I could be wrong about that though.
The point I wanted to make though is in answer to your question as to why we dont revisit the issue today. The most basic response to that is, “We can’t”.
Besides, as a side note, her perpetual virginity wasnt made dogmatic until the 19th century, I believe. I could be wrong about that though.If I recall correctly, the 19th Century saw the Dogmatic Declaration "Ineffabilis Deus" (December 8, 1854), the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which states "that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege from Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, was kept free of every stain of original sin."
The Council of the Lateran, 649, says Mary conceived "without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after his birth". That belief, extant from the earliest writings of the Church Fathers, has never - to my knowledge - been exclusively referred to as a separate Dogmatic declaration. It has, instead, been taught for so long that it is embedded in the very fiber of our common Faith.
So this is why, even though we arent living in the Middle Ages, we wont reopen the issue.And of course, until the last few centuries, no one even raised the issue. All of Christendom held the same view. The vast majority (Catholic + Orthodox + many Anglican and Lutheran faith communities) of us still do.
Thank you for your response.
Regarding revisiting doctrine/teachings/dogma, many doctrines in Catholicism have been reopend and even modified. Vatican II is an example of that, even if it is only clarification.
Catholics have modified and/or clarified dogma in the past, I would expect to happen again.
But I wasn’t even asking them to rethink it or address it formally, I was just curious.
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"?