Tuesday, 2 January 2018

On Mary's perpetual virginity

From the combox.

Obviously Mary had relations with her husband Joseph once the period of purification of 40 days after the birth of her firstborn, the Savior Jesus Christ, was over. "And didn’t know her until she had given birth to her firstborn son. And he named him Jesus"; Matthew 1:25 Stan on Look upon the face of the Sister Lucia "the Heretic" Caram. To her, the Blessed Virgin Mary, wasn't!

Sorry, Stan, you're stating heresy.

You see, here is the thing. You are to preoccupied with sex to imagine that it is possible to love a celibate and chaste life. It reveals your own issues. What you also fail to grasp, is what is explained about the language of the Bible as discussed below. Further, you do not recall the words of St. John about all the libraries of the world could not hold all the books if everything was written down. What we know about the Angel's visit to Joseph is what we are told but what we don't know is what else he was told that was not recorded. I happen to believe that he was told much more so that he knew fully what his role and responsibility to the Christ Child and His Mother were. Joseph knew that the Womb of Mary was the Ark of the New Covenant. He knew that it was the true Holy of Holies. As in the Temple, he could not enter into the Holy of Holies. Nor did he enter or put his seed into that which was Mary's. We also recall the words of God to Moses in the Burning Bush, "take off your sandals for you walk on holy ground."







Murray said...

The "until" leads a lot of people astray. Hey, if Matthew wrote that Joseph knew Mary not until she had given birth, that must mean that he knew her afterwards. But that misconstrues Matthew's intention in writing that passage. He was concerned with ruling out Joseph's paternity of Jesus, not with making any claims about what happened afterward.

If the mere ground surrounding the burning bush was so holy that Moses was commanded to remove his sandals, how much more so the womb in which God dwelt for nine months? Mary's womb is the holiest place in all Creation. No righteous man would ever consider profaning it..

Vox Cantoris said...

Exactly, Murray. Joseph was indeed a most righteous man and he knew what the truth was. Knowing that truth he would not defile that Holy Place for the sake of physical pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Words of Christ to a mystic,"The angel said to Joseph "Take the Child and His Mother to Egypt "He did not say take your wife and the Child ,Mary was the Virgin enspoused to Joseph she was never his wife".What man would dare to approach ,the body of the Woman who carried within her the Holy of Holies.

Karl said...

Your final two sentences are so beautiful. My eyes are filled with tears typing this.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: St. Joseph did not doubt about Mary's fidelity and was planning to "dismiss" her on account of his unworthiness - him, being so close to Mary, Mother of God, and God Himself. Mary saw that also and trusted that God will sort everything out regarding Joseph, which He did, by sending an angel with a message: "hey, everything is fine, take her for your wife."

Also, Joseph, as St. John the Baptist, was sanctified in the womb. Holy Family is without sin and cannot sin.

This all testifies to the fact that it is such a blessing to have such a holy man as St. Joseph Guardian of the Catholic Church.


Stan NJ said...

Vox Cantoris: Thank you for posting my comment and for replying.

If the Apostle Matthew had written, “Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the
angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; and did not know
her [full stop].” No problem. I and everyone else would agree completely with
you that Joseph did not have relations with Mary that married people typically
have. That’s not what he said. He continued. "till she had brought forth her
firstborn Son."

For the sake of remaining focused on one point at a time, in Jerome’s Against
Helvidius one of his tactics is to show that the background word in the original
language can be employed in more than one way. For example, he cites many
examples where “till” is used in an alternate way (as he also does with “know,”
"firstborn," and “brethren”).

I have no problem with “till” being used in a different way. But on what semantic
grounds does “till” in those other places mean that its more common
meaning is excluded from Matthew’s sentence?
That’s something I’d be interested to know.

Thank you.


Justina said...

Scott Hahn likes to point something out about this. In 2 Sam. 6:23, Sacred Scripture says that Saul's daughter Michal had no children "from that day until the day she died." If the word "until" necessarily means the activity in question then begins taking place,Michal would have to start having children after she passed away. (In other words, the word "until" can just be used to denote the end of a span of time.)

Vox Cantoris said...

Stand NJ; Are you Catholic? If so, do you go to Mass and receive the sacraments? This question is most relevant before any other discussion.

Anonymous said...


Stan, it's called language and style of the Scriptures. St. Jerome did not use "tactics", he was not a deceiver, but one of the most ardent followers of Christ. Here below is the interpretation of Haydock on the texts that trouble you. I do hope that you repent, do penance (for the blasphemy you just uttered), and achieve the beatific vision one day. To have such interpretation on the reading of the Word of God is to truly and really, as Vox said, "to [be] preoccupied with sex..." Other comments in defense of the virginity of Our Mother are also great. Beware, Stan, if you still go on in denying the known truth. Sin against the Holy Spirit is not so cool.

Ver. 18. The account of the birth of Jesus Christ follows his genealogy. From these words, "before they came together," Helvidius and others have started objections, which have been answered long ago by St. Jerome, where he shews in many examples from Scripture, that the words before and until do not signify what happened afterwards; for that point is left indefinite, but only what was done before, or not done. Thus when it is said, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool, Psalm cix, by no means signifies, that after the subjection of his enemies, the Son of God is no longer to sit at the right hand of his Father. In common conversation, when we say that a man died before he reached his 30th year, we do not mean that he afterwards attained it. Or, should we say that Helvidius died before he did penance, we cannot mean that he afterwards did penance: the same conclusion should be deduced from the words, "before they came together," the end being accomplished by the power of the operation of the Holy Ghost, without their going together. If we should advance, that such a man was cured before he went to a physician, the natural inference would be, that he did not go to a physician at all. Thus also in the language of Scripture, the word first-begotten does not mean after whom others were born, but before whom no one was born, whether there were further issue or not. And the reason is, because the law required that a sacrifice should be offered for the first-born, and that he should be redeemed very soon after his birth; nor did it allow the parents to wait and see if any other son should be born. (Estius) --- True and perfect marriage, and continual living in the same, without knowing each other. (St. Augustine, lib. ii. Consen. Evang. chap. i.) (Bristow)

Ver. 24. The heretic Helvidius argues from this text, and from what we read in the gospel of Christ's brethren, that Christ had brothers, and Mary other sons. But it is evident that in the style of the Scriptures, they who were no more than cousins were called brothers and sisters. (Haydock)

Ver. 25. See note on ver. 18. --- St. Jerome assures us, that St. Joseph always preserved his virginal chastity. It is "of faith" that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with his chaste spouse, the blessed Virgin Mary. St. Joseph was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, to assist her in her flight into Egypt, &c. &c. We cannot sufficiently admire the modest reserve of both parties. Mary does not venture to explain to her troubled husband the mystery of her pregnancy; and Joseph is afraid of mentioning his uneasiness and doubts, for fear of troubling her delicate mind and wounding her exquisite feelings. So great modesty, reserve and silence, are sure to be approved by heaven; and God sends an angel to Joseph in his sleep, to dissipate his doubts, and to expound to him the mystery of the incarnation. (Haydock)

Stan NJ said...

Vox Cantonis,

No I am not a [Roman] Catholic.


Vox Cantoris said...

Don't play games with the [Roman] in brackets. Catholic could be Eastern. You know well what I meant.

I will assume you are a Protestant.

What you think are error and heresy. Mary was a perpetual virgin. I will not debate this with you. I have given you the resources and links to read up on it.

You came on my blog and spouted a heretical comment. I have called you out on it. I will not debate it, I have given you a faithful statement and links. I will not be dragged into a debate for which I have neither the time nor inclination.

My other readers above have given you more information and called you on it as well.

Ponder it.

Murray said...

Stan, we can also look at this from a commonsense standpoint. What do you think was Matthew's primary concern in writing this passage?

A) He wanted to emphasize that Joseph could not have been the father of Jesus.
B) He wanted to inform us about the ongoing marital life of Joseph and Mary after the birth of Jesus.

In context, it seems clear to me that A is the obvious answer. This is in keeping with the legendary terseness of the Gospel accounts, in which supplementary information is rarely offered.

But the ancient tradition of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary doesn't stand or fall on this passage in any case. Not only was it held from very early in Church history, indicating testimony handed down from first-person accounts, but it also relies on vey strong typological parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant, parallels that are so obvious (sometimes in an almost word-for-word sense) that it is more or less impossible that they are accidental. Likewise, Catholics and Orthodox have a strong sense of the absolute holiness of God--apparently much lacking among protestants--which Hillis it to be unthinkable that a righteous man such as Joseph would even consider profaning the dwelling place of the Most High.

As the saying goes, aim at Mary, hit Jesus.

Anonymous said...

How sad is it that people are so taken up with the flesh ,they cannot conceive the thought of abstinence ,not even in the most sacred Mother of God .Even those who believe God created the Universe cannot believe God could and would preserve the Virginity of the Mother of the Word. The demands of the flesh are the result of original sin,Mary was conceived free from original sin ,another obstacle to non Catholics. Christ redeemed the World with His Most Pure Blood ,the blood that was passed on to Him in the womb of His Most Pure Mother.

Stan NJ said...

Vox Cantoris,
There was no offense intended with the bracketed Roman.
But I respect if you don't want to debate this. I still appreciate you posting my comment.
I thought the links were interesting, but I didn't find an answer to the specific question I had posed, they simply reiterated the way Jerome handled it.