Catholics hail mother Mary as ever virgin while protestants deny this stating that Mary had other children ?

through Joseph.How do the Catholic community justify hailing Mary Ever Virgin

18 Answers

  • Misty
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    As I see with some of the answers you have, typically people take what they know of today's society and interpret the Bible using that understanding. This is a great flaw in the "sola scriptura" thinking because it leaves interpretation of scripture to personal experience, culture and societal norms, things which are always changing and different for everyone.

    To truly understand scripture it is imperative that we understand the Greek or Hebrew that it was actually written in. We need to understand the meanings those words had at the time, and understand the ancient Jewish society and customs.

    Neither the Gospel accounts nor the early Christians attest to the notion that Mary bore other children besides Jesus. The faithful knew, through the witness of Scripture and Tradition, that Jesus was Mary’s only child and that she remained a lifelong virgin.

    Neither Hebrew nor Aramaic (the language spoken by Christ and his disciples) had a special word meaning "cousin," speakers of those languages could use either the word for "brother" or a circumlocution, such as "the son of my uncle." But circumlocutions are clumsy, so the Jews often used "brother."

    When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would conceive a son, she asked, "How can this be since I have no relations with a man?" (Luke 1:34). From the Church’s earliest days, as the Fathers interpreted this Bible passage, Mary’s question was taken to mean that she had made a vow of lifelong virginity, even in marriage. (This was not common, but neither was it unheard of.) If she had not taken such a vow, the question would make no sense.

    Mary knew how babies are made (otherwise she wouldn’t have asked the question she did). If she had anticipated having children in the normal way and did not intend to maintain a vow of virginity, she would hardly have to ask "how" she was to have a child, since conceiving a child in the "normal" way would be expected by a newlywed wife. Her question makes sense only if there was an apparent (but not a real) conflict between keeping a vow of virginity and acceding to the angel’s request. A careful look at the New Testament shows that Mary kept her vow of virginity and never had any children other than Jesus.

    When Jesus was found in the Temple at age twelve, the context suggests that he was the only son of Mary and Joseph. There is no hint in this episode of any other children in the family (Luke 2:41–51). Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and the people of Nazareth referred to him as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3), not as "a son of Mary." In fact, others in the Gospels are never referred to as Mary’s sons, not even when they are called Jesus’ "brethren." If they were in fact her sons, this would be strange usage.

    Also, the attitude taken by the "brethren of the Lord" implies they are his elders. In ancient and, particularly, in Eastern societies (remember, Palestine is in Asia), older sons gave advice to younger, but younger seldom gave advice to older—it was considered disrespectful to do so. But we find Jesus’ "brethren" saying to him that Galilee was no place for him and that he should go to Judea so he could make a name for himself (John 7:3–4).

    Another time, they sought to restrain him for his own benefit: "And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, ‘He is beside himself’" (Mark 3:21). This kind of behavior could make sense for ancient Jews only if the "brethren" were older than Jesus, but that alone eliminates them as his biological brothers, since Jesus was Mary’s "first-born" son (Luke 2:7).

    Consider what happened at the foot of the cross. When he was dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to the apostle John (John 19:26–27). The Gospels mention four of his "brethren": James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his mother if these four were also her sons.

    Fundamentalists insist that "brethren of the Lord" must be interpreted in the strict sense. They most commonly make two arguments based on Matthew 1:25: "[A]nd he did not know her until (Greek: heos, also translated into English as "till") she brought forth her firstborn son." They first argue that the natural inference from "till" is that Joseph and Mary afterward lived together as husband and wife, in the usual sense, and had several children. Otherwise, why would Jesus be called "first-born"? Doesn’t that mean there must have been at least a "second-born," perhaps a "third-born," and so on? But they are using a narrow, modern meaning of "until," instead of the meaning it had when the Bible was written. In the Bible, it means only that some action did not happen up to a certain point; it does not imply that the action did happen later, which is the modern sense of the term. In fact, if the modern sense is forced on the Bible, some ridiculous meanings result.

    Consider this line: "Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death" (2 Sam. 6:23). Are we to assume she had children after her death?

    There is also the burial of Moses. The book of Deuteronomy says that no one knew the location of his grave "until this present day" (Deut. 34:6, Knox). But we know that no one has known since that day either.

    Fundamentalists claim Jesus could not be Mary’s "first-born" unless there were other children that followed him. But this shows ignorance of the way the ancient Jews used the term. For them it meant the child that opened the womb (Ex. 13:2; Num. 3:12). Under the Mosaic Law, it was the "first-born" son that was to be sanctified (Ex. 34:20). Did this mean the parents had to wait until a second son was born before they could call their first the "first-born"? Hardly. The first male child of a marriage was termed the "first-born" even if he turned out to be the only child of the marriage.

    Fundamentalists say it would have been repugnant for Mary and Joseph to enter a marriage and remain celibate. They call such marriages "unnatural" arrangements. Certainly they were unusual, but not as unusual as having the Son of God in one’s family, and not nearly as unusual as having a virgin give birth to a child. The Holy Family was neither an average family nor should we expect its members to act as would members of an average family.

    The circumstances demanded sacrifice by Mary and Joseph. This was a special family, set aside for the nurturing of the Son of God. No greater dignity could be given to marriage than that.

    We also know that the early Christians believed Mary to be sinless, ever virgin and bodily assumed into heaven. These are things that were belived very early, even before the Bible was compiled.

  • Daver
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Mary is Ever Virgin

    Exodus 13:2,12 - Jesus is sometimes referred to as the "first-born" son of Mary. But "first-born" is a common Jewish expression meaning the first child to open the womb. It has nothing to do the mother having future children.

    Exodus 34:20 - under the Mosaic law, the "first-born" son had to be sanctified. "First-born" status does not require a "second" born.

    Ezek. 44:2 - Ezekiel prophesies that no man shall pass through the gate by which the Lord entered the world. This is a prophecy of Mary's perpetual virginity. Mary remained a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus.

    Mark 6:3 - Jesus was always referred to as "the" son of Mary, not "a" son of Mary. Also "brothers" could have theoretically been Joseph's children from a former marriage that was dissolved by death. However, it is most likely, perhaps most certainly, that Joseph was a virgin, just as were Jesus and Mary. As such, they embodied the true Holy Family, fully consecrated to God.

    Luke 1:31,34 - the angel tells Mary that you "will" conceive (using the future tense). Mary responds by saying, "How shall this be?" Mary's response demonstrates that she had taken a vow of lifelong virginity by having no intention to have relations with a man. If Mary did not take such a vow of lifelong virginity, her question would make no sense at all (for we can assume she knew how a child is conceived). She was a consecrated Temple virgin as was an acceptable custom of the times.

    Luke 2:41-51 - in searching for Jesus and finding Him in the temple, there is never any mention of other siblings.

    John 7:3-4; Mark 3:21 - we see that younger "brothers" were advising Jesus. But this would have been extremely disrespectful for devout Jews if these were Jesus' biological brothers.

    John 19:26-27 - it would have been unthinkable for Jesus to commit the care of his mother to a friend if he had brothers.

    John 19:25 - the following verses prove that James and Joseph are Jesus' cousins and not his brothers: Mary the wife of Clopas is the sister of the Virgin Mary.

    Matt. 27:61, 28:1 - Matthew even refers to Mary the wife of Clopas as "the other Mary."

    Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:47 - Mary the wife of Clopas is the mother of James and Joseph.

    Mark 6:3 - James and Joseph are called the "brothers" of Jesus. So James and Joseph are Jesus' cousins.

    Matt. 10:3 - James is also called the son of "Alpheus." This does not disprove that James is the son of Clopas. The name Alpheus may be Aramaic for Clopas, or James took a Greek name like Saul (Paul), or Mary remarried a man named Alpheus.

  • 1 decade ago

    *sigh* Sometimes I just don't understand Protestants....

    Here it goes.

    First of all, it is highly likely that Joseph was a widower, and probably had children from a previous marriage. Therefore, would those children not be Jesus' brothers and sisters, albeiet of a step nature?

    Second, just because the Bible says that Jesus was Mary's first born son, that does not mean that Mary gave birth to other children. In Biblical times, "first born" was purely a legal term.

    Third, in Biblical times, "brothers and sisters" were not just those who had the same mother or the same father, but also close cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews! We continue this use of brothers and sisters today, albeit less formally. Do we not adopt our close friends as brothers and sisters? Do we not call our church family brothers and sisters?

    An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

    To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

    However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated "virgin of the Lord," to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).

    The fact that Jesus entrusts His mother to John, rather than to Joseph or to one of his siblings is futher proof that Jesus had no siblings and that Joseph had most likely passed away by the time of Jesus' adult ministry.

    Today most Protestants are unaware of these early beliefs regarding Mary’s virginity and the proper interpretation of "the brethren of the Lord." And yet, the Protestant Reformers themselves—Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli—honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have other, more modern Protestants.

  • 1 decade ago

    The first Protestants did this is a relatively new false doctrine the fundie morons have developed

    Martin Luther

    Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.

    Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.

    A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . .

    Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . .

    When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.

    John Calvin

    Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ's 'brothers' are sometimes mentioned.

    [On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called 'first-born'; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.

    Under the word 'brethren' the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.

    Huldreich Zwingli

    He turns, in September 1522, to a lyrical defense of the perpetual virginity of the mother of Christ . . . To deny that Mary remained 'inviolata' before, during and after the birth of her Son, was to doubt the omnipotence of God . . . and it was right and profitable to repeat the angelic greeting - not prayer - 'Hail Mary' . . . God esteemed Mary above all creatures, including the saints and angels - it was her purity, innocence and invincible faith that mankind must follow. Prayer, however, must be . . . to God alone . . .

    'Fidei expositio,' the last pamphlet from his pen . . . There is a special insistence upon the perpetual virginity of Mary.

    Zwingli had printed in 1524 a sermon on 'Mary, ever virgin, mother of God.'

    I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.

    Heinrich Bullinger

    Bullinger (d. 1575) . . . defends Mary's perpetual virginity . . . and inveighs against the false Christians who defraud her of her rightful praise: 'In Mary everything is extraordinary and all the more glorious as it has sprung from pure faith and burning love of God.' She is 'the most unique and the noblest member' of the Christian community . . .

    'The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.'

    John Wesley (Founder of Methodism)

    I believe... he [Jesus Christ] was born of the blessed Virgin, who, as well after as she

    brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.

    Source(s): How do the Catholic community justify hailing Mary Ever Virgin The same way the First Protestants did
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  • 1 decade ago

    How was James, “the brother of the Lord,” (Matt. 13:55, Acts 15:13-21, 1 Cor. 15:7, Gal. 1:19) related to Jesus. All believers agree he was related, but no one knows exactly how.

    The possibilities are that James was:

    1. A full brother of Jesus, another Son of God born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No one to my knowledge accepts that God had another child by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    2. A half-brother of Jesus, a younger son of Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some Christians believe this possibility but most Christians including those who are Catholic and Eastern Orthodox believe that Mary remained a virgin for her entire life.

    3. A stepbrother of Jesus, a son of Joseph and a previous wife. Many Christians believe that Joseph had a least one previous marriage that resulted in children.

    4. A stepbrother of Jesus, an adopted son of Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary. When parents died, relatives frequently took their children in and raised them as thier own. An adopted orphaned boy would be considered the brother of Jesus.

    5. A cousin of Jesus. The Aramaic language has no word for cousin. Aramaic frequently uses the word “aha,” which we translate into Greek as “adelphos” or English as brother, for cousin.

    6. A comrade of Jesus. This is a remote possibility. Greek uses adelphos the same as English does in “a band of brothers.”

    Possibilities 1 and 2 obviously go against Catholic beliefs.

    The Catholic Church prefers possibility 5 but 3, 4 and 6 would not go against doctrine.

    Another point: John 19:26-27 states:

    When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple (John) took her into his home.

    This was Jesus entrusting the Apostle John with the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary who by Jewish law and tradition would be without support after her only son's death.

    This threatened loss of support for Mary also strengthens the logic that Jesus' "brothers and sisters" were not the natural children of Mary who should have stepped in to care for her.

    With love in Christ.

  • 1 decade ago


    Grew up catholic and also had conflicts about denomination also, but believe like my aunt told me - There is ONE Jesus and denomination doesn't really matter as much as Christianity. The body of Christ is one.

    As far as hailing Mary goes, We hail Mary for Mothering Jesus. No-where in the prayer does it say that she is a virgin.

    " Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee

    Blessed art thou amongst women

    and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

    Holy Mary,

    Mother of God,

    Pray for us sinners,

    Now and at the hour of our death, Amen"

    Mary was a virgin when she had Jesus.

    That is not to say she didn't have other children later.

    We aren't saying she stayed a virgin all fo her life.

    Personally, I don't think it should matter to any Christian if she remained virgin or not.

    She is the mother of Jesus and that is a blessed and sacred thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    Christ told the leaders of the Church He founded, the catholic Church, "Whatsoever you bind upon earth is bound in heaven". This truth is defined doctrine binding on the universal Church, and is therefore bound in heaven - but only if you believe what the Bible says. References to the "brethren" of Jesus obviously do not refer to children of Mary. Some references, such as "Your brothers are waiting for you outside" could easily be misinterpreted that way - but not when you look at the original Greeek and find the exact same word in passages such as "He appeared to more than five hundred of His brothers at once". Obviously these 500 were not all Mary's kids, so there is no justification for trying to force that interpretaion on the exact same word when found in other places.

  • 1 decade ago

    They believe that Jesus Brothers were actually Josephs sons from an earlier wife who died, therefore by default making them Mary's children. They also believe that Joseph never had sexual relations with Mary, his wife.

    Personally, I don't believe that Mary should be worshiped. If you read the Bible there is a place where Jesus mother and brothers go to him while he is preaching. The disciples come to Him and say "Jesus, your mother and brothers are outside" and He replied "These are my mother and my brothers". He was meaning the crowd that was listening to him. This shows that in God the Fathers work, she was not given precedence.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The subject you're referring to is generally known as Mariology...

  • 1 decade ago

    We believe that she had no other children after Jesus, therefore making her ever virgin.

    God bless.

    Source(s): I am Catholic.
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