The Calvinist theologian Peter Leithart has a fascinating (but incorrect) article on the perpetual virginity over at First Things. There is much to praise about the short piece. First, he's asking the right question. As the article's teaser puts it, "why didn't Joseph have sex with Mary during her pregnancy?" So many Protestants focus on the fact that they believe St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary did have sex after Christmas that they ignore the explicit Biblical evidence that they didn't have sex before (Matthew 1:25). Second, much of Leithart's answer is correct, and points to the radical Biblical truth about the Virgin Mary. Finally, even when Leithart's argument goes off the rails, he shows his work, so it's easy enough to see how he goes wrong.
Just as the Bible presents Abraham as our father in faith for his radical willingness to trust God, we're also given a mother in faith: the Virgin Mary. Listen to what Scripture says about her role in following God from the Annunciation to Calvary and into glory.
Both St. Matthew and St. John take pains to specify that Christ's Tomb was never-before used. “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid” (John 19:41). But why do they both specify this seemingly-mundane detail? Because the Virgin Tomb, like the Virgin Womb, tells us something about Who Jesus Is.
Cornelis van Cleve, Virgin and Child (c. 1550) Yesterday, Michael Addison raised the argument in the comments that Psalm 69:8 disproves the perpetual Virginity of Mary. The Psalm contains a lot of Messianic elements (various lines are explicitly applied throughout the New Testament to Christ), and v. 8 says, “I am a stranger to my brothers, an […]
In the New Testament, certain men are described as the “brothers” of Jesus, including “James and Joses and Judas and Simon” (Mark 6:3; and see Matthew 13:55). The Catholic position is that these men are simply male relatives: in the same way that Abraham calls Lot his “brother” (Genesis 13:8), even though he’s actually his […]
I have probably addressed this somewhere before on this blog, but I was asked about this question recently: didn’t Mary have other children? That seems to throw a kink into the whole perpetual Virginity thing, doesn’t it? After all, the people Jesus grew up with doubted His claim to be the Messiah on the grounds […]
I learned about the absolute best evidence for Mary’s perpetual Virginity this past weekend. I went to Fr. De Celles’ Mass at St. Raymond’s, and he announced that the notion that Mary was “an unwed Mother” is one of the biggest fallacies out there. He then pointed to the Gospel from the day, and proved […]