Monday 25th May 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity . . . Did Joseph Know Her As A Husband Knows His Wife?

April 20, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 3

“And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Jesus” — Matt. 1:25.
It seems pretty evident for those non-Catholic Christians who disagree with Luther and Zwingli on the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity that, after the birth of Jesus, Mary would have had other children in due course. Again, the argument is fallacious and inconclusive. And it is very simple to demonstrate it.
The great Bible scholar St. Jerome (fourth century), who translated the whole Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, was the first to answer it. The words till, and until, reflect a manner of speaking, usual among the Hebrews, which refers to a state or condition which may or may not continue after a given point in time: They say nothing about what happens after: in Latin donec, in Greek heos, in Hebrew aths. The words convey the same meaning, that is, they speak only about what happens up to a particular point but say nothing about what happens after.
“And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son” simply means that up to the birth of the Divine Child, they did not have marital relations, without implying anything after the birth, one way or the other.
St. Jerome himself quotes a few examples:
Gen. 8:6-9: “At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window which he had made in the ark [and released a raven. It flew to and fro until the waters had dried off the earth.]” But the raven did not return anymore.
Gen. 28:15 [Jacob’s dream]: “Behold I am with you and will keep you in all places you may go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you of.”
Did God leave Jacob after He had done what he had spoken to him of? Of course not. God remained with Jacob all the time.
Numb. 14:19: (Moses is praying for the people): “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
Did God cease to forgive His people from then on? Of course not.
Esdras 2:59-63: Regarding men claiming to be sons of an Israelite priest, but could not prove their genealogy, and so were cast out of the priesthood. “And Athersatha said to them, that they should not eat of the Holy of Holies, till there arose a priest learned and perfect.”
Were those cast-out men allowed to eat of the Holy of Holies after a priest learned and perfect arose? No, they did not. As they could not prove their genealogy, their condition remained the same.
Psalm 110:1: God says to His Divine Son: “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool” — Will the Son of God cease to sit at His right hand after the enemies are subdued? Of course not.
Job 27:5: “Till I die I will not renounce my innocence.” Did Job renounce his innocence after his death? Of course not.
Isaiah 22:12-14: The prophet Isaias is calling Israel to penance, but all they want to do is to enjoy themselves. So the prophet says: “You feast and celebrate, you slaughter oxen and butcher sheep, you eat meat and drink wine: ‘eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ This reaches the ears of the Lord of hosts — you shall not be pardoned this wickedness till you die, says the Lord, the God of hosts.”
Were those merry eaters and drinkers pardoned after they die? Of course not.
Isaiah 46:4: God says, “Till you grow old, I am.” Did God cease to be after the prophet grew old? Of course not.
Osee 10:12: “It is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Should the people cease to seek the Lord after He come and rain righteousness upon them? Of course not.
Phil. 1:9-10: “And this I pray that . . . you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”
Is St. Paul telling the people that they should cease to be sincere and without offense after the day of Christ? Of course not.
St. Paul to Timothy: “Until I come, be diligent in reading [the Scriptures] in exhortation and in teaching” — 1 Tim. 4:12-13. Is St. Paul telling his brother/son Timothy that he should stop reading the Scriptures after he comes? Of course not.
In the Gospel of St. John, chapter 9, we read the story of the man born blind, whom Jesus healed, and who was interrogated by the Jews. And “the Jews did not believe him until they called his parents” — John 9:18. Did the Jews believe the ex-blind man after his parents came? No, they did not.
St. Matthew (12:15-21) quotes Isaiah (42:1-4): “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoking wick he will not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory; and in his name will the gentiles hope” — v. 20. Will the Gentiles cease to hope in Him after He sends forth judgment unto victory? Of course not.
I saved the best quote for the end. We remember good King David, who married the beautiful Michol, the daughter of Saul the first king. They had a big fight, as it happens sometimes even among the best. But as Michol did not fight well, God punished her with childlessness: She did not bear children until she died — 2 Kings 6:23.
Did Michol start bearing children after her death? If she did, she was a very remarkable lady indeed!

+    +    +

“And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Jesus” — Matt. 1:25.
All that St. Matthew is saying is that the child was not fathered by Joseph. The Jerusalem Bible gives the right translation:
“Although he had no intercourse with her, she gave birth to her firstborn son.”
Conclusion: In biblical terms, the words, till, or until, do not necessarily bear the strict meaning given by those who wish to oppose the faith of the Early Christians about our Lady’s perpetual virginity. Their argument is inconclusive. Those words refer only to what happened before a given point in time, and say nothing about what happens after. In some cases yes, in other cases no. Those who oppose the teaching of our Lady’s perpetual virginity must go somewhere else to find their argument.
I finish with a conclusive quote: “There have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matt. 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later. But what folly this is! For the Gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His Angel to Mary. He had therefore never dwelt with her nor had he shared her company [as husband and wife].”
Who wrote that? An Early Church Father? A medieval Pope? A contemporary lay apologist? No. it was John Calvin, the founding father of the Presbyterian religion (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, Sermon on Matthew, 1:22-25, published in 1562).
Let Protestants of all orientations, especially Presbyterians, stop the folly and listen attentively to their founding father, who, at least in this aspect, retained the faith of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
Next article: Was the firstborn son followed by a second-born?

+    +    +

(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International [HLI], president of the Sacred Heart Institute and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His web site is: www.RaymondeSouza.com.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Ireland has voted to legalize gay marriage, both sides say

DUBLIN (AP) — Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday after the world’s first national vote on the issue. As the official ballot counting continued,…Continue Reading

Vatican’s eco guru champions Occupy Wall Street thugs

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Jeffrey Sachs wears many hats. He is known as the architect of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and the proponent of the upcoming UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His new book, entitled, (what else) The…Continue Reading

Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders. Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA…Continue Reading

Federal Court Forces University of Notre Dame to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

A federal appeals court has denied a request by the University of Notre Dame to get out of having to comply with the pro-abortion HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare and requires businesses and church groups to pay…Continue Reading

The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in…Continue Reading

‘Eleven Christians Killed Every Hour,’ Says Irish Bishop

According to Bishop John McAreavey, the Chair of the Council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand. The…Continue Reading

Africa’s experience of family life must be heard at synod, Pope tells Togo’s bishops

Pope Francis received Togo’s bishops in audience on May 11 as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. The West African nation of 6.8 million is 20% Muslim, 15% Protestant, and 14% Catholic, with approximately half of the…Continue Reading

The eco-encyclical won’t commit the Church to unsettled science

By the time the environment encyclical of Pope Francis is released, it will be anti-climactic. Not anti-climate change to be sure, as the Holy See is certainly enthusiastic about the issue. Actually, it is against climate change, but enthusiastic about…Continue Reading

“America’s Changing Religious Landscape.”

The Pew Research Center just released its latest study on “America’s Changing Religious Landscape.” The subtitle tells the story: “Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow.” For our purposes, I want to focus…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal sees no change in family teachings at synod

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A senior Vatican cardinal predicted Saturday that there will be no change in the Catholic Church‘s practice and teaching about marriage, divorce and the reception of Communion at an upcoming meeting of bishops on family issues. Cardinal…Continue Reading

Synod Leader: Don’t Expect Changes in Catholic Church Policy

Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo, who is playing a key role in the Catholic Church’s upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family, said there will be no changes in church policy coming as a result of the summit. There has been…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops vote to allow Church employees to publicly defy Catholic teaching

WURZBURG, Germany, May 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — On April 27 in Würzburg, the German bishops approved with more than a two-thirds majority a reform of the Catholic Church’s Labor Law in Germany, allowing some Church employees to publicly defy Church…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: the gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth

pope786

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis against the backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica and dressed in scarlet vestments, celebrated Mass on Pentecost Sunday. In his homily, the Holy Father began by focusing on Sunday’s readings saying that, “the word of God, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit. Expanding on this theme of the Spirit, Pope Francis said that, in the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Labour must be free, creative, participatory, and mutually-supportive

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis spoke to the Italian Christian Workers Associations (ACLI) on Saturday in the Vatican on occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Association. In his speech to the Italian Christian Workers Associations – also known as the ACLI – Pope Francis exhorted those present to support a culture of dignified labour. He denounced the ‘god of money’ at the heart of our global economic system, promoting a culture of…Continue Reading

At the General Audience Francis asks that fathers and mothers take back their full role as educators

2015-05-21 L’Osservatore Romano “It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – for they have exiled themselves from bringing up their children – and to fully resume their educational role”. This was the Pope’s declaration at the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 20 May. Continuing his series of catecheses on the family, he spoke to the crowds – many of them families – about the importance of parents as educators. The…Continue Reading

Pope’s appeal for World Day of Prayer for Church in China

(Vatican Radio) At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis made a special appeal for prayer for Catholics in China.   The Holy Father’s appeal comes ahead of Sunday’s feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, celebrated throughout the world on May 24. Chinese Catholics have a special devotion to Mary, Help of Christians, whose feast day is marked with special devotions and pilgrimages, especially to the National Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. In…Continue Reading

The Obama-Boehner-McConnell “Fast Track” To A Poorer America

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama is negotiating a multilateral trade agreement with the governments of 11 nations. These include Malaysia and Vietnam — as well as Japan, Brunei, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand,…Continue Reading

What If We Didn’t Have A Constitution?

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO What if we didn’t have a Constitution? What if the government were elected by custom and tradition, but not by law? What if election procedures and official titles and government responsibilities merely followed those that preceded them, and not because any of this was compelled by law, but because that’s what…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Aren’t Homosexuals Born That Way?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + The most powerful weapon in the homosexual special rights arsenal is the victim status. A close second is the allegation that homosexuals are “born that way.” If scientists can show that homosexuality…Continue Reading

The Passing Of The Word “God”

By DONALD DeMARCO The Word of God will never pass away. But the word “God” continues to pass into oblivion. In some quarters the word is said to be discriminatory and offensive. Therefore, it must be removed. Atheists can be very touchy these days. Take the case of Alain Simoneau of Saguenay, Quebec. This nonbeliever…Continue Reading

Vietnam Today . . . Forty Years After The Fall Of Saigon

By LEE NGUYEN HO CHI MINH CITY (AsiaNews) — Forty years after the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the Communist Party marked its anniversary by the largest ever military parade in the South. The parade commemorated the day when Communist troops from the North captured the city and ended the Vietnam War and…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

An Apologetics Course… The Order Of The Universe Proves God’s Existence

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 3 Let us put our thinking cap on, and reason: Whenever you see something whose parts are arranged in order, following a specific logical pattern, you know that someone did it. Furniture in a living room, chess pieces on a board, books in a library. Orderly arrangement cannot be explained except as being due to…Continue Reading

The Church — Body Of Christ

By DON FIER As we considered “People of God” as an image of the Church last week, an important and underlying principle inherent to its biblical symbolism emerged: God wills to make us holy and save us not as separated, isolated individuals, but as a people. He wills to sanctify and redeem mankind “by making them into one people gathered…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Writing in the Sunday bulletin of the Church of St. Michael in New York City, Fr. George W. Rutler talked of the “web of contradiction [that] becomes more entangled in our day when politics are complicated by moral inconsistencies.” He cited three examples: “First, the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana occasioned celebrations, as the birth of any…Continue Reading

Truths Beyond Comprehension

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (YR B) Readings: Deut. 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matt. 28:16-20 In the first reading today, we hear Moses addressing the people of Israel after their Exodus from Egypt and after they had spent much time in the desert. Moses marveled, and rightly so, that God had entered into human…Continue Reading

Pope To The Bishops Of Mozambique . . . “The Paschal Mystery Is The Beating Heart Of The Mission Of The Church”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Pope Francis on May 9 received the bishops of Mozambique who were in Rome for their ad limina visit. + + + Dear brothers in the episcopate! You are welcome ad limina Apostolorum, the purpose of the visit undertaken by you these days, so that with your dioceses in your heart, you also celebrate and strengthen…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church in Africa has experienced unprecedented growth in the past century. In 1900, shortly after the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and companions, there were two million Catholics in Africa. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa in 2009, the Catholic population was 158 million. Once again the Church has witnessed that the blood of martyrs is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Philip Neri

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church when great persecutions and heresies have been promoted, there were also great saints who underwent persecution in their attempts to protect the Deposit of Faith. Such was the case in the early 16th century, when the Catholic Church was suffering her greatest crisis to date with the Protestant Revolt. During this…Continue Reading