Wednesday 5th August 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity… The “Other Mary” And St. Joseph’s “Other Children”

May 18, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 7

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon? And are not also his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3).
So, after all, Jesus appears to have had four brothers, named James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon, as well as two or three sisters, right? Let’s investigate the issue.
Three women are called “Mary” in the New Testament: Mary, the Mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; and “the other Mary.” And, because of this, a little confusion has been established, which gave an excuse to anti-Catholic bigotry to raise its ugly head against the perpetual virginity of Our Savior’s Mother.
“Then he [Joseph of Arimathea] rolled a large stone to the entrance of the tomb, and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulcher” (Matt. 27:61).
“Now late in the night of the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulcher” (Matt. 28:1). So it appears that Mary Magdalene used to hang out with that mysterious “other Mary.”
Who was that “other Mary,” and why is it important to find it out?
St. Mark tells us something about her: “And Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of Joseph beheld where he was laid” (Mark 15:47).
Aha! “The other Mary” was the mother of a man called Joseph, not St. Joseph of course, but one of the disciples of Jesus.
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas [the other Mary], and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).
Now we know more about “the other Mary”: She was the wife of a man called Cleophas. The plot thickens.
“And many women were there [on Calvary], looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the Mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Matt. 27:56).
So the other Mary, the wife of Cleophas, had another son alongside the one disciple Joseph. His name was James. Not the other James; he and John were the sons of Zebedee, whom Jesus called the “sons of thunder.” No, this James and his brother Joseph were the sons of the couple Cleophas and Mary.
Why is this important? Because the aforementioned brothers James and Joseph, who were sons of Cleophas and Mary, are mentioned in St. Mark’s Gospel as brethren of Jesus!
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph, Jude and Simon? And are not also his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3).
As there was no distinct word for “cousin” in those days, as explained in a previous article, those two young men Joseph and James were the sons of Uncle Cleophas and Auntie Mary, therefore Jesus’ cousins. And they had two more brothers, Jude and Simon (not Simon Peter).
That is why the Apostle James was called the “brother of the Lord” by St. Paul:
“But I saw none of the other apostles, except James, the brother of the Lord” (Gal. 1:19). James was the son of Uncle Cleophas and Auntie Mary.
So, on the cross, Jesus gave His Mother to the care of Cousin John, son of Cleophas and Mary, to be his mother: “Son, Behold thy Mother” and “From that hour he took her into his own home” (John 19:26-27).
There was no problem for John to look after two mothers.
As I pointed out before, if Mary had other children, it would be against Jewish customary law for Jesus to give His Mother to a kinsman, even a cousin, let alone someone who was not a relative. It would be unthinkable in terms of good Hebrew traditions. And Jesus came not to destroy, but to fulfill.
So, according to Scripture itself, those four men were Jesus’ cousins — brethren, in contemporary Jewish parlance.

+    +    +

Another possible question: Were Jesus’ brethren the children of St. Joseph from a previous marriage?
Some have speculated that such brethren came from St. Joseph’s first marriage. Possible? Yes. Likely? Definitely not. If he had been a widower, and then married again, it is not likely that he married again to remain celibate, or would agree that his new wife should make a vow of virginity. If he were to remain a celibate, he would do it as a single man, or a widower.
St. Jerome explains: (+ AD 420): “Suppose that the brethren of the Lord were Joseph’s sons by another wife. But we understand the brethren of the Lord to be not the sons of Joseph, but cousins of the Savior, the sons of Mary, His mother’s sister” (Contra Helvidius). That’s the other Mary we talked about in the beginning, the wife of Cleophas and mother of four sons, James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon.

+    +    +

The dialogue between our Lady and the Angel Gabriel raises another interesting aspect, in the light of the Eastern Gate and the Ark of the Covenant: Did she — and St. Joseph — actually make a vow of virginity?
Many commentators, especially St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae, Pt. III, Q. 28, Art. 4), argues that this is how her perplexity at hearing the angel’s announcement that she would bear a son makes sense.
“But Mary said to the angel, how shall this happen, since I do not know man?” (Luke 1:34). Now she was espoused to Joseph, and had a clear idea of how babies are conceived and born. This question of hers makes no sense if she had not determined to remain a virgin. Otherwise, in the natural course of events in married life, she would eventually conceive and become a mother of the son of God. What she was asking was, “How can I have a child while remaining a virgin?”

+    +    +

A final and beautiful explanation of the verb to know in “And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Jesus” (Matt. 1:25) is inspired in a comment by St. Augustine:
During their engagement, St. Joseph knew that she was a good, faithful, pious, hard-working girl, the ideal wife. Fine. But what he did not know was that She the Woman whose heel crushes the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15), who appears in Heaven under a crown of twelve stars (Apoc. 12:1), the one who was blessed among women, who was full of grace, with whom the Lord was (Luke 1:28), whom all generations would call blessed, to whom the almighty had done great things (Luke 1:48-48).
Joseph knew nothing of this till the Child was born in Bethlehem, and the star came, and the Magi with their gifts of gold to honor His princely nobility; incense to honor His divinity; and myrrh to honor His role as propitiatory Victim; and the angel calling the shepherds, and the glory of God shining around them, and the multitude of the angelic hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of goodwill.”
Wow! Joseph was amazed! Now he finally knew who she really was!
He could say with St Augustine: O beauty ever ancient and ever new, so late have I known thee!
Next article: summing up.

+    +    +

(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.RaymonddeSouza.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 . . .

Archdiocese responds to petition signed by 20,000 in support of fired gay teacher

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – The Philadelphia Archdiocese received a petition Monday signed by more than 20,000 people in support of a fired catholic school teacher. Margie Winters lost her job at Waldron Mercy Academy because of her same-sex marriage. Today’s petition…Continue Reading

Democrats Defeat Senate Effort to De-Fund Planned Parenthood After It Sells Aborted Babies

Senate Democrats today defeated an effort to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business by filibustering the bill and preventing a vote on it. Republicans were unable to secure the 60 voted needed to invoke cloture and stop…Continue Reading

With Apologies to Donald Trump for the Crazy ‘Nativist’ Rant of Cardinal Dolan

This week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan took to the New York Daily News to write an incoherent and defamatory political hit piece against Donald Trump. As a Catholic priest, I can only say it is embarrassing to have a Cardinal so blatantly and unfairly trying…Continue Reading

Promote the common good and give workers a raise, Catholic leaders tell Congress

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2015 / 05:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders are calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage, for the good of low-wage workers and their families. “An economy thrives only when it is centered on the…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Regain the Art of Temperate Drinking, Says Author

July 30, 2015, at 2:40 PM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | Catholic colleges need to be mindful of the moral and spiritual state of their students, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University, in an interview…Continue Reading

Last Catholic priest at US base in Antarctica leaves post

A Catholic priest who served at the U.S.-operated McMurdo Station in Antarctica was told he will have to leave his post due to declining attendance and budget cuts. Father Dan Doyle, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, would spend summers…Continue Reading

Jamestown Excavation Unearths Four Bodies and a Possible Catholic Reliquary

Could a mysterious box unearthed in historic Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America, point to a Catholic connection with the foundation of the United States of America? While Spanish and Portuguese exploration, settlement and conquest of…Continue Reading

Catholic officials, others react to Boy Scouts’ decision to allow openly gay leaders

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The top leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting have made an uneasy peace with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision July 27 to allow openly gay troop leaders and employees to serve in their ranks…Continue Reading

The Remnant REALLY? . . . Is This How We Support Fellow Catholics Battling A Cause We Should All Be Behind?

Planned Parenthood Hires PR Firm to Run Damage Control After It’s Exposed Selling Aborted Babies

The Planed Parenthood abortion business is so desperate to put out the public relations fires that have developed in the wake of it being caught numerous times selling the body parts of aborted babies that it has hired a top…Continue Reading

More than Half of Young Catholic Families Are Latino Despite Recent Decline

More than half of young Catholic families (53 percent) identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic compared with 32 percent of all Catholics, according to a recent survey. Could the presence of Hispanic families in the Catholic Church indicate Latino congregational…Continue Reading

New York Catholic churches closing after decades of service

Parishioners in New York are losing their churches as the Catholic Archdiocese carries out an aggressive consolidation plan. The cuts are driven by declining membership, fiscal insolvency of churches, and fewer priests, according to church officials. While there are 2.8…Continue Reading

Newsmax

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 su
bscribe 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 . . .

‘It was a twin’: New video shows dissection of 20-week baby for parts to sell at Planned Parenthood

 Ben Johnson AbortionTue Aug 4, 2015 – 10:45 am EST HOUSTON, TX, August 4 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A Planned Parenthood official admits that abortionists sometimes provide “intact” babies’ body for organ harvesting and experimentation, in the latest undercover video released by the Center for Medical Progress. It also includes graphic footage of investigators seeing pristine organs extracted from a 20-week-old aborted baby. The director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, told undercover investigators…Continue Reading

Pope: St Theresa of Avila source of truth and values

terase

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter of greeting and encouragement to participants of an Interuniversity Congress on Saint Theresa of Avila. The letter, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, expresses gratitude to the Academic world for highlighting the relevance of Saint Theresa’s teachings. Organized by the Catholic University of “Santa Teresa de Jesus de Avila” in collaboration with other Catholic Universities, the 3-day Congress…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: “Jesus is the bread of life”

pope512

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged the faithful to look beyond material needs and turn to Jesus who is “the bread of life”. The Pope’s words came as he addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus. Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of the crowd that went looking for Jesus, not because they saw the signs but because they had eaten the loaves of…Continue Reading

‘Shadow council’ speaker pushes Church acceptance of contraception, gay sex

By Andrea Gagliarducci Rome, Italy, Jul 29, 2015 / 03:01 am (CNA).- Yes to contraception, homosexual acts, and Communion for the divorced and remarried – all considering the circumstances. No to understanding any acts as intrinsically evil. These are the positions advocated by speakers at the May 25 “shadow council” which gathered prelates and theologians, led by the German bishops, at a Jesuit university in Rome. That day 50 specially chosen representatives of the the…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… The Fragrance Of Baroque Liturgy And Art

By JAMES MONTI All of us have had at some time or another a special moment in church when we have found ourselves before a particularly beautiful altar, with the Blessed Sacrament enthroned upon it in a splendid gold or silver sunburst monstrance, its molded rays sparkling with the shimmer of candles ablaze around it,…Continue Reading

Caring For The Elderly Vs. Assisted Suicide

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. All rights reserved.) + + + On Sunday, July 26, the Church in England and Wales…Continue Reading

Holy See Stresses Pro-Life Creds At UN Amid Questions

By PATRICK B. CRAINE and PETE BAKLINSKI NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — The Holy See is emphasizing its commitment to promoting life and family at the United Nations after a confusing statement the nunciature made in a negotiation on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in June. In a speech on June 22, Msgr. Joseph Grech, representing…Continue Reading

Hillary Lies Again

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO In a column I wrote in early July, based on research by my colleagues and my own analysis of government documents and eyewitness statements, I argued that in 2011 and 2012 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . An Excellent Guide To Answering Anti-Catholic Attacks

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Five Anti-Catholic Myths: Slavery, Crusades, Inquisition, Galileo, Holocaust by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press: 2015; 181 pages, $16.95 print edition). Available at http://angelicopress.com/. In this book the author sets out to investigate just how it has come about that anti-Catholic myths about particular topics have managed to become so deeply embedded…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Marking Humanae Vitae’s 47th Anniversary

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Families are under attack on several fronts: whether it is what makes a marriage with one man and one woman, whether it is children who should have a mother and a father or about how life comes into the world. Those who wish to redefine God’s plan continue to apply euphemisms in attempts to change…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Divinity Of Christ — A Response To Islam

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 13 In our days, a misguided sense of ecumenism tends to equate the main monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) as different ways to worship the same God. It is like saying that all Protestant denominations are OK as long as you mention the name of Jesus, regardless of the visceral doctrinal contradictions that…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 4 “The Church is catholic,” proclaims the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), firmly and without hesitation. “She proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times” (n. 868). Moreover,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In the wake of the latest Planned Parenthood scandal involving selling the body parts of aborted babies (see LifeNews.com to view the videos of interviews with Planned Parenthood officials), this is an opportune time to contact not only your legislators about ending taxpayer funding of this conglomerate that kills more than 330,000 babies a year, but also to…Continue Reading

Our Journey Through The Desert

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 Eph. 4:30-5:2 John 6:41-51 In the second reading today St. Paul instructs us to do nothing that will grieve the Holy Spirit. In his brief list of offenses that would grieve the Holy Spirit, St. Paul includes bitterness, fury, anger, reviling, shouting, and all malice.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Edmund Bojanowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many lay saints throughout the history of the Church from all different walks of life. There is the peasant girl, St. Maria Goretti, patron of young women. St. Thomas More, patron of lawyers, comes to mind when thinking of putting God before government. There are the many lay martyrs, especially in the first few centuries…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a…Continue Reading