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Source: (consider it) Thread: Our Lady's marriage
Albertus
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Quick question (hosts: feel free to move to e.g. kerygmania if that seems a more suitable place for it).
Under Jewish law/ custom as applicable at the time of Our Lord's birth, did marriage require- as it broadly does today in at least Western Canon Law and indeed in English Law- consummation? What set me wondering was a discussion on social media about the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of the BVM.
I thought this was the sort of place where someone would be bound to know what answer.
Thanks.

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Enoch
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In strict law, a marriage at English law does not 'require' consummation. Unlike with say bigamy, or one of the parties being under age, it is valid but voidable, not void, until consummated. If neither party petitions to be released from it, it stands. They are still married unless and until one of them does something about it. Indeed, if a party acquiesces too long without doing anything about it, they may find themselves no longer able to be released on that ground.

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Albertus
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Yes, thank you, that rings bells with my long ago study of family law. Nonetheless, consummation is important. But was it so for the Jews 2000 years ago?

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Moo

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In practice, no one but the man and woman would know whether the marriage had been consummated, unless they told someone.

I have heard that some couples live in an unconsummated marriage for their whole lives, while others have sex only on a few occasions because they want children.

Moo

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Doublethink.
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As a young man, my father - who was a diplomat - attended at least one wedding in the Middle East at which guests were expected to watch the couple consummate the marriage. Though the couple were covered with a sheet.

I vaguely recall being told in some cultures newly weds were expected to produce a bloodied sheet in the days after the wedding.

In some ways the BVM's story circumvents this, she was thought to have sex before her marriage - by her husband - so he was doing everything on the quiet. So presumably no wedding party etc.

Theologically, I'd have thought anything God wishes to do trumps existing social conventions.

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Bishops Finger
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Surely Mary and Joseph's marriage was consummated, as Mark 3 v32 refers to Jesus' brothers and sisters.

An RCC Shipmate might happen along to explain it, but I can't grasp the need for a doctrine of perpetual virginity for Mary.

IJ

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Albertus
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No, I don't get the perpetual virginity thing either. But I know some (many?) Christians do- hence wondering about whether this would have affected the marriage in any way, if anyone had been minded to bring it up. As has been said, for understandable and fairly obvious reasons consummation only normally comes up as an issue when one or other party wants out. And some people only do have sex enough to produce the number of children they want: each of us knows, for example, that that's what our parents did, because anything else is unimaginable. [Big Grin]
But I ask again, does anybody know what importance, if any, consummation had in Jewish marriage law or custom in Palestine in our Lady's time?

[ 25. June 2017, 21:38: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Surely Mary and Joseph's marriage was consummated, as Mark 3 v32 refers to Jesus' brothers and sisters.

An RCC Shipmate might happen along to explain it, but I can't grasp the need for a doctrine of perpetual virginity for Mary.

IJ

I always thought that the idea that Mary was perpetually a virgin was don to the idea that sex was somehow yukky and that a holy person like Mary would never have 'done it' because her body had to remain untainted by such things.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Surely Mary and Joseph's marriage was consummated, as Mark 3 v32 refers to Jesus' brothers and sisters.

How amazing that nobody ever noticed that verse until the Reformation. It's like the Catholics and Orthodox didn't even realize it was there! What egg on their face when it was finally discovered!

quote:
An RCC Shipmate might happen along to explain it, but I can't grasp the need for a doctrine of perpetual virginity for Mary.
How interesting that you think we create doctrines based on a preconceived need.

quote:
Mudfrog:
I always thought that the idea that Mary was perpetually a virgin was don to the idea that sex was somehow yukky and that a holy person like Mary would never have 'done it' because her body had to remain untainted by such things.

You were always wrong.

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Surely Mary and Joseph's marriage was consummated, as Mark 3 v32 refers to Jesus' brothers and sisters.

An RCC Shipmate might happen along to explain it, but I can't grasp the need for a doctrine of perpetual virginity for Mary.

IJ

I always thought that the idea that Mary was perpetually a virgin was down to the idea that sex was somehow yukky and that a holy person like Mary would never have 'done it' because her body had to remain untainted by such things.
The version that comes on the board before, is more that what she had inside her was rather special. And hence her bits were as it were counter-tainted by holyness that even a normally good act is out of action.
(leading to tabernacle comparisions)

(I suspect a double combination of both effects).

Any how protestent nature coming through, While Joseph and Mary were clearly away of some stuff, I don't think they had such such a clear picture.
And think the incarnation happened from the beginning without a warm up and needing everything to fit round him*.
And as such happy whatever I find out, either way.

*needing to add 'except Mary' in Matt 19 (hold fast to his wife and become one flesh) as well as the more famous John 8 (without sin throw stone)

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:

Any how protestent nature coming through, While Joseph and Mary were clearly away of some stuff, I don't think they had such such a clear picture.
And think the incarnation happened from the beginning without a warm up and needing everything to fit round him*.
And as such happy whatever I find out, either way.

*needing to add 'except Mary' in Matt 19 (hold fast to his wife and become one flesh) as well as the more famous John 8 (without sin throw stone)

?? Wot? [Paranoid] A new language maybe? - English-esque...

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mousethief

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What does John 8 have to do with it?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I always thought that the idea that Mary was perpetually a virgin was don to the idea that sex was somehow yukky and that a holy person like Mary would never have 'done it' because her body had to remain untainted by such things.

Completely anecdotal, but the most repressed people I've met are Protestant. Thought the whole sex-in-a-dark-room-missionary-position-only-for-procreation-and-don't-enjoy-it always seemed a child for the Reformation.
Aren't the sex standing up leads to dancing jokes about Prots?

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I always thought that the idea that Mary was perpetually a virgin was don to the idea that sex was somehow yukky and that a holy person like Mary would never have 'done it' because her body had to remain untainted by such things.

There is a prima facie case for Mary's having borne children other than Jesus, which requires special pleading to explain away.

There might well have been a yuk-factor (such as can be found in Jerome and Augustine, eg "We are born between urine and faeces") in the formulation of the dogma.

But there was also probably a theologically serious (which is not to say theologically valid) Augustinian argument that the concupiscence inevitably accompanying sexual activity is the propagatory vehicle of original sin, with which those guilty of latria or hyperdulia (as opposed to dulia) toward Mary would be unhappy to see her associated.

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Galloping Granny
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The LDS have done some delightful videos of the Life of Jesus, of which I've found some useful stills when I was googling NT situations. (And they don't have blond Caucasian type figures. When Mary and Joseph went back to look for the 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple they showed his parents with a couple of younger siblings... Incidentally, two things that I noted when I was following that story was that it was really dangerous for them to travel back alone: lone travellers were always at risk of robbers etc, which is why one always travelled in a group. And it was worth noting that it was Jesus' mother and not his father who reproached him for giving them a fright by being 'lost'.
Doesn't that perpetual virgin stuff all go with the idea that sex and sin seem to have been related to the disobedience that got Adam and Eve cast out of the garden?

GG

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Galloping Granny
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quote:
Originally posted by Galloping Granny:
The LDS have done some delightful videos of the Life of Jesus, of which I've found some useful stills when I was googling NT situations. (And they don't have blond Caucasian type figures, another good point). When Mary and Joseph went back to look for the 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple they showed his parents with a couple of younger siblings... Incidentally, two things that I noted when I was following that story was that it was really dangerous for them to travel back alone: lone travellers were always at risk of robbers etc, which is why one always travelled in a group. And it was worth noting that it was Jesus' mother and not his father who reproached him for giving them a fright by being 'lost'.In a patriarchal culture it would more likely have been the father to scold him.
Doesn't that perpetual virgin stuff all go with the idea that sex and sin seem to have been related to the disobedience that got Adam and Eve cast out of the garden?

GG

Oh dear, I meant to edit and I replied by mistake.
Sorry if I confused anyone.

GG

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Galloping Granny:
Doesn't that perpetual virgin stuff all go with the idea that sex and sin seem to have been related to the disobedience that got Adam and Eve cast out of the garden?

This is just Bulverism, as is much if not most of the anti-PVM arguing.

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:

Any how protestent nature coming through, While Joseph and Mary were clearly away of some stuff, I don't think they had such such a clear picture.
And think the incarnation happened from the beginning without a warm up and needing everything to fit round him*.
And as such happy whatever I find out, either way.

*needing to add 'except Mary' in Matt 19 (hold fast to his wife and become one flesh) as well as the more famous John 8 (without sin throw stone)

?? Wot? [Paranoid] A new language maybe? - English-esque...
Should be aware not away. Mary and Joseph clearly learned a lot, but don't seem to have got everything fixed, completely.

Meanwhile in the incarnation God came into a world of sin, God became man, dwelt among us. Many of the doctrines about Mary seem to be a lot of work solving problems that are already been cut through on the big scale.
None of which need make much difference to believing (you need yet another massive layer of assumptions for the heavy Marian stuff to be compulsory, while a similar level of assumptions the other way to make the lighter Marian stuff unhelpful), and I'm more or less happy to wait to find out one way or another.

(There is an age old joke, involving John 8-where Mary can and does throw the first stone. It of course relies on an exaggeration of the doctrines involved.)

[ 26. June 2017, 06:30: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]

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Galilit
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
As a young man, my father - who was a diplomat - attended at least one wedding in the Middle East at which guests were expected to watch the couple consummate the marriage. Though the couple were covered with a sheet.

I vaguely recall being told in some cultures newly weds were expected to produce a bloodied sheet in the days after the wedding.
.

There are indeed sub-cultures here in Israel where bloody sheets are examined. Both Jewish and Muslim but I don't know about the Christians. But note, not ALL Jews or Muslims; just certain "courtyards" of the Ultra Orthodox in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. On the Muslim side there is a thriving medical specialty for reconstructing hymens eg in Nazareth and Beersheva. (That latter reminds me of the Old Days where everyone knew of doctors who would do abortions, actually)

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Martin60
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No one else's business once the mohar was paid to Mary's father, the ketubah drawn up, in this case all discretely, no reception.

No one else including >=C2nd churches either, laying down their pious law and therefore missing the point.

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Moo

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AIUI at Elizabethan weddings, the bride and groom went to bed and pulled up the covers. Then everyone gathered round and commented on what appeared to be going on underneath the covers.

Moo

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Gamaliel
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Just an observation, and I'm trying not to take sides here, but in my interactions with RCs, Orthodox and Protestants, I've never noticed the Orthodox - who are big on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary - being particularly hung-up about the apparent ickiness of sex.

I've tended to find that some RCs and certain forms of ultra-conservative Protestant are more hung up about these things.

But hey, what do I know?

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Anyuta
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re: Jesus' brothers, I was taught (as an Orthodox) that these were Josephs children by a prior marriage. evidence is that a) Jesus put the care of Mary into John's hands at the crucifixion. If his brothers were Mary's children, there would have been no need for that, and b) Jesus' brothers were said to make fun of him early in his ministry. were he the oldest brother in the family, such ridicule by younger siblings would be unthinkable in their society (or so I'm told). This shows they were older (and he the younger), only possible if they were Joseph's children but not Mary's.

I have also heard the interpretation that "brothers" in this case actually refers to cousins. In many cultures (Russian for one, but I can't speak to first century Jewish culture) and languages, the word for cousin is "secondary brother" and often just "brother" is used.

Personally, I don't care about Mary's virginity, either perpetual, or even with regard to Jesus's conception. I accept it, but it doesn't factor into my faith at all (were it proven to be not true, it wouldn't change my view of Jesus one bit). But the arguments about brothers seem pretty empty to me, given the above points. while it's true they MAY be Mary's children, alternative explanations are not hard to find.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Anyuta:
But the arguments about brothers seem pretty empty to me, given the above points. while it's true they MAY be Mary's children, alternative explanations are not hard to find.

The alternative explanations are equally, if not more, specious. They may be true but they seem to be convenient ways of trying to explain away a reality that seems to negate a core doctrine.

Celibacy is not unknown now nor was it in the 1st century. Trouble is, claims may not stack up with reality. Mary was chosen by God to be the natural mother of Christ - why would God deny the joy of intimacy post birth? If that's the case Mary can't really identify with us in our human condition.

Occam's razor suggests that, in the absence of firm evidence to the contrary, we accept the simplest explanation - that is, brothers means brothers.

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Caissa
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If one has to find alternate explanations in order to defend a doctrine, it would seem to me that the doctrine is specious.
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Baptist Trainfan
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I couldn't agree more! Trying to say that they were not "real" (half-) brothers and sisters surely stems from an a priori position of belief about Mary and her behaviour subsequent to giving birth to Jesus.

Where I have questions - and I preached on this a year or two back - is whether Mary had any genuine choice in being the mother of Jesus or whether she was coerced or imposed upon by a divine Power greater than her. Yes, I know that she "consented" to being the mother of Jesus; but, having been told that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you", did she have any real say in the matter? If not, what might that say about God and the way he accomplishes his purposes?

(Yes, I know that there are other people in the Bible, such as Jeremiah or even Jonah, who seem to have had little choice in their calling. But they weren't told that they were going to get pregnant and bear God's Child!)

[ 26. June 2017, 14:59: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Bishops Finger
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Indeed, and 'thank you' to ExclamationMark for so sensibly employing Occam's Razor.

IJ

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Callan
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Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

quote:
Where I have questions - and I preached on this a year or two back - is whether Mary had any genuine choice in being the mother of Jesus or whether she was coerced or imposed upon by a divine Power greater than her. Yes, I know that she "consented" to being the mother of Jesus; but, having been told that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you", did she have any real say in the matter? If not, what might that say about God and the way he accomplishes his purposes?
AIUI the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, in the west, and Mary's sinlessness, in the east, are - among other things - affirmations of the belief that Mary acted through free choice and not because she was afraid of upsetting God.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
If one has to find alternate explanations in order to defend a doctrine, it would seem to me that the doctrine is specious.

There goes the Incarnation then. Because we have to explain away many a verse that Arius fell back on. Let's start with "this day I have begotten thee." Go for it. I'll watch.

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mousethief

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Occam's razor cuts both ways. Rather than spin unprovable stories about how people hated icky sex, and all of the other explanations offered here in the true spirit of Bulverism, the simplest explanation is that they believed it because they knew it to be true.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Occam's razor cuts both ways. Rather than spin unprovable stories about how people hated icky sex, and all of the other explanations offered here in the true spirit of Bulverism, the simplest explanation is that they believed it because they knew it to be true.

That simple explanation invites us to keep believing in King Arthur, copper bracelets for rheumatism, Elvis in the supermarket, Robin Hood and his round table, the yeti, leprechauns, and the Loch Ness monster and his merry men. Scepticism can bring simplicity, and awareness of the tendency to create beliefs isn't always Bulverism.

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Stetson
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lilbuddha wrote:

quote:
Completely anecdotal, but the most repressed people I've met are Protestant. Thought the whole sex-in-a-dark-room-missionary-position-only-for-procreation-and-don't-enjoy-it always seemed a child for the Reformation.
Aren't the sex standing up leads to dancing jokes about Prots?

True, but the whole "hyper-idealization of motherhood" thing has always seemed to me really Catholic. So, while Catholics might have been more laidback about the idea of people in general being carnal creatures, they might have been a bit more neurotic about the idea of their own mother(and by extension the woman who is a veritable mother to us all) having the normal physical functions and urges.

(Caveat: Like your observations, that's pretty much just anecdotal, but seems fairly well-established, at least from my own raised-Catholic-in-a-mixed-family perspective. Likely, Mariolatry itself has helped cement that impression in my mind.)

[ 26. June 2017, 15:43: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Callan
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Originally posted by Mousethief:

quote:
Occam's razor cuts both ways. Rather than spin unprovable stories about how people hated icky sex, and all of the other explanations offered here in the true spirit of Bulverism, the simplest explanation is that they believed it because they knew it to be true.

There is only one person who could definitively tell us if the doctrine was true or not and she wasn't, AFAIK, present when it was defined.

The most we can say is that the people who defined the doctrine believed that it was true because, with the conceptual tools at their disposal it made more sense to them than the alternative, and most Christians, subsequently, have agreed with them. This is not a negligible or contemptible position but it is the most that we can claim.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
lilbuddha wrote:

quote:
Completely anecdotal, but the most repressed people I've met are Protestant. Thought the whole sex-in-a-dark-room-missionary-position-only-for-procreation-and-don't-enjoy-it always seemed a child for the Reformation.
Aren't the sex standing up leads to dancing jokes about Prots?

True, but the whole "hyper-idealization of motherhood" thing has always seemed to me really Catholic. So, while Catholics might have been more laidback about the idea of people in general being carnal creatures, they might have been a bit more neurotic about the idea of their own mother(and by extension the woman who is a veritable mother to us all) having the normal physical functions and urges.

(Caveat: Like your observations, that's pretty much just anecdotal, but seems fairly well-established, at least from my own raised-Catholic-in-a-mixed-family perspective. Likely, Mariolatry itself has helped cement that impression in my mind.)

Isn't his a bit chicken-and-egg though? 21st century Catholics' views on motherhood are surely influenced by 17 (or so) centuries of this doctrine.

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Nicolemr
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There has, afaik, never been in Judaism any great veneration of the idea of celibacy.

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Bishops Finger
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Perhaps I'm missing something somewhere, but...

1. Mary (a young girl, and a virgin at that time) freely chooses to be the Mother of Jesus, whose conception is the result of her acceptance of the Holy Spirit.

2. Joseph marries Mary as planned, but does not have intercourse with her until after Jesus' birth.

3. Mary subsequently enjoys a normal married life with Joseph, and has other children (Our Lord's 'brothers and sisters') by him.

4. At some point (after Jesus' 12th year), Joseph presumably dies, as there is no further mention of him in the Bible IIRC.

5. At the Crucifixion, Jesus commends His Mother to John's care, possibly simply because he is there at the time, whereas Jesus' siblings are not. (John Bar-Zebedee may well have been a young man from a well-to-do family, so a sensible person to hand Mary over to!)

All of which is to be found in Scripture, but none of which, ISTM, detracts in any way from Mary's vital part in the story of our redemption, or from the example she gives us in her obedience to, and acceptance of, God's will.

So what's with the doctrine of 'perpetual virginity'? No disrespect to RCC or Orthodox, but I simply don't see the point of it. Mary having sex with Joseph after Jesus' birth surely doesn't denigrate or diminish her in any way? Or why would God have chosen to enable human beings to procreate by having intercourse, male with female?

IJ

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
So what's with the doctrine of 'perpetual virginity'? No disrespect to RCC or Orthodox, but I simply don't see the point of it.

Me neither - and no disrespect to Mary, "most highly favoured of women".
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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
lilbuddha wrote:

quote:
Completely anecdotal, but the most repressed people I've met are Protestant. Thought the whole sex-in-a-dark-room-missionary-position-only-for-procreation-and-don't-enjoy-it always seemed a child for the Reformation.
Aren't the sex standing up leads to dancing jokes about Prots?

True, but the whole "hyper-idealization of motherhood" thing has always seemed to me really Catholic. So, while Catholics might have been more laidback about the idea of people in general being carnal creatures, they might have been a bit more neurotic about the idea of their own mother(and by extension the woman who is a veritable mother to us all) having the normal physical functions and urges.

(Caveat: Like your observations, that's pretty much just anecdotal, but seems fairly well-established, at least from my own raised-Catholic-in-a-mixed-family perspective. Likely, Mariolatry itself has helped cement that impression in my mind.)

Isn't his a bit chicken-and-egg though? 21st century Catholics' views on motherhood are surely influenced by 17 (or so) centuries of this doctrine.
Yeah, I'm not neccesarily talking about which direction the casuistry goes. Just replying to lilbuddha's observation that protestants in general seem more sexually repressed than Catholics, even though Catholics have the chaster view of Mary. Whether the theology caused the overall views on motherhood, or vice versa, I don't know.

[ 26. June 2017, 16:27: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Gamaliel
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Not just the Orthodox and RCs either, of course, Luther, Calvin and Wesley all apparently believed in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

I can understand that with first generation Reformers such as Luther and Calvin, but it does seem a strange view for Wesley to have held - unless, of course, it was a fairly standard view in the Anglican church of the 1700s.

Someone more knowledgeable than I am can perhaps shed more light on that.

If it was, I'd be interested to know when such a belief 'died out' among Anglicans. I'd assumed it was something Anglo-Catholics latched onto when they ... well, when they became Anglican Catholics in the wake of the Oxford Movement.

That's assuming that all Anglo-Catholics believe it, of course, they might not for all I know ...

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Just replying to lilbuddha's observation that protestants in general seem more sexually repressed than Catholics, even though Catholics have the chaster view of Mary. Whether the theology caused the overall views on motherhood, or vice versa, I don't know.

Mary has a special status. So sex could be seen as a sinless thing in itself, but not an activity for her.
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I can understand that with first generation Reformers such as Luther and Calvin, but it does seem a strange view for Wesley to have held - unless, of course, it was a fairly standard view in the Anglican church of the 1700s.

Someone more knowledgeable than I am can perhaps shed more light on that.

Not sure how knowledgeable, but Wiki's take on it. It would seem to be a relatively recent thing.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Albertus
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Well, nobody yet seems to know the answer to my original question, but from the discussion so far, I'm with the non-perpetual virginity crowd. Exclamation Mark puts a question which for me goes to the heart of it:

quote:
Mary was chosen by God to be the natural mother of Christ - why would God deny the joy of intimacy post birth?
Indeed, I think that would be rather a cruel thing to do.

[ 26. June 2017, 18:36: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Hedgehog

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Perhaps I'm missing something somewhere, but...

1. Mary (a young girl, and a virgin at that time) freely chooses to be the Mother of Jesus, whose conception is the result of her acceptance of the Holy Spirit.

2. Joseph marries Mary as planned, but does not have intercourse with her until after Jesus' birth.

3. Mary subsequently enjoys a normal married life with Joseph, and has other children (Our Lord's 'brothers and sisters') by him.



Yes, you are missing:

1(a): Mary gets her mind around the concept that her Lord and God chose her to bear His child.
1(b): Joseph was not planning to have any sex with her at all because he thought she had been with somebody else and was planning to divorce her quietly.
1(c): God lets Joseph know in the dream that this is Different and she is bearing the Son of Joseph's Lord & God as well; so Joseph follows directions and goes through with the marriage.

Then your Point 2. Followed by:
2(a): Mary is pregnant and her cousin Elizabeth is inspired to recognize the difference and proclaim Mary as the mother of her Lord, further cementing that this child is Something Special and not just a bun in the oven.
2(b): Mary gives birth and shepherds come and report that freaking angels are proclaiming it!
2(c): Wise men from the Orient come and proclaim the birth as something so special it showed up in their freaking astrological charts!
2(d): Mary reflects on these things in heart.
2(e): Mary & Joseph conclude from the evidence that she has been the vessel of the Son of God himself. THE God. Yahweh. The Big Kahuna. Creator of Heaven & Earth. THAT God.
2(f): Mary & Joseph agree that maybe having a hot-and-sweaty roll in the hay after that would be inappropriate, so she stays virginal.

In other words, God didn't "make" Mary remain a virgin. It wasn't forced on her. It wasn't some sort of punishment. It was a free choice and, under the circumstances (because, you know, it isn't like Yahweh does this sort of thing all the time--in fact, never before--)freely choosing to remain virginal and not trespass on the sacred ground where one's One & Only God the Almighty has been would be a perfectly sane and reasonable decision for a mortal to make.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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HCH
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I do not understand why people think it is appropriate to delve into the intimate personal life of a husband and wife long since dead. How is this matter relevant to our lives? How is it worth our time to consider the matter? Is there actually any hope of resolving it?
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Well, nobody yet seems to know the answer to my original question, but from the discussion so far, I'm with the non-perpetual virginity crowd. Exclamation Mark puts a question which for me goes to the heart of it:

quote:
Mary was chosen by God to be the natural mother of Christ - why would God deny the joy of intimacy post birth?
Indeed, I think that would be rather a cruel thing to do.
You mean like fully human Jesus not boinking?

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Nicolemr
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quote:
2(f): Mary & Joseph agree that maybe having a hot-and-sweaty roll in the hay after that would be inappropriate, so she stays virginal.

See, this is where it falls down for me. I don't see why they would come to that decision unless they had some feeling that sex between a married couple was somehow less sacred than celibacy, which as I say afaik the Jews never did.

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Bishops Finger
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Well, OK to all Hedgehog's points, except 2(f).

Why on earth or in heaven shouldn't Mary and Joseph, as a married couple, enjoy what Hedgehog so elegantly describes as a 'hot and sweaty roll in the hay'?

[Confused]

And, in any case, the reference to Joseph in Matthew 1 v25 shows that they did have intercourse, presumably followed by the births of brothers and sisters referred to by Mark.

It's there, in plain view, in the Gospel!

IJ

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Well, nobody yet seems to know the answer to my original question, but from the discussion so far, I'm with the non-perpetual virginity crowd. Exclamation Mark puts a question which for me goes to the heart of it:

quote:
Mary was chosen by God to be the natural mother of Christ - why would God deny the joy of intimacy post birth?
Indeed, I think that would be rather a cruel thing to do.
You mean like fully human Jesus not boinking?
Knowing He was going to make a destitute young widow and fatherless kids. What man would do that?

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Love wins

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Bishops Finger
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Well, apart from in Dan Brown's fevered imagination, there's no evidence that he did.

That doesn't stop him (being fully human, and all that) from maybe falling in love, having sexual desires etc., but, in his case, keeping them on a leash.

As, no doubt, many celibate Christians also do.

IJ

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stonespring
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Well, nobody yet seems to know the answer to my original question, but from the discussion so far, I'm with the non-perpetual virginity crowd. Exclamation Mark puts a question which for me goes to the heart of it:

quote:
Mary was chosen by God to be the natural mother of Christ - why would God deny the joy of intimacy post birth?
Indeed, I think that would be rather a cruel thing to do.
You mean like fully human Jesus not boinking?
The argument over the perpetual virginity of The BVM is an argument over the authority of tradition vs scripture especially when absent the context of tradition (and yes, there is always the question of who gets to make sense of all the different strands of tradition), scripture seems to indicate the opposite of what the tradition maintained by the RCC and Orthodox Churches.

As a (very pro-sex, and in other cases probably heretical vis a vis what Rome would think) RCC who has no problem believing in the perpetual virginity of the BVM, I do see the silliness about all the arguments about the backwardness of venerating a life without sex given the near universal Christian belief in the lifelong virginity of Christ. I know no mention is made in scripture of marriage or children - so I'm not arguing that In terms of scripture or tradition the continence of Christ is related to the perpetual virginity of His mother. However, if Christ could make the relatively radical for his time and culture choice to eschew marriage, children, and sex for life, then surely His mother, who I have no problem calling a prophet, surely could not have also eschewed sex for life, as a calling her (quite possibly non-virgin) husband Jospeh assented to and was happy with? Protestants hate the idea not so much because they think sex is so wonderful but because they think it contradicts the clear meaning of scripture (I disagree, because I think "clear meaning of scripture" is an oxymoronic phrase - and I like the Orthodox idea that scripture is just a part of tradition). Also, some protestants are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of a marriage contracted with no intent to have sex or bear children (St Joseph may have intended to have a sexual marriage with the BVM when he became engaged to her, but after his message from the angel may very well have decided with his fiancée that they would have a sexless marriage as their particular matrimonial vocation). Someone who is deeply suspicious of any belief not citeable in scripture would find this speculation pointless and silly, but I think it's just as theologically useful, given the very long history of so many Christians believing in the perpetual virginity of the BVM, as good old fashioned scriptural exegesis. But different Christian traditions have different sources of doctrinal authority and different things they draw from in making theological arguments. It's as simple as that.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Well, apart from in Dan Brown's fevered imagination, there's no evidence that he did.

That doesn't stop him (being fully human, and all that) from maybe falling in love, having sexual desires etc., but, in his case, keeping them on a leash.

As, no doubt, many celibate Christians also do.

IJ

Exactly. Mary was not leashed so.

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