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Source: (consider it) Thread: Our Lady's marriage
Nick Tamen

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

As did, if I recall correctly, Zwingli, Bullinger, Latimer and Cranmer.

It is referenced ("ever Virgin Mary") in the Second Helvetic Confession, which is one of the most widely received confessions among Reformed churches. That's not to say all (or most) Reformed Christians necessarily believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary—assuming they think about it at all. But it is, so far as I know, the only mention one way or the other of the doctrine in a Reformed confession. So confessionally speaking, for the Reformed the doctrine is endorsed, not rejected.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Nicolemr
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I'm not particularly impressed by lists of people who believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary, because those same people probably also believed in the biblical account of creation and the existence of Adam and Eve.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Occam's razor cuts both ways.

So does Bulverism.
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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
I'm not particularly impressed by lists of people who believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary, because those same people probably also believed in the biblical account of creation and the existence of Adam and Eve.

Well, I think the idea is that from a protestant perspective, you take it for granted that the reformers believed in the literal reading of Genesis. And, in fact, for a lot of protestants, that would be a mark in their favour.

Whereas those same protestants, especially if they're the kind who still believe in biblical literalism(ie. fundamentalists), would also assume that there is no way on Earth the reformers would have believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. So bringing up the Perpetualist beliefs of Zwingli, Cranmer etc would have some special relevance when arguing with them.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
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, IMO, anti-RCC. As much as nearly all traditions, if not actually all, wish to claim The One Truth;ᵀᴹ they all contain elements shaped by post Jesus events and inter-sectual fighting.

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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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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Occam's razor cuts both ways.

So does Bulverism.
Except it hasn't. But nice try.

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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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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
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.
You are missing the point. If Jesus could abstain and not be less than whole, so could Mary.
Jesus could also have hooked up with a rich widow.
Sex is not everyone's thing. Jesus recommended against it, as did Paul.
I don't have a dog in the Mary with or without a cherry fight.
I am saying that either way could work and isn't as cut and dry as some of you seem to think.

--------------------
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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mousethief

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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.
Why is a life without sex so horrid? I know the society at large does, but do we really worship sex to that extent in the church?

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

Thank you.

quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
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".
Mary has a special status. The concept of holiness means being "set aside for God." The doctrine of the PVM says her womb was set aside for God, quite literally. And once thus consecrated, it would not be used for other purposes. Just as a Jewish priest wouldn't take home the tools of his day job and use them to cook supper. They were set aside, consecrated, holy unto God. They were to be used for one single purpose, presenting the sacrifices on the altar, and not for other purposes, however good and holy those purposes may be. There's nothing icky or sinful about making supper. But you wouldn't do it with the utensils used at the Altar of the Lord.

Interestingly, in my experience Mormons get this far better than most modern Protestants, because, I think, they have a clearer notion of something being set aside for a special purpose. When I have had this conversation here on the ship before (many many times, it seems), it always founders on this. Why WOULDN'T you use the utensils from the Temple for making supper? They're just utensils, for crying out loud.

As for the "purpose" or "point" -- that is a strange question for me. It seems to imply an Aristotelian teleological "end" is required for everything we believe, or everything God does, or something. I could understand if you said you didn't understand the reason. But I don't see why this has to have a purpose (or point). If there's something I'm not getting there, please explain.

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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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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Occam's razor cuts both ways.

So does Bulverism.
Except it hasn't. But nice try.
"Try" doesn't come into it.

The simple fact is that each side of this issue can claim both Occam's Razor and Bulverism, and it is sheer obscurantism to pretend otherwise.

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Kaplan Corday
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Protestants are under no more pressure to believe in the PVM because some Reformers did, than they are to believe in anti-Semitism and the burning of heretics because some Reformers did.
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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
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.
You are missing the point. If Jesus could abstain and not be less than whole, so could Mary.
Jesus could also have hooked up with a rich widow.
Sex is not everyone's thing. Jesus recommended against it, as did Paul.
I don't have a dog in the Mary with or without a cherry fight.
I am saying that either way could work and isn't as cut and dry as some of you seem to think.

Normality without making up a mandatory, excluding, hostile, defensive, esoteric, dogmatic, anti-intellectual, byzantine claim is. Cut and dried. What Mary and Joseph did or did not (counter to the simplest, faithful, open, orthodox shave with the text) got up to is private at least until the resurrection.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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... get ... an interesting editing error.

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Love wins

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hatless

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mousethief said:
quote:
Mary has a special status. The concept of holiness means being "set aside for God." The doctrine of the PVM says her womb was set aside for God, quite literally. And once thus consecrated, it would not be used for other purposes. Just as a Jewish priest wouldn't take home the tools of his day job and use them to cook supper. They were set aside, consecrated, holy unto God. They were to be used for one single purpose, presenting the sacrifices on the altar, and not for other purposes, however good and holy those purposes may be. There's nothing icky or sinful about making supper. But you wouldn't do it with the utensils used at the Altar of the Lord.

Interestingly, in my experience Mormons get this far better than most modern Protestants, because, I think, they have a clearer notion of something being set aside for a special purpose. When I have had this conversation here on the ship before (many many times, it seems), it always founders on this. Why WOULDN'T you use the utensils from the Temple for making supper? They're just utensils, for crying out loud.

Some of us enjoy getting our minds blown by the reckless crossover of holiness / worldliness that the Incarnation provides. An ordinary girl, a feeding trough, shepherds and foreigners, the five little fingers of God. And later, fishermen, disagreements, fear and exhaustion, blood and bandages. It's exciting to point to God in the world, and to do so you need to identify and mark God, but you also need to feel the transgressive jumbling of God's visiting.

My English non-conformist sensibilities are formed in reaction to Anglicanism. Anglicanism contains the most Godly things in privilege, power and wealth; heritage architecture, precious metals, and private school accents. Contrast a Baptist church clearly built by a firm more used to doing village halls and small factories, a communion table that more than anything else resembles a post-War domestic dining table, Utility badged, and language, clothes and music appropriate to a local civic event two generations ago.

The Baptist style is dingy and disappointing, but the way it gains a spark for me is not by pushing it in the Anglican direction, which is beyond our means in any case, but by pulling it into the present and the adjacent.

I imagine that most of us respond to the encounter between the holy and the here, and it's a matter of experience and taste whether we find this best enhanced by strengthening the sense of the holy, or taking away the museum ropes around it.

But this is such an interesting discussion. I am not on the same page as anyone else here when it comes to use of scripture. I don't think we can read what actually happened from scripture. I am suspicious of the very desire to do so - so Modern. I think our beliefs and interpretations are entirely constructed, and that questions about point and purpose are not only relevant, but the ones that are most useful. Appeals to Tradition and Scripture are an attempt to dodge this, and a refusal to engage honestly and creatively with the 'so what?'s of our beliefs.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Protestants are under no more pressure to believe in the PVM because some Reformers did, than they are to believe in anti-Semitism and the burning of heretics because some Reformers did.

Nobody said they were.

The point I was making was that many Protestants, particularly those of the more literal 6-Day Creation variety or who wave the 'solas' around as if they're some kind of badge of superiority, would be surprised to learn that some of those they revere as pioneers and champions did believe in the PVM ...

Why does it always have to come down to this binary knee-jerk reaction thing?

'Oh, so if you're expecting us to believe that ...' (and no, I'm not expecting you to believe or do anything) ' ... then why don't you expect us to do this?'

The corollary / parallel would be if someone were to argue, 'So, you don't believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, eh? Then how about the Virgin Birth of Christ? Why believe in that then? Eh? Eh?'

Which, as far as I can tell, is an argument no-one has deployed on this thread. I'm sure it may well have been somewhere or other aboard Ship in the past.

It seems to me that we all engage in special pleading when it comes to our own particular shibboleths.

In 'real-life' I've been having a long exchange with my brother-in-law's very fundamentalist brother who can't or won't accept that the Torah reflects socio-cultural concerns of the time ...

And he's resorting to similar arguments.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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I get that, hatless, having worshipped in both Anglican and Baptist settings - although, to use a phrase I've been castigated for in the past, I think you are 'over-egging the pudding' in the opposite direction.

If nothing's sacred, then nothing's sacred.

Even the most minimalist of approaches, Quakers and so on, retain some sense of 'occasion' if you like ... however that is expressed.

When it comes down to the issue of sex, I suspect it's dear old Augustine who has coloured our thinking on that one - particularly within Western Christianity.

Which is why, it seems to me, some posters here are using that brush to tar the Orthodox with when their reasons for a belief in the PVM appear to be based on different criteria than the idea that sex is icky and to be avoided.

That doesn't mean that the Orthodox don't put a premium on chastity and virginity - of course they do, as witnessed by the monastic tradition.

Nor does it mean that they don't have a tendency to rope things off and put things on pedestals - of course they do. They bling-out on stuff big time.

But again, there are reasons for that of course and it all boils down to context. What can look intimidating and power-enhancing in a Byzantine style cathedral can be moving and affecting in a humble village parish church or a ricketty skete somewhere out in the woods ...

There might be a 'spark' amid the mellamine and 1950s/60s decor of a Baptist chapel - and I wouldn't deny that to be the case - but how far do we take these things?

My local RC church looks like a 1960s crematorium chapel. It's bloody awful, a kind of faux-Italian / Spanish hacienda style box with some plastic angels and appalling iconography. But there's also something quite 'heroic' about it as the parishioners raised the money themselves and did their best despite the Anglicans having all the impressive and venerable church plant around here ...

But I'm drifting into other areas now ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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We ain't entitled to any shibboleths.

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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We may not be 'entitled' to them, but we all have them.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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hatless

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Gamaliel wrote
quote:
If nothing's sacred, then nothing's sacred.
Or, if certain things are sacred, then most things are not sacred. If everything is sacred we may forget, so we need a reminder, but that needn't be something that sets apart. So Quakers have no communion service, but say that every meal is Eucharistic.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
We may not be 'entitled' to them, but we all have them.

What unwarranted, weak, hostile beliefs? I'm not aware of mine. I am VERY aware of my unwarranted, hostile feelings, which contain undifferentiated beliefs, what they are I don't know. Stimulated in particular by unwarranted, weak, hostile Christian beliefs and the behaviour they drive, the closer to home, the more I have to work on. In myself. My response. As I'm wrestling with here. I'm amazed at the depth of tension I still feel.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Gamaliel wrote
quote:
If nothing's sacred, then nothing's sacred.
Or, if certain things are sacred, then most things are not sacred. If everything is sacred we may forget, so we need a reminder, but that needn't be something that sets apart. So Quakers have no communion service, but say that every meal is Eucharistic.
If by sacred we mean unquestionable, unexaminable, then NOTHING is sacred. That's sacred.

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Love wins

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Eirenist
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This discussion is interesting but pointless. As C.S. Lewis says somewhere (it could be Screwtape), the material for a biography of Christ has been withhheld from humans. The same goes for his mother. We are told that Mary was forewarned that 'the power of the Most High would overshadow her', but not exactly how and when that event happened. Nor do we have any information about Mary and Joseph's family life. That being so, we have no data to support any theory beyond, on the one hand, the words of the Gospels and on the other, the tradition of the Church. 'Yer pays yer money .....'

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Martin60
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Unpoint taken.

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Love wins

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by Eirenist:
This discussion is interesting but pointless. As C.S. Lewis says somewhere (it could be Screwtape), the material for a biography of Christ has been withhheld from humans. The same goes for his mother. We are told that Mary was forewarned that 'the power of the Most High would overshadow her', but not exactly how and when that event happened. Nor do we have any information about Mary and Joseph's family life. That being so, we have no data to support any theory beyond, on the one hand, the words of the Gospels and on the other, the tradition of the Church. 'Yer pays yer money .....'

I think they are in the same hand, or at least they were, then scripture was put down on the table, where we pick and choose which bits to read and how.

But we write biographies without information, no problem at all.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Gamaliel wrote
quote:
If nothing's sacred, then nothing's sacred.
Or, if certain things are sacred, then most things are not sacred. If everything is sacred we may forget, so we need a reminder, but that needn't be something that sets apart. So Quakers have no communion service, but say that every meal is Eucharistic.
Yes, but by the same token, if every meal is Eucharistic then it's possible to fail to notice ...

I don't want to get Orwellian here, but if all meals are Eucharistic, could it not be that some meals are more Eucharistic than others?

[Biased]

I could go out for a meal with my wife on any night of the year, but tend to do so for birthdays / special occasions and anniversaries.

Rather than the Orwellian, some things are more sacred than others thing, I'd rather go for the both/and not either/or thing ...

As far as the Quaker thing goes, sure, fine ... but you try becoming a fully-fledged Friend and continue to receive the Eucharist at your local parish church - or at a Baptist one for that matter - and see what they have to say about that ...

It's not as if the Quakers don't set things apart either. They set apart the Bible and the Quaker Book of Discipline (or Notes & Queries or whatever it's called) on a table during their meetings.

They don't put a copy of The Beano or The Guardian there.

They meet at a set-time on a Sunday morning, generally - not at some random time in the middle of the night ...

All we are talking about are degrees of variation on a sense of 'holiness' ... the extent to which we ratchet these things up.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Matt Black

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So, going back to the OP question, if the marriage was never consummated, were Mary and Joseph actually married according to Jewish custom? Even if they were, can they be called married according to Catholic Canon Law which, IIRC, states that a marriage has to be consummated to be valid? If not, why does the Catholic liturgy refer to Joseph as 'her blessed spouse'?

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Martin60
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It's all artefact and artifice. Stuff we make up, we bring to the party. All.

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Love wins

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Protestants are under no more pressure to believe in the PVM because some Reformers did, than they are to believe in anti-Semitism and the burning of heretics because some Reformers did.

Nobody said they were.

The point I was making was that many Protestants, particularly those of the more literal 6-Day Creation variety or who wave the 'solas' around as if they're some kind of badge of superiority, would be surprised to learn that some of those they revere as pioneers and champions did believe in the PVM ...

And I'd say the other point is that this isn't necessarily a clean divide, with RCs and Orthodox on one side and Protestants on the other. The Reformers were not at all shy about saying where, based on their reading of Scripture, they thought the Catholic Church had gone wrong. Many such places were identified at the Reformation, but the PVM was not one of those places.

As a result, my hunch is that it's RCs, Orthodox, some Anglicans and some Protestants on one side, with many (probably most) Protestants and Anglicans either on the other side or quite content to be agnostic on the subject and not settle on either side.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
So, going back to the OP question, if the marriage was never consummated, were Mary and Joseph actually married according to Jewish custom? Even if they were, can they be called married according to Catholic Canon Law which, IIRC, states that a marriage has to be consummated to be valid? If not, why does the Catholic liturgy refer to Joseph as 'her blessed spouse'?

Thank you, Matt. You present my question much better than I did in the OP. Nobody so far really seems to have answered it.

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Gamaliel
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Well, phrased as Matt's phrased it, it becomes a question for the RCs given that he cites their marriage canons.

I can't imagine any Cardinals reading this rubbing their chins and thinking, 'Dang! We never thought of that one before ...!'

So there must be an RC answer on this specific point.

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Stetson
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I haven't had time to read this, but I can guess what their answer is(if not their background reasoning).

Were Joseph and Mary really married?

As many of you probably know, First Things is not an official organ of the RCC, but an opinion magazine championing a conservative Catholic viewpoint. I'd guess their opinion on this is fairly close to that of official Catholicism, though.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
I haven't had time to read this, but I can guess what their answer is(if not their background reasoning).

Were Joseph and Mary really married?

Interesting that the writer analyzes the question under canon law and ancient Roman law, but not under Jewish law.

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Gamaliel wrote
quote:
If nothing's sacred, then nothing's sacred.
Or, if certain things are sacred, then most things are not sacred. If everything is sacred we may forget, so we need a reminder, but that needn't be something that sets apart. So Quakers have no communion service, but say that every meal is Eucharistic.
Yes, but by the same token, if every meal is Eucharistic then it's possible to fail to notice ...

I don't want to get Orwellian here, but if all meals are Eucharistic, could it not be that some meals are more Eucharistic than others?

[Biased]

I could go out for a meal with my wife on any night of the year, but tend to do so for birthdays / special occasions and anniversaries.

Rather than the Orwellian, some things are more sacred than others thing, I'd rather go for the both/and not either/or thing ...

As far as the Quaker thing goes, sure, fine ... but you try becoming a fully-fledged Friend and continue to receive the Eucharist at your local parish church - or at a Baptist one for that matter - and see what they have to say about that ...

It's not as if the Quakers don't set things apart either. They set apart the Bible and the Quaker Book of Discipline (or Notes & Queries or whatever it's called) on a table during their meetings.

They don't put a copy of The Beano or The Guardian there.

They meet at a set-time on a Sunday morning, generally - not at some random time in the middle of the night ...

All we are talking about are degrees of variation on a sense of 'holiness' ... the extent to which we ratchet these things up.

I don't think degrees of holiness is a great idea.

Yes, we forget that God has come close, but you don't have to sequester bits of the world away to remind yourself of that. You can have markers, signs and symbols including words. We have no confusion about the hand that blesses also being the hand that passes the milk, because it isn't about the hand, but the meaning of the gesture in the context of worship.

In one church we regularly used the communion table for meals at social events. We knew it was the communion table - it had been deliberately made like a refectory table - and it enhanced both secular curries and the Sunday communion to have memories of the other brought to mind.

Think about paintings in a gallery, You can 'say' that this is a great painting with a huge gilt frame, a deep roped off exclusion area and a uniformed guard seated beside it. Or you can hang it as the only picture in a room. Or a cheeky curator could hang it among three dozen similar pictures all unlabelled and let visitors try to work out which was the famous one.

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sharkshooter

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Was the manger in which Jesus was laid also holy? Was it never used for anything again?

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Gamaliel
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I'm sure the manager continued to be used as a manger. But what if it hadn't? Would it have been 'wrong' for it to be set aside to be marvelled at?

Sure, there's a sliding scale here and I'm as squeamish as anyone else when it comes to folk-religiosity and relics and so on ...

I remember hatless telling us all about some village in Spain where the residents whip and flog a statue of St Anthony if he doesn't deliver the goods in terms of finding misplaced items for them ...

But how far do we take it?

Why is minimalism seen as a virtue in this context?

Are the Methodists 'wrong' to preserve Wesley's chapel in London and to show visitors around his house? Why don't they scrap their Methodist museum there and turn it into flats?

No-one's telling hatless what he can or can't do with his communion table. He can set it up outside as a fruit and veg stall if he so chooses.

But if someone sets up an altar somewhere or a shrine or designates something as 'special' in some way then that's seen as somehow obviating the sense of the sacredness of all things.

The mileage varies, but in my experience most people who take some kind of sacramental approach to things tends to have a fairly developed sense of the holy in the ordinary and the everyday and the sacredness of every day life and so on ...

The Jews had prayers for sitting on the toilet.

The Orthodox have prayers for almost everything you can think of.

Quakers see everything as equally sacred. Great. I don't see them as the only ones to do so, though.

If I put a pole up in my garden and say that it is The Pole of Peace it doesn't mean that a bean-pole in someone else's veggie plot doesn't have any significance.

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Gamaliel
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Marcel Duchamp got there before you, hatless.

His 'Fountain' of 1917 was a urinal signed, 'R Mutt' and hung in an art gallery. The idea was to subvert expectations, of course and to challenge convention. What made it a 'work of art'? The fact that it was hung in an art gallery - the context gave it meaning and significance ... or did it?

That was the paradox ...

But you're answering your own question to an extent.

What makes the 'famous' work of art famous or 'better' than the similar ones that might be exhibited alongside it? It's not the gilt frame, the gilt frame is a response / reaction to its fame.

It is framed because it is famous. It is famous because there is an agreed 'canon' or convention or collegial understanding of its worthiness to be considered as such.

It's the agreement that confers the fame.

What makes a shared sacrament or ordinance special? Is it objectively so even if there is no-one to partake or participate?

Or does part of the import / significance consist in the agreement to set time and effort aside to celebrate it?

Sure, you don't get bells and smells and ra-rah-rah in a Baptist communion service or the Brethren breaking of bread, but that doesn't mean that the celebration in that context lacks meaning and significance for those who partake.

It's the same at the t'other end of the spectrum. The ra-rah-rah and bells and whistles are a response to the significance of the action, if you like ... they aren't what confers the significance, they are actions that derive or respond to that significance ...

I'm not explaining myself very well, but you know what I mean ...

There's almost a kind of inverted snobbery thing going on here. The less rah-rah-rah-rah and flummery the more authentic or significant something is deemed to be ...

Surely that's just as 'bad' - or good, bad or indifferent - as the opposite being the case - lots of choreography and bling?

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Martin60
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So, G, was Our Lady married by Jewish criteria or not?

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Anglican_Brat
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One could see that the perpetual virginity of Our Lady is a sign of how distinctive her vocation is, her marriage to St Joseph is precisely unlike other marriages in that she is called to bear and raise the Incarnate Son of God. Her consecration to this vocation is unique and her abstinence from sexual activity is not by itself, to denigrate sexuality or marital love. John the Baptist forsook alcohol as part of his vocation and no one complains that this abstinence denigrates alcohol.

I don't know, really if Mary and Joseph had a "normal" marriage or not. Fleeing into Egypt with a newborn from a vicious tyrant doesn't strike me as normal marital living, so I am suspicious of applying the standards of "normal modern marriage" to the Holy Family.

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mousethief

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So was God wrong, then, to have the Israelites consecrate the furnishings of the Temple and not use them for anything else? Did Moses take off his sandals in error, because by God ALL ground is sacred ground, and not just the ground in front of flaming shrubbery? That route stands to toss out most of what we learn of holiness from the Hebrew Scriptures.

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Bishops Finger
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Fleeing from a vicious tyrant is, sadly, part of 'normal' married life for many people from Syria, for example, and other countries, today.

The Holy Family, however one views them, certainly shared in some, at least, of our universal human suffering and sorrows. Our Lady, before witnessing the death of her first-born, probably also had had to cope with the deaths of her parents, Anne and Joachim, and of Joseph himself.

IJ

IJ

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
So was God wrong, then, to have the Israelites consecrate the furnishings of the Temple and not use them for anything else? Did Moses take off his sandals in error, because by God ALL ground is sacred ground, and not just the ground in front of flaming shrubbery? That route stands to toss out most of what we learn of holiness from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Aye. It does. Of the Holy Killer God.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I'm not explaining myself very well, but you know what I mean

tl;dr
Art is arbitrary. What qualifies as art is determined by tastemakers and, occasionally, the people.
Religion and religious practice is the same.
Pretending that This Is because it Must be, without reference to subjectivity, is ridiculous.

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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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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I'm not explaining myself very well, but you know what I mean

tl;dr
Art is arbitrary. What qualifies as art is determined by tastemakers and, occasionally, the people.
Religion and religious practice is the same.
Pretending that This Is because it Must be, without reference to subjectivity, is ridiculous.

An excellent post. I was thinking, before I read it, how art sets things apart as holy, and modern art often produces discomfort by doing this with strange things, such as the urinal, mentioned above.

I've seen Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' several times, and find it fascinating, as it blends the mundane, or in fact, profane, with the holy. She made her bed, and no longer lies in it. You could say queasy and holy, and holey sheets.

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Gamaliel
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Who said anything about how it 'Must' be?

I'm not saying anything to anyone, whether it's hatless or Mousethief that things 'Must' be done in a particular way ...

Meanwhile, @Mousethief, as you'll be aware, the more Protestant answer to that would be that now we've got the New Covenant then holiness has been democratised and universalised to some extent. The veil of the Temple was torn in two - the Holy of Holies was opened to all by a new and living way ...

The degree to which that's applied / envisaged varies of course, but from a strict Proddy view-point any attempt to sanctify objects, places and things is regarded with suspicious as it looks as if it's a backward step - under Law rather than under grace and so on. You'll have heard the rhetoric.

I'd have been very much that way inclined back in my more restorationist days.

So priests and altars and Holy Hand Grenades of Antioch are regarded as irrelevant at best, highly suspicious at worst.

In reality, of course, all that happens - human nature being what it is - is that these groups 'sacralise' something else instead - irrespective of whether they are doing so or not. Nature abhors a vacuum.

So, if you don't have a 'high' view of the Eucharist, say, you transfer that to a 'high' view of something else - the corporate worship time, the weekly Bible study, the sermon,the Church Meeting even ...

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Fleeing from a vicious tyrant is, sadly, part of 'normal' married life for many people from Syria, for example, and other countries, today.

The Holy Family, however one views them, certainly shared in some, at least, of our universal human suffering and sorrows. Our Lady, before witnessing the death of her first-born, probably also had had to cope with the deaths of her parents, Anne and Joachim, and of Joseph himself.

IJ

IJ

And we are all fleeing or need to from the vicious tyrant we have made of God.

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Love wins

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
So was God wrong, then, to have the Israelites consecrate the furnishings of the Temple and not use them for anything else? Did Moses take off his sandals in error, because by God ALL ground is sacred ground, and not just the ground in front of flaming shrubbery? That route stands to toss out most of what we learn of holiness from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps, one effect of the Incarnation is to blur the lines between holy and not-holy. God no longer "dwells" in the Tabernacle or the Temple. God has walked among us, treading on the same ground we walk on, using the same everyday dishes we use.

The NT leads us to re-examine much of what the Hebrew Scriptures tell us about the distinction between clean and unclean. Should the distinction between holy and not-holy be different? After all, it was Jesus who cited approvingly to David allowing his hungry men to eat the Bread of the Presence, which was holy and restricted to the priests.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Who said anything about how it 'Must' be?

sigh
I was not accusing you, or directly anyone, of this. But it is how religion is discussed and how this topic in particular is addressed.

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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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Gamaliel
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Alright, lilBuddha. Fair enough.

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Nicolemr
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Getting back to the original point of the thread, it is worthwhile to remember that Jewish attitudes towards sex and marriage are different than Christian ones. A Jewish man owes his wife three things by law, food, clothing, and sex. (and anything else specifically spelled out in the marriage agreement). However, she is not required to reciprocate. So, I guess if Mary felt she shouldn't have sex, Joseph would have had to accede to her wish. However, if Mary did want sex, it would be unlawful for Joseph to refuse her.

Really guys, google this stuff, it's fascinating.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Meanwhile, @Mousethief, as you'll be aware, the more Protestant answer to that would be that now we've got the New Covenant then holiness has been democratised and universalised to some extent. The veil of the Temple was torn in two - the Holy of Holies was opened to all by a new and living way ...

The degree to which that's applied / envisaged varies of course, but from a strict Proddy view-point any attempt to sanctify objects, places and things is regarded with suspicious as it looks as if it's a backward step - under Law rather than under grace and so on. You'll have heard the rhetoric.

Of course. I'm not telling anyone they have to do or believe anything, although I admit I get frustrated having the O position misrepresented.

I will say this, I don't see how one can believe in the Real Presence, and not in localized holiness. Also I agree with whoever said, if everything is holy, then nothing is holy. Or rather, in that case holiness becomes meaningless. Words are useful and meaningful inasmuch as they tell one thing from another. A word that applies to everything is just another synonym for "everything."

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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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Anglican_Brat
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I am uncomfortable comparing Mary to vessels and temples. She is not an inanimate object, but a human person which is why I am not impressed by RC typologies of Ark of the Covenant, etc.

One can argue, that Mary vowed virginity because she believed that God frankly told her too, and she obeyed as a faithful servant of God. The evangelical objection, doesn't factor in the simple reason that God might simply have asked Mary to vow virginity for life.

Frankly I suspect the Protestant critique of Mary's perpetual virginity is based to some degree on their hostility to monasticism.

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