Catholic Teaching

Blessed Virgin Mary

     The Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin on her soul. She was born in a state of sanctifying grace, in the words of Pope Pius IX in his Bull, Ineffabillis Deus, Dec. 8, 1854, we read: "declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds Most Virgin Mary at the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Christ Jesus, the Savior of the human race, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and on this account must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful." He further warned us that if we do not accept and believe this dogma of faith, "that we are condemned by our own judgment." The term Immaculate Conception does not refer to the miraculous conception of Jesus in, the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit.

     Many non-Catholic people say that the use of the words brothers and sisters of Jesus, in the scriptures' means that Mary had other children after the birth of Our Lord, and therefore did not remain virgin after His birth. This is false teaching, according to the Church founded by Jesus and guaranteed by Him to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and therefore free from error in her teaching.
     Church doctors and historians over the last nineteen hundred years have offered various explanations for the term. Some said that Joseph had been a widower and had children by his former wife.
     A more logical and acceptable explanation could be that the Scriptures, written by the Hebrews in the Greek language, used the word adelphos, which is the same as the word 'ah in Hebrew, and has a broad base of meaning, from all forms of blood relationship to close friends and followers. New Testament writers used the term brother and sister in the same manner, but Jesus said that only they who follow the commands of My Father are My brothers and sisters.
     Matthew 13:55 shows the brothers of Jesus as being James, Joseph, Simon and Judas, but they are identified in the Scriptures as having different parents, so the phrase does not apply to any children of Mary, our Blessed Mother. If Jesus had any blood related brothers and sisters, why did He designate, from the cross, Mary to be the mother of John and for John to be her son?
     Hebrew writers of the Old Testament used the term brother in the same way as previously mentioned. In 2 Samuel 1:26, David, in his lament after the death of Saul and Jonathan, refers to Jonathan as his brother. Jonathan was the son of Saul and his wife Shinoam, so how could he be the brother of David? We see many other mentions of the word brother where no relationship exists, in 1 Kings 9:13, 2 Chronicles 29:34 and 1 Samuel 30:23, to mention just a few.
     In order to have had other children, after Jesus, Mary could not have remained virgin, and this is antithetical to Church teaching. Pope St. Ciricius (384-398) covered the question very succinctly in his letter to Anysius in 392, when he said that Jesus would not have been born to the virgin if He thought that she would be so incontinent, that with the seed of human copulation, she would pollute the generative chamber of the Lords body, that palace of the Eternal King. He went on further to say that if we accept the Jewish priests' authority , we sweep away the truth with great zeal.
     The Lateran Council, called by Pope St. Martin 1, (649-653), states in canon 3: "If anyone does not properly and honestly confess in accord with the Holy Fathers, that the holy mother of God, and ever virgin and immaculate Mary, in the earliest of the ages conceived of the Holy Spirit without seed, namely, God the Word before all ages, and that she incorruptibly bore Him, her virginity remaining indestructible, even after His birth, let him be condemned." We are not discussing rumors or myths here, but the teaching of a validly convened council of the Roman Catholic Church, and as such, we do not have the freedom to reject this teaching without divorcing ourselves from the Catholic Church, because in rejecting her teaching we become heretics.
     The key words in the pronouncement are 'ever virgin’ and her 'virginity remaining indestructible'. There can be no doubt at all about what St. Martin and the Lateran Council were saying.
     Canon 17 of the same document warned us that to not believe and confess even the smallest portion of the document, (ever virgin and her virginity remaining indestructible), means that we will be condemned.
     A key point to remember is that this is dogma, an article of faith, and as such, it will NEVER be changed. We have no option in the matter of dogma, we must believe and confess our faith, or we are no longer able to call ourselves Catholic.

     From the Apostolic Constitution, "Munificentissimus Deus", November 1, 1950, Pius XII: "...We pronounce, declare, and define that the dogma was revealed by God, that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary (there's that phrase again) after completing her course of life upon earth, was assumed to the glory of heaven both in body and soul."
     The document goes on to give us a stern warning. "Therefore, if anyone, which may God forbid, should dare either to deny this, or voluntarily call into doubt what has been defined by Us, he should realize that he has cut himself off entirely from the divine and Catholic faith."
     It is only logical to accept this pronouncement, for Mary was completely without sin for her whole life, and therefore would be spared the corruption of the tomb. (This is not my opinion but the opinions of Pius IX and Pius XII among many others, too numerous to mention.)
     I am devastated and appalled by so many Catholics, both in the laity and clergy who ignore the beauty to be found in our Blessed Mother. She is our mediatrix before Jesus. She pleads our petitions to Him; when we plead for her assistance in our needs we acknowledge her son, Jesus, for we are asking for intercession with Him on our behalf. If it is for our own good, or the good of others, and is in accord with the will of God, He will not ignore her or us, and will grant our requests, for He told us to ask and it would be given. When we honor Mary we please God, for she is His handmaiden, chosen by Him for honors above all creatures, but it was with a free will that she chose to accept the Will of God.
     In the words of Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria, to honor the King of the Universe and ignore His mother is not too smart.

Frederick G. Paschall

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