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 Post subject: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 4:24 pm 
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I am a Christian of the Baptist Tradition who has a great respect for the Roman Catholic Church as it is one of the four ancient Traditions of the Church.

I teach Sunday School for adults at our Church, and I am asked often: Why do Catholics as well as Orthodox believe that Mary is Ever Virgin? They understand that both Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Tradition believe that Mary is without sin but what I cannot answer is why it is believed that she was Ever Virgin. Please understand I know of no Christian Tradition that denies the Virgin Birth, but that is a separate issue from Mary being Ever Virgin.

The earliest I have any reference to this is St. Athanasius, writer of the Athanasian Creed, referring to Mary as ever virgin around 370AD, but I have found no reference to this in the first two centuries of The Church despite innumerable statements concerning Mary being a Virgin and giving birth to her first child, Jesus, as a virgin.

The basis for the question is the statements throughout the New Testament concerning the brothers and sisters of Jesus and James introducing himself as the brother of Jesus. Further it is often brought up that Mary is the legal wife of Joseph under Jewish Law as referenced throughout the New Testament and a marriage under Jewish Law required consummation.

I understand this is a sensitive subject among Catholics and I do not want to offend, but please help an old Baptist teacher to properly explain to his class this position. As I said in my previous post, I have a strong desire to unify The Church across all Traditions and I see that the primary cause of division is the use quips and nonsense to explain heartfelt Doctrines of other Traditions.

Merry CHRISTmas and God Bless us all
Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 6:03 pm 
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It is not 'sensitive' at all.

We believe it because Scripture clearly teaches it.

Remember Mary's response to the angel, 'how can this be, since I do not know a man?' (Or whatever your preferred translation might be ), as was noted by the Church Fathers, Mary's response makes absolutely no sense unless we interpret it as Mary making a vow of perpetual virginity.

To put it directly, no woman of childbearing age who will soon be married is going to be surprised to be told that she will soon get pregnant. The only way that a woman is going to find such an announcement surprising is if

a. She is too old to have children
b. She has some reason other than age to believe herself to be infertile
c. She has no intention of ever having intercourse with her husband
d. She has no understanding of human biology and has no idea where babies come from

There is simply no other option


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 6:11 pm 
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What's your source for the statement that a marriage under Jewish law requires consummation? I'm not denying it--I'm just not familiar with it and wondering where you found it.


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 6:23 pm 
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It is part of the Rabbinical Texts known as the Talmud. My personal source was discussion with an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi as I do not know Hebrew. Also I believe Dr. Mike Heiser has talked about this. He was a Staff theologian with LOGOS and recognized Christian Ancient Language Expert.

This does not mean my sources were not in error, but I believe them to honestly communicating the truth as they understand it.


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 6:44 pm 
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As to the announcement by the Angel and Mary conceiving as a Virgin - I never met to imply that was not true. In fact I believe that Mary conceiving as a Virgin is held as true by every Christian Tradition. I will go even further to say that to not believe this, as the LDS do, would define a person as a non-Christian.

The question does not deal with Mary and the birth of Jesus BUT whether remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. I would note that the physical aspects of virginity would make that impossible and that is not what I am referring to, but rather did she consummate her marriage with Joseph and have other children from her marriage to Joseph? OR did she refrain from this and thus not have other children through Joseph?

I can find nowhere in Scripture or even in the Patristic (Pre-200AD) writings where this was presented even as an idea. Early Church history and the Gospels do indicate that Joseph was not alive at the time of the Baptism of Jesus by John or even at the Marriage at Cana. However, the Scriptures do indicate that Joseph was alive when Jesus was 12 at The Temple and Mary was living with Joseph.

I am asking whether there is any reference to Mary being Ever Virgin from the Apostolic Era or Patristic Era immediately following the Apostolic Era as I can find none. This baffles me because it is such a prevalent view of The Church at Large starting around 400AD.

Please forgive my rambling or as my late wife used to call it "Vain Babblings". I am just asking for help.

On a final note: This is the only site/blog I have found where I can ask questions and dialogue about our Faith.

Love you all
Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 9:13 pm 
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danielallyn wrote:
It is part of the Rabbinical Texts known as the Talmud. My personal source was discussion with an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi as I do not know Hebrew. Also I believe Dr. Mike Heiser has talked about this. He was a Staff theologian with LOGOS and recognized Christian Ancient Language Expert.

This does not mean my sources were not in error, but I believe them to honestly communicating the truth as they understand it.


Do you realize the Talmud post dates the New Testament by more than 500 years and reflects post-Christian rabbinical Judaism and not the Judaism of the time of Christ? And did you know that one of the purposes of the Talmud is to codify Jewish understanding of scripture so as to rebut the attempted evangelization efforts of Christian missionaries? There is a definite apologetics purpose in much of that tradition.

And do you know that all the sources of pre-Christian Judaism we do have, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the writings of Philo of Alexandria, indicate that vows of celibacy and Josephite marriage (i.e. marriages which were never consummated) were fairly common practices in the first century?


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 9:19 pm 
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danielallyn wrote:
As to the announcement by the Angel and Mary conceiving as a Virgin - I never met to imply that was not true. In fact I believe that Mary conceiving as a Virgin is held as true by every Christian Tradition. I will go even further to say that to not believe this, as the LDS do, would define a person as a non-Christian.

The question does not deal with Mary and the birth of Jesus BUT whether remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. I would note that the physical aspects of virginity would make that impossible and that is not what I am referring to, but rather did she consummate her marriage with Joseph and have other children from her marriage to Joseph? OR did she refrain from this and thus not have other children through Joseph?

I can find nowhere in Scripture or even in the Patristic (Pre-200AD) writings where this was presented even as an idea. Early Church history and the Gospels do indicate that Joseph was not alive at the time of the Baptism of Jesus by John or even at the Marriage at Cana. However, the Scriptures do indicate that Joseph was alive when Jesus was 12 at The Temple and Mary was living with Joseph.

I am asking whether there is any reference to Mary being Ever Virgin from the Apostolic Era or Patristic Era immediately following the Apostolic Era as I can find none. This baffles me because it is such a prevalent view of The Church at Large starting around 400AD.

Please forgive my rambling or as my late wife used to call it "Vain Babblings". I am just asking for help.

On a final note: This is the only site/blog I have found where I can ask questions and dialogue about our Faith.

Love you all
Dan


Again, Mary's question makes absolutely no sense AT ALL if she planned on having normal sexual relations with Joseph after she was married. And note also that while Zechariah was punished by the angel for his unbelief after expressing skepticism, Mary was praised for her faith for expressing an even more emphatic skepticism. Why are Zechariah and Mary treated differently when they both acted in the same way? This implies that Mary's skepticism was somehow more reasonable. Why would this be?


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2021 11:55 am 
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King of Cool wrote:
Again, Mary's question makes absolutely no sense AT ALL if she planned on having normal sexual relations with Joseph after she was married. And note also that while Zechariah was punished by the angel for his unbelief after expressing skepticism, Mary was praised for her faith for expressing an even more emphatic skepticism. Why are Zechariah and Mary treated differently when they both acted in the same way? This implies that Mary's skepticism was somehow more reasonable. Why would this be?
Response:
Let’s look at the Text Luke 1:8-33 (NCB New Catholic Bible)
On one occasion, when his division was on duty and he was exercising his priestly office before God, 9 he was designated by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 At the hour of the offering of incense, all the people were outside, praying. 11 Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
12 When Zechariah beheld him, he was terrified and overcome with fear. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear for you a son, and you shall name him John. 14 He will be a source of joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
“He will never imbibe wine or any strong drink. Even when he is still in his mother’s womb, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, 16 and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to reconcile fathers with their children and to convert the disobedient to the ways of the righteous, so that a prepared people might be made ready for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be assured of this? For I am an old man and my wife is well past the stage of giving birth.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to convey to you this good news. 20 But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their appointed time, you will lose your power of speech and will become mute until the day that these things take place.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he was delaying so long in the sanctuary. 22 When he did emerge, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision while he was in the sanctuary. He was only able to make signs to them, but he remained unable to speak.
23 When his term of service was completed, he returned home. 24 Shortly thereafter his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she remained in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “The Lord has granted me this blessing, looking favorably upon me and removing from me the humiliation I have endured among my people.”

26 Announcement of the Birth of Jesus. In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 The angel came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled by his words and wondered in her heart what this salutation could mean.
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, your cousin Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month, 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” After this, the angel departed from her.

Concerning the difference in response of Zechariah and Mary:
Zechariah was saying that Elizabeth getting pregnant was not possible to happen as both he and Elizabeth were too old and rejected the possibility. This is like Abraham’s response in Genesis 17 except that Abraham accepted the answer and circumcised his entire household. Mary asked the question How shall this be since I am a virgin only to find out how this would happen while still maintaining her Jewish Marriage Vows and not only accepted the answer but accepted The Holy Spirit to make her pregnant and thus become The Theotokos.

Concerning Mary’s response not making sense if she planned to consummate her marriage to Joseph:
The English Translation refers to Mary being engaged to Joseph which is reasonably accurate in today’s context of marriage. However, Mary and Joseph were Jewish and the Jewish Marriage takes place in 2 parts. The Betrothal (Kiddushin) and The Nuptials (Chuppah). The time between The Betrothal and The Nuptials could be up to a year or more, but during this time the couple is considered to be fully married but they may not co-habitat until after The Nuptials. Joseph and Mary had taken the first step, The Betrothal, and they were considered to be fully married under Jewish Law. Mary’s question is more than just a question of how physically, but also how this would not violate her marriage vows of The Betrothal as she was married to Joseph under Jewish Law. This also sheds light on Matthew 1:18-24 to understand the concern and the acceptance of the entirety of God’s work by Joseph. It is not just that Joseph thought Mary had been with another man or worse been raped as the Jewish Talmud claims, but that she had engaged in adultery with a potential judgement of stoning. Therefore, he took her into his home which was a declaration that The Child was his. All this said - back to my original comment: I see nowhere in this or any other Scripture that Mary planned to “know not man”. In fact, the New Testament consistently refers to Joseph and Mary as married and the parents of Jesus under the inspiration of The Holy Spirit.

Back to the Original Question
I love the dialogue, but my original question was: Is there any direct reference to Mary being The Ever Virgin before 300AD, so that I can present an answer to my class. I have searched through the Patristic and Apostolic Era writings and can find none. Of course, I understand that Roman Catholic interpretation of Scripture finds indications of this, but I am seeking something more plainly said. Such as St. Athanasius calling her the Ever Virgin as part of the discussions at the Council of Nicaea (Note that despite this comment the statement that Mary is Ever Virgin is not in The Nicene Creed). There are several reasons why I believe that several non-ecumenical teachings and doctrines developed after the closure of New Testament and the formation of The Nicene Creed, but that is a lengthy discussion that has many threads. I would love to discuss those, but I do not believe this is the forum to do this. In fact, if you know of a Blog or Forum for Theological and Church History issues, I would really appreciate letting me know of it.

Yours in Christ
Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2021 11:29 pm 
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Mary was conceived of the Holy Spirit that was her spouse and she would remain loyal to that spouse.

"For he who has become your husband is your Maker." (Isaia 54; 5)

Yours in Christ,


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2021 9:36 am 
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Thank you, Stargazer,

I have always looked at Is 54:5 applying to Israel and The Church only. I have never applied it as a Prophesy concerning Mary, but I have to say it fits.

I will put this in my hip pocket for future reference and definitely share it with my class. This still does not end my quest, but it definitely gives me something to chew on. One of my tools in studying a verse is to use The Treasury of Scriptural Reference. It has very little commentary but focuses on providing any remotely connected verse in Scripture to the one being examined.

Thank you for this excellent response.

Yours in Christ
Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2021 11:51 am 
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danielallyn wrote:
Thank you, Stargazer,

I have always looked at Is 54:5 applying to Israel and The Church only. I have never applied it as a Prophesy concerning Mary, but I have to say it fits.

I will put this in my hip pocket for future reference and definitely share it with my class. This still does not end my quest, but it definitely gives me something to chew on. One of my tools in studying a verse is to use The Treasury of Scriptural Reference. It has very little commentary but focuses on providing any remotely connected verse in Scripture to the one being examined.

Thank you for this excellent response.

Yours in Christ
Dan


Thankyou as well, everyone learns from good questions, men sharpen men. And Ladies too.

But since you are interested in the Eastern Church I might add the aspect of Icons. Icons are not painted they are written, as an Iconographer would tell you, since they relate in pigment and paint dogmatic truths of our faith just as does scripture. If you will look at all the oldest Icons of Mary, some of whom may have been painted by St Luke as legends tell, many depict Mary with three stars one on each shoulder and one on her head I researched and discovered the three stars stood for the virginity of Mary from before during and forever after the Incarnation of Christ. I would have been remiss to not add the astronomy to this. hehehehehhe


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2021 4:00 pm 
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danielallyn wrote:
Thank you, Stargazer,

I have always looked at Is 54:5 applying to Israel and The Church only. I have never applied it as a Prophesy concerning Mary, but I have to say it fits.

I will put this in my hip pocket for future reference and definitely share it with my class. This still does not end my quest, but it definitely gives me something to chew on. One of my tools in studying a verse is to use The Treasury of Scriptural Reference. It has very little commentary but focuses on providing any remotely connected verse in Scripture to the one being examined.

Thank you for this excellent response.

Yours in Christ
Dan


These "interpretations" come much later in church history. They are not apostolic.

The most explicit early reference to the perpetual virginity is in the Protevangelium of James, otherwise known as the Infancy Gospel of James. It is a known false Gospel/New Testament Apocryphal text. You can read it here:

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.vii.iv.html

Many traditions can only be found in such texts. The Acts of Peter, for example, is the only literary source of the legend of him being crucified upside-down. It is dated later in the 2nd century, I believe. The Pseudo Clementine literature is another source of many things that dogmatized or woven into tradition later.


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2021 9:45 pm 
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imscoop22 wrote:
danielallyn wrote:
Thank you, Stargazer,

I have always looked at Is 54:5 applying to Israel and The Church only. I have never applied it as a Prophesy concerning Mary, but I have to say it fits.

I will put this in my hip pocket for future reference and definitely share it with my class. This still does not end my quest, but it definitely gives me something to chew on. One of my tools in studying a verse is to use The Treasury of Scriptural Reference. It has very little commentary but focuses on providing any remotely connected verse in Scripture to the one being examined.

Thank you for this excellent response.

Yours in Christ
Dan


These "interpretations" come much later in church history. They are not apostolic.

The most explicit early reference to the perpetual virginity is in the Protevangelium of James, otherwise known as the Infancy Gospel of James. It is a known false Gospel/New Testament Apocryphal text. You can read it here:

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.vii.iv.html

Many traditions can only be found in such texts. The Acts of Peter, for example, is the only literary source of the legend of him being crucified upside-down. It is dated later in the 2nd century, I believe. The Pseudo Clementine literature is another source of many things that dogmatized or woven into tradition later.


Lets handle one thing at a time.
First do you accept the virginity of Mary at the time of the Incarnation?
Then do you understand the Holy Spirit was the spouse of Mary?


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:31 pm 
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Hey I'm a Scoop the following quote sets an odd standard for a Protestant.

"These "interpretations" come much later in Church history and are not Apostolic."


If the Church makes an interpretation it is done by a Church that exists through apostolic succession no matter when the declaration is made it is always apostolic.

And if that is the standard then what footing does any protestant have unless you are Orthodox of course?

Protestant "interpretations" started in what year again? 1611 hehehe


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:38 am 
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Stargazer wrote:
Hey I'm a Scoop the following quote sets an odd standard for a Protestant.

"These "interpretations" come much later in Church history and are not Apostolic."


If the Church makes an interpretation it is done by a Church that exists through apostolic succession no matter when the declaration is made it is always apostolic.

And if that is the standard then what footing does any protestant have unless you are Orthodox of course?

Protestant "interpretations" started in what year again? 1611 hehehe


Is "Hey I'm a Scoop" intended as mockery? I don't want to assume...I figured it'd be best to ask to avoid any misunderstanding. (John, right? You can call me Scott, if you wish, I'm actually not a Scoop).

I'm not sure what the year the KJV translation was first published has to do with Protestant "interpretations." If you could explain further or cite specific doctrinal understandings, it would be helpful. Perhaps it would be a good idea to start a new thread, too. This one is about: "Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin" and I was answering the question posed by the author. The fact is the earliest explicit reference we have is the apocryphal Protevangelium of James. I thought the OP would appreciate an answer to his question, which he hadn't received.

Also, I never identified myself as a Protestant or referred to "Protestant" or "Catholic" interpretations. I merely referred to the interpretations in question in their historical context. When I said: "not apostolic" I meant that we have zero evidence that the explicit doctrinal statement originated with the apostles. I hope that makes sense. If not, I'm happy to attempt further clarification.

Thanks, imscoop22


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:52 am 
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Stargazer wrote:
Mary was conceived of the Holy Spirit that was her spouse and she would remain loyal to that spouse.

"For he who has become your husband is your Maker." (Isaia 54; 5)

Yours in Christ,


The beginning of this prophesy is in Isaiah 52:3-6:

For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”

As you progress through chapter 52 and into 53, there are multiple references to a plurality of people, Christ (as prophesied) is the only singular. In 53:5, He is prophetically identified in "But he was pierced for our transgressions."

Chapter 53 ends with:

"and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors."


Plural, the transgressors are people like me and you.

Continuing into chapter 54, verse 1b says:

For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord


You get to verse 5:

For your Maker [Christ] is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.


"Your" here is referring to the plurality of children who comprise the Bride of Christ, who's transgressions are interceded for, by Him Christ. In the historical context, the prophesy was delivered to the plurality of the people of Israel. Mary, nor any other singular figure is in view, except to the extent she or they are part of that body. In fact, since the prophesy says "He was pierced for our transgressions," the dogma of the Immaculate Conception prohibits interpreting Isaiah 54:5 as referring to Mary.

This "interpretation" is apparently one the Vatican agrees with. See footnote 26, Chapter 1, which affirms three church fathers who held the same view: https://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_cou ... es_en.html.


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2022 11:43 pm 
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"the dogma of the Immaculate Conception prohibits interpreting Isaiah 54:5 as referring to Mary."

How so?


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2022 9:35 pm 
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Stargazer wrote:
"the dogma of the Immaculate Conception prohibits interpreting Isaiah 54:5 as referring to Mary."

How so?


Because it claims Mary was free from transgressions.


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 2:21 pm 
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imscoop22 wrote:
Stargazer wrote:
"the dogma of the Immaculate Conception prohibits interpreting Isaiah 54:5 as referring to Mary."

How so?


Because it claims Mary was free from transgressions.


It makes that claim, because she was.


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 Post subject: Re: Basis for Mary being called Ever Virgin
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 2:25 pm 
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imscoop22 wrote:

Is "Hey I'm a Scoop" intended as mockery?


It's customary to refer to people here by their username, or some form of it. My username is Signum Crucis. I'm more often referred to as Siggy. Maybe you should have made a better choice for your username?


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