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Perpetually Virgin, or Without Sin?

I have a bit of Papism on the brain lately; you may have to bear with me.

Last week I commented on the so-called explanation for the Roman doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary found in The Catholic Study Bible (Mark 6:3). This is a de fide doctrine, that is, “of the faith.” These are essential doctrines, denial of which is heresy. Also held de fide is the doctrine of the immaculate conception:

imageOn the 8th December, 1854, Pope Pius IX, in the Bull “Ineffabilis” promulgated the following doctrine as revealed by God, and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful: “The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.”

—Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (The Mercier Press, 1960), 199.

According to Roman dogma, Mary was born, and remained, without sin. Mary: sinless, and perpetually virgin. There is a conflict in there that ought to be obvious. Can you see it? If not, don’t feel too badly. It only occurred to me as I listened to John MacArthur Explaining the Heresy of Catholicism. The following verses from 1 Corinthians 7 should clear it up for you:

imageThe husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

If Mary had remained a virgin, she would have sinned. That she would have sinned gives me no problem. I certainly believe that she, like every other descendant of Adam, was conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity (Psalm 51:5), and lived, like all of us, in constant need of forgiveness. I could even buy her perpetual virginity, if it was not so plainly false and the Roman apologies so absurd. What is impossible to reconcile is the proposition that she both was sinless and lived a life that was fundamentally sinful.

As I like to say, you do the math.

Related: Did Augustine Teach the Sinlessness of Mary?

Posted 2010·08·30 by David Kjos
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#1 || 10·08·30··12:53 || Daniel

Clearly, Joseph died directly after Jesus was born. Thereafter, another man, who was also named Joseph, married Mary but this was just moments prior to their trip to Jerusalem in which Christ as a youth, failed to return with them. Upon finding Christ, they returned home, whereupon this second Joseph also died (immediately).

I say, clearly Mary did not have the opportunity to sin in this way...

Seriously. Why are you looking at me like that? It could happen. In fact, it -must- have happened like that, either that or Joseph was involved in a plowing accident directly following the birth of Christ. Surely this must have been the case... in fact, it had to be... right?

#2 || 10·08·30··16:31 || David

Well, Daniel, farming is a hazardous business, so a plowing accident is plausible. Except that Joseph was a carpenter.

As for the real estate thing, if I'm in the market for a house, and I see St. Anyone in the yard, I think, "Hey, these people are superstitious, and therefore, gullible!" So if I like the house, I'll go make an offer. So maybe St. Joseph will help sell the house.

#3 || 10·08·31··06:30 || Daniel

What's funny is that most evangelicals, will shake their heads at such a crazy invention as the immaculate conception, and never take the time to answer the question that the immaculate conception (poorly and erroneously) addresses. How is that that Jesus was born of Mary, but did not inherit original sin? He had Mary's DNA/RNA - he was of the seed of David in the flesh - how did Christ, in the incarnation, avoid original sin?

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