On today’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we ask a couple important questions about Mary’s virginity: Did Mary have other Children? Did Jesus have biological brothers?
These questions are important to many, but especially important to those who are on their way to joining/re-joining the Catholic Church.
Because of the copious amount of historical and Biblical evidence to prove that Mary remained a virgin many begin asking, “why does it even matter?” So here are seven of the reasons it is important.
1. Just as Jesus’ tomb remained empty as a silent witness to his resurrection, so Mary’s uterus remained empty as a silent witness to his virginal conception. In other words, the Holy Spirit would be a tough act to follow.
2. It is a display by Mary of her gratitude to God, who chose her among all women (Luke 1:42) to bear the Son of Man.
3. Mary is the Ark of the Covenant (Revelation 11:19-12:2) and as such, is/was the dwelling place of God, Jesus. To place something ordinary would lessen/dishonor the contents Mary was created to hold, as the Ark was to remain pure (see 2 Sam. 6:1-9, Ex. 25:10, Num. 4:15).
4. Mary was given to God at an early age. Her parents, who were childless into their old age, presented Mary to the High Priest in thanksgiving, to be dedicated to God. It would show dishonor and no gratitude to the gift from God that she was.
5. If it is true, then it is a witness to the holy and unblemished truth that the Catholic Church has kept.
6. It gives Catholics more cause to hold her in a very high esteem and example to Christians dedicating their lives and hearts to God.
7. It is a perfect example of the destructive fruits of Christians who hold the Bible alone as their authority and believe they have the right and ability to be its sole interpreter.
This is no small subject, or “spine-issue”, that would otherwise be unimportant to a Christian. Today more than any other, because of our divided status from Protestants, the truth about Mary is a top reason many hold back from Catholicism. Because Catholics give Mary such a high level of devotion, many Protestants see her as their primary road block. Not only that, but the narrative of Mary having other children and Jesus having siblings would give cause to condemn many narratives and preaching points that Evangelicals hear and use during their life and ministry. To bring such a narrative down would tear down many walls in their fortress of Biblical interpretation.
It was for me and is for many a divisive topic, the perpetual virginity of Mary, but it is also one that unites and binds Catholics. As Mary was conceived without sin, bore the Christ, and became his first follower, she becomes our highest example to follow among the saints. She is in a league of her own and to stain and deconstruct her honor also dishonors her family, of which Jesus is the most affected.
To read about Mary and her perpetual virginity: