Home Forums Re: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

#1503

Revelation/Apocalypse of St. John 11:19-12:1-5

And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: and being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne.

From New Advent:

Helvidius held the two following tenets:

1. Mary bore children to Joseph after the virginal birth of Jesus Christ;

2.from a religious viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.

Earnest entreaty decided Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions. The relative dignity of virginity and marriage, discussed in the book against Helvidius, was taken up again in the book “Adversus Jovinianum” written about ten years later.

From Adversus Helvidium:

I must call upon the Holy Spirit to express His meaning by my mouth and defend the virginity of the Blessed Mary. I must call upon the Lord Jesus to guard the sacred lodging of the womb in which He abode for ten months from all suspicion of sexual intercourse. And I must also entreat God the Father to show that the mother of His Son, who was a mother before she was a bride, continued a Virgin after her son was born. We have no desire to career over the fields of eloquence, we do not resort to the snares of the logicians or the thickets of Aristotle. We shall adduce the actual words of Scripture. Let him be refuted by the same proofs which he employed against us, so that he may see that it was possible for him to read what is written, and yet to be unable to discern the established conclusion of a sound faith.

From Adversus Jovinianum

Everything starts from, everything depends upon, something else. It is impossible to make out any connection; and, excepting the proofs from Scripture which he has not dared to exchange for his own lovely flowers of rhetoric, his words suit all matter equally well, because they suit no matter at all. This circumstance led me shrewdly to suspect that his object in proclaiming the excellence of marriage was only to disparage virginity. For when the less is put upon a level with the greater, the lower profits by comparison, but the higher suffers wrong. For ourselves, we do not follow the views of9 Marcion and Manichaeus, and disparage marriage; nor, deceived by the error of10 Tatian, the leader of the Encratites, do we think all intercourse impure; he condemns and rejects not only marriage but also food which God created for the use of man. We know that in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earthenware. And that upon the foundation, Christ, which Paul the master-builder laid, some build gold, silver, precious stones: others, on the contrary, hay, wood, straw. We are not ignorant of the words,11 “Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled.” We have read God’s first command,12 “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth”; but while we honour marriage we prefer virginity which is the offspring of marriage. Will silver cease to be silver, if gold is more precious than silver?

screen tagSupport