Before we get started…
To be frank, I am seeking respectful discussion regarding beliefs about Mary. To my understanding, what Rome teaches about Mary is heretical and false. It is a different Mary than the Mary that Protestants (like myself) hold to. Doctrine about Mary may seem like an unimportant matter to most. However, unbiblical views about her can become very serious and idolatrous.
Not only do I have Catholic coworkers, but I have friends who believe what I’m about to address. As a student of the Word, I have convictions and beliefs about Mary that have been developed from the pages of Scripture. These are not beliefs that were thought up by man, nor are they my personal opinions.
In this post…
I want to lay some thoughts before you, and invite you to share your constructive thoughts. I have legitimate questions.
Recently, I was discussing differences between Catholicism and Protestantism with a friend of mine at work. He brought up the fact that they believe that Mary not only gave birth to Jesus as a virgin, but Mary also died a virgin. She never lost her virginity. This belief is wrapped up in certain doctrines like the Immaculate Conception. Furthermore, this means Catholics believe Jesus did not have any siblings. Catholics believe Mary only gave birth to Jesus, alone.
So, I plainly asked my devout Catholic friend how he handles Matthew 13:55-56, which states, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
The responses to this question from my Catholic friends have ranged. Some have said they don’t know how to respond to this Bible text. Some said Jesus’ siblings were Joseph’s children conceived by another woman other than Mary… Some have said they were his spiritual brothers and sisters.
Help me out.
Looking at the text, how can it be possible to assert Mary remained a virgin her whole earthly life?
I won’t go rambling now! I do hope to get constructive thoughts in return to help me better understand the Catholic teaching on this. How can we take this text and be able to say that Mary remained a virgin, and Jesus did not have any actual brothers or sisters?