Mary: Mediatrix?

The very definition of idolatry is to worship the creature:

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." (Romans 1:25).

Mary is beyond controversy a created being. Should Roman Catholics address their petitions to her in the manner to which they are accustomed, and address her with their customary titles? Did this modest young lady ever ask anyone to do any of these things?

Mediatrix Co-Redemptrix
Terroristic Threats Temple
Queen Spouse of the Holy Spirit
Assumption Jesus on Mariolatry
Practice What You Preach Who Is
Everywhere Present Queen Mother
Perpetual Virginity Immaculate Conception

Our Lady of Guadalupe

". . .without doubt the Holy Spirit also is to be adored, since He Who according to the flesh was born of the Holy Spirit is adored.
"And let no one divert this to the Virgin Mary; Mary was the temple of God, not the God of the temple. And therefore He alone is to be worshipped Who was working in His temple." (Ambrose, On the Holy Spirit, Book 3, Chapter 11, Section 79-80).


The Roman Catholic Catechism calls Mary "Mediatrix": "Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring up the gifts of eternal salvation...Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix." (969, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994). A 'mediatrix,' for those whose Latin is rusty, is a female mediator: "mediatrix, n. A female mediator" (Webster's International, 1965). Pope Pius IX referred to her as such: ". . .in her who, with her only-begotten Son, is the most powerful Mediatrix and Conciliatrix in the whole world. . ." (Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX, 1854).

Popes have said even more alarming things: "To such extent did Mary suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man's salvation, and immolated Him — insofar as she could — in order to appease the justice of God, that we may rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ" (Benedict XV, apostolic letter 'Inter sodalicia,' March 22, 1918, quoted p. 658, Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6, 1965).

"The foundation of all our found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary" (Pius IX, encyclical letter 'Ubi primum,' February 2, 1849, quoted p. 661, Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6, 1965).

This concept of Mary as Mediatrix founders on the rock of the Bible: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all..." (1 Timothy 2:5).

If there is, as the Bible testifies, ONE mediator, then what place can be found for the mediator between the mediator and man?:

"Let us not be afraid to say with St. Bernard that we need a mediator with the Mediator himself and the divinely-honoured Mary is the one most able to fulfil this office of love." (Louis de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Part I, Chapter Two, 'In What Devotion to Mary Consists,' Section 85).


Though misperceived by some as a conservative church, Rome's most striking characteristic is its openness to radical change and innovation. Next on tap is Mary's promotion to 'Co-Redeemer.' This phrase has been used by popes but not officially yet awarded to Mary, who is squirming with dismay if she knows anything about these things. What saith the scriptures? Israel has one Redeemer:

"As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 47:4).

Right to Life


Ancient Israel had but one temple: "But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go." (Deuteronomy 12:5), and that one temple was sacred to the one God: "But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him." (Habakkuk 2:20). The visitant who appeared to Juan Diego,— on the hillside where mother-goddess Tonantzin's temple had been ruined by the Spaniards,— demanded a temple, too:

"How truly I wish it, how greatly I desire it,
that here they should erect Me My Temple!
Here would I show forth,
here would I lift up to view,
here would I make a gift of
all My Fondness for My Dear Ones,
all My Regard for My Needy Ones,
My Willingness to Aid them,
My Readiness to Protect them.
"For truly I Myself,
I am your Compassionate Mother,
yours, for you yourself,
for everybody here in the Land,
for each and all together,
for all others too,
for all Folk of every kind,
who do but cherish Me,
who do but raise their voices to Me,
who do but seek Me,
who do but raise their trust to Me."
(Nican Mopohua)

Roman Catholics claim that Juan Diego's visitant was Mary a.k.a. 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'. But does this imperious being who demands a temple be built for herself sound like the God-fearing girl who said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name." (Luke 1:47-49)?

Pagan peoples worshipped many things: stocks, stones, celestial objects like the sun and the moon, poetic fictions, non-entities, fire and other constituents of the natural world. One thing they often worshipped, in ignorance of the actual object of their devotion, was demons. When there is two-way communication established, as here, how can anyone be confident that the party who desires worship, here at this place, is not the same party who was worshipped there previously? People are often rather conservative when it comes to religion; the new alien gods do not suit them, the old are more familiar and comfortable.

Terroristic Threats

Mary in this life was a modest, unassuming soul: "Then Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord!'" (Luke 1:38)  This makes it all the more startling to hear terroristic threats against the planet made in her name:

"The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray." (Appearance of Our Lady of Fatima to Lucia, 1929).

Perhaps these Marian apparitions, which are such a distinctive feature of modern Roman Catholicism, are not appearances of Mary at all, but of some other party?


According to Roman Catholics, Mary is the Queen of the Universe, by right of conquest, no less: "Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular election" (Pope Pius XII, May 13, 1946, quoted p. 659, Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6, 1965).

There is a Queen of Heaven known to the Bible, but she's not an example to emulate:

  • “Mary should be honored, but the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit should be worshipped; no one should worship Mary...Even though 'The tree is lovely' it is not for food; and even though Mary is all fair, and is holy and held in honor, she is not to be worshipped...And they drink impious drinks as the word of God says, 'And the women grind flour, and their sons gather wood to make cakes for the host of heaven.' Such women should be silenced by Jeremiah, and not frighten the world. They must not say, 'We honor the queen of heaven.'”
  • (Epiphanius, Panarion, Section VII, 59 [79], 7.5-8.2).

The passage to which he refers: "The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger." (Jeremiah 7:18).

Spouse of the Holy Spirit

One of the more alarming titles for Mary which has become popular in modern Catholicism is "spouse of the Holy Spirit:"

"Mary is the sealed fountain and the faithful spouse of the Holy Spirit where only he may enter." (St. Louis Mary de Montfort, 'Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,' Introduction, Section 5).

Normally 'spouse' implies matrimony:

"spouse...One engaged or joined in wedlock; a married person, husband, or wife." (Webster's International 1965)

Where they find any indication of matrimony in the Bible text, I wouldn't venture to speculate. But if they are taking 'overshadow' as if it were a sex act, then they will find themselves left alone in the room with those Mormons faithful to Brigham Young's vision on these matters. Those two groups can argue this out, because no one else is talking their language.

According to this author, the Trinity might very well be a Quaternity, were it not for a voluntary act of 'birth control' on the part of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes up for this and vindicates His 'fruitfulness' via His relationship with Mary:

"God the Holy Spirit, who does not produce any divine person, became fruitful through Mary whom he espoused. It was with her, in her and of her that he produced his masterpiece, God-made-man...This does not mean that the Blessed Virgin confers on the Holy Spirit a fruitfulness which he does not already possess. Being God, he has the ability to produce just like the Father and the Son, although he does not use this power and so does not produce another divine person. But it does mean that the Holy Spirit chose to make use of our Blessed Lady, although he had no absolute need of her, in order to become actively fruitful in producing Jesus Christ and his members in her and by her." (St. Louis Mary de Montfort, 'Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,' Part I: True Devotion to our Lady in General, Chapter One, Sections 20-21).

Where the author is going with this is anybody's guess. Normally 'fruit' refers to offspring:

"The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." (Psalm 132:11).

But if this author means to say Jesus is the Holy Spirit's offspring, he is wandering far off the reservation:

"It would, furthermore, be productive of error to say that Christ is the son of the Holy Spirit. Plainly, God's Word has a distinct Person in that He is the Son of God the Father. If, then, He were in His human nature called the son of the Holy Spirit, one would have to understand Christ as being two sons...It would be unsuitable, also, to transfer the name and the authority of the Father to another. Yet this happens if the Holy Spirit is called the father of Christ." (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book Four: Salvation, Chapter 47).

Like the rest of us, Thomas does well when he hews to the Bible line; he does poorly when he innovates. There is no Bible basis for describing Jesus as the son of the Holy Spirit, rather,

"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17).
Louis de Montfort
Treatise on True Devotion
to the Blessed Virgin


In the glorious year of 1950, the infallible pope made up his infallible mind that Mary had been assumed, bodily, into heaven, in a manner similar to that recorded of her more famous son. He gained confidence in this decision by...taking a poll:

"Questions to Bishops. On May 1, 1946, Pope Pius XII sent an encyclical letter, Deiparae Virginis Mariae ('Of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God'), to all the bishops of the world...Finally, he asked two questions: (1) 'Do you, venerable Brethren, consider that the bodily Assumption of the Immaculate Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith?' (2) 'Is this, in addition to your own wishes, desired by your clergy and people?'
"Decisive Reply. The answers overwhelmingly favored a definition, 98 per cent of them replying affirmatively to both questions. For Piux XII, the manifestation of belief was decisive. It confirmed that the Assumption was beyond all doubt a truth committed by God to the Church." (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1965, Article 'The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.')

One looks in vain for documentation of this event in scripture or in the writings of the early church authors: "There is nothing about this in Scripture or even in the tradition of the first five centures." (Hans Kung, On Being a Christian, p. 461).

We expect science to advance with the advancing ages. But there is a problem when revealed religion increases in knowledge as the years go by. Paul cursed those who preach another gospel: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8). Thus it is difficult to find room for improvement over the faith of the apostles.

My own Baptist church also likes to vote on everything, even inconsequential matters like the shrubbery. The theory behind church democracy is that the way to query the Holy Spirit is to poll those in whom He dwells. Surely there are wolves amongst the sheep, but it is the rare wildlife community that can support a higher population of predators than of prey. But as should be apparent, the success of this approach depends upon what spirit is setting the population in motion. Quite a lot of momentum has built up in the Catholic community toward awarding ever higher titles to Mary. This does not strike everyone as the Holy Spirit at work, though presumably those who think Mary is the Holy Spirit's spouse see it as natural favoritism.

Jesus on Mariolatry

"While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!' But he said, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!'" (Luke 11:27-28).

Instead of encouraging this woman to go further in the direction she was headed, the Lord called her back.

Practice What You Preach

Those who magnify Mary's power say that, as Jesus is bound to follow the ten commandments, He must honor His mother and do as she says. But is it just barely possible that Jesus practices what He preaches?:

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26).

When Mary, at the wedding in Cana, presented the problem to her Son, He objected, though He did perform the miracle: “And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.'” (John 2:3-4). "Catholicism teaches that Mary's intercession is recognized by Christ. But this is the only instance on record of such intercession, and though it was addressed to Christ while in the flesh and was concerning a purely temporal matter, it was promptly rebuked." (J. W. McGarvey, The FourFold Gospel, Kindle location 1989). Who wants to hear the answer to prayer, 'What has that to do with Me?'


Who Is

"While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:32-35).

If Jesus shared any of the assumptions of modern-day Mariolatry, it is far from obvious why He would answer in this way. Why not say instead, 'Oh, you must meet my mother, she is the second most important ruler of the universe?'

Everywhere Present

The traffic on the Marian phone line is intense; millions around the world pray to her daily. The anti-pope Novatian offered Christ's ability to hear prayers as proof of His deity:

"If Christ is only man, how is He present wherever He is called upon; when it is not the nature of man, but of God, that it can be present in every place?" (Novatian, Treatise on the Trinity, Chapter 14).

God, omniscient and omnipresent, is aware of all who call upon Him: "Psalm 65:2 says, 'O You who hear prayer, to You all men come.' The Midrash, a Jewish commentary on portions of the Old Testament, says this about Psalm 65:2: 'A mortal man cannot grasp the conversation of two people speaking at the same time, but with God it is not so. All pray before Him, and He understands and receives all their prayers' (Rabbah 21.4)." (quoted p. 38, Alone With God, John MacArthur, Jr.)

Mary is not God; she is but a woman. In life, she could not keep track of her son's whereabouts: "When they had finished the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances." (Luke 2:43-44). How has Mary made the transition from her finite, limited mind here on display, to her present infinite awareness? Where is it promised the creature will become omnipresent, just like God?

Queen Mother

In Mayor Richard J. Daly's Chicago, promotion wasn't based on what you knew, but who you knew. The administration of justice hinged on similar concerns. One citizen had to go downtown and pay all his parking tickets, while his neighbor, who knew the Mayor's mother, saw hers deposited in the waste-basket. Chicago was not an isolated case. Back in those days, many of America's cities saw justice done in a similar manner. This made a lot of people angry. They used to call them 'goo-goo's': short for 'good government.' People agitated for 'good government' to replace the blatant corruption and favoritism they saw around them. This was a fundamental political divide of the day. The 'goo-goo's' railed against the horse-trading that was politics in the big cities, while many others saw the building of personal relationships through exchange of favors as the way of the world. The 'goo-goo's' won in the end, though young people today may find that hard to believe; politicians still do the 'perp walk' in front of the cameras and will till kingdom come. But the blatant, open and unapologetic favor-trading of those days is a thing of the past. Which of these two contesting political visions holds the Biblical high ground?

Championing Bathsheba as fore-runner, Roman Catholics make a Biblical argument in favor of Mary's claims. They advance a political claim about how business is done in the heavenly court, and it turns out to be that perennial favorite, favor-trading. The devotee of Mary wins her favor by his ardent devotion, then she in turn pleads her friend's case before her Son, who, won over by His mother, shows mercy. They see a precedent for this in the petition of Bathsheba, who tried to win Solomon's favor:

"In the monarchy of King David, as well as in other ancient kingdoms of the Near East, the mother of the ruling king held an important office in the royal court and played a key part in the process of dynastic succession. In fact, the king’s mother ruled as queen, not his wife. [. . .]

"Probably the clearest example of the queen mother’s role is that of Bathsheba, wife of David and mother of Solomon. . .As spouse of the king, Bathsheba bows with her face to the ground and does obeisance to her husband, David, upon entering his royal chamber. In striking contrast, after her son Solomon assumed the throne and she became queen mother, Bathsheba receives a glorious reception upon meeting with her royal son:

"So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, ‘I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.’ And the king said to her, ‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you’" (1 Kgs. 2:19–20).

"This account reveals the sovereign prerogatives of the queen mother. Note how the king rises and bows as she enters. Bathsheba’s seat at the king’s right hand has the greatest significance. In the Bible, the right hand is the place of ultimate honor. This is seen in particular in the messianic Psalm 110 ("Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool"). In fact, many New Testament passages refer to the right-hand imagery of Psalm 110 to show Christ’s divinity and his reign with the Father over the whole universe (e.g., Hebrews 1:13)."

(Is Mary's Queenship Biblical? by Edward P. Sri, at Catholic Answers).

This isolated instance had an unhappy outcome, resulting in the death of the one for whom Bathsheba pled. Nevertheless, Roman Catholics think it shows the way business is done in the heavenly courts. They believe it leaves room for Mary doing what the understand her to be doing: pleading for mercy and preferment for those who are her favored friends.

This is one political paradigm; there is another. The fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises that "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States...nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Carved on the U.S. Supreme Court building is the motto, "Equal Justice Under Law." This is not a new thing; Pericles expressed the same ideal in his Funeral Oration: "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition." (Pericles, Funeral Oration, as reported in Thucydides, Peloponnesian War (Book 2.34-46).)

The "equal protection" paradigm is well illustrated by the statues of blind-folded women holding scales in their hand, representing justice, found in front of court-houses. To what are they blind? To those factors which might unduly influence their verdict, including personal acquaintance or relation to the accused.

The other paradigm, 'unequal protection,' a web of personal relationships solidified by favor-trading, reached its zenith in the medieval period. A good example of this mind-set is found in Thomas Aquinas' letter to Margaret of Flanders. Margaret had a problem: the Jews in her realm were rumored to have money, and she wanted it. What is striking about Thomas' acquiescence to her sordid scheme is their shared innocence of any concept of "equal protection;" for instance, " also seems to me that the Jew should be punished with a greater fine (or anyone else who practices usury) than anyone else in a similar case, to make the point that the money taken from him be known to be less his entitlement." (Letter of Thomas Aquinas to Margaret of Flanders). Neither Thomas nor Margaret think her subjects are equal before the law; what happens to them depends on who they are, and whether the monarch is favorably disposed towards them. Politics in the medieval period was very personal; society is held together by a web of personal relationships, cemented with the affectionate exchange of mutual benefits, or aversion and plunder as in this case.

Who is on the Bible bus: the 'goo-goo's' who subscribe to Pericles' equality before the law, or Thomas, an undoubted Catholic? There can be no doubt on this point: Moses was a 'goo-goo.' Is it possible after all that the King of Israel shows favor to His mother's friends? No, that is not lawful.

The King must do justice: "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." (2 Samuel 23:3). "Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice." (1 Kings 10:9).

The criterion for justice is the law of Moses, and Moses allows no favoritism for family members: "Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:..." (Deuteronomy 13:8). Moses praised the Levites because they never noticed their own mothers: "And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one. . .Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant." (Deuteronomy 33:8-9). What does this mean, that the judge has not seen his father or his mother? Mom is standing there, accused of shop-lifting. 'Mom? Mom Who? Guilty!' That's what the judge must do, under the law of Moses. What Roman Catholics want to see: the people win Mary's favor by acts of devotion, and she in turn influences her Son to 'go easy' on them, counts as corruption under Israel's monarchy.

A judge must not show respect of persons, which includes favoritism toward familiars and intimates:

"But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors." (James 2:9).
"Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour." (Leviticus 19:15).
"Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous." (Deuteronomy 16:19).
"Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it." (Deuteronomy 1:17).
"These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment." (Proverbs 24:23).
"To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress." (Proverbs 28:21).
"Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts." (2 Chronicles 19:7).
"Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen." (Deuteronomy 27:19).

By Mosaic standards, favoring your mother's friends is a serious crime. Yet the Roman Catholics base all of their hopes upon this behavior, which is harshly condemned as a deviation from justice! They do not see what is wrong with their system, just as the medievals saw nothing wrong with it; but the 'goo-goo's' see what is wrong, and so did Moses. No doubt Richard J. Daly never could figure what all those people were so angry about. What is wrong with it? It shows 'respect of persons.' The 'restored Davidic Kingdom' does not function like this; justice under the Mosaic law is not 'different strokes for different folks.' They are wandering away from the Bible in the delusion that they can rig the system, when rigging the system counts as a crime.

To set forth a "role" of the "queen mother" as a desideratum for the Davidic Kingdom, the least that is required would be that the 'queen-mothers' advanced as models are praised in scripture: no Jezebels, no Maacah's, no Athaliah's, no Egyptians. Merely to point out that queens, queen-mothers, and mistresses exist establishes no requirement for such a 'role.' How to get over the hurdle of establishing this 'role' as a desideratum, indeed a requirement for a restored Davidic Kingdom, when what the Catholics want Mary to do is against the law of Moses?

No sane person should demand justice from the King of Israel, nor does He intend to mete out to His own what we deserve. Instead He has graciously borne on His own person the scars we have merited. This Marian system of personal favoritism and undue influence is equally foreign to the Christian system as it is to the Israelite system of impartial law. Catholic apologists have confused it with the Israelite system, which they hope to 'restore,' through failure to weigh the importance attached to non-respect of persons in Biblical law.

Perpetual Virginity

Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary was ever-virgin: that her marriage to Joseph was a show of a marriage, not a real marriage. But the Bible reports that Jesus had brothers and sisters:

"'Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?' So they were offended at Him." (Mark 6:3).
"But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother." (Galatians 1:19).
"For even His brothers did not believe in Him." (John 7:5).
"Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?" (1 Corinthians 9:5).
"After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days." (John 2:12).

Readers who take things in sequence have naturally ever since surmised these brothers and sisters must be children born later to Joseph and Mary; after all the angel says, "But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'" (Matthew 1:20), not 'don't touch her, ever!' Yet if you make this natural inference, you stand harshly condemned by the Roman Catholic Church.


Two theories are advanced by Roman Catholics as to the identity of the Lord's 'brothers.' The later theory, Jerome's, is that they were actually 'cousins:'

Taxonomy Mother's Sons Adelphos
Cousins Parallelism Abraham and Sarah
Consanguinity Unconstitutional Twelve
Spare a Dime Jonathan and David Abraham and Lot
James the Just Race-Baiting Error Checking

Older Brothers

The second theory compatible with Mary's perpetual virginity is that the Lord's "brothers" were Joseph's children from a prior marriage. This theory is older than the 'cousins' theory, but is there any reason to believe it? Where did it come from?

Protevangelium Nepal Birthright
At the Cross Till Firstborn
Postpartum Fathers Know Best So What?

Mary Ever Virgin

Christ in the House of His Parents, John Everett Millais
Christ in the House of His Parents, John Everett Millais

Roman Catholicism

Immaculate Conception

The lady clad in white who appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes said, "I am the Immaculate Conception." (Our Lady of Lourdes). Rome's current teaching on this point was first devised by John Duns Scotus in the thirteenth century and was proclaimed as dogma in the nineteenth century. Though Augustine and Thomas Aquinas did not believe in this doctrine, no one now can be saved without believing it. This teaching claims that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was without sin, either actual sin of her own or original sin passed on from Adam, having been conceived free of the taint of this otherwise universal human inheritance:

"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. Hence, if anyone shall dare — which God forbid! — to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart." (Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX, December 8, 1854).

What saith the scriptures?

The Bible

The Bible says that all have sinned; "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. . ." (Romans 3:23):

All Have Sinned

Immaculate Conception

Cool Links
Holy, Holy, HolyNotecardsTrue GodThe Philo Library