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Virginity of Mary

Virginity of Mary

Q: What do Catholics believe about the virginity of Mary?

A: Based on Scripture (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:27 and 1:35) and the ancient creeds, Catholics hold that Jesus, the Son of God, was conceived through the Holy Spirit and delivered of Mary, as foretold by the angel Gabriel in the Annunciation, and that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. Marian scholars and researchers write that Mary's virginal conception is a visible sign of God's participation in the coming of Jesus and is not intended as an anti-sexual message. Ordinary conception in marriage is not less holy, they say.

There are several passages in the Bible that refer to the brothers and sisters of Jesus, and different explanations have developed to account for those passages. According to the Rev. Bertrand Buby, S.M., a Marian scholar and author, some Christian traditions believe them to be blood brothers of Jesus, others interpret them as cousins to Jesus and another group views them as children from a prior marriage of Joseph's. "The Catholic tradition is that Mary had no child other than Jesus," Buby says, and that brothers and sisters would refer to the extended family of Jesus, such as cousins. A more recent interpretation is that brothers and sisters refers to the larger company of believers and disciples.

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