Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mary's Perpetual Virginity "In Partu" (a Miraculous, Non-Natural Childbirth) is a Binding Catholic Dogma

By Dave Armstrong (9-24-08)

Mary's perpetual virginity is a dogma of the Catholic faith, and not to be questioned by the faithful, orthodox Catholic. It is a de fide dogma of the faith: defined at the 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553 (Denzinger 214, 218, 227), at the Lateran Synod of 649 (Denzinger 256), and by a proclamation of Pope Paul IV in 1555 (Denzinger 993).

Patristic evidences are very abundant (as are even early Protestant proclamations). Arguments from the Bible and early Church history and reason are strong as well.

"Ever-Virgin" means conception while remaining a virgin (Virgin Birth), virginity during childbirth, and perpetual virginity after the birth of Jesus (no siblings of Jesus or sexual activity).

The Church has interpreted Mary's virginity during the birth (in partu) as an inviolability of the hymen; in other words, it was a physically miraculous birth rather than a natural one. This, too, is a dogma of the Catholic Church.

Catholic apologist Mark Shea (who admitted that he was previously wrong on this issue, as I also was in a previous version of this paper), lays out all of the magisterial evidence from Denzinger, the Catechism, Vatican II and other sources, in a very helpful fashion in his paper, I Stand Corrected.

Dr. Ludwig Ott (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp. 203-207) appears to have been mistaken (a rare instance!) in his opinion to the contrary.

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