Sunday, December 12, 2010

Faith, Reason and the Virgin Birth

It is the ancient and constant teaching of the Church that Our Lady gave birth without loss of her virginity. In the words of Father Angelo:
In the Catholic view of things, faith and reason are mutually compatible, although through faith we are able to know things that we could not know by reason alone.  Hence, faith is both reasonable and transcends reason, just as grace builds on nature but also transcends it.  Reason shows us that what God has revealed is compatible with nature.  In other words, God is not arbitrary.  The natural law written in our hearts is confirmed by supernatural revelation not contradicted by it....

Among Catholics there is much confusion as to the precise meaning of the Virgin Birth.  It is not to be confused with the Virginal Conception of Our Lord.   The Church, from the earliest times, has articulated the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady as pertaining to three distinct moments:  before the birth of Jesus (ante partum), during the birth of Jesus (in partu), and after birth of Jesus (post partum).  Virtually every time the magisterium has spoken on the subject, this threefold distinction is made.  This teaching is derived from the early fathers of the Church, who maintained, defended and made the teaching a universally held truth of the Catholic Church.
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2 comments:

Georgette said...

Thanks for posting this, Elena! Many very devout Catholics do not realize this is an official teaching and still insist Christ was born the same way their own children were born.

The way I think of it is that Mary, as the Immaculate Conception, is the New Eve, and as she is free of Original Sin, she is also free of the consequence of that sin, namely the pain and method of childbirth we experience today, which Scripture says Eve's sin brought upon all of future womankind. Certainly the pain was not part of childbirth before the Fall, and perhaps the means of birth was meant to be different in Paradise (Eden) as well. Mary, the New Eve, is as woman was meant to be from the beginning of creation.

elena maria vidal said...

Exactly. It's in the Preface of Christmas which, since most Masses are in English, people MUST have heard at some time. Nothing is impossible with God.