Fairy Tales In Conflict

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face

While sitting in the Cardiology Clinic waiting room, I noticed a booklet on the magazine rack. I took the little book from the rack and returned to my chair. It was the booklet’s title that had grabbed my attention:

Of The Little Flower

For those who may not know, San Antonio is the home of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower. Who was the little Flower? She was a 19th century mystic; canonized by Pius XI in 1925. In 1997, JP2 proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church. Her real name was Therese Martin, but when she received her habit, she took the name Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. In common with many Catholic demigods, Therese is claimed to have been assigned duties looking after people and things here on earth. She is the Principle Patroness (equal to St. Xavier) of missions and missionaries; Secondary Patroness of France (equal to St. Joan of Arc); and Patroness of those afflicted with tuberculosis. Golly gee! With so many people and places to look after, she surely must enjoy the godly attributes of omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. Naah! God does not share His power with created beings. She must use a satellite phone and FedEx to keep in touch with those under her patronage.

As I thumbed through the little book, published by the Discalced Carmelites of San Antonio (DCF), I ran across an article on Joseph, husband to Mary and stepfather to Jesus Christ. In reading the article, I came across a statement that conflicted with one of the arguments frequently used to defend the fantasy of Catholic Mary's perpetual virginity.

Before looking at the interesting claim in the Joseph story, it would be a good idea to examine the foundations of Rome’s assertion that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. As early as 533 A.D., we see Mary referred to as “ever virgin” in Canons 2, 6 and 14 of the 5th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II); though her alleged perpetual virginity is not dogmatically defined in the documents of this council. (Denzinger 214, 218, 227). Canon 3 of the Lateran Council (649 A.D.), though it does not dogmatically define Catholic Mary’s perpetual virginity, does impose condemnation on those who deny the indestructibility of her hymen:

Can. 3. It anyone does not properly and truly confess in accord with the holy Fathers, that the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin and immaculate Mary in the earliest of the ages conceived of the Holy Spirit without seed, namely God the Word Himself specifically and truly, who was born of God the Father before all ages, and that she incorruptibly bore [Him?], her virginity remaining indestructible even after birth, let him be condemned. (Denzinger 256)

In the apostolic constitution Cum quorundam hominem (1555 A.D.), Paul IV made use of his “apostolic authority” to berate those who, among other things, deny “that the same blessed Virgin Mary was not the true mother of God, and did not always persist in the integrity of virginity, namely, before bringing forth, at bringing forth, and always after bringing forth…” (Denzinger 993).

The Catholic Catechism informs:

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin". (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed., © 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc.) [My Emphasis]

The doctrine of Catholic Mary’s perpetual virginity does not conform to the Scripture, where we are informed that Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters.

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. (Mark 6:1-3) [My emphasis]

The standard argument Catholic apologists like to toss out when required to confront the clear words of Scripture is that “there is no word for brother in either Aramaic or Hebrew.” They then postulate that the named individuals are, in reality, either children of Joseph by an earlier marriage that ended with the death of the wife; or that these folks were cousins of Jesus. Sure sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Arguments such as this tend to be effective when used against the unprepared; however, they are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The Catholic apologist can no more prove that the Gospels were written in Hebrew or Aramaic than an Evangelical can prove they were written in Greek Koine. Lacking such proof, this language-based argument supporting Mary’s eternal virginity is based on silence and, therefore, valueless.

For those interested in pursuing this argument, I here provide two Hebrew words and their English translations:

Brother: (http://www.dictionary.co.il/search.php)

Cousins: (Ditto)

Do you reckon those Catholics who defend Mary's virginity by claiming there is no word for brother in Hebrew are merely deceived, or are they blowing smoke out of their behinds?

And now to examine the claim in the Shoeless Carmelites' booklet. First, a brief passage from Scripture:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
(Luke 2:1-5)

Both Joseph and Mary were descendents of David and were required to travel to their tribal home in Judea, Bethlehem, to be registered. The words “And all went to be taxed, everyone to his own city,” in verse 3 appear to suggest that every Judean man, woman and child claiming descent from David living everywhere in the Roman Empire had to make their way to little Bethlehem to have their names entered on the census rolls. Given the great size of the area under Roman domination, many of the journeys to Bethlehem would have been long and arduous. It seems more likely to me—and I have not researched this matter—that Judean usuallymen made the journey to register not only themselves but also their spouses and children.

We know that Joseph took Mary with him when he traveled to Bethlehem. I cannot imagine a loving husband not wanting to be available to care for his wife as she neared term. If the Catholic suggestion that Joseph had children by an earlier marriage were true, one cannot but wonder what provision he made for the care of his other seven or more children during his absence. If indeed it were true that every man, woman and child of the tribe of Judah had to make the journey, don’t you wonder why no mention is made of the kids? Having made clear my thoughts on this matter, let us now read the words of the Descalced Carmelite Fathers:

Joseph did all he could to provide for and protect his family. When King Herod sent soldiers to kill all newborn sons, Joseph took Mary and the Infant Jesus to safety in Egypt… (Descalced Carmelite Fathers (DCF), St. Joseph of Nazareth: A Just Man, Apostolate of the Little Flower, Vol. 62, No. 2 © 1994, pg. 10) [My Emphasis]

See where this is heading? If Joseph had been married before and had at least six children from that marriage, why doesn't the writer of this little article, or the Scripture, tell us that Joseph took his other kids along on the journey to Egypt? If he didn’t take the other kids, how did he provide for and protect them? With whom did he leave them? So many questions that are not answered in the Scripture. One cannot, of course, use the argument from the silence of the Scripture on this matter to prove anything; but does it not seem strange that the Magisterium, which is justly infamous for its inventive and innovative enhancements to the Scripture, has not filled the information gap.

The DCF inform that:

St. Joseph is honored as patron of the Universal Church. He encourages loyalty to the Holy Father and is invoked for family and Church unity. (Ibid.)

Here comes the best part:

The following story summarizes the powerful aid St. Joseph can provide:

Mrs. Martin was nearly hysterical. Her baby was dying. Her mother’s heart was breaking, for she knew the agony a mother feels at the death of an infant. She held three other babies only briefly before they were gone. Then she recalled the words of the great saint of Avila. St. Teresa had said, ‘I know from experiences that this glorious saint (Joseph) helps in each and every need. Our Lord would have us understand that, since on earth He was subject to this man who was called His father, whom as His guardian He had to obey, so now in heaven He still does all that Joseph asks. (Ibid.) [My Emphasis]

One has to feel sorry for Catholic Jesus. Scripture tells us that He is God; He is the Author of all creation (John 1:1-3); that He is the Perfect Judge who will preside at the Great White Throne and the Bema Seat. The Catholic Church informs that their version of Jesus is all those things and more, but He gets no respect in Catholic Heaven. Mama Church claims that her priests are other Christs who have the power to call their Jesus down from his seat at the side of the Father, as when they consecrate hosts for Eucharistic Sacrifice. We are told that Catholic Jesus is in submission to his mother, Catholic Mary. Now the demigoddess Teresa of Avila tells us that Catholic Jesus does everything that demigod Joseph wants him to.

Catholic fantasy claims that Joseph also is a real estate agent who will help Catholic faithful sell their homes. What a guy!

God’s truth is found in Scripture, not the fantasies of Romish dreamers.

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