Thursday, 31 March 2016

Behold Your Mother, by Tim Staples

In Behold Your Mother, Tim Staples offers a robust defense of the Catholic Marian doctrines. He provides Biblical evidence for Our Lady's Divine Motherhood, Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, her Assumption into Heaven, her role as Co-Redeemer and finally her Queenship. While acknowledging that these doctrines are not explicitly stated in Scripture, they have their foundation in the Word of God. He also frequently quotes the Church Fathers, demonstrating that the Marian teachings have always been the orthodox doctrine of the Church. Along the way, he tackles the objections of Protestants, including that heavyweight, James White. In appendices, he provides additional evidence for the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady, as well as arguments for her in partu virginity and for her painless delivery.

I liked the way the author interacted with Lumen Gentium. I would have liked him, however, to have said a bit more about Mary as Mediatrix and the role of her intercession. This book does not have the warm conversational tone of Scott Hahn's Hail Holy Queen, but it presents the Biblical evidence in much greater depth than that book.

Staples argues that it is an option for Catholics to hold that the 'brethen' of our Lord were step-brothers by St. Joseph, but he points out that if James the Less was a step-brother, his mother was alive and so St. Joseph would be divorced, not widowed. I think St. James was a cousin of Jesus, but based on the Proto-evangelium tradition, I think St. Joseph was a widower with children of his own. Staples argues that it would have been unlikely that Saint Jerome would have casually dismissed Joseph being a widower if the Proto-evangelium tradition was strongly held. I would argue that the Proto-evangelium tradition had a stronger foundation in the east. Furthermore, Jerome had an agenda in using Joseph as a model for the consecrated life.

I would highly recommend Staples' book. It is first-class Catholic apologetics.

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