Thursday, 12 January 2017

Catholic Herald: Luther affirmed Mary’s perpetual virginity. It’s a shame that many Protestants now reject it

Catholic Herald: Luther affirmed Mary’s perpetual virginity. It’s a shame that many Protestants now reject it

by Aaron Taylor

"Where Mary’s role in the economy of salvation is denigrated, the result is not greater focus on Christ, but a re-emergence of ancient Christological heresies, as seen in Protestant churches during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Catholicism has been remarkably free of this tendency, despite ongoing theological crises since the 1960s). The Protestant Reformers realised this connection. That’s why, as historian Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch notes, they treated Mary with “reverence and affection” as a “guarantee of the Incarnation of Christ.”

In today’s world, the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity reminds us of our eternal destiny in relationship to Jesus.

Sex within marriage is good and holy. But celibacy – or perpetual virginity – is in a very specific and limited sense, a more perfect state. It is not morally better. Consecrated virgins are not making a more ethical lifestyle choice. But it is more perfect in an eschatological sense, because total consecration to God comes nearer to the state towards which we are journeying in the afterlife, where “they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matt 22:30)."

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