On the Virginity of Mary “in partu”

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In 2015 I wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding Mary’s virginity, specifically the aspect about it remaining intact during Jesus’ birth. I got a reply, with a further follow-up reply.

Some believe that Jesus was not born the usual way, and that he instead exited Mary like light through glass, not opening her womb.

Some also claim that it is official Catholic dogma that this unusual means of birth in the case of Jesus took place.

Is it official Catholic dogma?

It is not.

Is it a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy?

It is not.

Between Ott (see below), Dulles (see below), the CDF, and Pope St John Paul II – I am satisfied that this is the case. Others may disagree, but they can take their disagreements to Rome, not to me. I have my answer from Rome and can rest well.

My communication with the CDF I now place below. And here as a PDF. The answer (and question) are actually broader than just the manner of Jesus’ birth, but in this post I simply wish to highlight the aspect regarding manner of birth.



Further reading on Jesus opening Mary’s womb:

The Presentation of Jesus, The Purification of Mary

On the Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God – Sentire Cum Ecclesia

My preliminary conclusions on the “virgo in partu” doctrine – Sentire Cum Ecclesia

Rounding off the “Virgo in partu” debate – the Proto-Evangelium of James – Sentire Cum Ecclesia

How Was Jesus Born? – Jimmy Akin

The Church, Cardinal Dulles said, “has not committed itself to any particular physical theory” of virginity in partu, and therefore the possibility that Mary “could have suffered some pains in birth” may be “compatible with Catholic doctrine.” The cardinal also pointed out that further doctrinal development and magisterial teaching could clarify the question one way or the other.
— Steven D Greydanus, The Nativity Story and Catholic Teaching

Dr. Ott declares that the doctrine of Mary’s virginity in partu “merely asserts the fact of the continuance of Mary’s physical virginity without determining more closely how this is to be physiologically explained.
— Steven D Greydanus, The Nativity Story and Catholic Teaching

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