Was Mary Always A Virgin?

Q. Can you tell me if Mary, the Mother of Jesus, finished her life as a virgin? I’ve heard both versions of this one. I assumed that after Jesus was born, then the sons and daughters that came after Jesus were both hers and Joseph’s. However I’ve also heard that the additional children were Joseph’s from a different marriage (maybe the woman passed away?) Do you know which is true, and also, does it even matter whether or not she was a virgin at the end?

A. There’s absolutely no Biblical reason to believe that Joseph was married before and brought children into his relationship with Mary. Nor have I ever seen any credible extra-Biblical evidence of such. This is something put forth by those who want to maintain Mary’s status as a virgin for religious reasons. Speaking of Jesus, Matthew 13:55-56 says,

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us?

The clear implication here is that Joseph, Mary, Jesus and all His brothers and sisters were of one family. John, who also knew the family, spoke of the Lord’s brothers in John 7:3-10. The only ones to whom it’s important to portray Mary as a perpetual virgin are those who venerate her as more than a Jewish woman who was blessed to give birth to the Son of God.

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