Imagine you are a young lady about to get married. You’ve found the love of your life and you look forward to your new life. You can’t wait to be a wife and mother. At your bridal shower an elderly friend from church tells you that you will have the most beautiful children. Do you…

a. Ask how this can be, since you’re a virgin?

b. Give her a pretty smile and say “Thank you! I hope they look like my fiance!”


Now imagine you’re a dedicated nun and you take your vows seriously. The mother superior tells you she has had a vision and knows that you are going to have a very special son. Do you…

a. Ask how this can be, because you are celibate?

b. Give her a pretty smile and say, “Thank you! I hope he looks like my fiance!”


Each response is appropriate in a given situation. Each is completely inappropriate in the opposite situation. Let’s look at Mary’s response when she was told she would have a son.

Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [Luke 1:31-35, Douay-Rheims]

Mary was already betrothed to Joseph when the angel told her she would have a child. Yet she points to her virginity as an impediment to having children. Either Mary intended to keep her virginity or she was… well, socially awkward at best and insane at worst. If her marriage to Joseph was intended to be a typical marriage, we would expect Mary to assume that her son would be conceived in the natural way and to respond accordingly.

Most Protestants believe that Mary was only a virgin until after Jesus’ birth. Catholics believe Mary was celibate her entire life. The Catholic doctrine is the Biblical doctrine.