Mary and God the Father: Mary Ever Virgin©

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Mary Ever Virgin. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website, or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: List of Magisterial Documents
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Documents I. Mary and God the Father / 5. Ever Virgin
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • glorious ever Virgin Mary...[Canon of the Roman Mass] 52
  • ever virgin 69
  • Virgin acknowledged...53
  • Christ's virginal conception 57
  • at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it 57
  • born of a virgin 65
Signum Magnum, 1967
  • The chaste spouse of St. Joseph remained a virgin during and after the birth of Christ, as the Catholic church has always believed and professed. [ftn 31 lists seven early sources and LG 52, 55, 57, 59, 63] 18
  • altogether fitting...honor of divine motherhood 18
Creed, Paul VI, 1968
  • We believe that Mary is the Mother, who remained ever a Virgin,... [cf. Conc. Ephes., DS 251-252] 14
  • Blessed Virgin 15
General Catechetical Directory, 1971
Guidelines on Doctrine for Catechetical Materials, 1990
  • Ever-Virgin Mother 68
Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973
  • The "ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God," [Footnoted: 106 First Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass 24
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother (Divine Praises) 10

    Virgin Birth

  • "How can this be since I do not know man?" Mary's question is evidence of the belief of the early Church that Jesus was virginally conceived, the doctrine usually called the "Virgin Birth." 24
  • The conception of the Son of Mary without a human father is the sign that the Incarnation is the new creation, independent of the will of man or urge of the flesh. (Jn 1:13) 24
  • Mary's virginal conception of Jesus, and her life-long virginal vocation, were taken as the model of the Church's virginal faith. 39
  • Both St. Luke and St. Matthew bear witness to the fact that Jesus had no human father. St. Luke brings this out in relating Mary's question (1:34) and St. Matthew in telling of Joseph's dream. (1:20-25) Some of the Fathers read an allusion to the Virgin birth in St. John's reference to those "begotten not by blood, nor by carnal desire, nor by man's willing it, but by God." (1:13) 42 [See also 133]
  • What is normative in the matter of the Virgin birth is the teaching of the Church. [fourfold: sense of the people, theologians, liturgy/prayers, magisterial teaching] 43
  • creed..."born of the Virgin Mary." 44, 106
  • The Virgin birth...not...symbolical [description], not...a literary device...nor...a human construct 44
  • Catholic belief in the Virgin birth rests not on the Scriptures alone, but on the constant and consistent faith of the Church. 44
  • Ignatius of Antioch (d. Ca. 110), "the Son of God...truly born of a virgin;" St. Justin, "Virgin Mary;" Hippolytus, "I believe in ...born from the Holy Spirit of Mary the Virgin." 45
  • The Virgin birth...a sign and means for the Spirit to build the new People of God, the Body of Christ, the Church. 48 [See also 79]
  • virgin 106

    more on the Virgin birth 46-48

    and which His Virgin Mother also chose." 50

    Always a Virgin

  • The truth that Mary remained always a virgin, that is, that she had no other children and never used her marital rights, emerges clearly in the Church's consciousness in the fourth century, when "ever-virgin" became a common description of her. 49
  • [Consecrated virginal life] discovered in Mary an exemplar of virginal consecration to Christ. 49
  • In the writings of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (d. 373), of St. Ambrose (d. 397), of St. Augustine (d. 430), and of St. Jerome (d.420), our Lady's lifelong virginity is praised. 49
  • By the time of the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D., belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary was well formulated. 49
  • This teaching about Mary's lifelong virginity is an example of the Church's growth in understanding of Christian doctrine. 50
  • In Mary's virginal dedication to her Son's saving work, the Church sees delineated her own mission ... the kingdom of God, in its present reality as well as in its future completion. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church repeated this conviction, urging religious to "pattern (themselves) after that manner of virginal and humble life which Christ the Lord elected for himself and which His Virgin Mother also chose." (LG 46) 50
  • "the ever-virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God," (Eucharistic Prayer I) 62
  • God called Mary and Joseph to sublimate the consummation of their married love in exclusive dedication to the holy Child, conceived not by a human father but by the Holy Spirit. When Mary said to Gabriel, "How can this be since I do not know man?" (Lk 1:34), the angel told her of the virginal conception. 133
Marialis Cultus, 1974
  • The Christmas season is a prolonged commemoration of the divine, virginal and salvific motherhood of her whose "inviolate virginity brought the Savior into the world." (Euch Prayer I, Christmas Communicante) 5
  • [liturgy, doctrinal theme] unblemished and fruitful virginity 11
Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979
  • In taking on human flesh through the ever-virgin Mary 87
  • "ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God," [Footnoted: 45 Roman Ritual, First Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass.] 106
Catechesi Tradendae, 1979
  • ever Virgin 30
Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986
  • where he had lived for thirty years in the house of Joseph the carpenter, with Mary, his Virgin Mother 18
Redemptoris Mater, 1987
  • while preserving her virginity intact 20
  • conceived in her virginal womb 30
  • Orientals pay high tribute, in very beautiful hymns, to Mary ever Virgin ... God's Most Holy Mother." (UR 15) 31
  • [See Mary's role as virgin and mother in 39]
The VM in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988
  • [Creed, see above]
  • conceived the Son of God in his human nature in her virginal womb through the action of the Holy Spirit and without the intervention of man (cf. LG 57,61) 7
  • post-conciliar debate to a more suitable illustration of dogmas brought about in: on the Incarnation of the Word (dogma of the virginal conception of Christ, dogma of the divine maternity ...12
Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988
  • [see Annunciation] 3
  • [see discussion virginity and motherhood] The description of the Annunciation ... clearly shows that this seemed impossible to the Virgin... 17
  • firm in her resolve to preserve her virginity 17 [See also 20]
  • Virginity and motherhood co-exist in her: they do not mutually exclude each other or place limits on each other. 17
  • On the basis of the Gospel, the meaning of virginity was developed and better understood as a vocation for women too, one in which their dignity, like that of the Virgin of Nazareth, finds confirmation. ... the ideal of the consecration of the person ... exclusive dedication to God. 20
Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989
  • The nature of this "marriage" is explained indirectly when Mary, after hearing what the messenger says about the birth of the child, asks, "How can this be, since I do not know man?" (Lk 1:34) 2
  • Although Mary is already "wedded" to Joseph, she will remain a virgin, because the child conceived in her at the Annunciation was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. 2
  • While clearly affirming that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that virginity remained intact in the marriage (cf. Mt. 1:18-25; Lk 1:26-38), the evangelists refer to Joseph as Mary's husband and to Mary as his wife (cf. Mt 1:16, 18-20, 24; Lk 1:27; 2:5). 7
  • And while it is important for the Church to profess the virginal conception of Jesus, it is no less important to uphold Mary's marriage to Joseph, because juridically Joseph's fatherhood depends on it. 7
  • Scripture recognizes that Jesus is not born of Joseph's seed, since in his concern about the origin of Mary's pregnancy, Joseph is told that it is of the Holy Spirit. 7
  • [St. Augustine] "...Finally, even the Virgin Mary, well aware that she has not conceived Christ as a result of conjugal relations with Joseph, still calls him Christ's father." 7
  • In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Church venerates the memory of Mary the ever Virgin Mother of God and the memory of St. Joseph. 16
  • Hence, what had taken place earlier, namely, Joseph's marriage to Mary, happened in accord with God's will and was meant to endure. In her divine motherhood Mary had to continue to live as "a virgin, the wife of her husband." (cf. Lk 1:27)18
Veritatis Splendor, 1993
  • virgin mother of God 106
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
Fidei Depositum, 1992
Virginity of Mary:
p. 49: Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed
437, 452, 456, 469, 470, 487, 496, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 506, 510, 717 [BB]
[See also 494, 504, 505]

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even the act of giving birth to the son of God made man. (cf. DS 291; 294, 427, 442, 503, 571, 1880) In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." (LG 57) And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin." (Cf. LG 52)

502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.

503 Mary's virginity manifests God's absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. "He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed....He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures." (Council of Friuli, 796 )

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith "unadulterated by any doubt," and of her undivided gift of herself to God's will. (LG 63, cf. 1 Cor 7:34-35) It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ." (Augustine)

510 Mary "remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1:PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is "the handmaid of the Lord." (Lk 1:38)

Vita Consecrata, 1996
  • The consecrated life has always been seen primarily in terms of Mary - virgin and bride. This virginal love is the source of a particular fruitfulness which fosters the birth and growth of divine life in people's hearts (Theresa of the Child Jesus, Manuscrits Autobiographiques B, 2: "To be your bride, O Jesus ... to be, in union with you, a mother of souls.") 34
  • receptive in fruitful virginity 112
Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001
  • The Evangelists took pains to represent him on the basis of trustworthy testimonies which they gathered (cf. Lk 1:3) and working with documents which were subjected to careful ecclesial scrutiny. It was on the basis of such first-hand testimony that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit's action, they learnt the humanly perplexing fact of Jesus' virginal birth from Mary, wife of Joseph. 18
Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002
  • It [the Rosary] is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. 1
  • "The Jesus that each Hail Mary recalls is the same Jesus whom the succession of mysteries proposes to us now as the Son of God, now as the Son of the Virgin." [MC 155] 18
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003
  • It is not by chance that the Eastern Anaphoras and the Latin Eucharistic Prayers honor Mary, the ever-Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, the angels, the holy apostles, the glorious martyrs and all the saints. 19
  • In a certain sense Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God's Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. 55

© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.

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