Age of Mary and Catholic Sources

Just a note on the issue of Mary-Joseph re the Catholic sources. Muslims need to be careful when citing Catholic opinions on the ages of the two as from a scholar who was talking about Christian imagery there was an emphasis amongst the Catholics to deliberately portray Joseph as really old so as to give the image that the marriage was one without consummation due to his old age. This is for Catholic theological reasons – perpetual virginity.

Jonathan McLatchie + Liz Mooney: Biblical Age of Consent


Categories: Islam

7 replies

  1. I’m curious, what Catholic documents do you consider untrustworthy regarding this issue?


    • It will not be without interest to recall here, unreliable though they are, the lengthy stories concerning St. Joseph’s marriage contained in the apocryphal writings. When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, “the Lord’s brother”). A year after his wife’s death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Juda a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place. These dreams, as St. Jerome styles them, from which many a Christian artist has drawn his inspiration (see, for instance, Raphael’s “Espousals of the Virgin”), are void of authority; they nevertheless acquired in the course of ages some popularity; in them some ecclesiastical writers sought the answer to the well-known difficulty arising from the mention in the Gospel of “the Lord’s brothers”; from them also popular credulity has, contrary to all probability, as well as to the tradition witnessed by old works of art, retained the belief that St. Joseph was an old man at the time of marriage with the Mother of God.


    • I should make it known to you that the Catholic Church has never claimed to be certain on the age of Mary and Joseph at the time of the birth of Christ. What the Church does say is that Mary remained a perpetual virgin and never had relations with Joseph.


  2. Not related to the article, but how would I get in contact with the site admin (who isn’t Paul now that ownership is transferred). I have a request.


  3. @yahyasnowblog, the request is a bit private (it’s a comment on an old article that has some personal info about me I want removed).

    If possible, could you DM me on twitter on this handle? (And delete this comment here)


Please leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: