Did mary have a vaginal Birth.
#51
(05-01-2013, 05:10 PM)Warrenton Wrote: These things appear to have been settled a long time ago.

First, the easy part.  The breaking of the hymen was important to early theologians because while not having a hymen does not disprove sexual virginity, having one does prove it.  That St. Mary was virgo intacta proves that she was physically pure, and that the conception of our Lord was by hearing, and accepting the Word.  As other's have mentioned, the intact hymen fulfilled the prophecies that the new Israel would be born from a Virgin without birth pangs.

Second, the nativity was normal in that Christ came into the world via vaginal birth.  St. John Damascene (The Faith Book IV) attests to it.  However, the Lord miraculously preserved the the body of the Mother of God intact.   The Protoevengelion of James is largely spurious, but does mention that St. Joseph sought a midwife.  The mystery of how this happened is as unknowable as how the bush Moses saw remained unconsumed.  Did God regenerate the branches immediately after they burned, or did the fire somehow burn without carbonizing the branches?  We don't know.   How did God produce the honey or water from the rock?  Did those things pass through the structure of the rock, or merely appear to pass through them? 

I speculate that the answer has less to do with "Newtonian" physics than with time (knowing that there is interplay between the two).  We suffer injury when, in ordinary time, our bodies are acted upon by some force. We do not suffer injury before the force, nor do we suffer the same injury after the force has expended itself.  Christ's birth occurred in Bethlehem in a cave and was visible in time to the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the ox and the donkey who were there.  However, in cosmic terms, the infant Jesus, as a force, was not restricted to that time and place.  He had  always existed, and will always exist, in terms of that birth.  The incarnation is a part of the eternal logos which was spoken from the foundation of all creation.  There was no injury to the body of the Blessed Virgin because the birth had already occurred, or looked at from our point, was yet to occur, since the spiritual  effects of the incarnation are perpetual:  Christ is eternally born anew, just as he is eternally killed, in the life of the Church.  The prophecy concerning the Blessed Mother is still unfolding.  There being no "time" in which to limit the Virgin birth, there was no injury to the Mother of God. 
How would an intact hymen be necessary to fulfill the prophecy of Jesus being born to a Virgin who did not suffer birth pangs?  God could have allowed His son to come into the world without Our Lady suffering the pain that was Eve's punishment for original sin?  And while its existence would prove that Our Lady was in fact a perpetual virgin, how would anyone have known of it either way?  Like Sartori said awhile back, a woman deserves some privacy. 
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#52
Before, during and after is indicative of the hymen remaining without tear. Hymen is the litmus test of virginity in time and place. The physical mirrors the spiritual. The during aspect has no bearing on sexual relations, but physical indicators which were a decisive factor, and are outside the western, modern mindset-- even today.



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#53
The state of a woman's hymen is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition in determining whether or not a woman is a virgin or not, regardless of what the ancients  (wrongly) believed. However, my own position on the matter is that Christ experienced a normal birth but did not tear the hymen in doing so.
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#54
(05-01-2013, 09:49 PM)GloriaPatri Wrote: The state of a woman's hymen is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition in determining whether or not a woman is a virgin or not, regardless of what the ancients  (wrongly) believed. However, my own position on the matter is that Christ experienced a normal birth but did not tear the hymen in doing so.

But it is what the Church teaches, in conjunction with those historical beliefs.

You own position is at odds with teaching. Consult a priest.
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#55
Jon, I have in no way contradicted what the Church believes. I agree that the Virgin Mary was not physically harmed in birthing Christ. Whether that meant that he came as "light through glass" or not is not a matter settled by the Church in a definitive manner.
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#56
The Fathers know best and understood purity in a different manner than us, one that ascended above whether a hymen meant virginal or not.  No, clauso utero teaches that Christ did not pass through the birth canal, period.
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#57
(05-01-2013, 11:03 PM)Tenmaru Wrote: The Fathers know best and understood purity in a different manner than us, one that ascended above whether a hymen meant virginal or not.  No, clauso utero teaches that Christ did not pass through the birth canal, period.

No, it doesn't.
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#58
(05-01-2013, 11:01 PM)GloriaPatri Wrote: Jon, I have in no way contradicted what the Church believes. I agree that the Virgin Mary was not physically harmed in birthing Christ. Whether that meant that he came as "light through glass" or not is not a matter settled by the Church in a definitive manner.

As I said earlier, whether light through glass of her belly or birth canal is irrelevant, as the lack of harm done implies no destruction of the sign of purity, or virginity, the hymen, in conjunction with the Fathers and Church doctrine on before, during and after. The intact hymen, then, is the definitive notion, despite your disagreeing with the understanding of the ancients. A normal birth, without pain, is not a normal birth. A normal birth, without tearing the hymen, is not a normal birth.

If you disagree with the definition of the Fathers, how are you not disagreeing with the definition of the Church when before, during and after maintaining of the sign of virginity, without pain, necessitates a birth which is not definable as natural/normal? The virginal aspect, the miraculousness, is the intact hymen, and the nature of the birth which is miraculous, in addition to lack of sexual experience. The Fathers are not defining virginity as merely sexual relations, but its sign of assured lacking: intact hymen from before, during and after; no opening of the womb at all. A "natural birth" disallows harm, or destruction of that sign and the womb.

He could have been born out of her fingertip for all we know, but the point is that the hymen is the sign of virginity and the womb was unopened: lacking natural/normal birth.

There simply is no way to argue for natural/normal birth and not deviate from the Church teaching.

See Fr. Hardon, S.J. article: http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/...gy_025.htm
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#59
(05-01-2013, 08:04 PM)Satori Wrote: I think part of the problem we're having is how we're using the terms "natural" and "supernatural". I think when Impy insists the birth was "supernatural" as opposed to "natural," he's not opining on which exit Our Lord took out of the womb but only saying that it was not a "normal" birth -- it was a birth in which the mother's physical integrity was miraculously preserved somehow. That's what you're saying, right? And those who have insisted that Jesus' birth was "natural" are not saying that it was just like every other human birth in every respect, they are arguing only that he was born via the usual passage.

Warrenton, is it true that a painless birth was prophesied? I am not familiar with this.

St. John Damascene, a Father, said that the nativity occurred in the normal manner. He was gestated and was born just like other men. That tradition is behind the protoevangelion, which contains the (fictitious) story of the midwife's attendant attempting to examine the body of the Blessed Mother, and being burned when she touched her sacred body.  However, the process of gestation and birth made no change on the body of the Blessed Mother.  That was miraculous.  Rather, I expect, in the way that Christ could have been crucified, pierced with the lance, but still able to walk, eat and talk.  How did these wounds - mortal for any other man - not keep him dead, or continue to kill him after the resurrection?  It was a miracle.  The greatest ever.  The second greatest was the virgin birth. 

The Fathers understood the imagery of the burning bush to be a presage of Our Lady.  Similarly, they understood the parting of the sea, the gates that remained shut, the fiery furnace that did not consume the children, and the whirlwind that guided as being images that God sent the prophets to indicate the manner of the incarnation. 

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#60
ImpyTerwilliger Wrote:It was not a natural birth.  "Repugnance" has nothing to do with it.  It was a supernatural birth.  This is the Catholic faith.  See, e.g., Denzinger (1957), 314a, n. 3:

Quote:Leo XIII accepted the profession of faith offered by Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the year 811, according to which God "also preserved the virgin who supernaturally and ineffably had given birth; after the bringing forth, her virginity according to nature in no part being changed or destroyed."

It was indeed supernatural. It is possible for the birth of our Lord to have occurred through the normative bodily structures of our Lady, but simultaneously supernatural in that it did not damage her bodily integrity in the process. As Satori indicated, our Lord's birth was certainly not a "normal" birth (i.e. the pains of labor, rupture of hymen, etc.), but that does not mean that the birth bypassed the bodily structures that our Lady possessed entirely. Christ's birth may certainly have occurred via our Lady's birth canal while supernaturally preserving her virginity at the same time. Much like the Hypostatic Union, our Lord's birth may be a union of both natural and supernatural (human/divine) processes.

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