I was reading in Matthew 1:25 that Jospeh and Mary didn’t lay with one another until the birth of Jesus, so my question is. We know that Jesus had siblings and it is implied that Joseph and Mary had sex according to Matthew 1:25, why do Catholics insist that Mary never had sex ever?
In matthew 1:23
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”
Yup. I’m sure that the blessed mother and Joseph did their wild husband and wife thing after she had given birth to the Son of God. Though I would imagine that they waited approximately 6 weeks in accordance with their doctor’s recommendations.
As you mentioned, Jesus did have other brothers and sisters. The catholic tradition concerning the perpetual virginity of Mary has to do with a couple things. One, catholics hold Mary in very high esteem, some merely in a Saint-like status, others likening her to a kind of deity. This tradition existed from early church history some even believing that Mary was more than just a righteous woman, but a woman so beautiful that God himself was smitten with her. Two, because of the low regard of the flesh, and sexual intercourse, as a result of the dualism of ancient Greek culture (i.e. soul = good, flesh = evil) it would have been hard for some early Christians to imagine that Mary had engaged in such a carnal activity as sexual intercourse. This of course has hints of heresy all over it, it contradicts what we find in scripture (as pointed out above), and it disregards the high esteem that scripture holds for sex within the context of marriage.
Mary was not a deity, nor was she sinless, she was a young woman who was living her life in pursuit of God, and as such, she was blessed with one of the most unique and important blessings any woman has ever known. But this blessing did not come without pain and suffering. Like many other women who have experienced the tragedy of losing a child, Mary had to watch her own son butchered on a Roman torture device. And while we believe that he rose again, the experience of watching her son executed must have been the most heart wrenching moment of her life.
Jesus did have brothers and sisters though (e.g. see Matt. 12:46, 13:55) and they weren’t born of a virgin, so you can do the math on that one. Some catholic scholars try to explain this away by calling into question the meaning of “brothers” in these texts, but these arguments come off as quite a stretch.