The Dogma of Maria Always Virgin (continued)

Faith Issues by Rev. Fr. Oliver Onah


On the long run, one may ask; what is the need for all this hair-splitting 'noise' about the dogma of perpetual virginity of Maria? Is it of any significance to us and in our time and in our various cultural matrixes whereby some cultures propagate human species by chains of polygamy?

What is its relationship to the Church, nay, eternal life which is the legitimate aspiration of every pilgrim? Is her virginity of any significance to Jesus Christ himself? The answer to all these questions is yes! The truth is that we do not make any 'fuss' about her perpetual virginity just for its own sake or for the purpose of dogmatic defence.

The Church is related to Maria in her virginal and maternal life. The Church of Christ lives on account of her "fiat" to the will of God as Maria always Virgin and Mother. The Church as the community of those who live in the Incarnate Son of God through faith, hope and love, lives and loves as Maria. Faith, hope and love are the virtues of Maria and of the Church. As Maria, the Church is both virgin and mother.

Maria is virginal mother because she believes in the Word of God the Trinity. Her virginity is ordained to her divine maternity. Such virginity is paradoxically and maternally fecund because it is a sign of a dedication without reserve to her duty as Mother of God the Saviour.

Thus, even the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ imitates Maria in her virginity because "she guards integral and pure the faith given to the Spouse and to the imitation of the Mother of her Lord and Head, with the virtue of the Holy Spirit, virginally conserves integral the faith, secures the hope and makes the love alive" (L.G. 64/440).

It is excellently expressed that the Church is virgin in spirit since the virginity of the spirit is the integrity of faith, firmness of hope and the sincerity of love. Thus, the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ imitates the Mother of her Lord in spirit and not in her body.

The Lord Jesus Christ who has not made any damage to the virginity of his Mother, has raised to the grace of virginity his Mystical Body, the Church, redeeming her from the impure power and instigations of the evil one. Thus, the Church as the sign and instrument of salvation is the Bride of Jesus Christ. The Church remains always virgin, trying to sanitize the corruption of the world she is called upon to evangelize and orientate to God.

The Council Fathers spoke of Three Births of the Word of God, namely; The Birth in Eternity by God the Father, before all centuries (i.e. eternal generation); The Birth in the Fullness of Time (cf Gal 4;4), by Virgin Maria (infinite generation); and The Birth in the Church, in the Souls of men, by the by the work of the Holy Spirit and of the Church through the ministry of the word and administration of the Sacraments especially of Baptism through which the Church generates children for God (mystical generation) {cf L.G. 65/441).

According to these three births, the Birth "ex Maria Virgine" has the value of a symbolic sign in relation to the other two modes of Births. How? It is a sign of the divine filiation of the Eternal Logos.

The virginity of Maria is palpably significant in relation to Jesus himself in the sense that the linkage between the biological and the theological sense in the virginal conception of Jesus implies that the one and only Father of the child Jesus is God the Father.

It therefore puts in evidence the divine filiation of Jesus Christ thereby giving St Joseph the rightful position of a foster father.

This is a truth of faith chosen and revealed by God and which we should not presumptuously undervalue.


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