Do not move an ancient boundary stone
which was put in place by your ancestors
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Was Joseph Permitted to Kiss Mary?
Catholic Answers had a thread on their Forum- Was Joseph Permitted to Kiss Mary ?
And of course, Rome's foremost defender on this thread- not willing to "sully the purity of the Virgin Mother" says, "NO!".
Unless it was a "chaste kiss". A kiss 'like Mary would have for her infant son'.
But of course we know the real question was, 'Did Joseph have intercourse with Mary?'. The real purity issue.
Now this defender is firm here as well, "NO!".
And this defender maintains Josephs chastity.
And knowing where this is leading- insists that 'not having intercourse with your spouse would not at all be unusual or improper in their culture'.
Really? Beware when they play the specious 'culture-card'. Culture hasn't changed all that much.
Of course this is where this AmbroseSJ gets to appeal to some specious tradition. A tradition without an apostolic source. Unless Ambrose of Milan is an apostle.
You see, it is thought that Ambrose of Milan was the first to propound this peculiar tradition [and Pelagius was soon prominent in popularizing it] in the 4th century. Appealing to his slavishly allegorical interpretation of Ezekiel 44:1-3. Before this tradition finally gained papal victory in 1854.
Indeed, this same Ambrose was one of the first to suggest that intercourse was "impure". Likely the first to establish a monastery in Italy (see Schaff here). And one of whom many mothers forbade their daughters to hear. Lest they go the barren way of his sister.
But let's get back to Joseph.
Now it is suggested by Rome that the text in question (Matthew 1:18-25) was "requiring" Joseph to keep his unchaste hands (and lips) off of Mary in perpetuity. A view that 4th century Jerome (with his very low view of marriage) would have no problem with. And a challenge that Joseph himself would allegedly have 'no problem with'.
But is this what the text says?
Well, let's look at that seemingly obscure Ezekiel text first.
Constables notes are very helpful here.
Indicating that this "gate" was certainly not an allegorical gate (womb). And that this very human "Prince" was certainly not Jesus.
Pretty dull of Ambrose on that one.
Now what of Rome on the Matthew text?
Well, Rome likes to pander to both Ambrose and Jerome [and yes, even the heretic Pelagius].
By reading stuff into the text that just isn't there.
By maintaining that Joseph maintained Mary's virginity. And by maintaining just as Jerome maintained, that "until" doesn't necessarily mean "only until" (v.25).
But then even the word "until" is unnecessary, isn't it? Unnecessary and diversionary. A waste of ink and inkling.
Yet isn't the context of this text... the purity of Jesus- rather than the purity of Mary or Joseph?
The fulfillment of the virgin prophecy 'spoken by the Lord'- rather than Joseph's maintenance of Mary's virginity?
The divinity of Jesus- rather than 'the divine calling' of Joseph?
And Joseph's calling the Divine One "Jesus"?
And what of the angelic preamble? Was Joseph truly "afraid" of taking Mary as a wife? Or merely "reconsidering" (v.20)?
Or did the angel actually tell Joseph to, "Be truly afraid of taking Mary as a wife in the fullest sense"?
Or to, "Be truly afraid of a 'usual and proper' marriage"?
In other words, was the angel actually telling Joseph to be a mere 'surrogate husband'? A mere 'surrogate daddy'?
No. That is too much reading into the text. With no supplementary evidence to support it.
And with no evidence to the contrary- I believe that Joseph remained "a righteous man" (v.19).
And became a husband and father in the fullest sense of the tradition.
Indeed, somuch more than a surrogate husband.
And so much more than an aspartame daddy.