Disciplined for Denying the Perpetual Virginity of Mary? (AD 384-92)


Below is a text quoted from The Church Teaches: Documents of the Church in English Translation which compiles several magisterial documents throughout Church history on different doctrinal topics. I quote a portion from the section on Mary ,the Mother of God since I was intrigued to read about the tradition of Thessalonica and Rome on the matter of Mary’s perpetual virginity. What I found most interesting is how those who espoused that Mary had children other than Jesus were condemned, and severed from being able to go to Church, unless they wanted to partake with the small sects which were all severed from the catholics (small “c” for sensitive readers).

” ‘It is a truth of the Catholic faith that Mary kept her state of virginity before, during, and after the birth of Christ. Whenever heretics have assailed this truth, the Church has championed it. In the second half of the fourth century, a certain Bishop named Bonoso was denounced to the bishops of Illyricum for having attributed other children besides Jesus to Mary. After they had deprived Bonoso of his episcopal functions, Pope St. Siricius (384-98), writing to Bishop Anysius, of Thessalonica, commended their action against the error

“..We surely cannot deny that you were right in correcting the doctrine about children of Mary, and pope_siriciusyour Holiness was right in rejecting the idea that any other offspring should come from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would not have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had judged that she would be also so incontinent as to taint the birthplace of the body of the Lord, the home of the eternal king, with the seed of human intercourse. Anyone who proposes this is merely proposing the unbelief of the Jews saying that Christ could not be born of a virgin. For if they accept the doctrine on the authority of priests that Mary had a number of children, then they will strive with greater effort to destroy the truths of faith“‘ “.

(Letter to Anysuis Bishop of Thessalonica, 392 – The Church Teaches: Documents of the Church in English Translation, by Jesuit Fathers of St. Mary’s College) 

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