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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Mary is Called the Mother of God


Mary is only the mother of the mortal or human Jesus, not God. Jesus, as God, pre-exists, even before creation (note John 1:1). God has no beginning– no mother.

He allowed himself “for a little while” to be “made lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9).

If Mary was actually God’s mother— giving birth to God himself— she would be God:

You are my witnesses, says the Lord, my servants whom I have chosen to know and believe in me and understand that it is I. Before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none (Isaiah 43:10).

Your throne stands firm from of old; you are from everlasting, Lord (Psalm 93:2).

But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times (Micah 5:1).

Who [Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance … (Philippians 2:6-7).


The anti-Catholic who made this argument against the title Mother of God did not do his homework. He failed to properly define the title; he failed to appreciate the Catholic position regarding Christ as divine; and he fell into an ancient heresy against the identity of Christ. It is a perfect example of the old cliché, “Those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it.” A response is problematical, because it is hard to take such a stab against Catholic faith regarding Mary seriously. Catholic school children could see the holes here. The heresy espoused here is known as Nestorianism after Bishop Nestorius who rejected the term Theotokos or God-bearer (Mother of God) for Mary. He argued that she was only the bearer or mother of Christ’s human nature. To his credit, Nestorius was concerned that the title was too similar to that which had belonged to goddesses, like Isis, Demeter and Hera as “mother of the gods.” Ultimately, what was at stake was more than an honor for Mary. The real issue was who is Jesus? Yes, he was God and yes, he was a man. However, the position of Nestorius tended to divide Jesus into two sons. The unity of Christ was endangered. Never did the title Mother of God imply that she was divine or a goddess. Mary was and always will be purely a human creature. This is the Catholic position. The title Mother of God does not have ontological properties regarding her identity. Christ is the pre-existent Logos, the Word, and author of life. This is the Catholic understanding, often lost in the drivel of ignorant and bigoted anti-Catholics. According to Roman usage, the title Mother of God represents a particular form of speech known as communicatio idiomata– the communication or exchange of idioms. Another example would be the expression that in Jesus, “God died on the cross.” Obviously, as a perfect Spirit, God as God cannot die. However, because of the inseparable identity of Christ as the God-Man, his death by virtue of his human nature can be ascribed to him according to his ultimate identity– the Son of God. Similarly, while the Lord only takes his human nature from Mary, she, like all mothers, is the mother of the whole identity of her child. The only difference is that her child happens to be God. The anti-Catholic posits a metaphysical meaning to the title Mother of God which the Catholic Church had never given it. This title protects the unity between the divine and human natures of Christ, one divine person.

Elizabeth’s greeting:

“And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43).  {See also John 2:1; 19:25; Matthew 13:55}

Unity in Christ:

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily … (Colossians 2:9).

One Response

  1. some tried telling me `nuns are marrid to Jesus`.is there anything to this and why would they be????????

    FATHER JOE: Nuns are regarded as spiritual brides of Christ.

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