Did Mary and Joseph have other children besides Jesus?


Q: Did Mary and Joseph have other children besides Jesus?

A: Absolutely not.

Mary was subject to a specific provision of the the Mosaic Law, to wit:

Leviticus 27:28  Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord. See also: Numbers 30:1-16.

Mary was and is a perpetual virgin, dedicated solely and completely to God from a very young age, her subsequent marriage not withstanding.

Once dedicated to God, such a vow survives marriage and everything else.

Joseph was her most chaste spouse, and a willing servant of God.



  1. she didn’t remain a virgin forever…She remained pure until AFTER Christ was born but beyond that she was marriage to Joseph so I think it’s safe to believe physically they were together as well. Also scripture says “and he (joseph) had no union with her” until after she had the baby. Which would mean he did eventually have union with her. However I’m not too sure that they had other children. ( I believe they didn’t, but I’d like to read more before saying so with confidence).

    • Dear Vani,

      You are attempting to understand the vagaries of scripture translation instead of paying close attention to the infallible testimony of the Catholic Church, which knew Jesus, Mary and the Apostles, and also knew that Jesus had no blood brothers or sisters, and that Mary remained forever a virgin, totally dedicated to God, alone.

      The passage you mention does not state what you obviously think it does. The Church is dogmatically clear on that fact, and it has always been so.

      According to the Mosaic Law, Mary took a permanent vow of virginity at the age of three, which also made provision for a virginal marriage, so long as the prospective husband knew of and approved of the vow. Once approved, the vow remained binding on all parties, under pain of death.

      Saint Joseph is known as the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for obvious reasons. He never had sexual relations with her.

      People of this era simply put way too much emphasis on sex. Mary was uniquely sanctified by God, through his grace and through the continuous, physical presence of his divine Son, Jesus. She had little need of anything else. Besides, she was busy helping Jesus with his mission of redemption, as his first, best, and most constant disciple.

      It is the height of presumption and just plain wrong to attempt to project your own unsupported, personal biases and beliefs onto the person of the holy Mother of God.

      God bless you,


  2. Mr. Doug,
    I see your point, but I’m still not totally convinced. But I might just be stubborn. I don’t mean to offend—I’m truly just curious and would like to understand.
    You said that Mary would have taken the vow at age 3, so long as the husband to be would know and approve of such law. But how do we know that Joseph was right there approving of so? Also, under Christs new covenant would she have still had to follow the Mosaic Law? Because under marriage it would not be sin for her to have relations with her husband.

    I do believe that Mary was sanctified by the Lord. Her virgin birth is proof of that. But various translations of that scripture (Matt 1:25) “He had no union with her until..” “And knew her not until…” to me read the same thing.

    Either way, whether is remained a virgin or not, I really don’t think it takes away from the Miracle of Christ’s Virgin birth and the fact that he is the son of God. Although it is great to acknowledge The greatness of Joseph, Mary, Moses, etc I’m not quite sure why the church over emphasizes those who–although righteous–are/were just in as much need of a savior from their sins as the rest of us.

    Thank you,

    • Dear Vani,

      Mary’s vow would have been a matter of record at the Temple. Any prospective husband would have been apprised of the vow, and could have confirmed it or denied it. St. Joseph obviously confirmed it.

      The New Covenant did not begin until Jesus was around 33 years of age. By that time, St. Joseph was dead, and Mary would have been in her late 40’s. So your point is moot.

      Various translations of the Bible really don’t matter, since the Catholic Church, which predates the Bible, and which is the only living eye witness to all the events and people in the Gospels, testifies infallibly to the dogma of the Blessed Virgin’s eternal virginity. Unless you were there and you knew Mary, it would be wise to defer to the Church’s unique authority and experience in this matter, since even a very careful reading of the Bible, some 2000 years after the fact, proves little … without the direct testimony of Catholic tradition.

      Mary was placed in the care of St. John while Jesus still hung on the cross. Isn’t it curious that St. John received custody of the Blessed Virgin, when you and others claim there were so many of Jesus’ brothers and sisters hanging around? And why was nothing ever heard from these half-brothers and half-sisters of God?

      And while there is no doubt that the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph needed a holy redeemer, just like everyone else who ever lived, isn’t it nice to know that at least a few people managed to respond absolutely perfectly to God’s supernatural grace, live according to his perfect will, and so merit all the corresponding, eternal rewards?

      The whole point of our veneration of Mary and the saints is to be able to emulate them, according to the grace and power of Jesus Christ. Minimizing or denying what they did … or the grace empowered means by which they accomplished their particular life’s mission … robs Christians of their own true and lasting identity … which in reality, is no different than theirs.

      Not only should Mary and the saint’s personal success in Jesus Christ be cheerfully acknowledged and widely celebrated by every Christian, it should be closely studied and painstakingly emulated, for unless we do just as they did, with a pure and heroic faith, we’re probably going to have a lot of explaining to do, standing in front of the Judgment Seat of Christ, on the Last Day.

      To the misinformed and/or the uninitiated, these things may seem to be overly emphasized, but in reality, since nothing less than holy will ever be permitted to enter heaven, they have proved to be extremely practical and entirely godly. I suggest you pray long and hard about it.

      Thank you for writing!


    • Vani,
      You have every right to question God’s word. God expects you to do this. The Holy Spirit will lead you and show you. Listen to God and not the church. The Catholic faith has excuses for everything that is not in the bible that they believe. The list is to long to share at this point and they find other excuses to try to make people believe that they are the only authority of the scriptures when people like you question the scriptures. When you are truly seeking God’s word and the truth, God will show you and the Holy Spirit will lead you. That is the main purpose of the Holy Spirit. To help lead us, pray for us, and goes directly to God for us. Jesus, as well, goes to God for our defense especially when we sin. This is found in 1 John 1:10 in the New Testament. It’s great to see Catholics reading the bible and wanting to learn the scriptures. Good luck! I will be praying for you.

      • You write, “Listen to God and not the church.” This is a totally ignorant statement, since it’s impossible to listen to God and not listen to his authentic Church. The Holy Spirit was assigned to the Catholic Church in order to preserve it from teaching error, and Jesus Christ is still the head of the Catholic Church, as he will always be. You can confirm this in the words of the holy scriptures. To deny the teachings of the only church Jesus ever personally founded is to deny Jesus Christ and the power of God. Protestants would not have the inspired, inerrant, written Word of God (the Bible) if the Catholic Church had not first written, compiled, preserved and certified every jot and tittle of it. Furthermore, pray about the blatant irrationality of believing in faith alone and the Bible alone (how can you believe in two different things alone?) and you’ll probably begin to see all the other misconceptions and incongruities that have become a part of the Protestant tradition over the years. Blaming the Holy Spirit for the various (40,000 and counting) Protestant denominational incongruities and disagreements is known as blasphemy. Meanwhile, since the very beginning of Christianity, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church has consistently professed one creed and preserved one complete, authentic deposit of faith. God is not the author of confusion and he is certainly powerful enough to preserve the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church that he founded, authorized, empowered and personally guaranteed, for the purpose of our salvation. Remember … by the power of God … the Catholic Church had already converted most of the known world for Christ, long before the first Protestant ever thumped a Bible! For Catholics, nothing much has changed.Yet Protestants … true to their name … continue to splinter into more and more divisive little groups. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me. That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them: that, they may be one, as we also are one. I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me. (John 17:17-23) Thanks for writing.


      • Thank you very much for the prayers, it is much appreciated. I understand where you are coming from. I believe it is the living word, and when the “church” isn’t backed up by scripture then I do question it. The early church is not the same as the current catholic church, which is what confuses me about how the catholic church is the “eye witness” .

      • To put it very simply … Jesus is still the head of the Catholic Church, and the Holy Spirit continues to guide the church in all truth. There’s no doubt that many who belong to the church and many who actually run it are rampant sinners, prone to all sorts of evil and corruption. That’s simply the human condition, and it has never changed. Nor will it, until Jesus comes again. Jesus Christ founded only one church for the salvation of souls … the Catholic Church … one, holy, universal, and still administered by the ordained successors of the original apostles, chosen by Jesus Christ. That church is the genuine eye-witness to Jesus Christ because it was there, in the beginning, it is here now, and it will remain until the end of time. The gates of hell will never prevail against it. Its authentic teachings will never fail, and our faithful participation in the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church will never cease to sanctify and transform us. We have Christ’s word on all of that. As for the question of church teachings always agreeing with scripture … in this, it is always necessary to separate personal opinion from God’s revealed truth. We have 2000 years of the world’s finest Catholic theology, written by many the world’s greatest saints, where dedicated, holy people (like Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome, and many others) spent their lives praying and studying the Word of God. Then they faithfully wrote down what God had revealed to them, and the Church itself confirmed the veracity of their work, in light of the complete deposit of faith. Twenty various church councils have also infallibly confirmed these things, issuing complete, detailed reports as to the why’s and how’s. Our modern Catechism of the Catholic Church provides copious and scholarly theological citations at the end of each section, so those who demand proof may be fully satisfied. I have completed the necessary studies, comparing the Bible in all the original languages, as well as the Latin Vulgate, and several of the best English texts. Then I compared all the teachings and citations in the Catholic Catechism with the scriptures and the actual writings of the Church fathers, doctors, popes and saints. As a result, I can personally testify that anyone who truly understands the authentic Catholic faith AND the God inspired, infallible, totally inerrant, written WORD OF GOD (the Bible) will find absolutely no discrepancies! That may sound incredible, but it”s true. I invite you to do the work and see for yourself.

  3. Matthew 13:55-56 & Mark 6:3

    Cannot simply be cousins because Colossians 4:10 uses a separate Greek word. John 1:41 uses the same term of Peter and his brother.

    The Catholic Catechism says of these verses: “The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, ‘brothers of Jesus,’ are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ…” Pg. 126 #500).

    The Catholic church teaches that the Mary in these passages is the mother of Jesus, but Jesus brothers and sisters are children of another woman also named Mary. The children are so clearly the offspring of the “Mary” of this passage, that the Pope has come to the conclusion is must be a different Mary! Incredible!

    Now read it for yourself from the scripture and see if you agree with the Catholic church that the Mary of these passages is both the mother of Jesus and the mother of James and Joseph and Simon and Judas.

    Matthew 13:55-56 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.”
    Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household.”
    Are you still Roman Catholic after reading that?

    Matthew 12:46 & Mk 3:31 & Lk 8:19

    Jesus is distinguishing between blood brothers versus brothers of faith. Remember it was someone else who called them “mother and brothers” not Jesus. If the brothers are not literal, then neither is the mother. Cannot simply be cousins because Colossians 4:10 uses a separate Greek word. John 1:41 uses the same term of Peter and his brother.

    Mt 12:46 While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. 47 And someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” 48 But He answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
    Mk 3:31 And His mother and His brothers *arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him, and called Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him, and they *said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33 And answering them, He *said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 And looking about on those who were sitting around Him, He *said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! 35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
    Lk 8:19 And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
    Matthew 1:23-25

    As clear as if it said, “kept a virgin until wedding day.”

    24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, 25 and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
    Mt 1:18

    Can only refer to sex because “before they had sex she became pregnant” reinforces the virgin birth. But “before they began living together does not support the virgin birth”. It was not normal to live together or have sex when betrothed, giving powerful evidence that the reference is to sex, not co-habitation. What value is there in mentioning that it was merely before they started living together when the real point is that they were not only living separately, but had not had sex yet!

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
    John 2:12 & John 7:1 & Acts 1:14 & Galatians 1:19 & 1 Corinthians 9:5

    These verses prove beyond any question that Jesus had literal blood brothers through Mary. Notice that brother cannot refer to “brethren in the church” kind of usage because other “brethren in the church” are listed beside “Jesus brothers”. Of the 20+ times “Jesus brothers” are referred to. NEVER are they called cousins or relatives. How could the Holy Spirit say it to make the fact any clearer?

    John 2:12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days.
    John 7:1 And after these things Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand. 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing. 4 “For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6 Jesus therefore *said to them, “My time is not yet at hand, but your time is always opportune. 7 “The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8 “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” 9 And having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. 10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret.
    Acts 1:14 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
    Galatians 1:18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
    1 Corinthians 9:4 Do we not have a right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
    Colossians 4:10

    Cannot simply be cousins because Colossians 4:10 uses a separate Greek word.

    Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’ cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him);
    The bible never uses these two Greek words anepsios or sungenis in reference to Jesus brothers. For Catholic doctrine to be true,

    Greek Dictionary: cousin/Relative:

    anepsios (ajneyiov” , (431)), in Col. 4:10 denotes a cousin rather than a nephew (A.V., “sister’s son”). “Cousin” is its meaning in various periods of Greek writers.¶ In this sense it is used in the Sept., in Numb. 36:11.¶ In later writings it denotes a nephew; hence the A.V. rendering. As Lightfoot says, there is no reason to suppose that the Apostle would have used it in any other than its proper sense. We are to understand, therefore, that Mark was the cousin of Barnabas.
    sungenis (suggeniv” , (4773)) in Luke 1:36 (so in the most authentic mss.) and sungeneµs in ver. 58 (plural), A.V., “cousin” and “cousins,” respectively signify “kinswoman” and “kinsfolk,” (R.V.); so the R.V. and A.V. in 2:44 and 21:16. The word lit. signifies ‘born with,’ i.e., of the same stock, or descent; hence kinsman, kindred. See Kin, Kinsfolk, Kinswoman.
    Note: In Col. 4:10, A.V., anepsios (cp. Lat., nepos, whence Eng., nephew), a cousin (so, R.V.), is translated “sister’s son.” See Cousin.¶
    John 1:41

    the term brother is never used in the New Testament to denote a cousin or relative or anything other than a literal BROTHER.

    John 1:41 He *found first his own brother Simon, and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah”

    • Dear Og,

      The Catholic position is one of eye-witness, since the Catholic Church was present there at that time, with Jesus, Mary, the apostles and the evangelists.

      The only thng others can attempt is the pointless, incessant parsing of obscure phraseolgy.

      In addition, there’s at least ten very practical reasons why Jesus would, needs be, have been an only child.

      I’ll gladly accept the testimony of the Catholic Church over anyone’s who wasn’t there at the time.

      Beware of geeks spouting Greek!

      Happy Easter!


      • What do you mean the “catholic position of I witness”?

      • Dear V,

        The Catholic Church was there with Mary, the Apostles and disciples. The Catholic Church is the living eye-witness to all the truths of the Christian faith. The Catholic Church knows that Jesus was Mary’s only child, and it infallibly teaches that to be true.

        Only those who showed up 1500 years after the fact and prefer to parse the Bible rather than listen to the Church, have a problem with the concept.



      • who then, was the catholic church of that time? I still don’t understand. Isn’t the bible the witness?

      • The Catholic Church of that time consisted of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles, the disciples, and all the other existing faithful. The only scripture that existed at that time was the Old Testament. The New Testament had yet to be written, and the Church would not define the authentic canon of the Bible for another 300 years. As St. Paul advised: Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle (letter). (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
        The Catholic Church remains the only living eye-witness to the authentic Christian faith. The Church grew exponentially in the early days, without the aid of any New Testament scripture. Now, we have Tradition, Scripture, and the teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (the authoritative teaching office, established by Jesus Christ) which are the three witnesses which together, prove all the divinely revealed truths of the Christian faith.

        Private interpretation of the scriptures, without regard to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church is a late-day Protestant heresy, which has led to nothing but confusion and disunity in the Body of Christ.


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