Did the Virgin Mary die?

from: http://taylormarshall.com/

There are many Catholics that deny that the Immaculate Mary died. They claim that when Pope Pius XII dogmatically declared the Assumption of Mary, he left the question open. They cite the following from Munificentissimus Deus:

by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.


The Falling Asleep of the Virgin
Note the mitered Christ holding Mary’s soul apart from her body

Here, it is claimed, that the Holy Father left the question open by declaring only “having completed the course of her earthly life,” and not “having died.” Did Mary die? They say the text is ambiguous.

However, what did Pope Pius XII intend when he wrote, ”having completed the course of her earthly life”? As in the study of Sacred Scripture, the answer lies in context.

Pope Pius XII – Did Mary Die?

If you read Munificentissimus Deus, it becomes manifest that the Holy Father taught that our Immaculate Lady died an earthly death before being assumed bodily into Heaven. This belief is stated repeatedly in the text of Munificentissimus Deus. Here are some examples from Munificentissimus Deus:

Citing Pope Adrian I, His Holiness Pope Pius XII records:

Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.”

Citing the Byzantine liturgy:

As he kept you a virgin in childbirth, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb.”

Citing Saint Modestus, the Holy Father writes:

As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.”

The citations employed by Pope Pius XII reveal that he believed and intended to show that the Immaculate Virgin Mary did in fact undergo death prior to her glorious Assumption.

What is death?

Death is the separation of the body from the soul. When the soul leaves the body, you are dead. Traditional iconography shows the soul of Mary separate from her body as in the Western version above and in the Byzantine version below:

Dormition, Did Mary Die?

Dormition Icon from the 1100s

The common feature of the Dormition icon is Christ holding the tiny soul of Mary depicted as a baby wrapped in white clothes. It’s a “reverse Madonna.” The Mother of God’s body lies lifeless on a bier. The orthodox image shows that Mary did die. The Holy Apostles surround her demonstrating that the Dormition and Assumption had apostolic witness and are part of the deposit of Faith.

But Mary didn’t sin!

It should be stated that Mary did not die because of sin, but rather in her desire to be conformed to Christ in all things – to be the speculum justitiae, mirror of justice. Her death gave her dominion over Purgatory as prophesied in Ecclesiasticus 24 and gave her more meritorious prayers for those in the hour of death.

If you would like a detailed defense of the death of the Immaculate Virgin, see the Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, a doctor of the Church.

Assumption Triduum

The Eastern Churches celebrate a mini-Lent before the Assumption from August 1-14. In addition to fasting, the Eastern Christians chant the Paraklesis Canon to the Mother of God from August 1-13. There is a tradition is that she died at 3pm on August 13 and rose again and was assumed into Heaven on August 15. Her death on August 13 is still commemorated in Jerusalem to this day. Hence Aug 13-15 is a Marian Triduum or “three-day” death and resurrection cycle. In fact, the Jerusalem rite for Matins on August 14 are those of Holy Saturday. In Jerusalem, the liturgy of her death begins on the evening of August 12.

Question: Do you agree that the iconography tradition and the context of Pius XII’s teaching upholds that Mary died?


About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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27 Responses to Did the Virgin Mary die?

  1. Toad says:

    All very fascinating and esoteric. Toad, diffidently as usual, suggests the answer is. “Maybe, maybe not.” There.

    However, on the subject of questions, here’s one that struck him this morning: Did Adam and Eve copulate before The Fall?
    Or did copulation possibly constitute The Fall itself?


  2. Adrian Meades says:

    God gave Adam and Eve the same sets of genitals as he did the other animals, so surely he intended for them to use them, Toad?


  3. Roger says:

    Death came to Man through Adam and Eve because of Orignal Sin which was what Our Lord died for on the Cross for.
    The problem is if you believe in Evolution because then Death existed before Adam and Eve.
    So if Death existed before what was the purpose of the Passion?


  4. NEO says:

    I’ve always thought, Roger, and this is simply my personal thought that it wasn’t so much death itself that came with the fall but foreknowledge of death and the fear of the great unknown. But, I’ quite like likely wrong there cause I’m surely undereducated in this area.


  5. Toad says:

    “So if Death existed before what was the purpose of the Passion?”

    What, indeed, Roger. A question I often ask myself. To little or no avail.

    But what I was actually asking was whether or not Adam and Eve enjoyed a sex life before The Fall.
    Or does nobody know?

    “The problem is if you believe in Evolution because then Death existed before Adam and Eve.”
    Problem? What problem?
    Surely other animals died before Adam and Eve did?
    Even if only by a day or so, let alone thousands of millions of years?

    Adam and Evolution. Good name for a book.


  6. Roger says:

    NEO The Assumption is the Body, Spirit and Soul of Our Lady is in Heaven. The Resurrection of the Dead is in their Bodies, Spirit and Souls t live for ever.
    The Immaculate Conception (without Original Sin) and the Virgin Birth. The Soul is created by God (God doesn’t create Sin) so Sin can’t be in the Soul, so where then is Original Sin?
    Now Our Lord’s Transfiguration and Resurrection were seen in His Flesh(Transforming and healing).
    Our Lord expressly mentioned Noah as in Noah’s Ark and the Flood so you can’t call the New Testament written for primitives.
    Adam’s punishment was to die the Death. But Evolution means that Death was Adam’s lot anyway!
    Our Lord’s Conquers Death through His Resurrection (flesh) . But if Man evolved and Death had always been there where was the point in the Passion?
    The Bible has examples of miraculous healings of the sick (flesh) and the lives of the Saints record these. This is God repairing, healing the flesh (as a potter shapes clay) Christs miracles and those of the saints that God Creates Not Evolves.


  7. Toad says:

    What you seem to be asserting Roger, is that if Evolution is a fact, then Christianity must be a fiction. And/or contrariwise.
    I agree the theory of Natural Selection does not do the biblical account of life’s origins any favours, but surely it need not necessarily sink it without trace. Merely makes it metaphor. Or so some people believe.

    “The Soul is created by God (God doesn’t create Sin) so Sin can’t be in the Soul, so where then is Original Sin?”
    A question Toad often asks, and with – it seems – as little success as Roger.
    One possibility is that the Soul is not created by God.
    And if God didn’t create Sin, who did?
    Satan? But who created him?
    And if God created Satan, did He know in advance what would happen?
    And, if He did, is everything horrible that has subsequently happened all His fault?

    “if Man evolved and Death had always been there where was the point in the Passion?”
    Another question that clearly vexes both Roger and Toad.
    Roger puts it very succinctly.


  8. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 10:17 yesterday

    Adam and Eve, Man and Woman, were a married couple, the parents of all Mankind, who God told to “increase and multiply”! How therefore could their sexual union possibly constitute The Fall? What a crazy question! Marital sex is good and holy, created by God for this very purpose.


  9. kathleen says:

    Toad, I’ve had such poor success in trying to explain these many things (Original Sin, etc) that seem to puzzle you so greatly, I wonder if it is any use to try again…. but I will. Sigh!

    Let me ask you a question first: what does “Free Will” mean to you?
    For example, would you not say that if you wanted to smoke three packets of cigarettes a day, and I were to try to stop you with warnings and pleadings to no avail, even making an attempt to snatch the cigarettes away from you, you would probably get angry with me, wouldn’t you? You might exclaim: “It’s my choice; I want to smoke. Don’t interfere with what I freely want and choose to do.”
    So too with Sin in the world, whether we are talking of the rebellion of the angels (pure spirits who were also created with Free Will), the Fall (Original Sin) of our first parents, or our own sins of thought, word, deed or omission, with the multiple little decisions we make every day of our lives.
    We are not robots, but free beings able to decide whether we wish to love and serve God, or not. We were all created in the Image and Likeness of God, but all of us (except the Blessed Virgin Mary) with the effects of Original Sin still on our souls. Yet God constantly pours His Grace and Mercy upon us to help us make the right decisions; for He wants our Eternal happiness, His Love is so great. That is why we see that which is pure and beautiful as Good and wish to lean towards it, whilst shunning the foul and ugly.

    You ask why, with God’s foreknowledge did He create the angel, Lucifer, (as he was called) in the first place? Of course no one knows the answer to that, but if it were not Lucifer, it might have been another archangel of another name who would have cried “I shall not serve!”
    To give Free Will to your creatures is a risky thing. But it is a wonderful and amazing thing too, that undoubtedly we would all prefer, rather than being created as pre-programmed robots! Only an All-powerful, All-Loving God could devise such an awesome gift as Free Will.


  10. Toad says:

    Yes, Kathleen, but – as we all (well, nearly all) seem to agree, the business of the apple and the snake is a metaphor.
    But what is it a metaphor for? What actually happened? What was the sin? Disobedience? What are we supposed to have literally done? What command did we disobey? Or don’t we know?
    More crazy questions.

    And what about all that stuff they dinned into my head about unbaptised babies, therefore still Originally Sinful, and thus couldn’t go to Heaven, going instead to limbo?
    Was that all nonsense?

    “… but if it were not Lucifer, it might have been another archangel of another name who would have cried “I shall not serve!” “

    But, we can suppose, on the other hand – it might not.


  11. kathleen says:

    Should we really be arguing such things on the day Our Blessed Lady was assumed Body and Soul into Heaven?
    But if my far-too-inadequate attempt helps understand these mysteries even a little better, perhaps we should…..

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Original Sin of Adam and Eve was a ‘Personal Sin’ – the sin of disobedience to God. Yet, if we analyse this, we see that every sin is a direct act of disobedience to the Divine Law.
    So what was that sin?
    The Bible quotes the Tempter (the devil in the form of a serpent) as telling Eve that to eat of the Forbidden Fruit: “You will be like God”. She and Adam fall into the temptation. This is the Sin of Pride, the first and foremost of the seven deadly sins, and the sin that is at the root of all other sins. Through their Pride, Adam and Eve disobeyed God; though what the actual sin was, we do not know.

    So, in other words, it could be any grave sin! The important lesson is, once Man had “rebelled” against God, we gained the knowledge of the difference between Good and Evil, and we lost the total innocence and happiness God had created for us. Suffering and death entered the world… (“If you eat of its fruit,” God said, “you will surely die”)
    God did not abandon the “work of His Hands”, but right from then on we were given the Promise of the future Redeemer. From the CCC:
    “410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.”

    The fate of unbaptised babies (innocent of any personal sins) we can safely leave in God’s loving care.


  12. Roger says:

    What metaphor? True God writes through the lives of Saints and His Justice is constantly being displayed.
    The Bible is a book that interlinks because it has One Author.
    1/Our Lord breathed over the Apostles “recieve ye the Holy Ghost”
    2/He told the Jews of these stones God is able to raise up Children of Abraham.
    3/Study the Man blind from birth and what Our Lord said But Our Lord spread clay on His eyes.
    Genesis ” [7] And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
    Our Lord simply renacts and confirms Genesis.
    As for copulation . Well the figure placed before us for the New Adam and Eve which is Jesus and Mary and St Joseph to complete the Holy Family these are virgins and there is No Copulation.
    But the Virgin Birth concieved by Holy Ghost (think X and Y chromosones because her ova had to be seeded ) . Eve punishment was travail in Birth. But not Our Lady.
    All that copulation does Toad is perpetuate Orginal Sin through the Fallen Flesh.


  13. Toad says:

    “All that copulation does Toad is perpetuate Orginal Sin through the Fallen Flesh.”

    Well it also keeps the human race rolling inexorably along, Roger.
    Though how good an idea that is, is another issue entirely. On which we might even agree.
    Copulation is also fun, more often than not.
    So I seem to remember.
    And surely God designed it that way?


  14. Toad says:

    “… we lost the total innocence and happiness God had created for us.”

    Well, God already knew that we would from eternity, didn’t He, Kathleen?
    So why… oh, never mind,perhaps you are right – not on Assumption day.

    Our day to mind the church, too. Yippee!


  15. Roger says:

    As Prophecy is conditional so Free Will opens and closes possibilities. All we need to know is that Fell. “..The Doctors of theology say that the first parents had been formed in original justice, and although the body is naturally vulnerable, nevertheless God had given that grace to Adam, because as long as he was obedient to God and the body also was obedient to the soul …because Adam was disobedient to God, for this the body lost grace and remains in its misery..” I think you mean Lust not copulation.
    Jesus and Mary Holy Virginity.
    Man is Self centred and Christ is Selfless. Self is man’s enemy. We are bombarded with Self-awreness, Self- fulfilment etc.. ad nasea. Self is the Flesh ruling Man not the Spirit ruling the Flesh.
    Toad I wouldn’t presume to apply human logic to God and what He knows or knew, we have Free Will and Prophecy can be fulfilled in many different ways. God is Love but also Justice it can be painless of a blood bath but this will always be of our chosing.
    Evolution and Abortion are linked (check out the recapitulation principle) . Man most certainly did not Evolve


  16. Toad says:

    “Toad I wouldn’t presume to apply human logic to God..”

    Well, it’s the only kind we’ve got, Roger. We have no choice.

    “Man most certainly did not Evolve…”

    Doesn’t the fact that only you and a bunch of plainly certifiable fundamentalist religious loonies believe this ludicrous assertion – ever give you pause for thought, Roger?
    Would you want to go on your holidays with such people? Surely not?

    Everything is evolving, all the time.*

    Including The Catholic Church, which has evolved from a handful of homeless, penniless, idealistic young men into a vast, gilded, property-owning, hugely complicated, occasionally venal, multinational corporation, rich beyond the dreams of avarice, largely concerned with its own internal interests and often ruthless in pursuit of them, and currently employing millions world-wide.

    As to the evolution of the motor car…don’t get me started.

    (*I’ve heard it said that crocodiles aren’t.)


  17. Roger says:

    Toad I keep saying with the Faith you have to look back to look forward. What is the purpose of the Church? Why does the Churc Exist? What was the purpose of Religion before the Church? Why ae we born? These are the questions for which we actually have answers.
    Man has a duality flesh and spirit. It is the flesh that is the source of his appetities, But the flesh dies, Everything that he thinks he has is only for a short duration. Evolution is men interpreting the flesh, at one time the majority interpreted a flat world. Evolution is material of the flesh. Darwins work is at the same time as Lourdes, one is material the other spiritual.
    The spirtual survives death and where reason tells us our Future lies. Your examples are material of the flesh nothing you cite survives Death.
    This Age was known including the life and cycle of the Church. The Fathers of the Church knew these times and the apparent death of the Church (the Church recreates Christ Life). The sign of these times have come and gone, much is now in the Past.
    Wisdom of the saints is not the concupience of the flesh (Self) and the death of the soul but the true eternal Life of the Spiritualised. Our Ladys Assumption demonstrates this Triumph. You and the majoirity today havebeen seduced by this materialism.
    The apparent Death of the Church


  18. Adrian Meades says:

    If Adam and Eve did not have sexual desires, why would they have copulated? So what is the difference between sexual desire and lust? And isn’t sexual desire an instinct that has evolved in order to encourage animals to copulate?


  19. Toad says:

    “The spiritual survives death and where reason tells us our Future lies. Your examples are material of the flesh nothing you cite survives Death.”

    That may be true, Roger. On the other hand, it may not.
    I don’t know. And I don’t think you do, either.
    What you do actually know – is that you devoutly believe immortality of the soul to be true. For sure.

    The evidence for an afterlife, is to me at least, inconclusive. And unconvincing.
    Best not get too ‘carried away.’ I think.

    I also suspect, much as Unamuno did, that people like to think they will be immortal because they desperately desire not to die.


  20. Roger says:

    If Adam and Eve had ‘copulated’ before the Fall then since each man has Free Will their children would have not been guilty of Original Sin. There is a profound depth and intelligence behind those simply words of Genesis (words and works that are repeated elsewhere in the Bible).
    It isn’t as if Virginity was a new idea either its as old as man just as is Marriage and what does the 10 commandments say about looking at anothers spouse.
    Evolution is nice and convenient isn’t it?. I can look at any man or woman and it natural to be aroused be that another mans wife, daughter or son, why not my own daughter or son?
    Oh yes nice and convenient way of excusing Lust and Avarice.
    St Paul already covers this issue over sexual desires.
    The saints obey God and their are plenty of Virgin Saints.
    The Sacrament of Marriage is the relationship between a man and a woman subject to God’s Grace and even then virginity is encouraged.
    The fruits of Evolution are simply excuses for SELF INDULGENCE actually beastility literally.


  21. Adrian Meades says:

    Roger, I was disappointed that you did not have a go at answering my questions.

    It would appear that our instincts have evolved to the point where we do not (in general) find our close relatives sexually attractive, or those showing signs of illness or malformation.


  22. Roger says:

    So what we have now is Adam and Eve in Paradise with Our Lord and no children.
    Incidently Our Lord confirmed Paradise on the Cross to the Good Thief Heaven wasn’t opened until His Ascension.
    We have Our Lord modeling in clay to repair a blind mans eyes (the eye mechanism and its complexity is a consistent argument with Evolutionist by the way). We have his breathing the Holy Ghost into his Apostles. We have His saying he could make Sons of Abraham out of stones.
    Death comes because of Original Sin so death wasn’t there before. Neither Adam nor Eve suffer pain, thirst etc.. through their created flesh. Evolutionsts argument excludes Paradise by the way and they have no fossils of spirits or souls unfortunately. The Fossils they determine dates through the Geology and curiously the Geology is dated through the fossils (circular argument). Fossils are are formed under catastrophic conditions and suddenly. There are complete fossil of fish by the way on the tops of mountains.
    The serpent that talked. Well as you know St Francis lectured to the birds and also the fishes. We don’t know much about Paradise but Man wouldn’tbe Man without taste, touch, sight, hearing etc..Clearly Adam and Eve had these as doesOur lord ND oUR lADY


  23. Roger says:

    Toad the afterlife. Well the Ancients all believed in an afterlife didn’t they? I have already cited Homer.as an example. Our Lord didn’t come to prove the After Life Toad. The Transfiguration has Elias and Moses by the Way. Our Lord said God of Abraham, Issac , Jacob OF THE LIVING NOT THE DEAD. So Abraham, Issac and Jacob are alive aren’t they.


  24. Toad says:

    “Evolution is nice and convenient isn’t it?. I can look at any man or woman and it natural to be aroused be that another mans wife, daughter or son, why not my own daughter or son?”

    What on earth has that to do with Evolution, Roger?
    You seem to have suddenly moved on to Incest.

    High time Toad let this one go.


  25. Roger says:

    [The moderator – Not fitting for a post about our blessed Lady.]


  26. Uncle Kyle says:

    If you consider how evolution by natural selection works, Roger, the animal which mates with its offspring will be succeeded by those which don’t.


  27. Roger says:

    Man as Created by God lives forever.
    That is Body, Spirit and Soul The Moderator doesn’t want the detail so be it.
    The singular feature repeated in Our Lord’s public Life is Creation. All of His miracles are Creative and especially the Body. But real death is the Loss of God in Eternity and this required the miracle of the Passion because neither Jesus nor Mary could Die. The Fathers knew this.
    It is about the truth and especially Our Fathers Love for Us. It is about Creature’s and Love.
    We are meant to understand Gods Love through Father and Mother. Man and Woman.
    Lucifer died because he replaced Love with Self Love (Free Will) . The Angels are pure spirits and Created.
    Our Lady is Mother of God the Son , Daughter of God the Father and Spouse of God the Holy Ghost.
    The Immaculate Conception is a mystery NOT understood.
    The Annunciation another Great mystery of Creation because Science cannot clone a man from a womans cell.
    The Assumption is a mystery that is beyond Man.
    Neither Adam nor Eve as Created could Die
    The truth is this is a Fallen world and its Laws include the consequences of Original Sin, what is more the Keys given to Peter include Authority over this material world. How else do you think Anathemas work?
    Evolution is a theory of chaos (Hell) order out of chaos. God’s Creation is Order and it is Sin that creates the chaos.


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