Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines and Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life, Dating, and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Ape Baggins wrote:

Hi, guys —

According to Jewish marriage laws, Joseph and Mary had the betrothal time and when they got married, they'd go to the man's house. Everyone stood outside and cheered after they consummated their marriage then there were several days of celebration.

While they were in there, if she did not bleed, she would not be considered a virgin and could be stoned.

According to Catholic Marriage doctrine, if you do not consummate your marriage, then you did not complete getting married and you qualify for an annulment.

  • If Mary remained a virgin her whole life, did she and Joseph ever actually get married?

Thank you,


  { If Mary remained a virgin her whole life, did she and Joseph ever actually get married? }

Eric replied:


Your understanding of the Catholic doctrine of marriage is sufficiently off to invalidate your point.

In Catholicism, an unconsummated marriage is a perfectly valid marriage. It is not ratified, but it is valid. The Code of Canon Law, the law which governs the Roman Catholic Church, including marriage, says in Canon 1061,

Canon 1061 §1. A valid marriage between the baptized is called ratum tantum if it has not been consummated; it is called ratum et consummatum if the spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh.

A non-consummated marriage can be dissolved; a consummated marriage may not be:

Dissolution of the Bond.

Canon 1141 A marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by no cause, except death.

Canon 1142 For a just cause, the Roman Pontiff can dissolve a non-consummated marriage:

  • between baptized persons, or
  • between a baptized party and a non-baptized party at the request of both parties, or
  • of one of them, even if the other party is unwilling.

This is entirely different from a declaration of nullity, or annulment as it is popularly called.

This is a declaration that a marriage was never valid in the first place.

So to answer your question:

Yes, Joseph and Mary were in fact married. In fact, throughout history, marriages that were valid but deliberately unconsummated were called Josephite marriages.

[Related Web article]|[Relating Web article]

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.