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Our readers asked:

Did Mary have labor pains?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:


There’s lots of debate around this one.   After the Fall, in Genesis 3:16, God tells Eve, “I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children.”    The Genesis author thus portrays labor pains as the consequence of original sin.

Catholics, however, believe that Mary was conceived without original sin: “[Mary] was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.” (CCC 411).  Given that, many conclude that she would not have suffered labor pains.  This view was held by many early Church Fathers, and was mentioned in the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

That said, other theologians dispute this logic.   If, as the Church teaches, baptism frees us from original sin, then shouldn’t all baptized women be free of labor pains? Equating labor pains with sinfulness also seems to imply that women with difficult labors are more sinful than those with easier ones.   On the other hand, it’s possible that God could have granted Mary a pain-free delivery as a special privilege.

In the end, it’s worth remembering that the Church has not made a dogmatic statement on the question.  Although the Church teaches that Christ’s birth was a virgin birth, the details of the delivery itself are open to speculation.

Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. You can visit her blog atwww.blog.maryandme.org

 
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The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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  • Jane

    Yes, all women who are baptized are freed from original sin. But your logic ends there. Baptized women still feel the EFFECTS of the original sin. Otherwise, once we were baptized, we would all be sinless, perfect, immaculate. Mary was sinless from the moment of her conception, and therefore was never bound by the EFFECTS of original sin. There is a BIG difference there, a big difference between her and baptized women. So to say “If, as the Church teaches, baptism frees us from original sin, then shouldn‚Äôt all baptized women be free of labor pains?” is just not logical. The answer is no, baptized women shouldn’t be free of labor pains, because they were not CONCEIVED without original sin, and are still bound to feel its effect in their lives. Otherwise, we could all be canonized right after our baptisms.

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