I have always regarded faithfulness within marriage as a path to holiness equal in virtue to that of priests or sisters who remain celibate. However, with statements like "And to holy Mary, [the title] ‘Virgin’ is invariably added, for that holy woman remains undefiled" (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 78:6 [A.D. 375]), the Church seems to teach that intercourse defiles the body. How can I reconcile the fact that a marriage is not considered valid unless it is consummated with the teaching that Mary never had intercourse with Joseph?
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