Did Mary Have Labor Pains

Fr. Z posted a review of the new Nativity Movie on his blog, and some people posted comments complaining about the movie and the fact that it depicts the Theotokos experiencing labor pains during birth. Now, I had never really given this much thought before but I got thinking about it. In response to the comments, Fr. Z posted a follow up with a quote from the Council of Trent:

“To Eve it was said: In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children. Mary was exempt from this law, for preserving her virginal integrity inviolate she brought forth Jesus the Son of God without experiencing, as we have already said, any sense of pain” (Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, Trans., John A. McHugh, O.P., Charles J. Callan, O.P., South Bend, Ind., Marian Publications, 1972, p. 4).

Okay, so I looked furthur. In the Protoevangelion of James there is this line:

“And the midwife went along with him and stood in the cave. Then a bright cloud overshadowed the cave, and the midwife said, This day my soul is magnified, for my eyes have seen surprising things, and salvation is brought forth to Israel. But suddenly the cloud became a great light in the cave, so that their eyes could not bear it. But the light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and nursed at the breast of his mother Mary. Then the midwife cried out and said, How glorious a day in this, wherein my eyes have seen this extraordinary sight! And the midwife went out from the cave, and Salome met her. And the midwife said to her, Salome, Salome, I will tell you a most surprising thing which I saw, A virgin has brought forth, which is a thing contrary to nature.”

So there is no mention of labor pains here either. In fact the verse is quite explicet with the light and then a child appears. So it would seem that this would be true?
Why all the hub bub about all of this. I find questions like this very interesting and like to write about them. Will it change the faith at all, I don’t think so but it is interesting none the less. Be kind if you comment.


  1. On Fr. Z’s Blog it set off a fire storm and he tried to bring people back to the central point. Huw had a good post about it also and mentioned the people who are more concerned with the way the lamps hang in the church. I guess those types are everywhere.

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