References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
: To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiahpromised to Israel: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ theLord.” From the beginning he was the "one whom the father consecrated and sent into theworld," conceived as "holy" in Mary's virginal womb. God called Joseph to "take Mary asyour wife, for that which is conceived of her is of the Holy Spirit," so that Jesus, "who is calledChrist," should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David.
: ( On Is. 7:14), The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesusas a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: "That which isconceived in her is of the Holy Spirit," said the angel to Joseph about Mary, his fiancée. TheChurch sees here the fulfillment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah:"Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son."
: People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark's Gospel and NewTestament epistles about Jesus’ virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merelydealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we mustrespond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery, orincomprehension of nonbelievers, Jews and pagans alike; so it could hardly have beenmotivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age.
: The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son.The Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the giver of life," is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Maryand divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the Father in a humanitydrawn from our own.
: Our moral life has its source in faith in God who reveals his love to us. St. Paulspeaks of the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5; 16:26) as our first obligation. He shows that"ignorance of God" is the principal explanation of all moral deviations (Rom. 18-32). Ourduty toward God is to believe in him and to bear witness to him.4.
Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities
Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Ephesians
): Mary's virginity and giving birth and eventhe Lord's death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthyof proclamation were accomplished in God silence.
Anonymous Incomplete Work on Matthew (5
See in what way the similarity herefollows in everything that happened with Adam. At that time, the woman alone, tasting of thefruit of the tree, was seduced and brought forth death, but Adam did not share in herseduction. He did not sin through being seduced by the devil but because he consented tothe woman's act. Likewise, submitting to the Holy Spirit, Mary alone believed, saying,"Behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." Joseph then actually had nothingin common with her conception, but later was saved only by being silent and consenting.Joseph was assisted in a dream -- not openly -- so that even as when Adam was asleep Godcreated the woman, so when Joseph was asleep he was given a wife by divine influence.
St. John Chrysostom (
On the Gospel of Matthew, Hom. 4.6)
It was as if the angel weresaying to Joseph, "Do not imagine that, because he is conceived of the Holy Spirit, that youhave no part in the ministry of this new dispensation. In the conception, you had no part.