SJ4 – Marriage Amid The Madness – St. Joseph and His World with Mike Aquilina – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Mike Aquilina Discerning Hearts podcast Villains of the Early Church. MarcionEpisode 4 – Marriage Amid the Madness

In this episode, Mike Aquilina and Kris McGregor discuss Mary and Joseph’s marriage and his challenge with her pregnancy.  They also discuss Mary’s need to visit her cousin Elizabeth, commonly referred to as The Visitation.

An excerpt from St. Joseph and His World:

Commentators down the ages have proposed three approaches to this enigmatic passage:  (1) the suspicion theory, (2) the perplexity theory, and (3) the reverence theory.  Let us examine them briefly.

1. The Suspicion Theory. In this reading of the Gospel passage, Joseph suspects that Mary has been unfaithful. He is devastated, but his love for her remains so great that he cannot bear the thought of her facing public shame—or, worse, the death penalty, since adultery was a capital crime, punishable by stoning. He decides to divorce her, as the Law permitted, until an angel deters him from that course of action.

2. The Perplexity Theory. According to this theory, Joseph cannot understand what has happened. He does not believe Mary could be unfaithful. Yet her pregnancy is undeniable and subject to legal penalties. Since Joseph is a just man, he finds a solution that respects the Law, but protects Mary as well. The angel, in this reading, provides the information that Joseph lacks and helps him to make a plan for going forward.

3. The Reverence Theory. This third theory presents Joseph as a man overwhelmed by awe when he learns of Mary’s miraculous conception. From the beginning, he knows of God’s singular intervention: “she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.” Joseph feels unworthy to be involved, and so he decides he will cooperate just long enough to protect Mary’s secret and then make a quiet exit. In this reading, Joseph’s first impulse is like St. Peter’s when he said to Jesus, “Depart from me!” (Lk 5:8), or the Centurion’s when he said, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof” (Lk 7:6). The angel, however, persuades Joseph to put aside his fears.

Each theory has saints and doctors of the church among its proponents. St. Justin Martyr and St. Augustine of Hippo advanced the first; St. Jerome the second; and St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Josemaria Escriva the third.

Aqualina, Mike. St. Joseph and His World (p. 39). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

For more episodes in this series visit – St. Joseph and His World with Mike Aquilina page

You can find the book on which this series is based here.

Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics, the study of the early Church Fathers.[1] He is the executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a Roman Catholic research center based in Steubenville, Ohio. He is a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Fathers of the Church (2006); The Mass of the Early Christians (2007); Living the Mysteries (2003); and What Catholics Believe(1999). He has hosted eleven television series on the Eternal Word Television Network and is a frequent guest commentator on Catholic radio.

Mike Aquilina’s website is found at

Other Mike Aquilina series’ found on Discerning Hearts:

Roots the Faith

The Resilient Church

Villains of the Early Church

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