St. Joseph’s Not-Untimely Death, by Michael Pakaluk

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*Image: The Death of St. Joseph by Francisco de Goya, 1787 [Royal Monastery of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, Valladolid, Spain]

By Michael Pakaluk, The Catholic Thing, May 25, 2021

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is a professor in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. …

Friends: It’s usually at this point in a fund drive that I want to remind you again what The Catholic Thing is and does. Maybe it’s a false sense of modesty, but I feel like when we do that, we’re tooting our own horn too much in contradiction of Christian humility.  Still, I’d at least like you to know what some of your fellow readers are thinking. …

St. Joseph was certainly not alive when Jesus began his public ministry. This, the tradition has always maintained, for four reasons.

First, after the public ministry begins, Joseph is never mentioned in the Gospels in connection with Jesus or Mary, or with the broader family of the “brothers” or more properly “cousins” of the Lord.  There is even some suggestion in the way people refer to Joseph that he is no longer alive: “Isn’t this the son of the carpenter?” (Mt. 13:55)

Second, why would Jesus have conferred Mary to John, to take her into his house (Jn 19:27), if Joseph were still alive?

Third, Simeon’s prophecy of suffering – “a sword your soul too shall pierce” (Lk 2:35) – pertains only to Mary, not Joseph. …

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