Did Mary Die From Natural Causes?
ACCORDING to the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption states: “The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over.” This teaching has led some Catholic theologians to claim that Mary “did not die and was immediately raised from earthly life to heavenly glory,” says the paper.*
Recently, Pope John Paul II cast a different light on the matter. At the General Audience at the Vatican on June 25, 1997, he said: “The New Testament provides no information on the circumstances of Mary’s death. This silence leads one to suppose that it happened naturally, with no detail particularly worthy of mention. . . . The opinions that wish to exclude her from death by natural causes seem groundless.”
Pope John Paul’s statement opens a deep crack in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. If Jesus’ mother was “preserved free from all stain of original sin,” how could Mary die from “natural causes,” which result from sin passed on by sinful Adam? (Romans 5:12) This theological dilemma is due to the Catholic Church’s distorted view of Jesus’ mother. Little wonder that division and confusion have arisen within the Catholic Church over the matter.
While the Bible portrays Mary as being humble, faithful, and devout, it does not ascribe these qualities to an “immaculate conception.” (Luke 1:38; Acts 1:13, 14) The Bible simply says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Yes, Mary inherited sin and imperfection as did the rest of humankind, and there is no evidence that she died from anything other than natural causes.—Compare 1 John 1:8-10.
See the article “The Assumption—A Dogma Revealed by God?” in the February 15, 1994, Watchtower, pages 26-9.