The Bible often says "Jesus' brothers" (e.g. Mt 12.46 "While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him."). This is confusing since you read about the Virgin Mary. How would that be possible if she had other children? The Bible is written in Hebrew and was translated into other languages much later. In Hebrew, the word brother not only applies to biological brothers but also to relatives such as Cousins. Therefore some of the real meaning has been lost as the translators did not know exactly what was meant by the word and whether Jesus actually had brothers.
When we read the writings of Valtorta, it quickly becomes clear that Jesus had no physical brothers. Jude Thaddeus and James the Younger were his cousins, cousins with whom he had had a lot of contact since he was a child, as they were taught at home by the Virgin Mary along with him. Even in Valtorta, the two are sometimes referred to as "brothers" (e.g. Valtorta II, 97), so it seems the Hebrews used to be less serious about their biological brother and used the word for all relatives.
Here is a family tree, based on Maria Valtorta's scriptures, showing the relationship (if you want to know more about the credibility of Maria Valtorta's writings, read here):
So James and Judas Thaddeus were not the physical cousins of Jesus but relatives of his foster father Joseph. Someone could argue that in fact it doesn't matter whether Jesus had biological brothers or not. I think it's very important on a human, not on a divine level:
- Status of our Lady: When I first heard of the theory that Jesus had biological brothers and sisters, I was very disappointed. Something was wrong for me. Why should a woman who had received the highest grace of all graces and received God himself and is still called a virgin, have had the wish to have other children? She was also perfect mentally and spiritually, otherwise God would not have chosen her. So why should she still have other desires? For me, Maria is also a role model of chastity and virtue, to belittle her as a “normal woman” through this theory, in no way lives up to Maria's position and distinction before God.
- Illogical: I find it illogical that Maria still had children. When Jesus was on the cross, shortly before his death, battered and almost bleeding to death, he still had the strength to entrust his disciple John to his mother. If Mary had had other children looking after her, Jesus could have saved his energy. Only when Mary was alone after his death, only then did Jesus' word make sense - and I am convinced that it makes sense and after Jesus' death Maria was left with John as her only (new) son.
- Significance for us humans: The fact that Maria was a virgin until the end of her life shows how important and highly valued for God chastity and virginity is. When we read the writings of Valtorta, we also become aware that Maria and Josef shared a very strong love for one another that was based on respect and togetherness that was not at all at a physical level and at the same time went much deeper or higher than love can ever go. They are both fully committed to God and have maintained this throughout their lives. Both are a great example of how God thought man. Nothing was missing for the two, they have everything and more, especially mental perfection. This shows us humans how we can live and how we should give priority to the spiritual and divine.
- Relatives as a logical consequence of the humanity of Jesus: God wanted to be completely human, he wanted to be with us, he wanted to go through all the stages that a person goes through. This meant that he had to be born, to be a child. In theory, he could have let Maria raise Jesus alone. However, he decided to reverse the story of creation. He chose a woman and honored her by sinking into her. In order to protect the woman and to be a help and support for her and her child, he chose Josef as the foster father. Josef is a great example of virtue and obedience. He did everything for Maria and Jesus and thus for God. Through this choice of God, to raise Jesus through a human mother and foster father, Jesus automatically had relatives on earth. None of the relatives, without realizing it themselves as Elizabet and Zaccharias did, were told the secrets that surrounded Jesus. Thus Jesus grew up with his relatives in Nazareth thinking he was Joseph's son. In the case of Jesus the relatives from all sides helped him a lot, as John was his forerunner and his cousins his apostles who accompanied him throughout his life and were faithful beyond death.
- Everyone is brother and mother who believes in God: As I said on the divine level, it does not matter who is physically related and who is not. Jesus underlines this with his response as somebody told him (Mt 12.47): “Your mother and brothers (note from the author: meant your cousins) are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” Jesus responded (Mt, 48-50): “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Therefore we understand that God in the big scheme of things, physical relationships do not matter at all. You and me, we can all be Jesus brothers, sisters and mothers if we do the will of God. Even if your father or mother does not believe in God, you can be the greatest before God - God looks at the individual, at your soul.