Revised and Expanded: Saint Jerome Put the Love of God Above All Else

Saint Jerome, whose feast is celebrated today, Friday, September 30, 2022, put the love of God as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church above all else. As one who understood that God's love for us is an act of His Divine Will, Saint Jerome did not have time for the sentimentality and terminal "niceness" that so many Catholics who are possessed of one naturalistic attitude after another mistake for "love."

Saint Jerome, a tireless worker in behalf of the proper translation of the books of Sacred Scripture from the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint into the Latin Vulgate, used direct, blunt and frequently insulting language to denounce fools and nitwits. He was particularly searing in his language against heretics, people whom he knew to be the most dangerous people on the face of this earth as they propagated ideas and beliefs contrary to Divine Revelation and thus contrary to the good of the souls for whom Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Cross, thus sowing the seeds of disorder within societies and making war among nations of men more possible. Saint Jerome was thus unstinting in his criticism of Pelagianism and other heresies, refusing to accept any accommodations with error whatsoever.

Saint Jerome told us in his own words that Catholics had a solemn duty to oppose heresy and error without regard for the sensitivities of the person or persons responsible for propagating such falsehoods:

I shall add a few words in answer to those who say that I am writing this work because I am inflamed with envy. I have never spared heretics, and I have done my best to make the enemies of the Church my own.  

Helvidius wrote against the perpetual virginity of Saint Mary. Was it envy that led me to answer him, whom I had never seen in the flesh?

Jovinianus, whose heresy is now being fanned into flame, and who disturbed the faith of Rome in my absence, was so devoid of gifts of utterance, and had such a pestilent style that he was a fitter object for pity than for envy. So far as I could, I answered him also.

Rufinus did all in his power to circulate the blasphemies of Origen and the treatise “On First Principles," not in one city, but throughout the whole world. He even published the first book of  “Apology for Origen” under the name of  Pamphilus the martyr, and, as though Origen had not said enough, vomited forth a fresh volume on his behalf. Am I to be accused of envy because I answered him? and was his eloquence such a rushing torrent as to deter me through fear from writing or dictating anything in reply?

Palladius, no better than a villainous slave, tried to impart energy to the same heresy, and to excite against me fresh prejudice on account of my translation of the Hebrew. Was envious of such distinguished ability and nobility? Even now the mystery of iniquity worketh, and every one chatters about his views: yet I, it seems, am the only one who is filled with envy at the glory of all the rest; I am so poor a creature that I envy even those who do not deserve envy. And so, to prove to all that I do not hate the men but their errors, and that I do not wish to vilify any one, but rather lament the misfortune of men who are deceived by knowledge falsely so-called, I have made use of the names of Atticus and Critobulus in order to express our own views and those of our opponentsThe truth is that all we who hold the Catholic faith, wish and long that, while the heresy is condemned, the men may be reformed. At all events, if they will continue in error, the blame does not attach to us who have written, but to them, since they have preferred a lie to the truth. And one short answer to our calumniators, whose curses fall upon their own heads, is this, that the Manichæan doctrine condemns the nature of man, destroys free will, and does away with the help of God. And again, that it is manifest madness for man to speak of himself as being what God alone is. Let us so walk along the royal road that we turn neither to the right hand nor to the left; and let us always believe that the eagerness of our wills is governed by the help of God. Should any one cry out that he is slandered and boast that he thinks with us; he will then show that he assents to the true faith, when he openly and sincerely condemns the opposite views. Otherwise his case will be that described by the prophet. “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not returned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly.” It is a smaller sin to follow evil which you think is good, than not to venture to defend what you know for certain is good. If we cannot endure threats, injustice, poverty, how shall we overcome the flames of Babylon? Let us not lose by hollow peace what we have preserved by war. I should be sorry to allow my fears to teach me faithlessness, when Christ has put the true faith in the power of my choice. (Saint Jerome, Prologue to the Treatise Against the Pelagians.)

Pretty apt words for today, wouldn't you say?

"It is a smaller sin to follow evil which you think is good, than not to venture to defend what you know for certain is good." 

This applies to those who liked to quote only those things from Antiopope Emeritus Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI when he spoke as something approximating a Catholic but who were  somehow strangely silent when he termed mosques as "sacred" and when he esteemed the symbols of false religions and their places of false worship and as he distorted and deconstructed and misrepresented the nature of dogmatic truth. Saint Jerome, who was a defender of the Papacy, whose legitimate holders can never give us false doctrine or approve of defective, sacrilegious liturgies, to the rescue!

Obviously, this applies also to those who want to "support 'Pope' Francis when he says something Catholic" as though there is such a thing as "partial-credit" Catholicism, a patently absurd and utterly preposterous proposition that is contradicted by the dogmatic teaching of Holy Mother Church herself and is without a shred of Patristic evidentiary support whatsoever.

As one who was direct and who had not a blessed ounce of sentimentality, having led an austere life from the days as a student in Rome when he repented of engaging in some frivolous, time-wasting activities, it was fitting for Saint Jerome to spend the better part of his life in a cave near Bethlehem as those Catholics possessed of a sentimental nature were aghast at what they considered to be the scholar's "heartlessness." He told his principal benefactress, Paula, to, in essence, "get over it" when her dear friend, Blaesilla, had died after Saint Jerome had prescribed ascetic practices that weakened her to the point of death. Saint Jerome had no time to waste on sentiment. He prayed for Blaesilla's immortal soul and went about his business of defending the Faith. Paula understood, continuing to support for him for years thereafter as he settled eventually in a monastery near the cave in Bethlehem where Our Lord was born to do his important work of translating the Old Testament from the Hebrew and the New Testament from the Greek Septuagint into the Latin Vulgate, much of that work being done in the cave itself.

Saint Jerome, a dogged Dalmatian, carried on an amazing amount of correspondence in an era when mail took weeks to reach its destination. Here is a letter written by Saint Jerome to Vigilantius about Origen (and Vigiliantius's belief that Saint Jerome was favorably disposed to the  heresies and errors in Origen's works). One can see just a bit of sarcasm in his letter:

Since you have refused to believe your own ears, I might justly decline to satisfy you by a letter; for, if you have failed to credit the living voice, it is not likely that you will give way to a written paper. But, since Christ has shown us in Himself a pattern of perfect humility, bestowing a kiss upon His betrayer and receiving the robber's repentance upon the cross, I tell you now when absent as I have told you already when present, that I read and have read Origen only as I read Apollinaris, or other writers whose books in some things the Church does not receive. I by no means say that everything contained in such books is to be condemned, but I admit that there are things in them deserving of censure. Still, as it is my task and study by reading many authors to cull different flowers from as large a number as possible, not so much making it an object to prove all things as to choose what are good. I take up many writers that froth the many I may learn many things; according to that which is written "reading all things, holding fast those that are good." Hence I am much surprised that you have tried to fasten upon me the doctrines of Origen, of whose mistaken teaching on many points you are up to the present altogether unaware. Am I a heretic? Why pray then do heretics dislike me so? And are you orthodox, you who either against your convictions and the words of your own mouth signed unwillingly and are consequently a prevaricator, or else signed deliberately and are consequently a heretic? You have taken no account of Egypt; you have relinquished all those provinces where numbers plead freely and openly for your sect; and you have singled out me for assault, me who not only censure but publicly condemn all doctrines that are contrary to the church.

Origen is a heretic, true; but what does that take from me who do not deny that on very many points he is heretical? He has erred concerning the resurrection of the body, he has erred concerning the condition of souls, he has erred by supposing it possible that the devil may repent, and--an error more important than these--he has declared in his commentary upon Isaiah that the Seraphim mentioned by the prophet are the divine Son and the Holy Ghost. If I did not allow that he has erred or if I did not daily anathematize his errors I should be partaker of his fault. For while we receive what is good in his writings we must on no account bind ourselves to accept also what is evil. Still in many passages he has interpreted the scriptures well, has explained obscure places in the prophets, and has brought to light very great mysteries, both in the old and in the new testament. If then I have taken over what is good in him and have either cut away or altered or ignored what is evil, am I to be regarded as guilty on the score that through my agency those who read Latin receive the good in his writings without knowing anything of the bad? If this be a crime the confessor Hilary must be convicted; for he has rendered from Greek into Latin Origen's Explanation of the Psalms and his Homilies on Job. Eusebius of Vercellae, who witnessed a like confession, must also be held in fault; for he has translated into our tongue the Commentaries upon all the Psalms of his heretical namesake, omitting however the unsound portions and rendering only those parts which are profitable. I say nothing of Victorinus of Petavium and others who have merely followed and expanded Origen in their explanation of the scriptures. Were I to do so, I might seem less anxious to defend myself than to find for myself companions in guilt. I will come to your own case: Why do you keep copies of his treatises on Job? In these, while arguing against the devil and concerning the stars and heavens, he has said certain things which the Church does not receive. Is it for you alone, with that very wise head of yours, to pass sentence upon all writers Greek and Latin, with a wave of your censor's wand to eject some from our libraries and to admit others, and as the whim takes you to pronounce me either a Catholic or a heretic? And am I to be forbidden to reject things which are wrong and to condemn what I have often condemned already? Read what I have written upon the epistle to the Ephesians, read my other works, particularly my commentary upon Ecclesiastes, and you will clearly see that from my youth up I have never been terrified by any man's influence into acquiescence in heretical pravity.

It is no small gain to know your own ignorance. It is a man's wisdom to know his own measure, that he may not be led away at the instigation of the devil to make the whole world a witness of his incapacity. You are bent, I suppose, on magnifying yourself and boast in your own country that I found myself unable to answer your eloquence and that I dreaded in you the sharp satire of a Chrysippus. Christian modesty holds me back and I do not wish to lay open the retirement of my poor cell with biting words. Otherwise I should soon shew up all your bravery and your parade of triumph. But these I leave to others either to talk of or to laugh at; while for my own part as a Christian speaking to a Christian I beseech you my brother not to pretend to know more than you do, lest your pen may proclaim your innocence and simplicity, or at any rate those qualities of which I say nothing but which, though you do not see them in yourself others see in youFor then you will give everyone reason to laugh at your folly. From your earliest childhood you have been taught other lessons and have been used to a different kind of schooling. One and the same person can hardly be a tester both of gold coins on the counter and also of the scriptures, or be a connoisseur of wines and an adept in expounding prophets or apostles.(3) As for me, you tear me limb from limb, our reverend brother Oceanus you charge with heresy, you dislike the judgment of the presbyters Vincent and Paulinian, and our brother Eusebius also displeases you. You alone are to be our Cato, the most eloquent of the Roman race, and you wish us to accept what you say as the words of prudence herself. Pray call to mind the day when I preached on the resurrection and on the reality of the risen body, and when you jumped up beside me and clapped your hands and stamped your feet and applauded my orthodoxy. Now, however, that you have taken to sea travelling the stench of the bilge water has affected your head, and you have called me to mind only as a heretic. What can I do for you? I believed the letters of the reverend presbyter Paulinus, and it did not occur to me that his judgment concerning you could be wrong. And although, the moment that you handed me the letter, I noticed a certain incoherency in your language, yet I fancied this due to want of culture and knowledge in you and not to an unsettled brain. I do not censure the reverend writer who preferred, no doubt, in writing to me to keep back what he knew rather than to accuse in his missive one who was both under his patronage and entrusted with his letter; but I find fault with myself that I have rested in another's judgment rather than my own, and that, while my eyes saw one thing, I believed on the evidence of a scrap of paper something else than what I saw.

Wherefore cease to worry me and to overwhelm me with your scrolls. Spare at least your money with which you hire secretaries and copyists, employing the same persons to write for you and to applaud you. Possibly their praise is due to the fact that they make a profit out of writing for you. If you wish to exercise your mind, hand yourself over to the teachers of grammar and rhetoric, learn logic, have yourself instructed in the schools of the philosophers; and when you have learned all these things you will perhaps begin to hold your tongue. And yet I are acting foolishly in seeking teachers for one who is competent to teach everyone, and in trying to limit the utterance of one who does not know how to speak yet cannot remain silent. The old Greek proverb is quite true "A lyre is of no use to an ass." For my part I imagine that even your name was given you out of contrariety. For your whole mind slumbers and you actually snore, so profound is the sleep--or rather the lethargy--in which you are plunged. In fact amongst the other blasphemies which with sacrilegious lips you have uttered you have dared to say that the mountain in Daniel out of which the stone was cut without hands is the devil, and that the stone is Christ, who having taken a body from Adam (whose sins had before connected him with the devil) is born of a virgin to separate mankind from i the mountain, that is, from the devil. Your tongue deserves to be cut out and torn into fragments. Can any true Christian explain this image of the devil instead of referring it to God the Father Almighty, or defile the ears of the whole world with so frightful an enormity? If your explanation has ever been accepted by any--I will not say Catholic but--heretic or heathen, let your words be regarded as pious. If on the other hand the Church of Christ has never yet heard of such an impiety, and if yours has been the first mouth through which he who once said "I will be like the Most High" has declared that he is the mountain spoken of by Daniel, then repent, put on sackcloth and ashes, and with fast-flowing tears wash away your awful guilt; if so be that this impiety may be forgiven you, and, supposing Origen's heresy to be true, that you may obtain pardon when the devil himself shall obtain it, the devil who has never been convicted of greater blasphemy than that which he has uttered through you. Your insult offered to myself I bear with patience: your impiety towards God I cannot bear. Accordingly I may seem to have been somewhat more acrid in this latter part of my letter than I declared I would be at the outset. Yet having once before repented and asked pardon of me, it is extremely foolish in you again to commit a sin for which you must anew do penance. May Christ give you grace to hear and to hold your peace, to understand and so to speak. (THE LETTERS OF ST. JEROME: LETTERS CXXX TO CXLIII.)

Ah, Saint Jerome had the spirit of a true New Yorker in him! His biting satire, used, of course, in defense of the Holy Faith, was offered in true love for the recipients of his missives. Saint Jerome used his pen to defend the Faith and to correct those who were in error without for one moment wishing any ill toward those he, as a true son of the Catholic Church, had to oppose.And those around him accepted his, shall we say occasional, crustiness as the price of working with a man who had a pure love for God and His Sacred Scripture. It is, of course, that Saint Jerome made saints out of those who had to live around him as he tried their patience so that they had to demonstrate heroic virtue to aid him in the work that we still profit from to this very day.

Despite all of the satire and directness, Saint Jerome had true humility. He could admit when he was wrong, doing so very famously when he had accused his pet lion of eating a donkey that had been, unbeknownst to him, stolen by a band of thieves, who later returned the donkey to Saint Jerome and were forgiven by him right readily:

In a day towards even Jerome sat with his brethren for to hear the holy lesson, and a lion came halting suddenly in to the monastery, and when the brethren saw him, anon they fled, and Jerome came against him as he should come against his guest, and then the lion showed to him his foot being hurt. Then he called his brethren, and commanded them to wash his feet and diligently to seek and search for the wound. And that done, the plant of the foot of the lion was sore hurt and pricked with a thorn. Then this holy man put thereto diligent cure, and healed him, and he abode ever after as a tame beast with them. Then Saint Jerome saw that God had sent him to them, not only for the health of his foot, but also for their profit, and joined to the lion an office, by the accord of his brethren, and that was that he should conduct and lead an ass to his pasture which brought home wood, and should keep him going and coming, and so he did. For he did that which he was commanded, and led the ass thus as a herdsman, and kept him wisely going and coming, and was to him a right sure keeper and defender, and always at the hour accustomed he and the ass came for to have their refection and for to make the ass to do the work accustomed.

On a time it happed that the ass was in his pasture, and the lion slept fast, and certain merchants passed by with camels and saw the ass alone, and stole him and led him away. And anon after, the lion awoke and when he found not his fellow, he ran groaning hither and thither, and when he saw that he could not find him he was much sorrowful and durst not come in, but abode at the gate of the church of the monastery, and was ashamed that he came without the ass. And when the brethren saw that he was come more late than he was wont, and without the ass, they supposed that by constraint of hunger he had eaten the ass, and would not give to him his portion accustomed, and said to him: Go and eat that other part of the ass that thou hast devoured, and fill thy gluttony. And because they doubted, and they would wit if he had so eaten, they went to the pastures of the town to see if they could have any demonstrance of the death of the ass, and they found nothing, and returned and told it to Jerome, and then he commanded them to enjoin him to do the office of the ass. Then they hewed down bushes and boughs and laid upon him, and he suffered it peaceably. And on a day when he had done his office, he went out to the fields and began to run hither and thither desiring to know what was done to his fellow, and saw from far merchants that came with camels charged and laden, and the ass going tofore them. It was the manner of that region that when the people went far with camels, they had an ass or a horse going tofore with a cord about his neck for to conduct the better the camels. And when the lion knew the ass, with a great roaring he ran on them so terribly that all the merchants fled, and he so feared the camels with beating the earth with his tail that, he constrained them to go straight unto the cell with all their charge and lading. And when the brethren saw this they told it to Jerome, and he said: Brethren, wash the feet of our guests and give them meat, abide ye the will of our Lord hereupon. And then the lion began to run joyously throughout all the monastery, as he was wont to do, and kneeled down to every brother and fawned them with his tail, like as he had demanded pardon of the trespass that he had done. And Saint Jerome, which knew well what was to come, said to his brethren: Go and make ye ready all things necessary for guests that be coming to us. And as he thus said, there came to him a messenger, saying to him that there were guests at the gate that would speak with the abbot. And as soon as they were come they kneeled to the abbot, and required of him pardon. And he raised and made them to stand up goodly, and commanded them to take their own good, and not to take away other men's. And then they prayed the holy saint that he would take the half of their oil, and he refused it. And at the last he commanded to take a measure of oil, and then they promised that they should bring every year a measure of oil to that church, and their heirs after them. (Jacobus de Voragine, O.P., The Golden Legend: Saint Jerome.)

(Yes, I believe this story! I am not a rationalist, thank you very much.)

Most tender of all, however, to the thoroughly Catholic heart of Saint Jerome that was misunderstood by so many of his contemporaries was his pure love of the true God of Revelation and his abiding devotion to His Most Blessed Mother. Saint Jerome considered it to be the supreme privilege of his life to work in the very cave in Bethlehem where Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born. Saint Jerome died while laying his head in the Crib where Our Lady placed her newborn Son on Christmas Day. How fitting it is that the Crib and the relics of Saint Jerome are in the same place today, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy.

Saint Jerome mightily defended the honor of  The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary in his Treatise Against Helvidius:

I now direct the attack against the passage in which, wishing to show your cleverness, you institute a comparison between virginity and marriage. I could not forbear smiling, and I thought of the proverb, did you ever see a camel dance? “Are virgins better,” you ask, “than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were married men? Are not infants daily fashioned by the hands of God in the wombs of their mothers? And if so, are we bound to blush at the thought of Mary having a husband after she was delivered? If they find any disgrace in this, they ought not consistently even to believe that God was born of the Virgin by natural delivery. For according to them there is more dishonour in a virgin giving birth to God by the organs of generation, than in a virgin being joined to her own husband after she has been delivered.” Add, if you like, Helvidius, the other humiliations of nature, the womb for nine months growing larger, the sickness, the delivery, the blood, the swaddling-clothes. Picture to yourself the infant in the enveloping membranes. Introduce into your picture the hard manger, the wailing of the infant, the circumcision on the eighth day, the time of purification, so that he may be proved to be unclean. We do not blush, we are not put to silence. The greater the humiliations He endured for me, the more I owe Him. And when you have given every detail, you will be able to produce nothing more shameful than the cross, which we confess, in which we believe, and by which we triumph over our enemies.

But as we do not deny what is written, so we do reject what is not written. We believe that God was born of the Virgin, because we read it. That Mary was married after she brought forth, we do not believe, because we do not read it. Nor do we say this to condemn marriage, for virginity itself is the fruit of marriage; but because when we are dealing with saints we must not judge rashly. If we adopt possibility as the standard of judgment, we might maintain that Joseph had several wives because Abraham had, and so had Jacob, and that the Lord’s brethren were the issue of those wives, an invention which some hold with a rashness which springs from audacity not from piety. You say that Mary did not continue a virgin: I claim still more, that Joseph himself on account of Mary was a virgin, so that from a virgin wedlock a virgin son was born. For if as a holy man he does not come under the imputation of fornication, and it is nowhere written that he had another wife, but was the guardian of Mary whom he was supposed to have to wife rather than her husband, the conclusion is that he who was thought worthy to be called father of the Lord, remained a virgin. . . .

I have become rhetorical, and have disported myself a little like a platform orator. You compelled me, Helvidius; for, brightly as the Gospel shines at the present day, you will have it that equal glory attaches to virginity and to the marriage state. And because I think that, finding the truth too strong for you, you will turn to disparaging my life and abusing my character (it is the way of weak women to talk tittle-tattle in corners when they have been put down by their masters), I shall anticipate you. I assure you that I shall regard your railing as a high distinction, since the same lips that assail me have disparaged Mary, and I, a servant of the Lord, am favoured with the same barking eloquence as His mother. (The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary.)

Pope Benedict XV used a good deal of Spiritus Paraclitus, September 15, 1920, to denounce innovators who were attempting to distort Saint Jerome's body of work for their own Modernist ends. One will see in the passages below an exact description of how the conciliar "popes," including Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, have sought to reconcile the Modernist precepts of conciliarism with the truths of Catholicism by distorting the work of various Church Fathers, Doctors and saints:

24. Nor do modern innovators stop here: they even try to claim St. Jerome as a patron of their views on the ground that he maintained that historic truth and sequence were not observed in the Bible, “precisely as things actually took place, but in accordance with what men thought at that time,” and that he even held that this was the true norm for history.[44] A strange distortion of St. Jerome’s words! He does not say that when giving us an account of events the writer was ignorant of the truth and simply adopted the false views then current; he merely says that in giving names to persons or things he followed general custom. Thus the Evangelist calls St. Joseph the father of Jesus, but what he meant by the title “father” here is abundantly clear from the whole context. For St. Jerome “the true norm of history” is this: when it is question of such appellatives (as “father,” etc), and when there is no danger or error, then a writer must adopt the ordinary forms of speech simply because such forms of speech are in ordinary use. More than this: Jerome maintains that belief in the Biblical narrative is as necessary to salvation as is belief in the doctrines of the faith; thus in his Commentary on the Epistle to Philemon he says:

“What I mean is this: Does any man believe in God the Creator? He cannot do so unless he first believe that the things written of God’s Saints are true.” He then gives examples from the Old Testament, and adds: “Now unless a man believes all these and other things too which are written of the Saints he cannot believe in the God of the Saints.”[45]

25. Thus St. Jerome is in complete agreement with St. Augustine, who sums up the general belief of Christian antiquity when he says:

Holy Scripture is invested with supreme authority by reason of its sure and momentous teachings regarding the faith. Whatever, then, it tells us of Enoch, Elias and Moses — that we believe. We do not, for instance, believe that God’s Son was born of the Virgin Mary simply because He could not otherwise have appeared in the flesh and ‘walked amongst men’ — as Faustus would have it — but we believe it simply because it is written in Scripture; and unless we believe in Scripture we can neither be Christians nor be saved.[46]

26. Then there are other assailants of Holy Scripture who misuse principles — which are only sound, if kept within due bounds — in order to overturn the fundamental truth of the Bible and thus destroy Catholic teaching handed down by the Fathers. If Jerome were living now he would sharpen his keenest controversial weapons against people who set aside what is the mind and judgment of the Church, and take too ready a refuge in such notions as “implicit quotations” or “pseudo-historical narratives,” or in “kinds of literature” in the Bible such as cannot be reconciled with the entire and perfect truth of God’s word, or who suggest such origins of the Bible as must inevitably weaken — if not destroy — its authority.

27. What can we say of men who in expounding the very Gospels so whittle away the human trust we should repose in it as to overturn Divine faith in it? They refuse to allow that the things which Christ said or did have come down to us unchanged and entire through witnesses who carefully committed to writing what they themselves had seen or heard. They maintain — and particularly in their treatment of the Fourth Gospel — that much is due of course to the Evangelists — who, however, added much from their oown imaginations; but much, too, is due to narratives compiled by the faithful at other periods, the result, of course, being that the twin streams now flowing in the same channel cannot be distinguished from one another. Not thus did Jerome and Augustine and the other Doctors of the Church understand the historical trustworthiness of the Gospels; yet of it one wrote: “He who saw it has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he tells the truth, and you also may believe” an. 19:35). So, too, St. Jerome: after rebuking the heretical framers of the apocryphal Gospels for “attempting rather to fill up the story than to tell it truly,”[47] he says of the Canonical Scriptures: “None can doubt but that what is written took place.”[48] Here again he is in fullest harmony with Augustine, who so beautifully says: “These things are true; they are faithfully and truthfully written of Christ; so that whosoever believes His Gospel may be thereby instructed in the truth and misled by no lie.”[49]

28. All this shows us how earnestly we must strive to avoid, as children of the Church, this insane freedom in ventilating opinions which the Fathers were careful to shun. This we shall more readily achieve if you, Venerable Brethren, will make both clergy and laity committed to your care by the Holy Spirit realize that neither Jerome nor the other Fathers of the Church learned their doctrine touching Holy Scripture save in the school of the Divine Master Himself. We know what He felt about Holy Scripture: when He said, “It is written,” and “the Scripture must needs be fulfilled,” we have therein an argument which admits of no exception and which should put an end to all controversy. (Pope Benedict XV, Spiritius Paraclitus, September 15, 1920.)

One can see that the Modernists have been at their nefarious work for well over a century now, and all we are witnessing at present is the devil's deception of men claiming to be "popes" doing and saying precisely that which was critiqued and condemned by our true popes and Holy Mother Chruch's true general councils.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., wrote about the life and work of Saint Jerome as follows:

“I know not Vitalis, I reject Meletius, I pass by Paulinus; he that cleaveth to the Chair of Peter, he is mine.” Thus, about the year 376, when the whole East was disturbed by the competitions for the episcopal See of Antioch, wrote an unknown monk to Pope St. Damasus. It was St. Jerome, a native of Dalmatia, who implored “light for his soul redeemed by the Blood of our Lord.”

Far from Stridonium, his semi-barbarous native place, whose austerity and vigor he never lost; far from Rome, where the study of literature and philosophy had not had sufficient ascendency to withhold him from the seductions of pleasure—the fear of God’s judgments had led him into the desert of Chalcia. There, under a burning sky, in the company of wild beasts, he for four years tormented his body with fearful macerations; and then, as a yet more efficacious remedy, and certainly a more meritorious mortification for one passionately fond of classical beauties, he sacrificed his ciceronian tastes to the study of the Hebrew language. Such an undertaking was far more laborious then than in our days of lexicons and grammars and scientific works of every description. Many a time was Jerome discouraged and almost in despair. But he had learned the truth of the maxim he afterwards inculcated to others: “Love the science of the Scriptures, and you will not love the vices of the flesh.” So he took up his Hebrew alphabet again, and continued to spell those hissing and panting syllables until he had so mastered them as even to spoil his pronunciation of Latin. For the rest of his life, all the energy of his spirited nature was spent upon this labor.

God amply repaid the homage thus rendered to his sacred word: Jerome hoped to obtain by his toil the cure of his moral sickness; he moreover attained the lofty holiness that we now admire in him. Other heroes of the desert remain unknown: Jerome was one of those to whom it is said: You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world; and God willed that in due time that light should be set upon a candlestick that it might shine to all that are in the house.

The once brilliant student returned to Rome an altered man; for his holiness, learning, and humility, he was declared by all to be worthy of the episcopal dignity. Pope Damasus, the virgin Doctor of the Virgin Church, commissioned him to answer, in his name, the consultations sent from East and West; and caused him to begin, by the revision of the Latin New Testament upon the original Greek text, those great Scriptural works which have immortalized his name and entitled him to the undying gratitude of the Christian world. Meanwhile Helvidius dared to call into question the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God: Jerome’s refutation revealed that talent for polemics, of which Jovinian, Vigilantius, Pelagius, and others were also to feel the force. Mary rewarded him for thus avenging her honor by bringing to him a number of holy souls whom he was able to lead in the paths of virtue, and instruct in the mysteries of holy Scripture.

Here was a phenomenon inexplicable to the infidel historian: at the very time when Rome of the Cæsars was perishing, suddenly around this Dalmatian were gathered the fairest names of ancient Rome. They were thought to have died out when the lower classes made themselves supreme; but at the critical moment, when Rome was to rise again purified from the flames kindled by the Barbarians, they reappeared to claim their birthright and refound the City for its true eternal destiny. The combat was of a new kind; but they were at the head fo the army that was to save the world. Four centuries earlier, the Apostle had said there were not many wise and powerful and noble; Jerome declared that, in his day, they were numerous, numerous among the monks.

The monastic army in the West was, at its origin, chiefly recruited from the patricians, whose character of ancient grandeur it ever afterwards retained; its ranks included noble virgins and widows; and sometimes husband and wife would enlist together. Marcella was the first to inaugurate the monastic life at Rome, in her palace on the Aventine. She obtained St. Jerome’s direction for her privileged community; but after his departure, she herself was consulted by all, as an oracle, on the difficulties of holy Scripture. She was joined in her retreat by Furia, Fabiola, and Paula, worthyp descendants of Camillus, of the Fabii, and of the Scipios. But the old enemy could ill brook such losses to his power: Jerome must be forced to leave Rome.

A pretext was soon found for raising a storm. The Treatise on Virginity, addressed to St. Paula’s daughter Eustochium, and written in Jerome’s fearless and pointed style, evoked the animosity of false monks, foolish virgins, and unworthy clerics. In vain did the prudent Marcella predict the tempest: Jerome would make bold to write what others dared to practice. But he had not reckoned on the death of Pope Damasus at that very juncture; an event for which the ignorant and the envious had been waiting, in order to give full vent to their stifled hatred. Driven away by the storm, the lover of justice returned to the desert; not this time to Chalcis, but to the peaceful Bethlehem, whither the sweet recollections of our Savior’s infancy attracted the strong athlete. Paula and her daughter soon followed him, in order not to forego the lessons they prized above all else in the world; their presence was a consolation to him in his exile, and an encouragement to continue his labors. All honor to these valiant women! To their fidelity, their thirst for knowledge, their pious importunities, the world is indebted for a priceless treasure, viz: the authentic translation of the Sacred Books, which was necessitated by the imperfections of the old Italic Version and its numberless variations, as also by the fact that the Jews were accusing the Church of falsifying the Scripture.

“Paula and Eustochium, may the labors of my poor life be pleasing to you, useful to the Church, and worthy of posterity; as for contemporaries, I care but little for their judgment.” So said the holy solitary; yet he felt the envious attacks of his bitter enemies more keenly than he would own to himself. “Handmaids of Christ,” he said, “shield me with the buckler of your prayers from those who malign me.” Every book he translated brought upon him fresh criticisms, and those not only from enemies. There were the timid, who were alarmed for the authority of the Septuagint, so sacred both to the Synagogue and to the Church; there were the possessors of precious manuscripts, written on purple vellum and adorned with splendid uncials, and with letters of silver and gold, all which would now lose their value. “Well, let them keep their precious metal, and leave us our poor papers,” cried Jerome, exasperated. “And yet, it is you,” he said to the fair inspirers of his works, “who force me to endure all this folly and all these injuries; to put an end to the evil, it were better you enjoined silence on me.” But neither the mother nor the daughter would hear of such a thing, and Jerome yielded to constraint. Finding that the text of his first revision of the Psalter upon the Greek Septuagint had become corrupted through careless transcriptions, they induced him to undertake a second. This version is inserted in our present Vulgate, together With his translation of the other Books of the Old Testament from Hebrew or Chaldaic. In all these works the Saint appealed to Paula and Eustochium as guarantees of his exactitude, and begged them to collate his translations word for word with the original.

All his old friends in Rome took part in this learned intercourse. Jerome refused to none the light of his knowledge, and pleasantly excused himself for giving one half of the human race a preference over the other: “Principia, my daughter in Jesus Christ, I know that some find fault with me for writing to women; let me say, then, to these detractors: If men questioned me on the Scriptures, they should receive my answers.”

There was great joy in the monasteries at Bethlehem when news arrived that another Paula was born in Rome. Eustochium brother had married Læta, the Christian daughter of the pagan pontiff Albinus. They had vowed their child to God before her birth; and now they rejoiced to hear her lisp into the ear of the priest of Jupiter the Christian Alleluia. On hearing of her grandmother beyond the seas, and of her aunt consecrated to God, the little one would beg to go and join them. “Send her,” wrote Jerome delightedly. “I will be her master and foster-father; I will carry her on my old shoulders; I will help her lisping lips to form her words; and I shall be prouder than Aristotle; for her indeed educated a king at Macedon, but I shall be preparing for Christ a handmaid, a bride, a queen predestined to a throne in heaven.” The child was, in fact, sent to Bethlehem, where she was destined to solace the last hours of the aged Saint, and to assume, while yet very young, the responsibility of carrying on the work of her holy relatives.

But Jerome had still more to suffer, before leaving this world. The elder Paula was the first to be called away, singing: I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners. So great a languor then took possession of St. Jerome that it seemed his end was approaching. Eustochium, though broken-hearted, repressed her tears, and implored him to live and fulfill his promises to her mother. He therefore aroused himself, finished his translations, and took up again his commentaries on the text. He had completed Isaias, and was engaged upon Ezechiel, when the most awful calamity of those times came upon the world: “Rome is fallen; the light of the earth is extinguished; in that one City the whole universe has perished. What can we do, but hold our peace and think upon the dead?”

He had, however, to think about the living also, for numberless fugitives, destitute of all things, made their way to the holy Places; and the uncompromising wrestler was all tenderness to these unfortunates. Loving the practice of the Holy Scripture no less than its teaching, he spent his days in discharging the duties of hospitality. In spite of his failing sight, he gave the night hours to his dear studies, wherein he forgot the troubles of the day, and rejoined to fulfill the desires of the spiritual daughter God had given him. The prefaces to his fourteen books on Ezechiel bear witness to the share taken by the virgin of Christ in this work undertaken despite the misfortunes of the times, his own infirmities, and his last controversies with heretics.


Heresy seemed indeed to be profiting of the troubled state of the world, to rise up with renewed audacity. The Pelagians, supported by Bishop John of Jerusalem, assembled one night with torches and swords, and set fire to the monastery of St. Jerome, and to that of the sacred virgins then governed by Eustochium. Manfully seconded by her niece Paula the younger, the Saint rallied her terrified daughters, and they escaped together through the midst of the flames. But the anxiety of that terrible night was too much for her already exhausted strength. Jerome laid her to rest beside her mother, near the Crib of the Infant God; and leaving his commentary on Jeremias unfinished, he prepared himself to die. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Feast of Saint Jerome, September 30.)

The readings for Matins in today's Divine Office contains a brief summary of Saint Jerome's remarkable life:

Jerome was the son of one Eusebius, and was born at Sorigni, (a small town upon the confines) of Dalmatia, in the reign of the Emperor Constantius. He was baptised at Rome when a lad, and studied there, under the instruction of Donatus and other very learned personages. He travelled in Gaul for the sake of improving his mind, and there sought the friendship of divers godly men learned in the Scriptures, and made with his own hand many copies of the holy books. He afterwards betook himself to Greece, where he attained eminence as a philosopher and orator, in the following of the most famous theologians. At Constantinople, in especial, he sat at the feet of Gregory of Nazianzus, from whom he professeth himself to have learnt his theology. Then, for godliness' sake, he went to see the home of the Lord Christ, and so throughout all Palestine. He witnesseth that this pilgrimage, wherein he got the help of the most learned of the Jews for the understanding of the Holy Scriptures, did him much good.

He withdrew himself into the wild deserts of Syria, where he passed four years in studying the Holy Scriptures and in considering the blessedness of heaven, afflicting his body by alway denying himself, by bitter tears, and by chastisement of the flesh. He was ordained Priest by Paulinus, Patriarch of Antioch. He went to Rome on account of the quarrelling of certain Bishops with Paulinus and Epiphanius, and there helped Pope Damasus in the writing of his letters upon Church affairs. But the longing for his old solitude came upon him, and he went back to Palestine, where, in the monastery at Bethlehem, built beside the cradle of the Lord Christ by the Lady Paula of Rome, he set himself to enter on earth upon the life of heaven, serving God in reading and writing without ceasing, regardless of the sufferings of a body tormented by divers diseases and pains.

Hard questions upon the interpretation of the Holy Scripture were sent to him from all parts of the earth, as to an oracle. He was oftentimes consulted by Pope Damasus and by the holy Augustine upon the meaning of the most obscure passages of the Scripture, because of his extraordinary learning, and that he knew not the Latin and Greek tongues only, but also the Hebrew and Chaldee, and, as the same Augustine testifieth, had read nearly all writers. He attacked heretics with keen publications, and ever undertook the defence of the godly and Catholic. He translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, and, at the command of Damasus, reformed, according to the original Greek, the existing version of the New. Upon great part of the Scriptures he wrote commentaries. He translated likewise into Latin the works of many learned men, and himself contributed to the Christian life many monuments of his own wit. He lived to an extreme old age, and passed away to heaven, famous for learning and holiness, in the reign of the Emperor Honorius, upon the 30th day of September, in the year of our Lord 420. His body was buried at Bethlehem, but hath since been brought to Rome, where it lieth in the Church of St Mary-at-the-Manger. (Matins, Divine Office, Feast of Saint Jerome.)

Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., wrote the following prayer in honor of this tireless servant of God, serving Him with the sort of devotion and zeal that puts us slackers to shame in our age of comfort and convenience:

Thou completest, O illustrious saint, the brilliant constellation of doctors in the heavens of holy Church. The latest stars are now rising on the sacred cycle; the dawn of the eternal joy is at hand; the Son of justice will soon shine down upon the valley of judgment. O model of penance, teach us that holy fear, which restrains from sin, or repairs its ravages; guide us along the rugged path of expiation. Historian of great monks, thyself a monk and father of the solitaries attracted like thee to Bethlehem by the sweetness of the divine Infant, keep up the spirit of labour and prayer in the monastic Order, of which several families have adopted thy name. Scourge of heretics, attach us firmly to the Roman faith. Watchful guardian of Christ's flock, protect us against wolves, and preserve us from hirelings. Avenger of Mary's honour, obtain for our sinful world that the angelic virtue may flourish more and more.

O Jerome, thy special glory is a participation in the power of the Lamb to open the mysterious Book; the key of David was given to thee to unclose the many seals of holy Scripture and to show us Jesus concealed beneath the letter. The Church, therefore, sings thy praises to-day, and presents thee to her children as the official interpreter of the inspired writings which guide her to her eternal destiny. Accept her homage and the gratitude of her sons. May our Lord, by they intercession, renew in us the respect and love due His divine word. May thy merits obtain for the world other holy doctors, and learned interpreters of the sacred Books. But let them bear in mind the spirit of reverence and prayer with which they must hear the voice of God in order to understand. God will have His word obeyed, not discussed; although, among the various interpretations of which that divine word is susceptible, it is lawful, under the guidance of the Church, to seek out the true one; and it is praise-worthy to be ever sounding the depths of beauty hidden in that august doctrine. Happy is he who follows thy footsteps in these holy studies! Thou didst say: 'To live in the midst of such treasures, to be wholly engrossed in them, to know and to seek nothing else, is it not to dwell already more in heaven than on earth? Let us learn in time that science which will endure for ever. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)

Among the many things that the average Protestant does not understand is that they would not have even their corrupted version of the Bible had it not been for the love of God and the diligence for preserving the Sacred Texts exhibited by Saint Jerome, a son of the Catholic Church who understand that God had given Holy Writ exclusively to His Mystical Bride for Its eternal safekeeping and infallible explication, and to no one else. And it is that true Church, founded by Our Lord Himself upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, that honors Saint Jerome today for his life of penance that was borne out of love for God and desire to transmit His Holy Word in all of Its Holy Integrity for our sanctification and salvation as members of that true Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order.

Our Lady is our sure refuge in this time of apostasy and betrayal just as she was when Saint Jerome fought the Pelagians and other heretics. She will help us to weather the storms of our own moment. The graces won for us by the shedding of her Divine Son's Most Precious Blood and that flow into our souls through her own loving hands are more than sufficient to handle our own personal crosses and those we face in the world in the life of the Church Militant on earth. We need to beseech her through her Most Holy Rosary as we offer her our very selves--and all of our sufferings and whatever merit we are able to earn during the course of a day--to the Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son through her own Immaculate Heart, and Saint Jerome, the lover and practitioner of penance, will help us to do so as we spend at least fifteen minutes a day every day reading from the Sacred Scripture that he translated so faithfully and explicated so insightfully.

Vivat Christus Rex!

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Saint Jerome, pray for us.

Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?