Gems From Saint Jerome
Saint Jerome (347-420), one of the Fathers of the Church,
was a most prolific writer, and defender of the Catholic Church. His Latin Vulgate was the first Bible
to contain both Old and New Testaments. He is quoted by Catholics and
Here are some of his "Gems".
"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but Your
Blessedness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on
which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is
profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood
Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus, 374 A.D. 15,2 J1346
"He who is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!"
Letter of Jerome
to Pope Damasus, 374 A.D., 16,2 J1346a
"Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the
priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection
due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman
majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the
disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with
none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is
the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal
lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in
it shall perish when the flood prevails. But since by reason of my sins I have
betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized
waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your
sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian
confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of
their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have
nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; he that is
not of Christ is of Antichrist."
Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus, 376 A.D.,
"Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw
from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes
Commentaries on the Epistle to Titus, 376 A.D. 3,10 J1371a
"Christ Himself is a virgin; and His mother is also a virgin; yea, though she is
His mother, she is a virgin still. For Jesus has entered in through the closed
doors, and in His sepulchre--a new one hewn out of the hardest rock--no man is
laid either before Him or after Him. Mary is "a garden enclosed ... a fountain
sealed," and from that fountain flows, according to Joel, the river which waters
the torrent bed either" of cords or of thorns; the cords being those of the sins
by which we were beforetime bound, the thorns those which choked the seed the
goodman of the house had sown. She is the east gate, spoken of by the prophet
Ezekiel, always shut and always shining, and either concealing or revealing the
Holy of Holies; and through her "the Sun of Righteousness," our "high priest
after the order of Melchizedek," goes in and out. Let my critics explain to me
how Jesus can have entered in through closed doors when He allowed His hands and
His side to be handled, and showed that He had bones and flesh," thus proving
that His was a true body and no mere phantom of one, and I will explain how the
holy Mary can be at once a mother and a virgin. A mother before she was wedded,
she remained a virgin after bearing her son. Therefore, as I was going to say,
the virgin Christ and the virgin Mary have dedicated in themselves the first
fruits of virginity for both sexes."
Letter of Jerome to Pammachius, 393
"I thank you for your reminder concerning the canons of the Church. Truly, "whom
the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Still
I would assure you that nothing is more my aim than to maintain the rights of
Christ, to keep to the lines laid down by the fathers, and always to remember
the faith of Rome; that faith which is praised by the lips of an apostle, and of
which the Alexandrian church boasts to be a sharer."
Letter of Jerome to Pope
Theophilus, 397 A.D., 2
"Just as in the Old Testament the priest makes the leper clean or unclean, so in
the New Testament the bishop and presbyter binds or looses not those who are
innocent or guilty, but by reason of their office, when they have heard the
various kinds of sins, they know who is to be bound and who
Commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, 398 A.D. 3,16,9 J1386
"That is to say, he has set in the forefront of his book John, an undoubted
Catholic and saint, by his means to introduce to the church the heretics
mentioned farther on. But who can adequately characterize the rashness or
madness which has led him to ascribe a book of the Pythagorean philosopher
Xystus, a heathen who knew nothing of Christ, to Sixtus a martyr and bishop of
the Roman church?"
Letter to Caetesiphon 415 A.D.
"That you fight Christ's battles against the enemies of the Catholic Faith your
own letters have informed me as well as the reports of many persons, but I am
told that you find the winds contrary and that those who ought to have been the
world's champions have backed the cause of perdition to each other's
Letter to Riparius, 417 A.D.
"The 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."
Against the Pelagians,
417 A.D., book I-2
"He slays a heretic who allows him to be a heretic. But when we rebuke him we
give him life; you may die to your heresy, and live to the Catholic
Against the Pelagians, 417 A.D., book III-17
"Jude, the brother of James, left a short epistle which is reckoned among the
seven Catholic epistles, and because in it he quotes from the apocryphal book of
Enoch it is rejected by many. Nevertheless by age and use it has gained
authority and is reckoned among the Holy Scriptures."
De viris Illustribus 4,
"Clement, of whom the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians says "With Clement
and others of my fellow-workers whose names are written in the book of life,
"the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the
third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after
the apostle. He wrote, on the part of the church of Rome, an especially valuable
Letter to the church of the Corinthians, which in some places is publicly read,
and which seems to me to agree in style with the epistle to the Hebrews which
passes under the name of Paul but it differs from this same epistle, not only in
many of its ideas, but also in respect of the order of words, and its likeness
in either respect is not very great. There is also a second Epistle under his
name which is rejected by earlier writers, and a Disputation between Peter and
Appion written out at length, which Eusebius in the third book of his Church
history rejects. He died in the third year of Trajan and a church built at Rome
preserves the memory of his name unto this day."
De viris Illustribus 15, 400
"Optatus the African, bishop of Milevis, during the reign of the Emperors
Valentinianus and Valens, wrote in behalf of the Catholic party six books
against the calumny of the Donatian party, in which he asserts that the crime of
the Donatists is falsely charged upon the Catholic party."
Illustribus 110, 400 A.D.
"You are renowned throughout the whole world; Catholics revere and look up to
you as the restorer of the ancient faith, and -- which is a token of yet more
illustrious glory -- all heretics abhor you."
Letter to Augustine, 418 A.D.
Several non-Catholics have quoted to me from writings of
Saint Jerome. From the samplings which I have shown here, if I were a
non-Catholic, and was determined to remain one, I would not ever quote from him
Compiled August 24, 2001
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