Sunday, September 30, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading, this week taken from the 9th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark. Here are the Holy Father’s English-language remarks:

I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims here at Castel Gandolfo and in Rome! Dear friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to be not only open-hearted, but also firm in our opposition to what is dishonest or evil. May God grant us to be both generous to others and steadfast in living a life of purity and integrity. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the strength and peace of Christ our Lord!

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered to pray the Angelus with him at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father deplored the violence that flared again recently in the DRC between a rebel group and irregular militia forces seeking to establish control over an already much-contested area during a lull in activity by regular government forces. This latest round of fighting has driven thousands of people from their homes since the middle of September. “With affection and concern,” said Pope Benedict, “I follow the developments in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Intermittent fighting involving regular government forces, rebels and militia groups experienced a serious flare-up between April and July, during which nearly a quarter-million people were displaced internally and as many as 60 thousand others fled into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda – a refugee crisis that UN agencies say will require at least $40 million in supplementary emergency funding.

The Holy Father expressed prayerful spiritual closeness to the refugees, many of whom are women and children, and to all those affected by the violence. He prayed that, by God’s grace, there might be found peaceful means of dialogue, effective protection of innocents, and a return – as soon as possible – to a peace based on justice. The Pope also called for the restoration of brotherly concord throughout the whole people of the DRC and throughout the entire region.

BENEDICT XVI: I follow with affection and concern the affairs of the people in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, object, in these days of attention from a high-level meeting at the United Nations. I am particularly close to the refugees, to the women and children, who because of persistent armed clashes, undergo suffering, violence and profound hardship. I pray to God: that there be found peaceful means of dialogue and for the protection of innocents; that peace based on justice return as swiftly as possible; for the restoration of fraternal coexistence within that sorely tried population, and throughout the entire region.


GRANT DESME was a MVP from the Oaklands Athletics baseball team. He won a Most Valuable Player award in 2009 and was drafted with a sallary of $430, 000. However, he gave up everything to become a monk in the Norbertine Order and professes the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In an article by Yahoo news,, he said, "I had everything I wanted, and it wasn't enough." He now lives in St. Michael's Abbey near Limestone Canyon Regional Park. He wakes up at 5 am to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, prescribed prayers 10 times per day. The monks attend Mass daily and do manual labor such as mowing lawns, mopping, cleaning and digging trenches. The go to bed at 9 pm in a small cell with a bed, desk, chair, dresser and sink.

Desme retired from baseball in 2009 at the age of 23. He is quoted as saying, "I should be happy about this. But I wasn't. There was something more. God was just tugging at my heart. That's what religious life is. God calls us." His new name is Frater Matthew, after the Apostle tax collector, for Desme had an illustrious life but gave it up as St. Matthew did. (Frater Matthew pictured below with incense)
Although he was planning on marriage he says, "I really wanted to be married," "To come to terms with living a celibate life was where it really was like, 'OK, do I want to do this?' And I needed to realize it's not a repression of these natural desires that are good. We have to learn to sublimate them into God on a supernatural level. We give them to God."
He still struggles in the monastic life but explains, "Living in the present moment. The future isn't ours. The past is done. It's all right now. Every day you have to get up and choose to be here."



Friday 28 September 2012

FIFTY years ago in October, the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, began in Rome. To mark this anniversary, Catholic Theological College, Australian Catholic University, Yarra Theological Union and Jesuit Theological College collaborated to host a three day Symposium in Melbourne from 19-21 September.
View gallery Listen to lectures

The Symposium, “Fruits and Future of Vatican II” provided an opportunity for more than 100 participants to look at the history of the Council in the context of the Church today through lectures, nearly forty presentations, discussion and liturgies.
Others attended the two public lectures, book launch, or Opening Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Mark Coleridge. The Symposium echoed the Council’s reflections on the Pilgrim People of God, by holding sessions at three of the institutions, and moving between them.
Keynote speakers included Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane; Professor Alberto Melloni, Director of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies, Bologna; Rev. Professor Gerald O'Collins SJ AC, Former Dean of Theology, Gregorian University, and Professor Anne Hunt FACE OAM, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University.

The Symposium featured the presentation of the findings of the Australian Catholic University-sponsored book, Vatican II: Reception and Implementation in the Australian Church (edited by Neil Ormerod, Ormond Rush, David Pascoe, and Joel Hodge; published by John Garratt). The book was officially launched during the conference by Most Rev. Philip E. Wilson, Archbishop of Adelaide and Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The book analyses the effects and reception of the Council in different areas of Church life over the last 50 years and discusses the challenges and opportunities that remain for on-going reception. The areas explored include liturgy, Scripture, theology and theological education, social justice, mission, the laity, young people, priestly and religious life, bishops, Aboriginal people, ecumenism, religious education, ecclesiology, and more. The book brings together a wide range of expertise—drawn from ACU and beyond—and a number of the chapters were presented during the conference.

Listen to audio
recordings from Vatican II Symposium
  1. Homily at Opening Mass, 21 Sep 2012 – Rev. Prof. Francis J. Moloney SDB AM
  2. Public Lecture, 21 Sep 2012 – Archbishop Mark Coleridge – “A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation”
    Includes respondents: Dr Clare Johnson and Br Mark O’Connor FMS
  3. Plenary Lecture, 22 Sep 2012 – Prof. Anne Hunt FACE OAM – “The Trinitarian Depths of Vatican II”
    Includes respondent: Rev. Prof. Gerald O'Collins SJ AC
  4. Book Launch, 22 Sep 2012 – Archbishop Philip Wilson – “Vatican II: Reception and Implementation in the Australian Church,” ed. Neil Ormerod et al.
    Includes introduction by Archbishop Hart, comments by Dr Clare Johnson and Garratt Publishing representatives
  5. Public Lecture, 22 Sep 2012 – Prof. Alberto Melloni – “Vatican II and its History: A Choice and a Challenge”
    Includes respondent: Rev. Assoc. Prof. Orm Rush
  6. Plenary Lecture, 23 Sep 2012 - Rev. Professor Gerald O'Collins SJ AC – “Vatican II and the Religious Other”
    Includes respondent: Prof. John D’Arcy May

Archbishop Mark Coleridge: ‘A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation’

Alberto Melloni presents: ‘Vatican II and its History: a choice and a challenge’

Archbishop Mark Coleridge: ‘A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation’
By Fiona Power

IN his public lecture on Wednesday 19 September, Archbishop Mark Coleridge spoke on ‘A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation’.
Archbishop Coleridge told those gathered that he has come to see a “single Conciliar arc” from the Council of Trent (1545- 1564) to Vatican II via Vatican I (1868-1870). He said that Trent was an attempt to position the Catholic Church to enter the modern world without abandoning God, Vatican I reaffirmed the Church’s ability to teach truth and Vatican II sought to respond to the European crisis following World War II which cast doubt over the promises of modernity.

“Beyond the ash-heaps, it was not possible for the Church to adopt a hermeneutic of either rupture-as if the past had gone on forever- or a hermeneutic of continuity- as if nothing was changed by the twin apocalypse,” he said. “In the Second Vatican Council, the Church opted instead for a hermeneutic of reform, which contained elements of both rupture and continuity. It was not one or the other, but a right mix of the two. Now, we might argue to this day about what exactly a right mix might mean, but there is no doubt that that was the choice of the Council.”

Archbishop Coleridge said Vatican II represented the beginning of the birth of a world Church and heralded a new missionary phase. He said both Vatican II and the pontificate and New Evangelisation of John Paul II, were founded on an encounter with Christ.
“… in the end, they were nothing other than a single great contemplation of the face of Christ, in whom alone the world will find its way beyond the ash-heaps,” he said.
Archbishop Coleridge said there were a number of surges of Gospel energy in history, often in “dark times” and “against the tide”.

“What both Vatican II and successive popes have said is that, in our own time, beyond the ash-heaps of Auschwitz and Hiroshima and all they symbolise, we need another new surge of Gospel energy, a surge which will come only if there is another new and deeper contemplation of the face of Christ, a new and deeper encounter with the Lord crucified and risen.”

Archbishop Coleridge said such a surge will bring a kind of “Copernican revolution”, whereby the Church will go to the world with the gift of the Gospel, rather than seeking to recreate a world which revolves around the Church. This involves evangelising the culture, providing, or working to create, “a rich and supportive context within which personal choices can be made”. It also means resisting pressure to sideline or disqualify the Church from speaking on issues of public morality.

Archbishop Coleridge said Vatican II was primarily about new mission.
“Any New Evangelisation, which takes its cue from Vatican II will also be a clear affirmation of the body, community and history,” he said. The goal of Vatican II, in that sense, was a more Eucharistic Church and world.

“The Second Vatican Council sought to respond to the fires of the death-camps and the bomb by setting hearts on fire through a new evangelisation which would enable people everywhere to see the Risen Lord and hear him, and to know that he is the one who walks with them on their journey out of hopelessness into hope. That different fire is what the Council was all about and what the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been all about.”



More than half a million residents face displacement and food shortages reporters, Dhaka, Kurigram and Bogra
September 28, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Floods ravage north and south districts
Tens of thousands have been stranded by flooding in Bangladesh (Photo by Abdul Khaleque)
Catastrophic floods have ravaged communities in several districts leaving more than half a million people stranded, officials said today.
The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries have burst their banks in many places, due to unexpected heavy downpours over the past few days, said Chandranath Basak, director general of Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Ministry.
The subsequent flooding has seriously affected around 600,000 people in six districts in the north and south of the country, he said.
“District administrators have told us that around 112,221 families have been hit. Moreover, river erosion in Kurigram district in the north has destroyed the homes of 1,835 families,” Basak added.
Authorities say they have set up 50 temporary camps to offer shelter and food to flood victims, but are struggling to cope with the sheer number of people who have been affected.
Many flood victims said disaster relief has been slow in coming, while others are still waiting to receive aid.
“It’s been days since we fled our home which has been inundated. We have yet to get aid from the government or NGOs,” said Shariful Islam, 30, a farmer from Kurigram.
He said the flood not only destroyed his home and food stocks, but also destroyed his crops, the only source of food for his five-member family for the whole year.
Another flood victim, Tazul Mollah, from Bogra district has been stranded on the tin roof of his house with his family and cattle.
“We have survived on puffed rice and it’s almost finished. Neither we nor our cattle have any more food,” he said.
District officials say they are doing everything they can to tackle the disaster, adding that thankfully there have been no flood-related death so far.
“We are enlisting the help of flood victims and have food and money allocated by the Disaster Management Ministry. Our boats are out looking for stranded people in the area,” said Kurigram deputy commissioner Habibur Rahman.
Azhar Ali, a Union Council chairman in Konibari, in Bogra district said people living by rivers are usually prepared for flooding but this time they were taken by surprise.
“People were caught unawares because they thought the rainy season was over. Moreover, the crops they had growing in the fields are gone, which is a serious loss for them.”
The monsoon season in Bangladesh usualy runs from June to mid-September.
Home to over 152 million people, Bangladesh is located on the world’s largest river delta system, with over 300 rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. It makes the country prone to frequent natural disasters such as floods, which kill hundreds every year.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – To call one’s attention to the memory of the confreres who gave their lives for a mission considered "impossible" for man; to follow the example of their courage and their self-sacrifice to not look at the events only "according to the human perspective "; to consider the growth of the Church in Arunachal Pradesh and the energy of the existing Christian communities in Tibet, as a result of preaching and witness of these missionaries: are the main reasons indicated by Fr. Georges Colomb, Superior General of the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris (FMP) at the base of the exhibition "Missions du Toit du Monde", which will be inaugurated in Paris (128, rue du Bac) on Saturday, September 29, by Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni.
"It is natural that the first visitor of the exhibition is Cardinal Filoni - explains Fr. Colomb to Fides Agency -. Firstly, because he is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which since eighteenth century, has close, fraternal and constructive links, with the Society of Foreign Missions. In addition, the Cardinal knows the problems of mission in China. With the exception of Arunachal Pradesh, which is in India, all the territories referred to in this exhibit are in the Tibetan region, namely China (Yunnan, Sichuan, Tibet)."
Describing to Fides the content of the exhibition, Fr. Colomb points out, "The Mission is presented
like an impossible mission, recalling previous attempts, from the seventeenth century until 1950, and as a decentralized mission on the territory: since its beginning in 1846 until its disappearance in 1952, the Apostolic Vicariate of Tibet, entrusted to the Society for Foreign Missions in Paris, has never encountered a continuous presence within the country. The missionaries settled on the outskirts.
There were four districts in the mission of Eastern Tibet: Tatsienlou and the outlying locations (Moximian, Chapa), the border area of Sichuan (Bathang, Yerkalo, Yaregong); the horn of Yunnan (Tsekou, Cizhong, Weixi, Xiao Weixi); the Salouen (Bahang, Kionatong) and also a district in the mission in southern Tibet (Pedong, Maria-Basti, Kalimpong). Missionaries are presented according to the different periods they lived: the conquerors (1854-1865), those who resisted (1865-1905) and the survivors (1905-1952). " In 1951 all the missionaries were expelled.
The territory of the Tibetan region is dominated by high mountain ranges with an average height of 4,500 meters, with peaks ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 meters. The rugged terrain makes travel particularly dangerous and difficult, and the exhibition also describes how the missionaries crossed mountains and rivers.
"Different ethnic groups (Lisu, Lutse, Mosso) occupy the area between the main rivers - continues Fr. Colomb -. The Tibetans are the majority in the north and west and maintain ties with Central Tibet. The Chinese minority groups are mainly in the cities. In the exhibition lifestyles, political organization, popular beliefs linked to the forces of nature, Tantric Buddhism, the monastic life are presented. The activities of the missionaries (health care, education and human development), as well as those of the auxiliary of the mission,
show how the introduction of an indigenous clergy (FMP priests’ priority ) was difficult to achieve. The only Tibetan priest, Telesphore Hiong, was ordained in 1891. The missionaries of Tibet were also great builders: Father AndrĂ©, in the valley of Salouen built schools and chapels, 300 km of slopes and a 58 m long bridge! The exhibition also presents the Catholic communities in the contemporary Tibetan China – concludes Fr. Colomb - and the mission of Arunachal Pradesh (India) reminds us of the wonderful adventure of two FMP missionaries killed (father Krick and father Bourry) and the fruitfulness of their sacrifice." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 28/09/2012)


Kenya: child killed, many injured in attack on church |  St Polycarp Kenyan Anglican, Juja Road, Mombasa, grenade attack,Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist militants
One child was killed and six are in hospital with critical injuries, after a grenade attack on a church in Nairobi this morning, the Red Cross report.
A hand grenade was thrown into St Polycarp Kenyan Anglican church on Juja Road during a crowded service. Following the attack more people were hurt as they rushed to escape the building.
There have been a series of attacks in Kenya over the past six months - in churches, a bar in Mombasa and a bus station.
Police say they suspect 'sympathisers of Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist militants were responsible.
Kenyan troops are currently part of an African Union mission that has forced al-Shabab from its last Somali urban stronghold of Kismayo.
Nairobi police chief Moses Ombati has appealed for calm after youths reportedly attacked a nearby mosque in retaliation.
Source: Red Cross/Daily Nation


Numbers 11: 25 - 29
25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.
26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.
27 And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them."
29 But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"
Psalms 19: 8, 10, 12 - 14
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
12 But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
James 5: 1 - 6
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Mark 9: 38 - 43, 45, 47 - 48
38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."
39 But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
40 For he that is not against us is for us.
41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

Sep 30, 2012 - 26th Sun Ordinary Time


St. Jerome
Feast: September 30
Feast Day:
September 30
340-342, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia
420, Bethlehem, Judea
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420.
He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died (11 December, 384) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians.
The literary activity of St. Jerome, although very prolific, may be summed up under a few principal heads: works on the Bible; theological controversies; historical works; various letters; translations. But perhaps the chronology of his more important writings will enable us to follow more easily the development of his studies.
A first period extends to his sojourn in Rome (382), a period of preparation. From this period we have the translation of the homilies of Origen on Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Isaias (379-81), and about the same time the translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius; then the "Vita S. Pauli, prima eremitae" (374-379).
A second period extends from his sojourn in Rome to the beginning of the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew (382-390). During this period the exegetical vocation of St. Jerome asserted itself under the influence of Pope Damasus, and took definite shape when the opposition of the ecclesiastics of Rome compelled the caustic Dalmatian to renounce ecclesiastical advancement and retire to Bethlehem. In 384 we have the correction of the Latin version of the Four Gospels; in 385, the Epistles of St. Paul; in 384, a first revision of the Latin Psalms according to the accepted text of the Septuagint (Roman Psalter); in 384, the revision of the Latin version of the Book of Job, after the accepted version of the Septuagint; between 386 and 391 a second revision of the Latin Psalter, this time according to the text of the "Hexapla" of Origen (Gallican Psalter, embodied in the Vulgate). It is doubtful whether he revised the entire version of the Old Testament according to the Greek of the Septuagint. In 382-383 "Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi" and "De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium". In 387-388, commentaries on the Epistles to Philemon, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to Titus; and in 389-390, on Ecclesiastes.
Between 390 and 405, St. Jerome gave all his attention to the translation of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew, but this work alternated with many others. Between 390-394 he translated the Books of Samuel and of Kings, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, and Paralipomena. In 390 he translated the treatise "De Spiritu Sancto" of Didymus of Alexandria; in 389-90, he drew up his "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" and "De interpretatione nominum hebraicorum." In 391-92 he wrote the "Vita S. Hilarionis", the "Vita Malchi, monachi captivi", and commentaries on Nahum, Micheas, Sophonias, Aggeus, Habacuc. In 392-93, "De viris illustribus", and "Adversus Jovinianum"; in 395, commentaries on Jonas and Abdias; in 398, revision of the remainder of the Latin version of the New Testament, and about that time commentaries on chapters xiii-xxiii of Isaias; in 398, an unfinished work "Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum"; in 401, "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum"; between 403-406, "Contra Vigilantium"; finally from 398 to 405, completion of the version of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew.
In the last period of his life, from 405 to 420, St. Jerome took up the series of his commentaries interrupted for seven years. In 406, he commented on Osee, Joel, Amos, Zacharias, Malachias; in 408, on Daniel; from 408 to 410, on the remainder of Isaias; from 410 to 415, on Ezechiel; from 415-420, on Jeremias. From 401 to 410 date what is left of his sermons; treatises on St. Mark, homilies on the Psalms, on various subjects, and on the Gospels; in 415, "Dialogi contra Pelagianos".
Characteristics Of St. Jerome's Work
St. Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible. Until about 391-2, he considered the Septuagint translation as inspired. But the progress of his Hebraistic studies and his intercourse with the rabbis made him give up that idea, and he recognized as inspired the original text only. It was about this period that he undertook the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew.
But he went too far in his reaction against the ideas of his time, and is open to reproach for not having sufficiently appreciated the Septuagint. This latter version was made from a much older, and at times much purer, Hebrew text than the one in use at the end of the fourth century. Hence the necessity of taking the Septuagint into consideration in any attempt to restore the text of the Old Testament. With this exception we must admit the excellence of the translation made by St. Jerome. His commentaries represent a vast amount of work but of very unequal value. Very often he worked exceedingly rapidly; besides, he considered a commentary a work of compilation, and his chief care was to accumulate the interpretations of his predecessors, rather than to pass judgment on them. The "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" is one of his best works. It is a philological inquiry concerning the original text. It is to be regretted that he was unable to continue, as had been his intention, a style of work entirely new at the time.
Although he often asserted his desire to avoid excessive allegory, his efforts in that respect were far from successful, and in later years he was ashamed of some of his earlier allegorical explanations. He himself says that he had recourse to the allegorical meaning only when unable to discover the literal meaning. His treatise, "De Interpretatione nominum hebraicorum", is but a collection of mystical and symbolical meanings. Excepting the "Commenta rius in ep. ad Galatas", which is one of his best, his explanations of the New Testament have no great value. Among his commentaries on the Old Testament must be mentioned those on Amos, Isaias, and Jeremias. There are some that are frankly bad, for instance those on Zacharias, Osee, and Joel. To sum up, the Biblical knowledge of St. Jerome makes him rank first among ancient exegetes. In the first place, he was very careful as to the sources of his information. He required of the exegete a very extensive knowledge of sacred and profane history, and also of the linguistics and geography of Palestine. He never either categorically acknowledged or rejected the deuterocanonical books as part of the Canon of Scripture, and he repeatedly made use of them.
On the inspiration, the existence of a spiritual meaning, and the freedom of the Bible from error, he holds the traditional doctrine. Possibly he has insisted more than others on the share which belongs to the sacred writer in his collaboration in the inspired work. His criticism is not without originality. The controversy with the Jews and with the Pagans had long since called the attention of the Christians to certain difficulties in the Bible. St. Jerome answers in various ways. Not to mention his answers to this or that difficulty, he appeals above all to the principle, that the original text of the Scriptures is the only one inspired and free from error. Therefore one must determine if the text, in which the difficulties arise, has not been altered by the copyist. Moreover, when the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they did so not according to the letter but according to the spirit. There are many subtleties and even contradictions in the explanations Jerome offers, but we must bear in mind his evident sincerity. He does not try to cloak over his ignorance; he admits that there are many difficulties in the Bible; at times he seems quite embarrassed.
Finally, he proclaims a principle, which, if recognized as legitimate, might serve to adjust the insufficiencies of his criticism. He asserts that in the Bible there is no material error due to the ignorance or the heedlessness of the sacred writer, but he adds: "It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time" (P.L., XXVI, 98; XXIV, 855).
Among the historical works of St. Jerome must be noted the translation and the continuation of the "Chronicon Eusebii Caesariensis", as the continuation written by him, which extends from 325 to 378, served as a model for the annals of the chroniclers of the Middle Ages; hence the defects in such works: dryness, superabundance of data of every description, lack of proportion and of historical sense. The "Vita S. Pauli Eremitae" is not a very reliable document. The "Vita Malchi, monachi" is a eulogy of chastity woven through a number of legendary episodes. As to the "Vita S. Hilarionis", it has suffered from contact with the preceding ones. It has been asserted that the journeys of St. Hilarion are a plagiarism of some old tales of travel. But these objections are altogether misplaced, as it is really a reliable work.
The treatise "De Viris illustribus" is a very excellent literary history. It was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men. For the first three centuries Jerome depends to a great extent on Eusebius, whose statements he borrows, often distorting them, owing to the rapidity with which he worked.
His accounts of the authors of the fourth century however are of great value. The oratorical consist of about one hundred homilies or short treatises, and in these the Solitary of Bethlehem appears in a new light. He is a monk addressing monks, not without making very obvious allusions to contemporary events. The orator is lengthy and apologizes for it. He displays a wonderful knowledge of the versions and contents of the Bible. His allegory is excessive at times, and his teaching on grace is Semi-pelagian. A censorious spirit against authority, sympathy for the poor which reaches the point of hostility against the rich, lack of good taste, inferiority of style, and misquotation, such are the most glaring defects of these sermons. Evidently they are notes taken down by his hearers, and it is a question whether they were reviewed by the preacher.
The correspondence of St. Jerome is one of the best known parts of his literary output. It comprises about one hundred and twenty letters from him, and several from his correspondents. Many of these letters were written with a view to publication, and some of them the author even edited himself; hence they show evidence of great care and skill in their composition, and in them St. Jerome reveals himself a master of style. These letters, which had already met with great success with his contemporaries, have been, with the "Confessions" of St. Augustine, one of the works most appreciated by the humanists of the Renaissance. Aside from their literary interest they have great historical value. Relating to a period covering half a century they touch upon most varied subjects; hence their division into letters dealing with theology, polemics, criticism, conduct, and biography. In spite of their turgid diction they are full of the man's personality. It is in this correspondence that the temperament of St. Jerome is most clearly seen: his waywardness, his love of extremes, his exceeding sensitiveness; how he was in turn exquisitely dainty and bitterly satirical, unsparingly outspoken concerning others and equally frank about himself.
The theological writings of St. Jerome are mainly controversial works, one might almost say composed for the occasion. He missed being a theologian, by not applying himself in a consecutive and personal manner to doctrinal questions. In his controversies he was simply the interpreter of the accepted ecclesiastical doctrine. Compared with St. Augustine his inferiority in breadth and originality of view is most evident. His "Dialogue" against the Luciferians deals with a schismatic sect whose founder was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia. The Luciferians refused to approve of the measure of clemency by which the Church, since the Council of Alexandria, in 362, had allowed bishops, who had adhered to Arianism, to continue to discharge their duties on condition of professing the Nicene Creed. This rigorist sect had adherents almost everywhere, and even in Rome it was very troublesome. Against it Jerome wrote his "Dialogue", scathing in sarcasm, but not always accurate in doctrine, particularly as to the Sacrament of Confirmation. The book "Adversus Helvidium" belongs to about the same period. Helvidius held the two following tenets:
—Mary bore children to Joseph after the virginal birth of Jesus Christ;—from a religious viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.
Earnest entreaty decided Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions. The relative dignity of virginity and marriage, discussed in the book against Helvidius, was taken up again in the book "Adversus Jovinianum" written about ten years later. Jerome recognizes the legitimacy of marriage, but he uses concerning it certain disparaging expressions which were criticized by contemporaries and for which he has given no satisfactory explanation. Jovinian was more dangerous than Helvidius. Although he did not exactly teach salvation by faith alone, and the uselessness of good works, he made far too easy the road to salvation and slighted a life of asceticism. Every one of these points St. Jerome took up. The "Apologetici adversus Rufinum" dealt with the Origenistic controversies. St. Jerome was involved in one of the most violent episodes of that struggle, which agitated the Church from Origen's lifetime until the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The question at issue was to determine if certain doctrines professed by Origen and others taught by certain pagan followers of Origen could be accepted. In the present case the doctrinal difficulties were embittered by personalities between St. Jerome and his former friend, Rufinus. To understand St. Jerome's position we must remember that the works of Origen were by far the most complete exegetical collection then in existence, and the one most accessible to students. Hence a very natural tendency to make use of them, and it is evident that St. Jerome did so, as well as many others. But we must carefully distinguish between writers who made use of Origen and those who adhered to his doctrines. This distinction is particularly necessary with St. Jerome, whose method of work was very rapid, and consisted in transcribing the interpretations of former exegetes without passing criticism on them. Nevertheless, it is certain that St. Jerome greatly praised and made use of Origen, that he even transcribed some erroneous passages without due reservation. But it is also evident that he never adhered thinkingly and systematically to the Origenistic doctrines. Under these circumstances it came about that when Rufinus, who was a genuine Origenist, called on him to justify his use of Origen, the explanations he gave were not free from embarrassment. At this distance of time it would require a very subtle and detailed study of the question to decide the real basis of the quarrel. However that may be, Jerome may be accused of imprudence of language and blamed for a too hasty method of work. With a temperament such as his, and confident of his undoubted orthodoxy in the matter of Origenism, he must naturally have been tempted to justify anything. This brought about a most bitter controversy with his wily adversary, Rufinus. But on the whole Jerome's position is by far the stronger of the two, even in the eyes of his contemporaries. It is generally conceded that in this controversy Rufinus was to blame. It was he who brought about the conflict in which he proved himself to be narrow-minded, perplexed, ambitious, even timorous. St. Jerome, whose attitude is not always above reproach, is far superior to him. Vigilantius, the Gascon priest against whom Jerome wrote a treatise, quarrelled with ecclesiastical usages rather than matters of doctrine. What he principally rejected was the monastic life and the veneration of saints and of relics. In short, Helvidius, Jovinian, and Vigilantius were the mouthpieces of a reaction against asceticism which had developed so largely in the fourth century. Perhaps the influence of that same reaction is to be seen in the doctrine of the monk Pelagius, who gave his name to the principal heresy on grace: Pelagianism. On this subject Jerome wrote his "Dialogi contra Pelagianos". Accurate as to the doctrine of original sin, the author is much less so when he determines the part of God and of man in the act of justification. In the main his ideas are Semipelagian: man merits first grace: a formula which endangers the absolute freedom of the gift of grace. The book "De situ et nominibus locorum hebraicorum" is a translation of the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius, to which the translator has joined additions and corrections. The translations of the "Homilies" of Origen vary in character according to the time in which they were written. As time went on, Jerome became more expert in the art of translating, and he outgrew the tendency to palliate, as he came across them, certain errors of Origen. We must make special mention of the translation of the homilies "In Canticum Canticorum", the Greek original of which has been lost.