How the Church calendar works: The Case of St. Jerome, whom no-one really likes

Followers of the Mormon Lectionary Project may have an inkling that our base calendar comes from the Anglican tradition, which we then adapt in Mormon-y ways. The Anglican calendar itself closely follows Roman Catholic tradition but in ways more acceptable to our WASPish aesthetics (no Feast of the Conception of the Most Holy and All Pure Mother of God for us, thank you very much Pius IX). If we ever have an MLP entry for St. Jerome, we might find ourselves ahead of the Church of England whose liturgical commissioners remain unmoved by a campaign to reinstate him in the calendar.

The feast of St. Jerome is currently a “Commemoration” according to Common Worship, whereas his fellow Doctors of the Church enjoy “Lesser Festivals” — a higher rung on the ladder (Principal Holy Days enjoy top spot). Jerome used to share their position in the Book of Common Prayer but was demoted in 1980. The importance of St. Jerome’s scholarship is not doubted — cf. the Vulgate! — but he was, according to Oxford church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, “an extremely disagreeable man.” It seems that Jerome, whatever his God-given intellectual talents, was seen by many as less than saintly.

What say you? VOTE:


  1. Chris Kimball says:

    I have no view on the central question (to use the feast of St. Jerome or not). Partly because I just don’t know Jerome and he doesn’t serve as a model to me, for good or ill. But also because in the Mormon Lectionary Project (which I appreciate and enjoy) the Anglican calendar seems just a frame–as good as any, better than most, but not the substance, neither body nor spirit.

    But I’d like to thread jack to pose the question whether “nice” is a Christian virtue and “disagreeable” a vice? Somehow it was communicated to me (I think this is my mother’s doing) that “nice” is an important virtue, the most obvious outward expression of a Christ follower. But when I try to recreate that teaching, or find its source, I come up empty. Charity is not the same. Love is not a synonym. It wouldn’t occur to me to describe the good Samaritan as nice. The meek shall inherit, but meek nice.

    Then to be not politically correct, I wonder whether nice might be a valuable attribute in men but somewhat contraindicated for women?

    So why is it that “extremely disagreeable” is relevant in ranking saints?

  2. How about Isaiah 54:10, repeated and placed into a specifically Christological framework in 3 Nephi 22?

    For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

  3. I think we should include Jerome in the MLP, but I also think that he belongs in BCC’s “Agreeable?” series.

  4. Regarding Isaiah 54:10/3 Nephi 22;8, I can always quibble but I like it. “Kindness” being the key word. See also 2 Corinthians 6:6 (“By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,”) making kindness an attribute of the ministers of God.

    Circling back to the OP, would Jerome have been described this way?

  5. I love St. Jerome. I have a large copy of Albrecht Durer’s picture of him in his study. I love the idea of a patron saint of libraries.

  6. I’m just curious as to why the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is especially offensive to WASPish sensibilities.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    emmasrandomthoughts, I would assume it has to do with Protestant squeamishness over mariology, the Immaculate Conception being the Catholic dogma that Mary (not Jesus, as commonly misunderstood) was conceived free from Original Sin.

  8. Kevin Barney: Fair enough. I’m Catholic, so I’m familiar with the doctrine. (It’s the patronal feast of the US.) I was just curious as to why a Mormon would single out the doctrine as being particularly offensive, as opposed to a Protestant.

  9. Emma, I was mostly being facetious.

  10. Yeah, to my knowledge the Mormons involved in the MLP don’t find that feast offensive. RJH had tongue in cheek, sort of poking a little fun at WASPish sensitivities.

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