Continuing his catechesis initiated last week on St. Jerome in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI noted that "for Jerome, a fundamental criterion for interpreting Scripture was that it should harmonize with the Magisterium of the Church."
In this regard, he noted that "we cannot interpret Scripture alone because we come across too many closed doors and fall into error. The Bible was written by the People of God and for the People of God. ... Only in this communion of the People of God can we enter 'with ourselves' into the heart of the truth that God Himself wishes to tell us."
The Pope stressed how Jerome "did not overlook ethical aspects and often recalled the duty of living in accordance with the divine Word. Such coherence is indispensable for all Christians, and especially for preachers" whose actions must be "in keeping with their words."
The saint emphasized that "the Gospel must be translated into attitudes of true charity because the Person of Christ is present in every human being. ... And Jerome makes it clear that 'it is yours to clothe Christ in the poor, to visit Him in the sick, to feed Him in the hungry, to shelter Him in the homeless'."
St. Jerome "also left us a rich and varied teaching on Christian asceticism," said the pontiff. "He recalls the fact that courageous commitment to perfection requires constant vigilance, frequent mortification (with moderation and prudence), assiduous intellectual or manual work to avoid idleness and, above all, obedience to God."
Finally, the Holy Father highlighted the contribution of St. Jerome to Christian teaching through education. "Among Jerome's main achievements as a pedagogue we must highlight the importance he attributed to healthy and complete education from earliest infancy, ... and the need for study in order to achieve a more complete human formation. Moreover, a question somewhat overlooked in antiquity but considered vital by our author was the promotion of women, whom he recognizes as having the right to a full education."