September 30th is the liturgical commemoration of St. Jerome, the great biblical scholar, monk, and grouch extraordinaire. In fact, he’s probably eccentric enough to be considered part of Anglican patrimony.
On the study of the Hebrew language he wrote, “From the judicious precepts of Quintilian, the rich and fluent eloquence of Cicero, the graver style of Fronto, and the smoothness of Pliny, I turned to this language of hissing and broken-winded words.”
On worldly women, he railed against those who “paint their cheeks with rouge and their eyelids with antimony, whose plastered faces, too white for human beings, look like idols; and if in a moment of forgetfulness they shed a tear it makes a furrow where it rolls down the painted cheek; women to whom years do not bring the gravity of age, who load their heads with other people's hair, enamel a lost youth upon the wrinkles of age, and affect a maidenly timidity in the midst of a troop of grandchildren.”
Even the clergy of Rome didn’t get a break. He said, “All their anxiety is about their clothes…. You would take them for bridegrooms rather than for clerics; all they think about is knowing the names and houses and doings of rich ladies.”
No wonder he ended up living in a cave.