Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

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Jerome, St. (about 340-420

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

A Dalmatian who became a monk, and one of the most learned Fathers of the Church. The interest here is that, while Jerome is quoted by religious writers as a witness to the beauty of character in the Roman Church and the beneficent influence of Christianity, he is our most reliable and emphatic witness to its corruption. As he was for several years the secretary of Pope Damasus [see], he was thoroughly acquainted with the facts, and his letters (written in much better Latin than Augustine's) are so searing in their accounts that they are not included in any translation of the Fathers. Christian writers quote from them the names of less than a dozen lady-pupils of his who led ascetic lives, but these are so exceptional that he observes to one of them that if you meet in the street a lady who seems to be of strict life you at once conclude that she is a Manichaean. The Christians, clergy and laity, "sacred virgins," matrons, widows etc., he describes in picturesque detail, as comprehensively and remarkably corrupt. See especially Letters XXII, XXIV, LII and CXXV in the Migne collection. Jerome warns his lady-pupils that they must never remain in the same room with a priest, and he advises them, with Elizabethan coarseness, how to avoid it. The Saint was often crude in speech and had a fiery temper: he quarrelled violently with Augustine, and he tells us how he and another monk spat in each other's faces during an argument on holy things. The virtuous young ladies are strictly forbidden to associate with Christian widows, whose drunkenness, etc., are frankly described, or with "sacred virgins" (a very corrupt class, he says). He says repeatedly that he does not refer to a vicious minority, but to the whole body of Roman Christians, priests and laity, and that hypocrisy, greed, and looseness are general characteristics of the priests and monks. He never discusses his friend Pope Damasus, but [see the notice of him] we know that he had a salacious reputation and was summoned to the civil court on a charge of adultery. In the same article there is evidence of another vice - murderous violence - of the Roman Christians.

 

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