Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Article 286: Jerome and Augustine
Jerome and Augustine
Jerome was touched by Augustine’s service to the Church against the Pelagians.1 He had previously honored Augustine’s virtue and had loved him in Christ who dwelt in his heart. He added a plenitude of love. His respect for Augustine, already risen to an apex, increased. He could not live an hour without speaking of him—Jerome sent this sentiment to Augustine in a letter. Speaking surely of the opposition to him in Rome, Jerome used expressions leading us to believe Augustine would have resigned the episcopacy rather than consent to absolution of Pelagius and Caelestius. Jerome writes these celebrated words: “Carefully preserve your reputation universally acquired. Catholics respect and admire you as restoring the ancient faith. More gloriously, you are hated and detested by heretics.” Alypius participated in Augustine’s glory. Jerome wrote both of them the following year.2 He wished he had the wings of a dove to fly to them. “God knows with what joy I embrace both of you, especially now when you have together given the death blow to Caelestius’ heresy.”
Jerome’s love for Augustine, principally because he had contributed to the condemnation of the Pelagians, caused him to embrace occasions offered to write Augustine. For that reason he was irritated by Innocent’s absence in 418. Jerome could not give him letters for Africa because he did not believe he would go to Hippo. That did not prevent Augustine and Alypius from writing Jerome, apparently through...