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St. Jerome—Against Helvidius: On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 13, 2021 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“The axe of the Gospel must now be laid at the roots of the barren tree and the tree must be delivered to the flames with its unfruitful leaves, so that he who has never learned to speak might learn at length to hold his tongue.”

Despite little training in eloquence or theology, Helvidius had gained some notoriety as an opponent of monasticism and of virginity as a way of life. This led Helvidius also to deny the perpetual virginity of Mary. Helvidius’ book on the subject became a major source of scandal in Rome. And this St. Jerome could not abide.

In his response, Jerome maintains three propositions against Helvidius: that Joseph was considered the husband of Mary as he was considered the father of Jesus, more by repute than by biological fact; that the “brethren” of the Lord referenced in the Gospels were Jesus’ cousins, not his brothers; and that virginity is indeed a higher state in life than the married state.


Dogmatic and Polemical Works, by St. Jerome:

Against Helvidius full text at

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Theme music: 2 Part Invention, composed by Mark Christopher Brandt, performed by Thomas Mirus. ©️2019 Heart of the Lion Publishing Co./BMI. All rights reserved.

James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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