In Book II of his Apology, Rufinus points out how Jerome had attacked Ambrose. He mentions Ambrose’ work De Spiritu Sancto. Thus, Rufinus about Jerome’s view of Ambrose.
Rufinus relates more of Jerome’s disdain for his “rival” in Milan (Apology 2,23-25) as he digs into accusations of plagiarism which were being hurled around.
Rufinus says in 2, 23 that Jerome referred to Ambrose as a raven, a bird of ill omen, croaking and ridiculing in an strange way the color of all the others birds on account of his own total blackness…
“praesertim cum a sinistro oscinem corvum audiam croccientem et mirum in modum de cunctarum avium ridere coloribus, cum totus ipse tenebrosus sit.”
Again, going on about Jerome’s accusation against Ambrose of plagiarism, in 2,25 Rufinus continues about Jerome’s treatment of Ambrose with his own counter charges:
25. You observe how (Jerome) treats Ambrose. First, he calls him a crow and says that he is black all over; then he calls him a jackdaw who decks himself in other birds’ showy feathers; and then he rends him with his foul abuse, and declares that there is nothing manly in a man whom God has singled out to be the glory of the churches of Christ, who has spoken of the testimonies of the Lord even in the sight of persecuting kings and has not been alarmed. The saintly Ambrose wrote his book on the
Jerome took another, less than oblique swipe at Ambrose.
Ambrose had been popularly proclaimed bishop in Milan in 374 even though he had not even been baptized and had no theological training. The emperor, who wanted peace, acceded and within a week Ambrose was baptized and consecrated bishop.
Jerome, who had probably been disappointed that he hadn’t been made bishop of Rome, surely felt the sting of this meteoric rise of Ambrose.
In any event, listen to Jerome:
One who was yesterday a catechumen is today a bishop; one who was yesterday in the amphitheater is today in the church; one who spent the evening in the circus stands in the morning at the altar: one who a little while ago was a patron of actors is now a dedicator of virgins. Was the apostle ignorant of our shifts and subterfuges? Did he know nothing of our foolish arguments?
(Heri catechumenus, hodie pontifex; heri in amphitheatro, hodie in ecclesia; uespere in circo, mane in altari; dudum fautor strionum, nunc uirginum consecrator: num ignorabat apostolus tergiuersationes nostras et argumentorum ineptias nesciebat?)
No love lost there.
Some time ago I made a PODCAzT about St. Ambrose and pro-abortion Catholic politicians.
Also on Ambrose:
- 060 08-05-16 Pentecost customs; St. Ambrose on the dew of the Holy Spirit
- 065 08-07-19 St. Ambrose “On mysteries”; Interview: Fr. Robert Pasley
- 097 09-12-07 Ambrose to a new bishop; In The Bleak Midwinter