St. Jerome reading in the countryside, by Giov...

St. Jerome reading in the countryside, by Giovanni Bellini 

The Roman Catechism states that the return of Christ will be preceded by three principal signs: the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, a falling away from the faith, and the coming of Antichrist. St Jerome, relying on the prophet Zechariah, mentions another: the prevalence of foolish pastors within the Church. ‘At the end of the world, according to the prophecy of Zechariah (Zech. XI, 15-6), the shepherd shall begin to grow foolish’ (in fine mundi iuxta prophetam Zachariam stultus pastor esse coeperit – Epistle LII, 4).

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