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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