Jerome [c. AD 347-420] was a Latin theologian, historian, and apologist for the Christian faith. He is best known for translating the Bible into Latin.
Below is an excerpt from one of his pastoral letters in which he reproves wanton women for their immodesty, licentiousness, and murderous behaviour.
I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall and are lost to the bosom of the church, their mother: stars over which the proud foe sets up his throne, and rocks hollowed by the serpent that he may dwell in their fissures.
You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air.
Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception.
Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.
Yet it is these who say: “‘Unto the pure all things are pure;’ my conscience is sufficient guide for me. A pure heart is what God looks for. Why should I abstain from meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving?”
And when they wish to appear agreeable and entertaining they first drench themselves with wine, and then joining the grossest profanity to intoxication, they say “Far be it from me to abstain from the blood of Christ.”
And when they see another pale or sad they call her “wretch” or “manichæan;”quite logically, indeed, for on their principles fasting involves heresy.
When they go out they do their best to attract notice, and with nods and winks encourage troops of young fellows to follow them. Of each and all of these the prophet’s words are true: “Thou hast a whore’s forehead; thou refusest to be ashamed.”
Their robes have but a narrow purple stripe, it is true; and their head-dress is somewhat loose, so as to leave the hair free. From their shoulders flutters the lilac mantle which they call “ma-forte;” they have their feet in cheap slippers and their arms tucked up tight-fitting sleeves.
Add to these marks of their profession an easy gait, and you have all the virginity that they possess. Such may have eulogizers of their own, and may fetch a higher price in the market of perdition, merely because they are called virgins. But to such virgins as these I prefer to be displeasing.
From Jerome’s 22nd Letter XXII (To Eustochium), point 13