sources of dogma 100-200
ST. ZOSIMUS 417-4I8
COUNCIL OF MILEUM II 416, APPROVED BY INNOCENT AND
COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE (XVI) 418, APPROVED BY ZOSIMUS
(against the Pelagians) *
Original Sin and Grace *
101 Can. 1. All the bishops established in the sacred synod of the Carthaginian Church have decided that whoever says that Adam, the first man, was made mortal, so that, whether he sinned or whether he did not sin, he would die in body, that is he would go out of the body not because of the merit of sin but by reason of the necessity of nature, * let him be anathema.
The Primacy and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff 1
[From the epistle (12) "Quamvis Patrum traditio" to
the African bishops, March 21, 418]
109 Although the tradition of the Fathers has attributed such great authority to the Apostolic See that no one would dare to disagree wholly with its judgment, and it has always preserved this judgment by canons and rules, and current ecclesiastical discipline up to this time by its laws pays the reverence which is due to the name of PETER, from whom it has itself descended . . . ; since therefore PETER the head is of such (Treat authority and he has confirmed the subsequent endeavors of all our ancestors, so that the Roman Church is fortified . . . by human as well as by divine laws, and it does not escape you that we rule its place and also hold power of the name itself, nevertheless you know, dearest brethren, and as priests you ought to know, although we have such great authority that no one can dare to retract from our decision, yet we have done nothing which we have not voluntarily referred to your notice by letters . . . not because we did not know what ought to be done, or would do anything which by going against the advantage of the Church, would be displeasing.
[From the epistle "Tract(at)oria ad Orientales ecclesias,
Aegypti diocesim, Constantinopolim, Thessalonicam,
Hierosolymam," sent after March, 418]
109a The Lord [is] faithful in his words [ Ps. 144:13] and His baptism holds the same plenitude in deed and words, that is in work, confession, and true remission of sins in every sex, age, and condition of the human race. For no one except him who is the servant of sin is made free, nor can he be said to be redeemed unless he has previously truly been a captive through sin, as it is written: "If the Son liberates you, you will be truly free [John 8:36]. For through Him we are reborn spiritually, through Him we are crucified to the world. By His death that bond of death introduced into all of us by Adam and transmitted to every soul, that bond contracted by propagation is broken, in which no one of our children is held not guilty until he is freed through baptism.
ST. BONIFACE I 418-422
The Primacy and Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff *
[From the epistle (13) "Retro maioribus tuis" to
Rufus, Bishop of Thessaly, March 11, 422]
110 (2) . . . To the Synod [of
ST. CELESTINE I 422-432
Reconciliation in the Moment of Death *
[From the epistle (4) "Cuperemus quidem" to the
bishops of the provinces of Vienne and Narbo, July 26, 428]
111 (2) We acknowledge that penance is being denied the dying and no assent is given to the ardent wishes of those who at the time of their death desire to come to the assistance of their souls with this remedy. We are horrified, I confess, that anyone is found of such great impiety, that he despairs of the love of God, as if He were not able at any time whatever to hasten to the aid of the one who runs to Him for help and to free from his burden a man endangered by the weight of sins, from which he longs to be liberated. For what else is this, I ask, than to add death to the dying and to kill his soul with one's own cruelty, that it may not be able to be absolved? Since God, most ready to succor, inviting to repentance, thus promised: In whatever day, He says, the sinner shall be converted, his sins shall not be imputed to him [cf. Eze. 33:16]. . . Since therefore the Lord is the examiner of the heart, penance must not be denied at any time to one who asks for (it) . . . .
COUNCIL OF EPHESUS 431
Ecumenical III (against the Nestorians)
The Incarnation *
[From the epistle II of St. Cyril of Alexandria to
Nestorius, read and approved in action I]
111a For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and made flesh, nor yet that it was changed into the whole man (composed) of soul and body but rather (we say) that the Word, in an ineffable and inconceivable manner, having hypostatically united to Himself flesh animated by a rational soul, became Man and was called the Son of Man, not according to the will alone or by the assumption of a person alone, and that the different natures were brought together in a real union, but that out of both in one Christ and Son, not because the distinction of natures was destroyed by the union, but rather because the divine nature and the human nature formed one Lord and Christ and Son for us, through a marvelous and mystical concurrence in unity. . . . For it was no ordinary man who was first born of the Holy Virgin and upon whom the Word afterwards descended; but being united from the womb itself He is said to have undergone flesh birth, claiming as His own the birth of His own flesh. Thus [the holy Fathers] did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God.
The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *
[From the speech of Philip the Roman legate in action 111]
112 No one doubts, but rather it has been known to all generations, that the holy and most blessed Peter, chief and head of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith, the foundation stone of the Catholic church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that the power of binding and loosing sins was given to him, who up to this moment and always lives in his successors, and judges [see n. 1824].
The Anathemas of the Chapter of Cyril * (against Nestorius) *
Faith and the Tradition to be Guarded *
125 . . . The holy synod decided that no one is allowed to declare or at any rate to compose or devise a faith other than that defined by the holy fathers who with the Holy Spirit came together at Nicea. . . .
. . . If any should be discovered, whether bishops or priests, or lay persons, who believe or teach those things in the exposition conveyed by Charisius the priest concerning the Incarnation* of the Only-begotten Son of God, or at any rate the abominable and distorted dogmas of Nestorius . . . , let them be subject to the decision of this holy and ecumenical synod. . . .
Condemnation of the Pelagians *
The Authority of St. Augustine *
[From Ep. (21) "Apostolici Verba Praecepti" to the
bishops of the Gauls, May 15 (?), 431]
128 Chapter 2. We have always held Augustine a man of holy memory because of his life and also of his services in our communion, nor has even report ever sullied him with unfavorable suspicion. We recall him as having once been a man of such great knowledge that even by my predecessors in the past he was always accounted among the best teachers. *
The Catalog or the Authoritative Statements of the Past
Bishops of the Holy See* Concerning the Grace of God
129 Because some, who glory in the name of Catholic, linger in the condemned view of heretics whether through perverseness or through ignorance, and presume to oppose the very pious disputers, and, although they do not hesitate to anathematize Pelagius and also Caelestius, nevertheless contradict our teachers, as if they overstepped the necessary limit, and profess to follow and approve only those [doctrines] which the most sacred See of the Blessed Apostle PETER has sanctioned and taught against the enemies of the grace of God through the office of its leaders, it has become necessary to inquire diligently as to what the rulers of the Roman Church judged concerning the heresy which had arisen in their times, and in opposition to the most harmful [heretics] what the defenders of free will decreed should be thought with regard to the grace of God. Thus, too, we have added certain opinions of the African Councils, which the apostolic high-priests have assuredly made their own when they approved [them]. In order therefore that [those] who doubt in any [matter] may be the more fully instructed, we are making public the definitions of the Holy Fathers in a brief catalogue, in which, if anyone is not a little contentious, he will recognize that the organic union of all reasonings depends upon this concise [catalogue] of supporting authorities, and no reason for contradiction remains to him, if he believes and speaks with the Catholics.
130 Chapter 1. In the transgression of Adam all men lost their "natural power" * and innocence, and no one can rise from the depth of that ruin through free will, unless the grace of a merciful God raise him up, [according as] Pope INNOCENT of blessed memory proclaimed and said in his letter * to the Council of Carthage:* "For he, having once braved every consequence of free choice, while he used his goods too unadvisedly, fell and was overwhelmed in the depth of his transgression, and found no [way] by which he was able to rise from it; and beguiled forever by his own liberty he would have lain prostrate by the weight of this ruin, if the coming of Christ had not afterwards lifted him up by virtue of His grace, who through the purification of a new regeneration washed away in the bath of His baptism every past sin."
131 Chapter 2. For no one is good of himself, unless He gives [him] a participation of Himself, who alone is good.
In the same writings the opinion of the same pontiff bears witness to this, stating: * "Shall we after this judge anything to be right in the minds of those who think they owe to themselves the fact that they are good, and do not consider Him, whose grace they obtain daily; who feel sure that they are able to secure [it] alone without Him?"
132 Chapter 3. No one even after having been restored by the grace of baptism is capable of overcoming the snares of the devil and subduing the concupiscenses of the flesh, unless he has received through the daily help of God the perseverance of the good way of life. The doctrine of the same high-priest confirms this in the same letter, declaring* : "For although He had redeemed man from his past sins, nevertheless knowing that he would be able to sin again, He saved many things for reparation to Himself, offering him daily remedies by which He might be able to correct him even after those (sins), and, if we do not struggle relying upon these [remedies] and trusting in them, we shall by no means be able to conquer human mistakes. For it is necessary that, as we are victorious with His aid, we shall again be defeated if He does not help us."
133 Chapter 4. The same teacher in the epistle to the council of Mileum * proclaims that no one uses his free will well, except through Christ, asserting: * "Note finally, O perverse doctrine of most distorted minds, that liberty itself so deceived the first man, that, while he used his bridle too indulgently, he fell into transgression by presumption. Nor would he have been able to be rescued from this, had not the coming of Christ the Lord reestablished for him the state of pristine liberty by the providence of regeneration."
134 Chapter 5. That all the zeal and all the works and merits of the saints ought to be referred to the glory and praise of God; because no one pleases Him with anything except with that which He Himself has given. To this view the regular authority of the Pope ZOSIMUS of blessed memory directs us, when, writing to the bishops of the whole world, he says:* "We, however, by the inspiration of God (for all good things must be assigned to their author, whence they derive their origin) have referred all things to the conscience of our brothers and co-bishops." However, the African bishops honored with such great praise this discourse radiating with the light of sincerest truth, that they wrote thus to the same man: "That statement indeed, which you made in the letter, that you caused to be sent to all the provinces, saying: 'We nevertheless by the inspiration of God, etc.,' we have accepted the words thus: that you, as it were moving swiftly with the drawn sword of truth have cut off those who extol the freedom of the human will in opposition to the help of God. For you have done nothing with free will except refer all things to the conscience of our lowliness. And yet you have faithfully and wisely seen that it was done by the inspiration of God, and you have spoken truly and confidently. Therefore assuredly, becausethe good will is provided beforehand by the Lord[Prov. 8:35: LXX], and that the good may accomplish something, He Himself touches the hearts of His sons with paternal inspirations. For all that are moved by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God[ Rom. 8:14]; so that we do not think that our free will is lacking; and we do not doubt that in each and every good movement of the human will, His help is mote powerful."
135 Chapter 6. That God thus operates in the hearts of men and in the free will itself, so that a holy thought, a pious plan, and every motion of good will is from God, because we can do anything good through Him,without whom we ca n do nothing[John 15:5]. For to this profession the same teacher ZOSIMUS trained us, who, when he spoke * to the bishops of the whole world concerning the assistance of divine grace, said: "What time therefore occurs in which we do not need His help? Accordingly in all acts, situations, thoughts, and movements He ought to be implored as helper and protector. Indeed, it is arrogant for human nature to take anything to itself since the Apostle declares:Our struggle is notagainst flesh and blood, but against princes and powers of this atmosphere, against the spirits of wickedness in high places[ Eph. 6:12 ]. And thus He Himself said again:Unhappyman (that) I (am),who will free me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord[ Rom. 7:24 ]. And again:By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace in me has not been void; but I have labored more than all those; yet not I, but the grace with me[ 1 Cor. 15:10 ]."
136 Chapter 7. Furthermore that which was determined in the decrees of the synod of Carthage, * we have embraced as the Apostolic See's own, namely, what was defined in the third chapter: "That whoever says that the grace of God, by which we are justified through Jesus Christ our Lord, has power only for the remission of sins which have already been committed, and not also for help, that they may not be committed, let him be anathema." [seen. 103 ].
137 And again in the fourth chapter: "That whoever says that the grace of God through Jesus Christ on this account alone helps us not to sin, that through it an understanding of the commands is revealed and opened to us, so that we know what we ought to strive after and what we ought to shun, but that through it [the power] is not also given to us to love and to be able to do that which we know ought to be done, let him be anathema. For since the Apostle says:Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies [ 1 Cor. 8:1]; it is very impious, for us to believe, that for that which puffs up, we have the grace of Christ, and for that which edifies, we have not, although each is a gift of God, both to know what we ought to do, and to love in order that we may do it, so that since charity edifies, knowledge may not be able to puff up. Moreover just as it is written of God:Who teaches man knowledge[ Ps. 93:10], so also it is written:Charity is fromGod [ 1 John 4:7 ];" [ see n. 104].
138 Likewise in the fifth chapter: "That whoever says, that for this reason the grace of justification is given to us, that what we are ordered to do through free will we may be able to accomplish more easily through grace, just as if, even were grace not given, we could nevertheless fulfill the divine commands without it, though not indeed easily, let him be anathema. For of the fruits of his commands the Lord did not speak when He said:Without me you can accomplish ( them) with more difficulty,but when He said: Without me you can do nothing[John 15:5]" [See n. 105].
139 Chapter 8. * But besides these hallowed ordinances of the most blessed and Apostolic See, in accordance with which the most pious Fathers, after casting aside the pride of pernicious novelty, have taught us to refer to Christ's grace both the beginnings of good will, and the advances in commendable devotions and the perseverance in these unto the end, let us be mindful also of the sacraments of priestly public prayer, which handed down by the Apostles are uniformly celebrated in the whole world and in every Catholic Church, in order that the law of supplication may support the law of believing.
For when the leaders of the holy nations perform the office of ambassador entrusted to them, they plead the cause of the human race before divine Clemency, and while the whole Church laments with them, they ask and pray that the faith may be granted to infidels; that idolaters may be delivered from the errors of their impiety; that the veil of their hearts may be removed and the light of truth be visible to the Jews; that heretics may come to their senses through a comprehension of the Catholic faith; that schismatics may receive the spirit of renewed charity; that the remedy of repentance may be bestowed upon the lapsed; that finally after the catechumens have been led to the sacraments of regeneration, the royal court of heavenly mercy may be opened to them. Moreover, the effect of these prayers shows that these are not sought from the Lord perfunctorily and uselessly, since indeed God deigns to attract from every kind of error very many whom,torn from the power of darkness, He transfers into the kingdom of the Son of his love [ Col. 1:13], andfrom vessels of wrath He makes vessels of mercy [Rom. 9:22 f.]. This is felt to be so completely a divine work that the action of the graces and the acknowledgement of praise on account of the illumination or correction of such [persons] should always be referred to God who effects these things.
140 That also, which the holy Church uniformly does in the whole world with regard to those to be baptized, we do not observe with indifferent respect. Since whether children or youths come to the sacrament of regeneration, they do not approach the fountain of life, before the unclean spirit is driven away from them by the exorcisms and the breathings upon them of the priests; so that then it is truly manifest howthe prince of this world is sent forth[John 12:31 ], and how the strong[man] is first bound [Matt. 12:29 ], and thereafter his vessels are plundered [Mark 3:27 ], having been transferred to the possession of the victor, who leads captivity captive [ Eph. 4:8 ] and gives gifts to man [Ps. 67:19 ].
141 Therefore, in accordance with the ecclesiastical rules and documents taken on divine authority, we are so strengthened by our Lord's aid that we confess openly that God [is] the author of all good dispositions of mind, and also of works, and of all zeal, and of all virtues by which from the beginning of faith we tend towards God; and we do not doubt that all the merits of man are preceded by His grace, through whom it is brought to pass, that we begin both to will and to do [ Phil. 2:13] anything good. Assuredly free choice is not taken away by this aid and gift of God, but it is set at liberty, that light may come from darkness, right from wrong, health from sickness, and prudence from imprudence. For, so great is the goodness of God towards all men that He wishes the merits, which are His own gifts, to be ours, and in consideration of those which He has conferred, He intends to give eternal rewards. * For He acts in us that we may both will and do what He wishes, nor does He allow those gifts to be idle in us which He has given to be used and not to be neglected, that we also may be cooperators with the grace of God. And if we see that there is any listlessness in us as a result of our relaxation, let us carefully have recourse to Him,who heals all our weaknesses and redeems our life from destruction [ Ps. 102:3 f.], andto whom we daily say: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [ Matt. 6:13].
142 Chapter 10. But although we do not dare to esteem lightly the deeper and more difficult parts of the questions which they have treated * in more detail who have resisted the heretics, yet we do not consider it necessary to add what their writings, according to the aforementioned regulation of the Apostolic See, have taught us, because we believe that it is quite enough to confess the grace of God, from whose work and honor nothing should be entirely taken away, so that we do not deem that to be at all Catholic which appears to be contrary to the views presented above.
ST. SIXTUS III 432-440
"Creed of the union" of the year 433, by which peace was restored
between St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Antiochenes [St. Cyril,
Ep. 39: MG 77, 176 D f. 7; see R n. 2060; approved
by St. Sixtus III, App. n. 5002 ff. ]
ST. LEO I, THE GREAT 440-461
The Incarnation * (against Eutyches) *
[From the dogmatic epistle (28) "Lectis dilectionis tuae"
to Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, June 13, 449]
(2) see R n. 2182.
143 (3) The uniqueness of each nature being preserved and combined in one person, humility was assumed by majesty, weakness by strength, mortality by eternity, and for the sake of paying the debt of our creation, an inviolable nature was joined to a passible nature; so that, because it was adapted to our relief, one and the same mediator of God and men, the man Jesus Christ [1 Tim. 2:5] both could die by reason of the one, and could not die on account of the other. Accordingly, in the whole and perfect nature of true man, true God was born, complete in His own, complete in ours. . . .
144 (4) Consequently, the Son of God entered into these lowly conditions of the world, after descending from His celestial throne, and though He did not withdraw from the glory of the Father, He was generated in a new order and in a new nativity. In a new order, because invisible in His own, He was made visible in ours; incomprehensible [in His own], He wished to be comprehended; permanent before times, He began to be in time; the Lord of the universe assumed the form of a slave, concealing the immensity of His majesty; the impassible God did not disdain to be a passible man and the immortal [did not disdain] to be subject to the laws of death. Moreover, He was generated in a new nativity, because inviolate virginity [that] did not know concupiscence furnished the material of His body. From the mother of the Lord, nature, not guilt, was assumed; and in the Lord Jesus Christ born from the womb of the Virgin, because His birth was miraculous, nature was not for that reason different from ours. For He who is true God, is likewise true man, and there is no falsehood in this unity, as long as there are alternately the lowliness of man and the exaltedness of the Divinity. For, just as God is not changed by His compassion, so man is not destroyed by His dignity. For each nature does what is proper to it with the mutual participation of the other; the Word clearly effecting what belongs to the Word, and the flesh performing what belongs to the flesh. One of these gleams with miracles; the other sinks under injuries. And just as the Word does not withdraw from the equality of the paternal glory, so His body does not abandon the nature of our race [For more see R n. 2183 f. 2188].
144* Matrimony as a sacrament [ Eph. 5:32] see R n. 2189;
The creation of the soul and original sin, see
R n. 2181.
Secret Confession *
[From epistle "Magna indign." to all the bishops through
Campania, etc., March 6, 459]
145 (2) 1 also decree that that presumption against the apostolic regulation, which I recently learned is being committed by some through unlawful usurpation, be banished by all means.
With regard to penance, what is demanded of the faithful, is clearly not that an acknowledgement of the nature of individual sins written in a little book be read publicly, since it suffices that the states of consciences be made known to the priests alone in secret confession. For although the fullness of faith seems to be laudable, which on account of the fear of God is not afraid to blush before men, nevertheless since the sins of all are not such that those who ask for penance do not dread to publish them, so objectionable a custom should be abolished. . . . For that confession is sufficient, which is first offered to God, then also to a priest, who serves as an intercessor for the transgressions of the penitents. For then, indeed, more will be able to be incited to penance, if the conscience of the one confessing is not exposed to the ears of the people.
The Sacrament of Penance *
[From epistle (108) "Solicitudinis quidem tuae" to
Theodore, Bishop of Forum Julii, June 11, 452]
146 (2) The manifold mercy of God came to the assistance of fallen men in such a way that the hope of eternal life might be recovered not only by the grace of baptism, but also by the remedy of penance, that those who have violated the gifts of regeneration, condemning themselves by their own judgment, might attain to the remission of their sins; the help of divine goodness having been so ordered that the indulgence of God cannot be obtained except by the supplications of the priests. For"the Mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus[1 Tim. 2:5] has entrusted this power to the leaders of the Church, that they might both grant the action of penance to those confessing, and admit the same [persons] cleansed by salutary satisfaction to the communion of the sacraments through the gate of reconciliation. . . .
147 (5) It is necessary that each and every Christian hold a trial of his own conscience, lest from day to day he defer being converted to God, and choose the difficulties of that time when neither the confession of the penitent nor the reconciliation of the priest can take place. But, as I have said, the need even of such should be served, so that neither the action of penance nor the grace of communion may be denied them, even if the function of speech has been lost, and they ask it through the signs of a sound sense. But if they are so oppressed by some violent illness, that what they asked a little while before, they are not able to signify in the presence of the priest, the testimonies of the faithful standing about ought to be advantageous to them, that they may gain simultaneously the benefit of both penance and reconciliation, the regulation of the canons of the Fathers, however, being observed regarding the persons of those who have sinned against God by deserting the faith.
COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON 451
Ecumenical IV (against the Monophysites)
Definition of the Two Natures of Christ *
148 Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in human nature, truly God and the same with a rational soul and a body truly man, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity, and consubstantial with us according to human nature, like unto us in all things except sin, [cf. Heb. 4:15]; indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divine nature, but in the last days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to human nature; for us and for our deliverance, one and the same Christ only begotten Son, our Lord, acknowledged in two natures,' without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union but rather the peculiarity of each nature being kept, and uniting in one person and substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Himself taught us, and the creed of our fathers has handed down to us.
Therefore, since these have been arranged by us with all possible care and diligence, the holy and ecumenical synod has declared that no one is allowed to profess or in any case to write up or to compose or to devise or to teach others a different faith.
148 [Version of Rusticus] Therefore, following the holy Fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and the same perfect in human nature, true God and true man, the same with a rational soul and a body, consubstantial with the Father according to divine nature, consubstantial with us according to the human nature, like unto us in all things except sin [cf. Heb. 4:15]: indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divinity, but in the latest days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to the humanity; for us and for our salvation, one and the same Christ, only begotten Son, our Lord, acknowledged in two natures * without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union, but rather the uniqueness of each nature being kept and uniting in one person and one substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us, and as the creed of the Fathers has handed down to us [see n. 54 ,86].
Therefore, since these having been arranged by us with all possible care and diligence, the sacred and universal Synod has declared that no one is allowed to profess or to write up or to compose or to devise or to teach others a different faith.
The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *
[From the epistles of the Synod "Repletum est gaudio"
to Leo the Pope, at the beginning of November, 451]
149 For if where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He says He is in the midst of them, how great an intimacy did He show with regard to the five hundred and twenty consecrated men, who preferred to both native land and to labor the knowledge of confession for Him. Over these you ruled as a head over the members, among those holding office, displaying your good will.
149 [The more ancient version.] For if where two or three are gathered togetherinhis name, there he says he is in the midst of them [cf. Matt. 18:20], how great an intimacy will He show in regard to the five hundred and twenty priests, who have preferred to both native land and to labor the knowledge of confession for Him. Over these you ruled as a head over the members, among those holding office, displaying your good will.
The words of St. LEO himself regarding the primacy of
the Roman Pontiff, see Kch n. 891-901
The Ordination of the Clergy *
[From "Ancient Statutes of the Church," or
"Ancient Statutes of the East"]
150 Can. 2 (90). When a bishop is ordained, let two bishops place (expose) and hold the book of the Gospels above his head, and while one pours forth the benediction upon him, let all the remaining bishops, who are present, touch his head with their hands.
151 Can 3 (91). When a priest is ordained, while the bishop is blessing [him] and holding his hands over his head, let all the priests also, who are present, hold their hands close to the hands of the bishop above his head.
[ There follow the regulations for consecrating virgins,
Widows: can. 101 on matrimony, see Kch n. 952]
ST. HILARIUS 461-468
ST. SIMPLICIUS 468-483
The Necessity of Guarding the Faith Which Has Been Handed Down *
[From the epistle "Quantum presbyterorum" to Acacius,
Bishop of Constantinople, January 9, 476]
159 (2) Because, according to the extant doctrine of our predecessors of sacred memory, against which it is wrong to argue, whoever seems to understand rightly, does not desire to be taught by new assertions, but all [matters] in which either he who has been deceived by heretics can be instructed, or he who is about to be planted in the vineyard of the Lord can be trained, are clear and perfect; after imploring trust in your most merciful leader, have the request for calling a synod refused. (3) I urge (therefore), dearest brother, that by every means resistance be offered to the efforts of the perverse to call a synod, which has not always been enjoined in other cases, unless something new arose in distorted minds or something ambiguous in a pronouncement so that, if there were any obscurity, the authority of sacerdotal deliberation might illumine those who were treating the ambiguous pronouncement in common, just as first the impiety of Arius and then that of Nestorius, lastly that of Dioscorus and also of Eutyches caused this to be done. And --may the mercy of Christ our God (and) Savior avert this--it must be made known, abominable [as it is], that [the purpose is] to restore [to their former positions] in opposition to the opinions of the priests of the Lord of the whole world and of the principal rulers of both [scil., worlds] those who have been condemned. . . .
The Unchangeableness of Christian Doctrine *
[From the epistle "Cuperem quidem" to Basiliscus
Augustus January 10, 476]
160 Those genuine and clear [truths] which flow from the very pure fountains of the Scriptures cannot be disturbed by any arguments of misty subtlety. For this same norm of apostolic doctrine endures in the successors of him upon whom the Lord imposed the care of the whole sheepfold [John 21:15 ff.], whom [He promised] He would not fail even to the end of the world [Matt. 28:20], against whom He promised that the gates of hell would never prevail, by whose judgment He testified that what was bound on earth could not be loosed in heaven [Matt. 16:18 ff.]. (6). . . Let whoever, as the Apostle proclaimed, attempts to disseminate something other, than what we have received, be anathema[ Gal. 1:8 f.]. Let no approach to your ears be thrown open to the pernicious plans of undermining, let no pledge of revising any of the old definitions be granted, because, as it must be repeated very often, what has deserved to be cut away with the sharp edge of the evangelical pruninghook by apostolic hands with the approval of the universal Church, cannot acquire the strength for a rebirth nor is it able to return to the fruitful shoot of the master's vine, because it is evident that it has been destined to eternal fire. Thus, finally, the machinations of all heresies laid down by decrees of the Church are never allowed to renew the struggles of their crushed attack.
[From the letter of submission of Lucidus, the priest] *
Grace and Predestination
160a Your public reproof is public salvation, and your opinion is medicine. From this I also draw the highest remedy, that by blaming past errors I excuse [them], and by healing confession I wash myself. just so in consequence of the recent statutes of the Council about to be published, I condemn with you that view which states that the work of human obedience does not have to be united with divine grace; which says that after the fall of the first man the free choice of the will was totally destroyed; which states that Christ our Lord and Savior did not incur death for the salvation of all; which states that the foreknowledge of God violently impels man to death, or that they who perish, perish by the will of God; which affirms that whoever sins after baptism which has been legitimately received dies in Adam; which states that some have been condemned to death, others have been predestined to life; which states that from Adam even to Christ none of the nations has been saved unto the coming of Christ through the first grace of God, that is, by the law of nature, and that they lost free will in the first parent; which states that the patriarchs and prophets or every one of the highest saints, even before the times of the redemption, entered into paradise. All these I condemn as impious and replete with sacrileges.
But I declare that the grace of God is such that I always unite the striving and efforts of man with grace, and I proclaim that the liberty of the human will was not destroyed but enfeebled and weakened, and that he who is saved, was tried; and he who perished, could have been saved.
160b Also that Christ, God and Redeemer, as far as it pertained to the riches of His goodness, offered the price of death for all, and because He, who is the Savior of all, especially of the faithful, does not wish anyone to perish, rich unto all who call upon him [Rom. 10:12] . . . . Now by the authority of the sacred witnesses, which are found in (Treat profusion through the extent of the Divine Scriptures, in accordance with the doctrine of our elders made clear by reason, I freely confess that Christ came also for the lost, because they perished although He did not will [it]. For it is not right that the riches of His boundless goodness and His divine benefits be confined to those only who seem to have been saved. For if we say that Christ extended assistance only to those who have been redeemed, we shall seem to absolve the unredeemed, who, it is established, had to be punished for having despised redemption. I declare further that by reason and through the regular succession of the centuries some have been saved by the law of grace, others by the law of Moses, others by the law of nature, which God has written in the hearts of all, in the expectation of the coming of Christ; nevertheless from the beginning of the world, they were not set free from the original slavery except by the intercession of the sacred blood. I acknowledge, too, that the eternal fires and the infernal flames have been prepared in advance for capital deeds, because divine judgment, which they deservedly incur, who have not believed these I truths] with their whole heart, justly follows those who persist in human sins. Pray for me, holy lords and apostolic fathers.
I, Lucius the priest, have signed this my letter with my own hand, and I affirm the things which are asserted in it, and I condemn what has been condemned.
FELIX II (III) 483-492
ST. GELASIUS I 492-496
Errors Once Condemned, not to be Discussed Again *
[From the epistle "Licet inter varias" to Honorius,
Bishop of Dalmatia, July 28, 493 (?)]
161 (1) [For] it has been reported to us, that in the regions of the Dalmatians certain men had disseminated the recurring tares of the Pelagian pest, and that their blasphemy prevails there to such a degree that they are deceiving all the simple by the insinuation of their deadly madness. . . . [But] since the Lord is superior, the pure truth of Catholic faith drawn front the concordant opinions of all the Fathers remains present. . . . (2) . . . What pray permits us to abrogate what has been condemned by the venerable Fathers, and to reconsider the impious dogmas that have been demolished by them? Why is it, therefore, that we take such great precautions lest any dangerous heresy, once driven out, strive anew to come [up] for examination, if we argue that what has been known, discussed, and refuted of old by our elders ought to be restored? Are we not ourselves offering, which God forbid, to all the enemies of the truth an example of rising again against ourselves, which the Church will never permit? Where is it that it is written: Do not go beyond the limits of your fathers [Prov. 22:28], and: Ask your fathers and they will tell you, and your elders will declare unto you [Deut. 32:7]? Why, accordingly, do we aim beyond the definitions of our elders, or why do they not suffice for us? If in our ignorance we desire to learn something, how every single thing to be avoided has been prescribed by the orthodox fathers and elders, or everything to be adapted to Catholic truth has been decreed, why are they not approved by these? Or are we wiser than they, or shall we be able to stand constant with firm stability, if we should undermine those [dogmas] which have been established by them? . . . .
161* The Authority and the Priesthood, and the Primacy of
the Roman Pontiff. See Kch n. 959
The Canon of Sacred Scripture *
[From the epistle 42, or decretal "de recipiendis et non
recipiendis libris," in the year 495]
162 An enumeration of the canonical books similar to that, which we haveplaced under DAMASUS[ n. 84] is accustomed in certain codices to be set before the special Decree of GELASIUS. Nevertheless among others it is no longer read in this place.Of John the Apostle one epistle, of the other John the priest two epistles, but, of the Apostle John three epistles [cf. n. 84,92, 96].
The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff and the Patriarchal Sees *
[From the same epistle or "Decretal," in the year 495]
163 (1) After (all these) prophetic and evangelical and apostolic writings (which we have set forth above), on which the Catholic Church by the grace of God is founded, we have thought this (fact) also ought to be published, namely that, although the universal Catholic Church spread throughout the world has the one marriage of Christ, nevertheless the holy Roman Church has not been preferred to the other churches by reason of synodical decrees, but she has held the primacy by the evangelical voice of the Lord and Savior saying:Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven, and wh atsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven[ Matt. 16:18 f.]. There is added also the association of the most blessed Paul the Apostle, the vessel of election, who not at a different time, as the heretics say, but at the one time, on one and the same day, while contending for the prize together with Peter was crowned with a glorious death under Caesar Nero in the City of Rome; and equally have they consecrated the above-mentioned Church of Rome to Christ the Lord and have raised it above all other cities in the whole world by their presence and their venerable triumph.
Accordingly the see of PETER the Apostle of the Church of Rome is first,having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor anything of this kind[Eph. 5:27]. But the second see at
The Authority of the Councils and the Fathers *
[From the same epistle or "Decretal"]
164 (2) And although no one can lay a foundation other than that, which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus [cf. 1 Cor. 3:11], nevertheless for the purpose of instruction the holy, that is, the Roman Church, does not forbid these writings also, that is: the Sacred Synod of NICEA . . . EPHESUS . . . [and] CHALCEDON . . . to be received after those of the Old or New Testament, which we regularly accept.
165 (3) Likewise the works of blessed Caecilius Cyprian . . . [ and in the same waythe works of Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, Athanasius, John (Chrysostom)) Theophilus, Cyril of Alexandria, Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, (and) Prosper may be admitted ] .Also the epistle of blessed LEO the Pope to Flavian [dogmatic, see n. 143 f.] . ; if anyone argues concerning the text of this one even in regard to one iota, and does not receive it in all respects reverently, let him be anathema.
Likewise it decrees that the works and treatises of all the orthodox Fathers who in no [way] have deviated from the society of the holy Roman Church . . . ought to be read.
Likewise, too, the decretal epistles, which the most blessed Popes . . . have written, ought to be received with reverence.
Likewise the deeds of the holy martyrs . . . [which] with remarkable caution are not read in the holy Roman Church . . . because the names of those who wrote (them) are entirely unknown . . . lest an occasion of light mockery arise. We, however, with the aforementioned Church venerate with every devotion both all the martyrs and the glorious combats of those who are known to God rather than to men.
Likewise we acknowledge with all honor the lives of the Fathers, of Paul, of Anthony, of Hilary, and of all the hermits, which however the most blessed Jerome has described.
[Finally many other writings are enumerated and praised, with addition however: ]
But . . . let the judgment of blessed Paul the Apostle lead the way: "Prove. . . all things, hold that which is good" [1 Thess. 5:21 ].
Other things which have been written or published by heretics or schismatics, the Catholic and apostolic Roman Church in nowise receives. We believe that a few of these . . . ought to be appended.
The Apocrypha "which are not accepted" *
[From the same epistle or "Decretal"]
166 (4) [ After the long series of apocrypha has been presented, the Decree of Gelasius is thus concluded: ] These and f writings] similar to these, which . . . all the heresiarchs and their disciples, or the schismatics have taught or written. . . . . . . we confess have not only been rejected, but also banished from the whole Roman Catholic and apostolic Church and with their authors and the followers of their authors have been condemned forever under the indissoluble bond of anathema.
The Remission of Sins*
[From the Tome of GELASIUS, "Ne forte," concerning
the bond of the anathema, about the year 495]
167 (5) The Lord said thatto those sinning against the Holy Spirit, it should not be forgiven either here or in the future world [ Matt. 12:32]. But how many do we know that sin against the Holy Spirit, such as various heretics . . . who return to the Catholic faith, and here have received the pardon of their blasphemy, and have enjoyed the hope of gaining indulgence in the future? And not on this account is the judgment of the Lord not true, or will it be thought to be in any way weakened, since with respect to such men, if they continue to be thus, the judgment remains never to be relaxed at all; moreover, never because of such effects is it not imposed. just as consequently is also that of the blessed John the Apostle: There is a sin unto death: I do not say that prayer should be offered for this: and there is a sin not unto death: I do say that prayer should be offered for this[ 1 John 5:16, 17]. It is a sin unto death for those persisting in the same sin; it is not a sin unto death for those withdrawing from the same sin. For there is no sin for whose remission the Church does not pray, or which she cannot forgive those who desist from that same sin, or from which she cannot loose those who repent, since the power has been divinely given to her, to whom it was said:Whatsoever you shall forgive upon earth. . . [cf.John 20:23 ] ; "whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven"[Matt. 18:18 ]. In whatsoeverall are [included], howsoever great they may be, and of whatsoever kind they may be, although the judgment of them nevertheless remains true, by which he is denounced [as] never to be loosed who continues in the course of them, but not after he withdraws from this same [course].
The Two Natures of Christ *
[From the Tome of GELASIUS, "Necessarium," on
the two natures in Christ, (492-) 496]
168 (3) Although, I say, in accordance with this confession this must piously be believed regarding the conception of our Lord, although it can in no wise be explained, the Eutychiansassert that there is one nature, that is, the divine; andNestoriusnone the less mentions a single [nature] , namely, the human; if we must maintain two against the Eutychians, because they draw out one, it follows that we should without doubt proclaim also in opposition to Nestorius who declares one, that not one, but rather two existed as a unity from His beginning, properly adding the human, contrary to Eutyches, who attempts to defend one, that is, the divine only, in order to show that the two, upon which that remarkable mystery rests, endure there; in opposition to Nestorius indeed, who similarly says one, namely, the human, we nevertheless substitute the divine, so that in like manner we hold that two against hisonewith a true division have existed in the plenitude of this mystery from the primordial effects of His union, and we refute both who chatter in a different way of single[natures], not each of them in regard to one only, but both in respect to the abiding possession of two natures: to wit, the human and divine, united from His beginning without any confusion or defect.
(4) For although one and the same person is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole God man and the whole man God, and whatever there is of humanity, the God man makes his own, and whatever there is of God, the man God possesses, nevertheless, granted that this remains a mystery and cannot be explained in any degree, thus the whole man continues to be what God is, [as?] the whole God continues to be whatever man is . . . *
ST. ANASTASIUS II 496-498
The Ordinations of Schismatics *
[From the epistle (1) "Exordium Pontificatus mei" to
Anastasius Augustus, 496]
169 (7) According to the most sacred custom of the Catholic Church, let the heart of your serenity acknowledge that no share in the injury from the name of Acacius should attach to any of these whom Acacius the schismatic bishop has baptized, or to any whom he has ordained priests or levites according to the canons, lest perchance the grace of the sacrament seem less powerful when conferred by an unjust [person]. . . . For if the rays of that visible sun are not stained by contact with any Pollution when they pass over the foulest places, much less is the virtue of him who made that visible [sun] fettered by any unworthiness in the minister.
(8) Therefore, then, this person has only injured himself by wickedly administering the good. For the inviolable sacrament, which was given through him, held the perfection of its virtue for others.
The Origin of Souls and Original Sin *
[From the epistle "Bonum atque iucundum" to the
bishops of Gaul, August 23, 498]
170 (1) . . . Certain heretics in Gaul think that by a rational assertion they are persuaded of this, that just as the parents transmit bodies to the human race from material dregs, so also they bestow the vital principle of the living souls. . . . How (therefore) do they, contrary to God's will, with a very carnal mind think that the soul made to the image of God is diffused and insinuated by the mixture of human beings, when that very action by Him, who did this in the beginning, has not ceased even today, just as He Himself said: My Father works up to this time, and I work [cf. John 5:17]? Although likewise they ought to know what is written: "He who lives unto eternity, created all things at the same timely [Sir. 18:1]. If, then, previously according to the Scripture He placed order and reason by single species in every individual creature (potentially), which cannot be denied, and causally in the work pertaining to the creation of all things at the same time, after the consummation of which He rested on the seventh day, but now operates visibly in the work pertaining to the passage of time even up to the present, * let the sound doctrines then rest, namely, that He, who calls those, which are not, just as those that are [cf.Rom. 4:17], imparts souls.
(4) By the reasoning of which they think perhaps that they speak piously and well, in declaring that the souls are justly handed down by parents, since they are entangled with sins, they ought to be separated from them by this wise sundering, because nothing else can be transmitted by them than what has been brought to pass by their own evil presumption, that is, guilt and the punishment of sin, which their offspring have followed through the vine-branch * and clearly show so that men are born vicious and distorted. In this alone at any rate God is clearly seen to have no communion, (and) lest any fall into this necessary destruction, He has prevented it by an inborn terror of death and has given warning of it. Therefore, through the vine-branch what is transmitted by the parents evidently appears, and what God has operated from the beginning even to the end, and what He is operating is shown.
ST. SYMMACHUS 498-514
ST. HORMISDAS 514-523
The Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff *
["Libellus professionis fidei" added to the epistle
"Inter ea quae" to the bishops of Spain, April 2, 517]
171 [Our] first safety is to guard the rule of the right faith and to deviate in no wise from the ordinances of the Fathers; because we cannot pass over the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ who said: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church" . . . [Matt. 16:18]. These [words] which were spoken, are proved by the effects of the deeds, because in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved without stain. Desiring not to be separated from this hope and faith and following the ordinances of the Fathers, we anathematize all heresies, especially the heretic Nestorius, who at one time was bishop of the city of Constantinople, condemned in the Council of EPHESUS by the blessed CELESTINE, Pope of the City of Rome,* and by the venerable man Cyril, high priest of the City of Alexandria. Similiarly anathematizing both Eutyches and Dioscorus of Alexandria condemned in the holy Synod of CHALCEDON [see n. 148] which we follow and embrace, which following the sacred Council of NICEA proclaimed the apostolic faith, we detest both Timothy the parricide, surnamed the Cat, and likewise his disciple and follower in all things, Peter of Alexandria. We condemn, too, and anathematize Acacius, formerly bishop of
172 Moreover, we accept and approve all the letters of blessed LEO the Pope, which he wrote regarding the Christian religion, just as we said before, following the Apostolic See in all things, and extolling all its ordinances. And, therefore, I hope that I may merit to be in the one communion with you, which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which there is the whole and the true and the perfect solidity of the Christian religion, promising that in the future the names of those separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, those not agreeing with the Apostolic See, shall not be read during the sacred mysteries. But if I shall attempt in any way to deviate from my profession, I confess that I am a confederate in my opinion with those whom I have condemned. However, I have with my own hand signed this profession of mine, and to you, HORMISDAS, the holy and venerable Pope of the City of
The Canon, Primacy, Councils, Apocrypha *
[From epistle 125 or "Decretal . . . on divine scriptures" in the year 520]
173 Besides those which are containedin the Decretal of Gelasius, [ n. 162] here, after the Synod of Ephesus "Constantinopolitana (1)" was also inserted: then was added:But even if any councils thus far have been instituted by the holy Fathers, we have decreed that after the authority of those four they must be both kept and received.
The Authority of St. Augustine
[From the epistle "Sicut rationi" to Possessor, August 13, 520] *
173a 5. Yet what the Roman, that is the Catholic, Church follows and preserves concerning free will and the grace of God can be abundantly recognized both in the various books of the blessed Augustine, and especially [in those] to Hilary and Prosper, but the prominent chapters are contained in the ecclesiastical archives and if these are lacking there and you believe them necessary, we establish [them], although he who diligently considers the words of the apostle, should know clearly what he ought to follow.
ST. JOHN 1 523-526
ST. FELIX III 526-530
COUNCIL OF ORANGE II 529 *
Confirmed by Boniface II (against the Semipelagians)
Original Sin, Grace, Predestination *
173b To us, according to the admonition and authority of the Apostolic See, it has seemed just and reasonable that we should set forth to be observed by all, and that we should sign with our own hands, a few chapters transmitted * to us by the Apostolic See, which were collected by the ancient fathers from the volumes of the Sacred Scripture especially in this cause, to teach those who think otherwise than they ought. . . .
174 [I. Original sin]
176 [II Grace]
183 Can. 10. The assistance of God. The assistance of God ought to be implored always even by those who have been reborn and have been healed, that they may arrive at a good end, or may be able to continue in good work [cf. St. Prosper]. *
191 Can. 18."That grace is preceded by no merits.A reward is due to good works, if they are performed; but grace, which is not due, precedes, that they may be done" [St. Prosper]. *
195 Can. 22. "Those things which are peculiar to men.No one has anything of his own except lying and sin. But if man has any truth and justice, it is from that fountain for which we ought to thirst in this desert, that bedewed by some drops of water from it, we may not falter on the way" [St. Prosper].*
199 And thus according to the statements of the Holy Scriptures written above, or the explanations of the ancient Fathers, God being propitious, we ought to proclaim and to believe that through the sin of the first man free will was so changed and so weakened that afterwards no one could either love God as he ought, or believe in God, or perform what is good on account of God, unless the grace of divine mercy reached him first. Therefore, we believe that in the [case of] the just Abel, and Noah and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the multitude of the ancient saints that illustrious faith which the Apostle Paul proclaims in their praise [Heb. 11], was conferred not by tile good of nature, which had been given before in [the case of] Adam, but through the grace of God. Even after the coming of the Lord we know and likewise believe that this grace was not held in the free will of all who desired to be baptized, but was bestowed by the bounty of Christ, according to what has already been said often, and Paul the Apostle declares: It has been given to you for Christ, not only, that you may believe in him, but also that you may suffer for him [Phil. 1:29]; and this: God, who has begun a good work in you, will perfect it even to the day of our Lord[Phil. 1:6]; and this: By grace you are made safe through faith, and this not of yourselves: for it is the gift of God[Eph. 2:8]; and that which the Apostle says about himself:I have obtained mercy, that I may be faithful [ 1 Cor. 7:25;1 Tim. 1:13]; he did not say: "because I was," but: "that I may be." And that: What have you, that you have not received?[1 Cor. 4:7]. And that:Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights [ Jas. 1:17 ]. And that: No one has anything, except it has been given him from above [John 3:27]. Innumerable are the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures which can be brought forward to prove grace, but they are passed over out of a desire for brevity; also because, in truth, more [proofs] will not profit those for whom a few do not suffice.
[III. Predestination] According to the Catholic faith we believe this also, that after grace has been received through baptism, all the baptized with the help and cooperation of Christ can and ought to fulfill what pertains to the salvation of the soul, if they will labor faithfully. We not only do not believe that some have been truly predestined to evil by divine power, but also with every execration we pronounce anathema upon those, if there are [any such], who wish to believe so great an evil. This, too, we profess and believe unto salvation, that in every good work we do not begin, and afterwards are helped by the mercy of God, but He Himself, with no preceding good services [on our part], previously inspires us with faith and love of Him, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacraments of baptism, and after baptism with His help be able to perform those [acts] which are pleasing to Him. So very clearly we should believe that the faith-so admirable-both of that famous thief, whom the Lord restored to his native land of paradise [Luke 23:43], and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent [ Acts 10:3], and of Zacheus, who deserved to receive the Lord Himself [Luke 19:6], was not from nature, but a gift of God's bounty.