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St. Prosper of Aquitaine

St. Peter, Shepherd

“Rome, the seat of Saint Peter, was established at the head of the world by receiving the honor of the pastoral charge and all that arms did not give him she possesses it by the power of religion. (St. Prosper of Aquitaine, a student of St. Augustine, Poem on the ingrates, I, PL 51, 97 [c. A.D. 390-455]).

“Rome the see of Peter, which for pastoral honor was made head of the world.” (Libro de Ingratis).

“While mad error was spreading such things abroad, and misleading untutored ears with pernicious falseI hoods, there was at hsnd, with God's encouragement, the dutiful devotion of the holy fathers, vcrhich was provided throughout the world, and which with one accord destroyed the dreadful foe with heavenly missiles. For at the same time the one Spirit thundered with the same decrees. First to hew I down the oncoming scourge was Rome, the see of Peter, which, hauing been made capital of the world's pastoral ofice, holds by religion whatever it does not hold by arms. Next, and not lingering behind, sprang forward the guardian of the eastern leaders, and, capturing the - originator of the infamous doctrine, con- - strained him with 2, kindly enactment to repudiate his own false teaching, unless he preferred to be separated from the body of Christ, and to be cut off from the congregation of saints,” (Carmen de Ingratis, Part 1 [A.D. 429]).

“. . . We do not have to fight against your party afresh, nor have we to begin battles against an unknown foe; the war engines of your party were smashed and fell clattering among those who were sharers, yes, and leaders of their insolence, at the time when Innocent of blessed memory struck the heads of deadly error with the apostolic sword;2 when the synod of the bishops of Palestine constrained Pelagius to come out with his views, to his own undoing and that of his followers ; when Pope Zosimus3 of blessed memory added the strength or his official support to the decrees of the African councils, and armed the right hands of all prelates with the sword of Peter for the striking down of the ungodly; when Pope Boniface of saintly memory rejoiced at the catholic devotion of the most pious emperors, and made use not only of apostolic but also of imperial edicts against the enemies of God's grace; and when he also, very learned as he was, invoked nevertheless the replies of the blessed Bishop Augustine against the books of the Pelagians.

“ Moreover the pontiff Celestine of venerable memory (to whom the Lord bestowed many gifts of his grace for the protection of the Catholic Church) knew that to those who have been condemned there should be offered, not an investigation of the judgement, but only the remedy of penitence. Therefore he ordered Celestius (who demanded a hearing as if the matter had not been discussed) to be exiled from the bounds of' all Italy. In this way he determined that neither the rulings of his predecessors, nor the decrees of the synods, should be revocable, so that what once had deserved to be eradicated, should never be allowed a further consideration. And with no less active care he freed the Britains from this same disease, for he shut off from that retreat of the ocean certain enemies of God's grace who were occupying the soil of their birth. And whilst he made the Roman island catholic, he made also the barbarous island Christian, by ordaining a bishop for the Scots.1 Through this man, too, the eastern churches were purged of the twin plagues, when help was given by the apostolic sword to that most glorious defender of the catholic faith, Cyril, prelate of the city of Alexandria, for the suppression of the Nestorian impiety. Innthis way even the Pelagians, who were confederate in their known errors, were again laid low. . . .

“ . . . That the snares of the heretics be not perpetuated, we trust that by the protection of the Lord it will come to pass that what he worked in Innocent, Zosimus, Boniface, and Celestine, he will also work in Sixtus, and that in the guardianship of the Lord's flock, there is reserved to this shepherd the special glory of expelling hidden wolves, as they did the open ones.” (Liber contra Collatorem [A.D. 432]).

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