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Apostolic See, Rock of the Church

“… there came into my possession the apology of the Roman pope, John IV, on behalf of Pope Honorius who was attacked by false accusers because he had written about only one will of our Lord Jesus Christ. This apology indeed makes it excusable enough, I believe, although the sixth holy council declared the anathema on him as if he were a heretic. And it pierced with the weapon of reproach him who was placed in the judgment of God alone, since a heretic springs not so much from the deceit of errors as from a wrong choice and an opinion that is argumentatively obstinate. But meanwhile, who is there amongst us who can say whether he dictated the letter from which his accusers took the kindling for his anathema, since such a thing could also have happened by either the scribe’s lack of discipline, or from hatred towards the Pope?… nothing other seems to be commanded by the great teachers of the Church than that we give the benefit of the doubt in interpreting those deeds when the spirit in which they were done is not known…. It is rash to judge them, and particularly rash to condemn them… But lest we seem to be making an accusation against a council so holy and venerable, or to criticise it carelessly, we think it fitting for us to consider them in the way we know our holy fathers considered the great council of Chalcedon. One of them, namely holy Pope Gregory, indicated that this was to be accepted only ‘up to the issuing of the canons’… But look, while our wordy preface is being directed to you, we have retreated far from my work of translating, digressing to show that in the rock of the apostolic see , as far as the faith is concerned, not even through the agency of Honorius has there been found any trace of the serpent, that is, of the virulent sect. Therefore accept the already mentioned apology of Pope John for Honorius. Accept the apology for the same Honorius from the excerpted letter of Maximus the Monk and truly a philosopher and martyr for Christ our God, sent to the priest Marinus.” (Anastasius, the papal librarian (A.D. 810-878), indicates that the 6th Council’s anathema of Pope Honorius was not binding. Seventh-Century Popes and Martyrs: The Political Hagiography of Anastasius Bibliothecarius (Turnhout, Belgium: Brespols, 2006), 151-157).

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