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St. Pope Gregory II

Apostolic See, Papal Authority, Chief of the Apostles, Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter

“Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to Boniface, a holy priest. Your holy purpose, as it has been explained to us, and your well-tried faith lead us to make use of your services in spreading the Gospel, which by the grace of God has been committed to our care. Knowing that from your childhood you have been a student of Sacred Scripture and that you now wish to use the talent entrusted to you by God in dedicating yourself to missionary work, we rejoice in your faith and desire to have you as our colleague in this enterprise. Wherefore., since you have humbly submitted to us your plans regarding this mission, like a member of the body deferring to the head, and have shown yourself to be a true member of the body by following the directions given by the head, therefore, in the name of the indivisible Trinity and by the authority of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, whose government we administer in this See by the dispensation of God, we now place your humble and devout work upon a secure basis and decree that you go forth to preach the Word of God to those people who are still bound by the shackles of paganism. You are to teach them the service of the kingdom of God by persuading them to accept the truth in the name of Christ, the Lord our God. You will instill into their minds the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, doing this in a spirit of love and moderation, and with arguments suited to their understanding. Finally, we command you that in admitting within the Church those who have some kind of belief in God you will insist upon using the sacramental discipline prescribed in the official ritual formulary of the Holy Apostolic See. Whatever means you find lacking in the furtherance of your work, you are to report to us as opportunity occurs. Fare you well.” (Letter to St. Boniface, entrusting him with a mission to the heathens [A.D. 15 May 719]).

“Your devout messenger Denual has brought us the welcome news that you are well and that, by the help of God, you are making progress in the work for which you were sent. He also delivered to us letters from you reporting that the field of the Lord which had long lain fallow and was overgrown with the [81] weeds of pagan customs has now been ploughed up and sown with the truth of the Gospel, producing an abundant harvest of souls. In the same report you included a number of questions concerning the faith and teaching of the Holy Roman and Apostolic Church. This is a commendable practice, for here St. Peter the Apostle held his see and the episcopate had its beginning. And since you seek our advice on matters dealing with ecclesiastical discipline, we will state with all the authority of apostolic tradition what you must hold, though we speak not from our own insufficiency but relying on the grace of Him who opens the mouths of the dumb and makes eloquent the tongues of babes…

“Finally, your letter states that certain priests and bishops are so involved in vices of many sorts that their lives are a blot upon the priesthood and you ask whether it is lawful for you to eat
with or to speak with them, supposing them not to be heretics. We answer, that you by apostolic authority are to admonish and persuade them and so bring them back to the purity of church discipline. If they obey, you will save their souls and win reward for yourself. You are not to avoid conversation or eating at the same table with them. It often happens that those who are slow in coming to a perception of the truth under strict discipline may be led into the paths of righteousness by the influence of their table companions and by gentle admonition. You ought also to follow this same rule in dealing with those chieftains who are helpful to you. It was with great satisfaction that we learned from a repeated reading of the letter from Your Sacred Fraternity that by the grace of Jesus Christ multitudes have been converted by you from paganism and error to a knowledge of the true faith. We, together with the whole Church, applaud such an increase, as we are taught in the parable of him to whom five talents were given and who gained also other five. For this we have ordered the gift of a sacred pallium to be sent to you to be received and worn by the authority of the Holy Apostle Peter, and we direct you to be recognized as an archbishop by divine appointment. How you are to use it you will learn by apostolic instructions; namely, you are to wear it solely when you are celebrating a solemn mass or when you may have occasion to consecrate a bishop. But, since you declare yourself unable to impart the means of salvation to all who are converted to the true faith in those parts, since the faith has already been carried far and wide, we command you, in accordance with the sacred canons and by authority of the Apostolic See to ordain bishops wherever the multitude of the faithful has become very great. Do this, however, after prayerful reflection, lest the dignity of the episcopate be impaired. (Reply to St. Boniface [A.D. 22 November, 726]).

“To the glorious Lord, our son, Duke Charles. Having learned, beloved son in Christ, that you are a man of deeply religious feeling, we make known to you that our brother Boniface, who now stands before you, a man of sterling faith and character, has been consecrated bishop by us, and after being instructed in the teachings of the Holy Apostolic See, over which by God's grace we preside, is being sent to preach the faith to the peoples of Germany who dwell on the eastern bank of the Rhine, some of whom are still steeped in the efforts of paganism, while many more are plunged in the darkness of ignorance.” (Letter to Charles Martel [A.D. December 722]).

“The blessed apostle Peter was the origin of both the apostleship and the episcopate.” (Epistolae 3).

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