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The Council of Milevis (Also known as the Council of Mileve, or the Council of Carthage)

Apostolic See, Papal Authority, St. Peter

“In insinuating these things to your Apostolic breast we have no need to say much, and heap up words about this impiety, since doubtless they will move you in such wise that you will be altogether unable to refrain from correcting them, that they may creep no further….The authors of this most pernicious heresy are said to be Pelagius and Celestius, whom, indeed, we should prefer to be cured with the Church, rather than that they should be cut off from the Church, if no necessity compels this. One of them, Celestius, is even said to have arrived at the priesthood in Asia. Your Holiness is better informed by the Council of Carthage as to what was done against him a few years back. Pelagius, as the letters of some of our brethren say, is in Jerusalem, and is said to have deceived many there. Many more, however, who have been able to examine his views more closely, are fighting him on behalf of the Catholic Faith, but especially your holy son, our brother and fellow-priest, Jerome. But we consider that with the help of the mercy of our God, whom we pray to direct your counsels and to hear your prayers, those who hold such perverse and baneful opinions will more easily yield to the authority of your Holiness, which has been taken from the authority of the Holy Scriptures (auctoritati sanctitatis tuae, de sanctarum scripturarum auctoritate depromptae facilius….esse cessuros), so that we may be rather rejoiced by their correction than saddened by their destruction. But whatever they themselves may choose, your Reverence perceives that at least those many must be cared for whom they may entangle in their nets if they should not submit straightforwardly. We write this to your Holiness from the Council of Numidia, imitating our fellow bishops of the Church and province of Carthage, whom we understand to have written of this affair to the Apostolic See which your Blessedness adorns.” (In the North African Council [Numidia], which included St. Augustine, and dealt with Pelagianism, 61 Bishops wrote this letter to Pope Innocent, Patrologia Latina 33.763 [A.D. June, 416]).

“Of the rest of the accusations against him doubtless your beatitude will judge in the same way as the acts of the two Councils. Doubtless your kindness of heart will pardon us for having sent to your Holiness a longer letter than you might perhaps have wished. For we do not pour back our little stream for the purpose of replenishing your great fountain (non enim riuulum nostrum tuo largo fonti augendo refundimus); but in the great temptation of these times (from which may He deliver us to whom we say, ‘and lead us not into temptation’) we wish it to be approved by you whether our stream, though small, flows from the same head of water as your abundant river, and to be consoled by your answer in the common participation of the same grace.” (Concerning Pelagius, 5 Bishops of the Council, Augustine, Aurelius, Alypius, Evodius, & Possidius, write to Pope Innocent. Patrologia 33.764, found in Ybarra’s “Church Fathers & Papal Infallibility”).

“We consider that by the help of the mercy of our Lord God, who deigns both to direct your counsel and to hear your prayers, those who hold such perverse and pernicious opinions will more easily yield to the authority of your holiness, drawn from the authority of Holy Scripture, so that we may be rather congratulated by their correction, than saddened by their ruin. But whatever they themselves may choose, your reverence perceives that at least those many who are deceived and entangled by them must be cared for immediately and quickly. We write this to your holiness from the council of Numidia, imitating our colleagues of the church and province of Carthage, who we understand have written on this matter to the apostolic see, which your blessedness adorns.” (St. Augustine, Epistle to Pope Innocent I [A.D. June 416]).

“We decree that the sentence against Pelagius and Celestius, issued by the venerable bishop Innocent, from the see of the most blessed apostle Peter, shall stand, until they shall openly and explicitly confess that the grace of God by Jesus Christ our Lord helps us not only to know, but to do what is right, in every single act ; so that, without it, we could not have, think, say, or do anything that pertains to true and holy religion.” (In Prosper, Contra Collatorern, To Pope Zosimus).

“We had come according to custom to the church of Carthage, and a synod was held for various affairs, when our fellow presbyter, Orosius, gave us letters from our holy brothers and fellow priests, Heros and Lazarus, which we enclose. These having been read, we perceived that Pelagius and Celestius were accused of being authors of a wicked error, which must be anathematized by all of us. And so we asked that all that had been done with regard to Celestius here in Carthage about five years ago should be gone through. This having been read, as your holiness can perceive from the acts which we append, although the decision was clear by which so great a wound was shown to have been cut away from the Church by an episcopal judgement, yet we thought good, by a common deliberation, that the authors of this persuasion (although it was said that this Celestius had arrived since then at the priesthood), unless they openly anathematized these things, should themselves be anathematized in order that, if their own salvation cannot, at least that of those who have been or may be deceived by them may be procured, when they know the sentence against them. This act, lord brother, we thought right to intimate to your holy charity, in order that to the statutes of our mediocrity might be added the authority of the apostolic see to protect the safety of many, and to correct theperuersity of some.” (To Pope Innocent, preserved in Augsutine’s 175th Epistle [A.D. 416]).

“Whoever, having been excommunicated in Africa, creeps into communion overseas, shall be cast out of the clergy. The matter was brought to a head by the case of Apiarius, which I lasted into the time of three Popes. Apiarius was an African priest who for some offence was excommunicated by Urban, bishop of Sicca, and thereupon went to Rome, where he appealed to Pope Zosimus, at the same time accusing Urban of gross evil. This took place before , and according to Hefele one of the canons I of the council on that date was passed probably as a protest against the action of Apiarius.” (Canon 2, African Code 105) [A.D. 407]).

“For this end, we beg your reverence to be pleased to write in person to the pontiffs of those parts, namely of Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople, and to any others also if it shall please your holiness, that thence there may come to us the same canons decreed by the fathers at the city of Nicaea, and thus you will confer, by the help of the Lord, a great benefit upon all the churches of the West. For who can doubt that the copies of the Nicene council gathered in the Greek empire are most accurate, which though collected from so diverse and such noble Greek churches are found to agree when compared? Until this is done, the rules laid down in the aforesaid commonitory, about the appeals of bishops to the Apiarius and Antony, and about the conclusion of the cases of clerics by the bishops of their own provinces, we undertake to observe until the proof arrives, and we trust, God willing, that your blessedness will help us in this.” (To Pope Boniface, Quoniam Domino placuit [A.D. 419]).

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