Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Article 241: Laws against Donatists
Laws against Donatists
Donatists may well have thought they had caused as much damage to the Catholic Church by the death of Marcellinus as Marcellinus had caused them. However God soon showed them that he, after having defended the Church before Marcellinus came on the scene, had no less power to defend it after his death. On June 22, 414 Honorius enacted a law against Donatists that closely followed the law of January 30, 412, but sharply increased its severity.1 The law of January 30 had stipulated a fine of a mere fifty librae of gold from the most notable Donatist leaders while the new law required two hundred. Moreover the new law ordered everyone to pay the amount of his tax liability each and every time he participated in schismatic rites. If there were more than five relapses, the court would be informed and a more rigorous punishment would be exacted. According to the new law, property owners who did not punish their managers allowing Donatists to meet on their property would be obliged to pay one year’s revenue from their lands. Members of the Donatist clergy were to be deprived of their goods before exile. All Donatists were to be declared outlaws, banished from society, rendered incapable of taking an oath, and deprived of the right to enter into contracts. On August 30, 414 Honorius approved the acts of the conference of Carthage of 411.
As Augustine had begun De...