Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 242: Macedonius
Macedonius wanted to befriend Augustine—in charity Augustine could not refuse him.1 Augustine promised to send Macedonius a few of his works. He wrote Macedonius through Bishop Boniface, perhaps the bishop of Cataqua, to request a pardon for a man guilty of a misdemeanor. Macedonius was thrilled to receive Augustine’s letter. He wanted to grant Augustine’s request, not to speak of his own inclination to grant the pardon. However he wanted Augustine to reciprocate for this favor. Macedonius wrote an obliging letter in which he asked Augustine to justify his pardon. Was it in keeping with their Christian duty for bishops to intercede for guilty parties? At the same time Macedonius asked Augustine to send the writings he had promised. He wanted to be nourished by Augustine’s teaching, as he could not yet visit personally.
Augustine sent him De ciuitate dei I-III.2 Augustine replies briefly to the difficulty Macedonius asked him to address, that bishops request criminals be spared to give them the opportunity to reform and repent.3 Augustine expands on this topic for those who would read his letter without the same understanding as Macedonius. He discusses the intercession for debtors and gives various rules for restitution. Macedonius himself had interceded in Carthage out of a sense of natural humanity in behalf of an offending cleric. Apparently Aurelius had taken Macedonius’ clemency into consideration by mitigating the penalty this cleric deserved. Augustine speaks as if he had been personally present...