Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 265: Five African Bishops Write to Innocent
Five African Bishops Write to Innocent
Beside the synodal letters of Carthage and Mileve, five African bishops, to wit Aurelius, Alypius, Augustine, Evodius, and Possidius, wrote a third letter as a friendly message to Innocent.1 They treated the Pelagius’ affair more extensively and precisely2 and explained how the Eastern bishops could have absolved Pelagius under the supposition they had done so.3 These five bishops did not yet possess the acts of the Council of Diospolis.4 They indicated to the pope the need for him to remedy this heresy.5 Many Roman Pelagians would no longer dare open their mouths against divine grace if Pelagius’ books and errors were anathematized by episcopal authority, principally by the authority of his Holiness.6 The pope would doubtless carry more weight than any other bishop.7
They indicated to Innocent he ought to order Pelagius to come to Rome for a careful examination of his recognition of the Savior’s grace. At the very least the pope should examine him by letter. After that they could recognize Pelagius as a true member of the Church and rejoice in his conversion. The bishops indicated the necessity of condemning Pelagius’ works written against the necessity of divine grace. If Pelagius disavowed these books or claimed his opponents had supplemented them, it would still be necessary for the pope by his authority and paternal exhortations to oblige him to condemn and anathematize what he might maintain is not his teaching. Particular attention should...