Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 274: Zosimus
Whatever Zosimus may have thought of Caelestius’ confession, he did not let the matter should rest there.2 Through incisive questioning he tried several times to discover if Caelestius had in his heart what he had written in his appeal.3 Zosimus left it to God alone who knows the depth of the human heart to judge the sincerity of his responses. Caelestius repeated several times what he had said and written in his appeal.4 Zosimus thought him verbose and swollen with false teaching.5 Perhaps considering him mad, the pope believed he should apply mild remedies to put him in a peaceful state of mind to return to complete spiritual health gradually.
Zosimus asked questions to lead him to condemn what Paul the deacon had alleged and what had been condemned in Carthage.6 Zosimus wanted him to consent to what Innocent had declared in his letters to the Africans. Paulinus reports the questions Zosimus put to him.7 In one of these questions the pope asked if he condemned the errors rumor had attributed to him.8 Caelestius responded he condemned them according to Innocent’s opinion. Had Caelestius spoken sincerely, he would have recognized original sin since he promised to follow the papal teaching contained in Innocent’s letters.9 Perhaps Mercator is referring to this state of affairs when he refers to the general pledge Caelestius, fearful of papal condemnation, had given Zosimus.10 He promised to condemn the articles of which he had been accused at...