Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 316: Papal Authority in Anthony’s Case
Papal Authority in Anthony’s Case
By the council of African bishops Anthony was constrained to restore goods to the citizens of Fussale.1 He consigned them money to obtain communion. As for the article of condemnation the council’s kindness toward him served as a pretext for him to seek papal judgment. The bishops had ruled if he were culpable, he should be deposed from the episcopacy. They had not deposed him and thus could not deprive him of his see. Anthony went to the primate of Numidia. This holy and venerable old man was serious, but Anthony deceived him by artifice and lies. The primate was persuaded of what Anthony said. He recommended Anthony to Pope Boniface as a man against whom there was nothing more to say. This primate, possibly Valentinus of Baia, had not assisted at the council.
Boniface judged in favor of Anthony and wrote to Africa to re-establish him under the supposition that the state of the case had been explained to him correctly. The citizens of Fussale threatened the judges and imperial officers. Soldiers were sent to constrain them to obey the sentence of the Apostolic See. These poor people received more violence in the Catholic Church from a Catholic bishop (who claimed to be their bishop) than they had received in schism from the imperial authority of a Catholic emperor. The pope sent ecclesiastics to Fussale and they could well have been supported by judicial order.2