Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Note 64: Roman Condemnation of the Pelagians
Roman Condemnation of the Pelagians
Great difficulty appears in finding Prosper’s actual meaning when in referring to the Pelagians he writes, pestem subeuntem prima recidit Sedes Roma Petri.2 Assuredly Africa is the first to condemn this heresy. According to Jansenius, it can be said Rome became the first in this sense: while the bishops of Africa were the first to condemn the error, they had indicated to the pope he must anathematize Pelagius and Caelestius which they had not done.3 Thus, Innocent was the first to condemn the Pelagians.
That process would be true only of Pelagius. Caelestius had certainly been excommunicated in 411 by the Council of Carthage. The word “pest,” which Prosper uses, often indicates the error rather than the person. Others believe either Prosper joined the Roman judgment to the African and made them one (which is difficult to believe) or “first” indicates the dignity of the see of Rome and not its judgment as preceding others in a temporal sense. De Saci has followed this opinion; he translates: “Rome with more ardor, glory, and power forced the proud insolence from these rebels.”4 This is true of power, but not of ardor and glory where Africa had the upper hand.
Garnier maintains it can not be said in any sense the Pelagians were first condemned by Rome.5 According to Garnier, Prosper’s sense is the Pelagians had been condemned by the first see of Rome, the Roman...