BONIFACE II 530-532

Confirmation of the Council of Orange II *

[From the letter “Per filium nostrum” to Caesarius of Arles, January 25, 531].

 

200a 1 . . . To your petition, which you have composed with laudable solicitude for the Faith, we have not delayed to give a Catholic reply. For you point out that some bishops of the Gauls, although they now agree that other goods are born of God’s grace, think that faith, by which we believe in Christ, is only of nature, not of grace; and that (faith) has remained in the free will of man from Adam-which it is a sin to say and is not even now conferred on individuals by the bounty of God’s mercy; asking that, for the sake of ending the ambiguity, we confirm by the authority of the Apostolic See your confession, in which in the Opposite way you explain that right faith in Christ and the beginning of all good will, according to Catholic truth, is inspired in the minds of individuals by the preceding grace of God.

 

200b 2. And therefore, since many Fathers, and above all Bishop Augustine of blessed memory, but also our former high priests of the Apostolic See are proved to have discussed this with such detailed reasoning that there should be no further doubt in anyone that faith itself also comes to us from grace, we have thought that we should desist from a complex response, especially since according to these statements from the Apostle which you have arranged, in which he says: I have obtained mercy, that I may be faithful [1 Cor. 7:25], and elsewhere: It has been given to you, for Christ, not only that you may believe in Him, but also that you may suffer for Him [Phil. 1:29], it clearly appears that the faith by which we believe in Christ, just as all blessings, comes to each man from the gift of supernal grace, not from the power of human nature. And this, too, we rejoice that your Fraternity, after holding a meeting with certain priests of the Gauls, understood according to the Catholic faith, namely in these matters in which with one accord, as you have indicated, they explained that the faith, by which we believe in Christ, is conferred by the preceding grace of God; adding also that there is no good at all according to God, that anyone can will, or begin, or accomplish without the grace of God, since our Savior Himself says: Without Me you can do nothing” [John 15:5]. For it is certain and Catholic that in all blessings of which the chief is faith, though we do not will it, the mercy of God precedes us, that we may be steadfast in faith, just as David the prophet says: “My God, his mercy will prevent me” [Ps. 58:11]; and again: My mercy is with him [Ps. 88:25]; and elsewhere: His mercy follows me [ Ps. 22:6]. And similarly blessed Paul says: Or did anyone first give to him, and will he be rewarded by him? Since from him, and through him, and in him are all things [ Rom. 11:35 f.]. So we marvel very much that those, who believe the contrary, are oppressed by the remains of an ancient error even to the point that they do not believe that we come to Christ by the favor of God, but by that of nature, and say that the good of that very nature, which is known to have been perverted by Adam’s sin, is the author of our faith rather than Christ; and do not perceive that they contradict the statement of the master who said: No one comes to me, except it be given to him by my Father [ John 6:44]; but they also oppose blessed Paul likewise, who exclaims to the Hebrews: Let us run in the contest proposed to us, looking upon the author and finisher of faith, Jesus Christ[ Heb. 2:1 f.]. Since this is so, we cannot discover what they impute to the human will without the grace of God for belief in Christ, since Christ is the author and consummator of faith.

 

  1. Therefore, we salute [you] with proper affection, and approve your confession written above in agreement with the Catholic rules of the Fathers.

 

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