ST ZOSIMUS 417-4I8

 

COUNCIL OF MILEUM II 416, APPROVED BY INNOCENT AND COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE (XVI) 418, APPROVED BY ZOSIMUS (against the Pelagians) *

 

Original Sin and Grace *

101 Can. 1. All the bishops established in the sacred synod of the Carthaginian Church have decided that whoever says that Adam, the first man, was made mortal, so that, whether he sinned or whether he did not sin, he would die in body, that is he would go out of the body not because of the merit of sin but by reason of the necessity of nature, * let him be anathema.

 

102 Can. 2. Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mothers’ wombs ought not to be baptized, or says that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin from Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration, whence it follows that in regard to them the form of baptism “unto the remission of sins” is understood as not true, but as false, let him be anathema. Since what the Apostle says: “Through one man sin entered into the world (and through sin death), and so passed into all men, in whom all have sinned” [cf. Rom. 5:12], must not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith even infants, who in themselves thus far have not been able to commit any sin, are therefore truly baptized unto the remission of sins, so that that which they have contracted from generation may be cleansed in them by regeneration. *

 

103 Can. 3. Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that the grace of God, by which man is justified through Jesus Christ, our Lord, has power only for the remission of sins which have already been committed, and not also for help, that they be not committed, let him be anathema.

 

104 Can. 4. In like manner, whoever says that the same grace of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord, helps us not to sin only for this reason, that through it the understanding of the commands is revealed and opened to us, that we may know what we ought to strive after, what we ought to avoid, but that through this [the power] is not also given to us to love and to be able to do that which we know ought to be done, let him be anathema. For since the Apostle says: “Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies” [1 Cor. 8:1], it is very impious for us to believe that for that which puffs up, we have the grace of Christ, and for that which edifies we have not, although each is a gift of God, both to know what we ought to do and to love in order that we may do it, so that while charity edifies, knowledge may not be able to puff us up. Moreover, just as it is written of God: “Who teaches man knowledge” [Ps. 93:10], so also it is written: “Charity is from God” [1 John 4:7].

 

105 Can. 5. It has likewise been decided that whoever says that the grace of justification is given to us for this reason: that what we are ordered to do through free will, we may be able to accomplish more easily through grace, just as if, even if grace were not given, we could nevertheless fulfill the divine commands without it, though not indeed easily, let him he anathema. For concerning the fruits of His commands the Lord spoke not when He said: “Without me you can accomplish with greater difficulty,” but when He said: “Without me you can do nothing” [John 15:5].

 

106 Can. 6. It has likewise been decided that what St. John the Apostle says: If we say, that we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us [1 John 1:8], whoever thinks that this ought to be interpreted thus: that he asserts that this ought to be said on account of humility, namely, that we have sin, and not because it is truly so, let him be anathema. For the Apostle continues and adds: If however we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, who remits our sins and cleanses us from all Iniquity [1 John 1:9], wherein it is quite clear, that this is said not only humbly but truly. For the Apostle could have said: If we say: we have not sin, we extol ourselves, and humility is not in us. But when he says: We deceive ourselves, and the truth i’s not in us, he shows clearly that he who said he had not sin, spoke not the truth but a falsehood.

 

107 Can. 7. It has likewise been decided that whoever says that for this reason the saints say in the Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our debts” [ Matt. 6:12], that they say this not for themselves, because that petition is not now necessary for them, but for others who are sinners among their people, and that on this account each one of the saints does not say: Forgive me my debts, but, Forgive us our debts; so that the just man is understood to seek this for others rather than for himself, let him be anathema. For the Apostle James was holy and just, when he said: “For in many things we all offend”[ Jas. 3:2]. For why was “all” (omnes)added, unless that this meaning was proper and in the Psalm where one reads: Enter not into judgment with thy servant, because no (ne omnes) living person shall be justified in thy sight[ Ps. 142:2]. And in the prayer of wisest Solomon: There is not a man who has not sinned [1 Kings 8:46]. And in the book of holy Job: In the hand of every (omnis) man he signs, so that every (omnis) man may know his infirmity[ Job 37:7]. Hence also holy and just Daniel, when he spoke in the plural in his prayer: ” We have sinned, we have done evil” [ Dan. 9:5,15], and the rest which he there truly and humbly confesses, lest it should be thought, as certain ones do think, that he said this not about his own sins, but rather about the sins of his people, declared afterwards: “When. . .I prayed and confessed my sins and the sins of my people” [Dan. 9:20] to the Lord my God; he did not wish to say “our sins,” but he said the sins of his people and his own sins, since as a prophet he foresaw there would be those who would thus misunderstand.

 

108 Can. 8. it has likewise been decided that whoever wishes that the words themselves of the Lord’s prayer, where we say: “Forgive us our debts” [ Matt. 6:12] be said by the saints so as to be spoken humbly, not truthfully, let him be anathema. For who would tolerate one praying and lying, not to men, but to the Lord himself, who says with his lips that he wishes to be forgiven, and in his heart holds that he does not have debts to be forgiven?

 

 

The Primacy and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff

[From the epistle (12) “Quamvis Patrum traditio” to the African bishops, March 21, 418]

 

109 Although the tradition of the Fathers has attributed such great authority to the Apostolic See that no one would dare to disagree wholly with its judgment, and it has always preserved this judgment by canons and rules, and current ecclesiastical discipline up to this time by its laws pays the reverence which is due to the name of PETER, from whom it has itself descended . . . ; since therefore PETER the head is of such (Treat authority and he has confirmed the subsequent endeavors of all our ancestors, so that the Roman Church is fortified . . . by human as well as by divine laws, and it does not escape you that we rule its place and also hold power of the name itself, nevertheless you know, dearest brethren, and as priests you ought to know, although we have such great authority that no one can dare to retract from our decision, yet we have done nothing which we have not voluntarily referred to your notice by letters . . . not because we did not know what ought to be done, or would do anything which by going against the advantage of the Church, would be displeasing.

 

 

Original Sin*

[From the epistle “Tract(at)oria ad Orientales ecclesias, Aegypti diocesim, Constantinopolim, Thessalonicam, Hierosolymam,” sent after March, 418]

 

109a The Lord [is] faithful in his words [ Ps. 144:13] and His baptism holds the same plenitude in deed and words, that is in work, confession, and true remission of sins in every sex, age, and condition of the human race. For no one except him who is the servant of sin is made free, nor can he be said to be redeemed unless he has previously truly been a captive through sin, as it is written: “If the Son liberates you, you will be truly free [John 8:36]. For through Him we are reborn spiritually, through Him we are crucified to the world. By His death that bond of death introduced into all of us by Adam and transmitted to every soul, that bond contracted by propagation is broken, in which no one of our children is held not guilty until he is freed through baptism.

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