Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Decretals.: Part I
p. 615 I.
(Of those who conspire against bishops, or who take part with such.)
Now we have heard that the crime of conspiracies prevails in your parts, and it has been shown us that the people are conspiring against their bishops; of which crime the craft is hateful, not only among Christians, but even among the heathen, and it is forbidden by foreign laws. And therefore the laws not only of the Church, but of the world, condemn those who are guilty of this crime; and not only those indeed who actually conspire, but those also who take part with such. 2734 Our predecessors, moreover, together with a very numerous body of bishops, ordained that any guilty of this offence among those who are set in the honour of the priesthood, and who belong to the clergy, should be deprived of the honour which they enjoy; and they ordered that others should be cut off from communion, and expelled from the Church; and they decreed, at the same time, that all men of both orders should be infamous (infames); and that, too, not only for those who did the deed, but for those also who took part with such. For it is but equitable that those who despise the divine mandates, and prove themselves disobedient to the ordinances of the fathers, should be chastised with severer penalties, in order that others may fear to do such things, and that all may rejoice in brotherly concord, and all take to themselves the example of severity and goodness. For if (which may God forbid) we neglect the care of the Church, and are regardless of its strength, our slothfulness will destroy discipline, and injury will be done assuredly to the souls of the faithful. Such persons, moreover, are not to be admitted to accuse any one: neither can their voice, nor that of those who are under the ban, injure or criminate any man.
Comp. Rom. i. 32.
Next: Part II
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