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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book IX, Letter 58

Book IX, Letter 58

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To Martin, Scholasticus .

Gregory to Martin, etc.

Seeing that questions arising in civil affairs need, as is known to your Greatness, very full enquiry, let your wisdom consider with what care and vigilance the causes of bishops should be investigated. But, in the letter which you have sent us by the bearer of these presents on the questions with respect to which you were sent to us by our brother and fellow bishop Crementius, you have given only a superficial account of them, and hast been entirely silent about their root. But, had their origin and intrinsic character been manifest to us, we should have known what should be decided about them, and would then settle the mind of our aforesaid brother by a plain and suitable reply. This, however, is altogether displeasing to us, that you give us to understand that some of the bishops have gone to the court without letters from their primate, and that they hold unlawful assemblies. But since, as we have before said, the origin and nature of the questions are entirely unknown to us, we cannot pronounce anything definitely, lest, as would be very reprehensible, we should seem to pass sentence about things imperfectly known. Hence it was very needful that, for our complete information, your Greatness should have proceeded hither to reply to our questions during the time of your lingering in Sicily. Nevertheless, now that you have seen our brother and fellow bishop John, we believe that in him you have seen us also. And so since he has been at pains himself also to write to us about the same questions, we have written in reply to him what seemed to us right. And, since he is a priest of ripe and cautious judgment, if you are willing to treat with him on the questions which he has been commissioned to entertain, we are sure that you will find in him what is both advantageous and reasonable.

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Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 13. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1898.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

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