Saturday, August 17, 2013

Re: Honorius

I forgot to follow-up on some email questions and some on-blog comments about Pope Honorius and his status as a monothelite. My apologies for that. Thanks to Joe for the email reminding me.

The issue was how to construe Honorius as not a monothelite and what my reference was for Pope John IV's denial of the claim that his predecessor was a heretic. Pope John's comments were as follows:

One and He alone is without sin, the mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5) who was conceived and born free among the dead (Ps. 87:6). Thus in the dispensation of His sacred flesh, He never had two contrary wills, nor did the will of His flesh resist the will of His mind. . . . Therefore, knowing that there was no sin at all in Him when He was born and lived, we fittingly say and truthfully confess one will in the humanity of His sacred dispensation; and we do not preach two contrary wills, of mind and of flesh, as in a pure man, in the manner certain heretics are known to rave. In accord with this method, then, our predecessor [Honorius] is known to have written to the (aforenamed) Sergius the Patriarch who was asking questions, that in our Savior two contrary wills did not exist internally, that is, in His members, since He derived no blemish from the transgression of the first man. . . . This usually happens, that, naturally where there is a wound, there medicinal aid offers itself. For the blessed Apostle is known to have done this often, preparing himself according to the custom of his hearers; and sometimes indeed when teaching about the supreme nature, he is completely silent about the human nature, but sometimes when treating of the human dispensation, he does not touch on the mystery of His divinity. . . So, my aforementioned predecessor said concerning the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, that there were not in Him, as in us sinners, contrary wills of mind and flesh; and certain ones converting this to their own meaning, suspected that He taught one will of His divinity and humanity which is altogether contrary to the truth.

In fact, my edition of Denzinger actually contains Honorius's letter that makes the statements in controversy.

Anyways, the above is why I maintain that Honorius was not a heretic himself, just lax in disposing of monothelitism and negligent in refusing to use his teaching authority to combat it. This got him condemned by an ecumenical council.

Remember that last part when you hear people being happy that popes aren't so forceful in their defense of orthodoxy. 

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