Synod of Carthage XV…

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • The grace of God is necessary: ‘Without me you can do nothing’

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 that have already been committed and not also for help that they be not committed, let him be anathema. 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’ (1Cor 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: ‘He teaches man knowledge’ (Ps 94:10), so also it its written: ‘Charity is from God’ (1Jn 4:7). It has likewise been decided that whoever says that the grace of justification is given to us so that we may accomplish more easily by grace what we are ordered to do by free will, as though, even if grace were not given, we could still fulfil the divine commands without it, though not as easily, let him be anathema. For when he spoke of the fruit of the commandments, the Lord did not say: ‘Without me you can accomplish with greater difficulty’, but: ‘Without me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5). (Denzinger-Hünermann 225-227. Fifteenth Synod of Carthage, Canons on Grace, May 1, 418Parts in English in Denzinger 103-105)

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • Condemnation of the Pelagian doctrine

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. (Denzinger-Hünermann 222. Synod of Carthage, May 1, 418