Friday, July 17, 2015

St Maximus the Confessor on Pope Honorius and the Monothelite controversy

Pyrrhus: What dost thou say of Honorius, who clearly taught one will of Our Lord Jesus Christ in his letter to my predecessor?

Maximus: Who is a more trustworthy interpreter of such an epistle? The one that actually wrote it for Honorius, the one who at the time was still alive, and who, in addition to all his other virtues, illumined the whole West with godly dogmas? Or is it those in Constantinople who interpret it in accordance with the whim of their own hearts?

Pyrrhus: The one who actually composed the letter.

Maximus: This same person afterwards wrote for Pope John (who is among the saints) to Constantine, just after he had become Emperor regarding the very same letter of Honorius. He explained that:

"We say one will of the Lord, not of the Godhead and humanity, but only of the humanity. For Sergius hath written: 'As some say that the two wills of Christ are opposed, we in response write that Christ did not have two opposing wills, as of flesh and of spirit, as we ourselves have since the Fall, but one only, that which characterized His humanity by virtue of nature.'"
And the clear proof of this is the fact that he writeth of limbs and flesh [i.e. the Letter quoted Rom 7:23], which means that we cannot apply what he saith unto the Godhead. Straight away, in anticipation of objections, he saith:

"And if someone saith 'Why, when speaking of the humanity of Christ, did you not refer to the Godhead as well?' we reply, for the first part, that our answer was made to a specific question; and for the second part, that there, as ever, we have followed the practice of Scripture. For sometimes it speaketh concerning His Godhead only, as when the apostle saith 'Christ the power of God and wisdom of God', and sometimes concerning only His humanity, as when the apostle saith 'the foolishness of God is stronger than men', and what is weak in God is stronger than men."

Pyrrhus: My predecessor, misled by the pope's manner of writing, understood it in a somewhat naive fashion.
(The Disputation with Pyrrhus of Our Father Among the Saints Maximus the Confessor, Joseph P. Farrell, p.49-50)

No comments:

Post a Comment