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St. Augustine on Pelagius’ Heretical Ambiguity
MHFM: We’ve often pointed out that heretics frequently contradict themselves. The teaching of the Church is that when heretics teach heresies, but disguise those heresies in contradictions or ambiguity, the heretics must be held to their heretical meaning. St. Augustine gives us another example of this when discussing Pelagius, whose writings taught the heresy that infants can be saved without baptism. Yet, when Pelagius was in a certain setting (and under pressure) he condemned that idea with his words.
St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book 1, Chap. 5: “Pelagius, fearing to be condemned by them [i.e. Catholic judges], condemned those who think this [i.e. that ‘infants even if they are not baptized have eternal life’], and he is certainly to be condemned with those whom he condemned, because he held in his heart what he denied with his mouth. For what is anathematized in his words is found in his writings.”
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