Augustinus

Volume 63, Issue 250/251, Julio/Diciembre 2018

Marcin Wysocki
Pages 473-486

«¿Por qué desesperar de nuestra concordia?» (ep. 108, 15) Esperanza o desesperanza de la reconciliación de los herejes
Un estudio de las cartas de san Agustín

The numerous heresies and schisms that undermined the orthodox doctrine and made divisions in the Christian world were one of the most important challenges facing theologians and pastors of the turn of the 4th and 5th century. In addition to theological treaties that defied heretical views, also the exchanged among priests letters, sent to ordinary people that submitted to spiritual direction and to those involved in the life of the Church, were a very considerable way of fighting against heresies and schisms - less from a doctrinal point of view, but rather from the pastoral one. In this paper the author decided to focus on Augustine’s letters which present a wealthy source of considerations on the topic of heresies, treatment of heretics and schismatics, as well as the chances for reunion. Augustine in his letters, answering the question invoked in the title of this paper, gives also a twofold answer. On the one hand, he demonstrares the greatness of God and His works for the reconciliation and conversión of heretics and schismatics, but on the other hand, Augustine shows the immensity of human sin and human weakness that sometimes effectively obstruct God’s action. It must be remembered, however, that a significant part of Augustine’s letters concerns Pelagian controversy based on the erroneous understanding of grace and human freedom. Thus, in a way of answering this question, Augustine also presents a solution to the Pelagian problem. In human terms the issue of reconciliation and conversión of heretics and schismatics looks hopeless, but thanks to the involvement of God and thanks to His action, there is hope to overcome human hatred and disability.