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Lateran IV

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CANON 2

Text: We condemn, therefore, and reprobate the book or tract which Abott Joachim published against Master Peter Lombard concerning the unity or essense of the Trinity, calling him heretical and insane because he said in his Sentences that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are some supreme entity in which there is no begetting, no begotten, and no proceeding. Whence he asserts that he (Peter Lombard) attributed to God not so much a trinity as a quaternity, namely, three Persons and that common essense as a fourth, clearly protesting that there is no entity that is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, neither is it essense or substance or nature, though he concedes that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one essense, one substance, and one nature. But he says that such a unity is not a true and proper (propriam) unity, but rather a collective one or one by way of similitude, as many men are called one people and many faithful one Church, according to the words: "The multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul" (Acts 4: 32); and, "He who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit" (I Cor. 6: I7); similarly, "He that planteth and he that watereth, are one" (I Cor- 3: 8); and, "So we being many, are one body in Christ" (Rom. 12: 5). Again in the Book of Kings (Ruth): "My people and thy people are one" (Ruth I: i6). To strengthen this teaching he cites that most important word which Christ spoke concerning the faithful in the Gospel: will, Father, that they may be one, as we also are one, that they may be made perfect in one" (John I7: 22 f.). For the faithful of Christ, he says, are not one in the sense that they are some one thing that is common to all, but in the sense that they constitute one Church by reason of the unity of the Catholic faith and one kingdom by reason of the union of indissoluble charity, as we read in the canonical Epistle of St. John: "There are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; nd these three are one" (I John 5: 7). And immediately it is added: "And there are three who give testimony on earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three are one" (I John 5: 8), as it is found in some codices.

But we, with the approval of the holy and general council, believe and confess with Peter (Lombard) that there is one supreme entity, incomprehensible and ineffable, which is truly Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, together (simul) three persons and each one of them singly. And thus in God there is only trinity, not quaternity, because each of the three persons is that entity, namely, substance, essense, or divine nature, which alone is the principle of the universe and besides which there is no other. And that entity is not the one begetting or the one begotten or the one proceeding, but it is the Father who begets, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Ghost proceeds, in order that there may be distinctions in the Persons who unity in the nature. Though, therefore, the Father is one (being), and the Son is another, and the Holy Ghost is another, yet they are not different (non tamen aliud); but that which is the Father that is the Son and the Holy Ghost, absolutely the same, since according to the Orthodox and Catholic faith they are believed to be consubstantial. For the Father begetting the Son from eternity imparted to Him His own substance, as He Himself testifies: "That which my father hath given me, is greater than all" (John IO: 29). And it cannot- be said that He gave to Him a part of His substance and retained a part for Himself, since the substance of the Father is indivisible, that is, absolutely simple. But neither can it be said that Father in begetting transferred His substance to the Son, as if gave it to the Son without retaining it for Himself, otherwise He would cease to be a substance. It is evident, therefore, that the Son in being begotten received without any diminution the substance of the Father and thus the Father and Son as well as the Holy Ghost proceeding from both are the same entity. When therefore the Truth prays to the Father for the faithful, saying: "I will that they be one in us, even as we are one" (John 7: 22), this term "one" is understood first for the faithful, as implying a union of charity in grace, then for the divine persons, as implying a unity of identity in nature; as the Truth says in another place: "Be you perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5: 48); as if He would say more clearly: be perfect by the perfection of grace as your heavenly Father is perfect by the perfection of nature, namely, each in his own way, because between the Creator and the creature there cannot be a likeness so great that the unlikeness is not greater. If therefore anyone presume to defend or approve the teaching of the aforesaid Joachim on this point, let him be repressed by all as a heretic.

In this, however, we do not wish to derogate in anything from the monastery of Flora, which Joachim himself founded, since therein is both the regular life and salutary observance, but chiefly because the same Joachim ordered that his writings be submitted to us to be approved or corrected by the judgment of the Apostolic See, dictating a letter which he subscribed with his own hand, in which he firmly confesses that he holds that faith which the Roman Church holds, which by the will of God is the mother and mistress of all the faithful. We also reprobate and condemn the perverse teaching of he impious Amaury (Almaricus, Amalricus) de Bene, whose mind the father of lies has so darkened that his teaching is to be regarded not so much heretical as insane.




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