THE GOOD BISHOP SAINT AUGUSTINE

In his Diocese. He settles suits and disputes. He says that he would give everything else up for this; that it is one of the most important functions of the episcopate.
The Gospel and the Fathers require this of the pastors, Philip 3; John 14; Paul, Romans 12, Corinthians 1; Leo, Epistle 82.
The Eastern Church has retained this holy practice.
The Councils so order all bishops: it must be the concern of bishops to exhort brethren who have differences, whether they be clergy or lay, towards peace rather than to litigation. Carh 4 c26.
Our kings in the past have exhorted the bishops to excommunicate those who refuse to settle their differences following the thundering Councils of Worms 15 c41, Agath c31. The majority so agreed that whosoever were in hatred, or were in dispute in long drawn out litigation among themselves, and were unable to be brought together in peace, should first be challenged by the priests of their communities to say why, if they were not willing to put an end to their enmities, they should not be excommunicated from the most righteous fellowship of the Church. C ad 4 c31.

 

TO THE BISHOPS

You are, My Lords, the successors of that divine Shepherd, JESUS CHRIST. He loved his flock so tenderly that, when he had to leave them to return to his Father, he had no more precious present to give them than peace: ‘My peace I give unto you’, John 14. After his glorious Resurrection, when he was visiting his apostles, and preparing himself for that great entrance into heaven, he nevertheless spoke to them of that peace: ‘Peace be unto you’, St Luke 24. Moreover, every time he appeared to his beloved disciples, to those princes of the nascent Church, he always wished that same peace: ‘Peace be unto you, again Peace be unto you’, John 20.

In fact, the repose of the spirit and the tranquillity of the soul are the solid foundations on which the other Christian virtues are built. For how can we listen to the sweet voice of the Lamb amid the din and storms of the passions? How can we hear your pastoral voice, My Lords, amid the thunder and lightning of anger?

Yet today, the condition of most of our poor French people is deplorable. They are eaten up by lawsuits and chicanery. They tear themselves in shreds by their hatreds and irreconcilable enmities, which they couple with wrongs and vengeance and hopelessness, oaths and blasphemies, which they spew up against their opponents, and against Heaven which is innocent of it all.

 

My Lords, you can stop this stream, this impetuous torrent, of sins and offences, which are the cause of a hundred, no a hundred million, mortal sins committed in France. You can destroy these unhappy thorns, which hinder the fruition of the divine seed, which you are sowing every day in the souls of your sheep, by the holiness of your behaviour, your good advice, your exhortations, the frequent visits which you make in person to your parishes, your holy missions, and a hundred other acts of piety and consummate charity.

The Charitable Arbitrator: How to Mediate and Arbitrate in Louis XIV's France HOLO Books: The Arbitration P 2002 p109.