St. James The Greater Apostle July 25

St. James the GreaterJames_ANDREA DEL SARTO

(Heb. Yakob; Sept. Iakob; N.T. Greek Iakobos; a favourite name among the later Jews).

The son of Zebedee (q.v.) and Salome (Cf. Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). Zahn asserts that Salome was the daughter of a priest. James is styled “the Greater” to distinguish him from the Apostle James “the Less,” who was probably shorter of stature. We know nothing of St. James’s early life. He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two.

His parents seem to have been people of means as appears from the following facts.

  • Zebedee was a fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida (John, i, 44), perhaps in Capharnaum; and had some boatmen or hired men as his usual attendants (Mark, i, 20).
  • Salome was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and “ministered unto him of their substance” (cf. Matt., xxvii, 55, sq.; Mark, xv, 40; xvi, 1; Luke, viii, 2 sq.; xxiii, 55-xxiv, 1).
  • St. John was personally known to the high-priest (John, xviii, 16); and must have had wherewithal to provide for the Mother of Jesus (John, xix, 27).

It is probable, according to Acts 4:13, that John (and consequently his brother James) had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. They had frequent opportunity of coming in contact with Greek life and language, which were already widely spread along the shores of the Galilean Sea.

Relation of St. James to Jesus

Some authors, comparing John 19:25 with Matthew 28:56 and Mark 15:40, identify, and probably rightly so, Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph in Mark and Matthew with “Mary of Cleophas” in John. As the name of Mary Magdalen occurs in the three lists, they identify further Salome in Mark with “the mother of the sons of Zebedee” in Matthew; finally they identify Salome with “his mother’s sister” in John. They suppose, for this last identification, that four women are designated by John, xix, 25; the Syriac “Peshito” gives the reading: “His mother and his mother’s sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen.” If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and James the Greater and John were first cousins of the Lord; this may explain the discipleship of the two brothers, Salome’s request and their own claim to the first position in His kingdom, and His commendation of the Blessed Virgin to her own nephew. But it is doubtful whether the Greek admits of this construction without the addition or the omission of kai (and). Thus the relationship of St. James to Jesus remains doubtful.

His life and apostolate

The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name ofBoanerges, “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation. When John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John 1:35); he was directed to “the Lamb of God” and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John, i, 41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother (St. Peter) first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:19 sq.; and Luke 5:1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke 5:10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee “forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him” (Matthew 4:22), and became “fishers of men”. St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Matt., x, 1-4; Mark, iii, 13-19; Luke, vi, 12-16; Acts, i, 13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark, xiii, 3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus’s daughter (Mark, v, 37; Luke, viii, 51), at the Transfiguration (Mark, ix, 1; Matt., xvii, 1; Luke, ix, 28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matt., xxvi, 37; Mark, xiv, 33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke, viii, 51; ix, 28; Acts, i, 13–Gr. Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in the Gospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family.

Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name “Boanerges,” sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark, iii, 17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against “a certain man casting out devils” in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: “We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us” (Luke, ix, 49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?” (Luke, ix, 54; cf. v. 49).

His martyrdom

On the last journey to Jerusalem, their mother Salome came to the Lord and said to Him: “Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom” (Matt., xx, 21). And the two brothers, still ignorant of the spiritual nature of the Messianic Kingdom, joined with their mother in this eager ambition (Mark 10:37). And on their assertion that they are willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings, Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (Mark 5:38-39).

James won the crown of martyrdom fourteen years after this prophecy, A.D. 44. Herod Agrippa I, son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod the Great, reigned at that time as “king” over a wider dominion than that of his grandfather. His great object was to please the Jews in every way, and he showed great regard for the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. In pursuance of this policy, on the occasion of the Passover of A.D. 44, he perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. “He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.” (Acts 12:1-2). According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., II, ix, 2, 3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost “Hypotyposes”), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together. As Clement testifies expressly that the account was given him “by those who were before him,” this tradition has a better foundation than many other traditions and legends respecting the Apostolic labours and death of St. James, which are related in the Latin “Passio Jacobi Majoris”, the Ethiopic “Acts of James”, and so on.

St. James in Spain

The tradition asserting that James the Greater preached the Gospel in Spain, and that his body was translated to Compostela, claims more serious consideration.

According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it. In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela (see SAINT JAMES OF COMPOSTELA, ORDER OF).

With regard to the preaching of the Gospel in Spain by St. James the greater, several difficulties have been raised:

  • St. James suffered martyrdom A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2), and, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time (cf. Clement of Alexandria, “Strom.”, VI, Apollonius, quoted by Euseb., “Hist. Eccl.” VI, xviii).
  • St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58) expressed the intention to visit Spain (Romans 15:24) just after he had mentioned (15:20) that he did not “build upon another man’s foundation.”
  • The argument ex silentio: although the tradition that James founded an Apostolic see in Spain was current in the year 700, no certain mention of such tradition is to be found in the genuine writings of early writers nor in the early councils; the first certain mention we find in the ninth century, in Notker, a monk of St. Gall (Martyrol., 25 July), Walafried Strabo (Poema de XII Apost.), and others.
  • The tradition was not unanimously admitted afterwards, while numerous scholars reject it. The Bollandists however defended it (see Acta Sanctorum, July, VI and VII, where other sources are given).

The authenticity of the sacred relic of Compostela has been questioned and is still doubted. Even if St. James the Greater did not preach the Christian religion in Spain, his body may have been brought to Compostela, and this was already the opinion of Notker. According to another tradition, the relics of the Apostle are kept in the church of St-Saturnin at Toulouse (France), but it is not improbable that such sacred relics should have been divided between two churches. A strong argument in favour of the authenticity of the sacred relics of Compostela is the Bull of Leo XIII, “Omnipotens Deus,” of 1 November, 1884.

St. Christina Virgin and Martyr July 24

St. Christina of Bolsena
Saint Christina was the daughter of a rich and powerful magistrate named Urban. Her father, who was deep in the practices of paganism, had a number of golden idols. His young daughter broke them, then distributed the pieces among the poor. Infuriated by this act, Urban became the persecutor of his own daughter. He had her whipped with rods and thrown into a dungeon. Christina remained unshaken in her faith. Her tormentor brought her forth to have her body torn by iron hooks, then fastened to a rack beneath which a fire was kindled. But God watched over His servant and turned the flames back toward the onlookers, several of whom perished.

The torments to which this young girl was subjected would seem as difficult to devise as to imagine; but God was beside her at all times. After a heavy stone was attached to her neck, Saint Christina was thrown into the lake of Bolsena, but was rescued by an Angel and seen wearing a stole and walking on the water, accompanied by several Angels. Her father, hearing she was still alive, died suddenly amid atrocious sufferings. A new judge succeeded him, a cruel pagan experienced in persecuting the Christians. He tried to win her by reminding her of her nobility, suggesting she was in serious error. Her reply infuriated him: “Christ, whom you despise, will tear me out of your hands!” Then Saint Christina suffered the most inhuman torments. The second judge also was struck down by divine justice. A third one named Julian, succeeded him. “Magician!” he cried, “adore the gods, or I will put you to death!” She survived a raging furnace, after remaining in it for five days. Serpents and vipers thrown into her prison did not touch her, but killed the magician who had brought them there. She sent them away in the name of Christ, after restoring the unfortunate magician to life; he was converted and thanked the God of Christina and the Saint. Then her tongue was cut out.

The Saint prayed to be allowed to finish her course. When she was pierced with arrows, she gained the martyr’s crown at Tyro, a city which formerly stood on an island in the lake of Bolsena in Italy, but has since been swallowed up by the waters. Her relics are now at Palermo in Sicily. Her tomb was discovered in the 19th century at Bolsena, marked with an inscription dating from the 10th century.

Excerpted from Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9.

 

St. Apollinaris July 23

StraboSt. Apollinaris

One of the first great martyrs of the church. He was made Bishop of Ravenna by St. Peter himself. The miracles he wrought there soon attracted official attention, for they and his preaching won many converts to the Faith, while at the same time bringing upon him the fury of the idolaters, who beat him cruelly and drove him from the city. He was found half dead on the seashore, and kept in concealment by the Christians, but was captured again and compelled to walk on burning coals and a second time expelled. But he remained in the vicinity, and continued his work of evangelization. We find him then journeying in the province of Aemilia. A third time he returned to Ravenna. Again he was captured, hacked with knives, had scalding water poured over his wounds, was beaten in the mouth with stones because he persisted in preaching, and then, loaded with chains, was flung into a horrible dungeon to starve to death; but after four days he was put on board ship and sent to Greece. There the same course of preachings, and miracles, and sufferings continued; and when his very presence caused the oracles to be silent, he was, after a cruel beating, sent back to Italy. All this continued for three years, and a fourth time he returned to Ravenna. By this time Vespasian was Emperor, and he, in answer to the complaints of the pagans, issued a decree of banishment against the Christians. Apollinaris was kept concealed for some time, but as he was passing out of the gates of the city, was set upon and savagely beaten, probably at Classis, a suburb, but he lived for seven days, foretelling meantime that the persecutions would increase, but that the Church would ultimately triumph. It is not certain what was his native place, though it was probably Antioch. Nor is it sure that he was one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ, as has been suggested. The precise date of his consecration cannot be ascertained, but he was Bishop of Ravenna for twenty-six years.  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Mary Magdalene July 22

St. Mary MagdalenMagdalene

Mary Magdalen was so called either from Magdala near Tiberias, on the west shore of Galilee, or possibly from a Talmudic expression meaning “curling women’s hair,” which the Talmud explains as of an adulteress.

In the New Testament she is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection.

The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the three persons:

  • the “sinner” of Luke 7:36-50;
  • the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38-42 and John 11; and
  • Mary Magdalen.

On the other hand most of the Latins hold that these three were one and the same. Protestant critics, however, believe there were two, if not three, distinct persons. It is impossible to demonstrate the identity of the three; but those commentators undoubtedly go too far who assert, as does Westcott (on John 11:1), “that the identity of Mary with Mary Magdalene is a mere conjecture supported by no direct evidence, and opposed to the general tenour of the gospels.” It is the identification of Mary of Bethany with the “sinner” of Luke 7:37, which is most combatted by Protestants. It almost seems as if this reluctance to identify the “sinner” with the sister of Martha were due to a failure to grasp the full significance of the forgiveness of sin. The harmonizing tendencies of so many modern critics, too, are responsible for much of the existing confusion.Mary Magdalen_DOLCI, Carlo

The first fact, mentioned in the Gospel relating to the question under discussion is the anointing of Christ’s feet by a woman, a “sinner” in the city (Luke 7:37-50). This belongs to the Galilean ministry, it precedes the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the third Passover. Immediately afterwards St. Luke describes a missionary circuit in Galilee and tells us of the women who ministered to Christ, among them being “Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth” (Luke 8:2); but he does not tell us that she is to be identified with the “sinner” of the previous chapter. In 10:38-42, he tells us of Christ’s visit to Martha and Mary “in a certain town”; it is impossible to identify this town, but it is clear from 9:53, that Christ had definitively left Galilee, and it is quite possible that this “town” was Bethany. This seems confirmed by the preceding parable of the good Samaritan, which must almost certainly have been spoken on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. But here again we note that there is no suggestion of an identification of the three persons (the “sinner”, Mary Magdalen, and Mary of Bethany), and if we had only St. Luke to guide us we should certainly have no grounds for so identifying them. St. John, however, clearly identifies Mary of Bethany with the woman who anointed Christ’s feet (12; cf. Matthew 26 and Mark 14). It is remarkable that already in 11:2, St. John has spoken of Mary as “she that anointed the Lord’s feet”, he aleipsasa; It is commonly said that he refers to the subsequent anointing which he himself describes in 12:3-8; but it may be questioned whether he would have used he aleipsasa if another woman, and she a “sinner” in the city, had done the same. It is conceivable that St. John, just because he is writing so long after the event and at a time when Mary was dead, wishes to point out to us that she was really the same as the “sinner.” In the same way St. Luke may have veiled her identity precisely because he did not wish to defame one who was yet living; he certainly does something similar in the case of St. Matthew whose identity with Levi the publican (5:7) he conceals.

If the foregoing argument holds good, Mary of Bethany and the “sinner” are one and the same. But an examination of St. John’s Gospel makes it almost impossible to deny the identity of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalen. From St. John we learn the name of the “woman” who anointed Christ’s feet previous to the last supper. We may remark here that it seems unnecessary to hold that because St. Matthew and St. Mark say “two days before the Passover”, while St. John says “six days” there were, therefore, two distinct anointings following one another. St. John does not necessarily mean that the supper and the anointing took place six days before, but only that Christ came to Bethany six days before the Passover. At that supper, then, Mary received the glorious encomium, “she hath wrought a good work upon Me . . . in pouring this ointment upon My body she hath done it for My burial . . . wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached . . . that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her.” Is it credible, in view of all this, that this Mary should have no place at the foot of the cross, nor at the tomb of Christ? Yet it is Mary Magdalen who, according to all the Evangelists, stood at the foot of the cross and assisted at the entombment and was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. And while St. John calls her “Mary Magdalen” in 19:25, 20:1, and 20:18, he calls her simply “Mary” in 20:11 and 20:16.

St. Mary Magdalen popup 1In the view we have advocated the series of events forms a consistent whole; the “sinner” comes early in the ministry to seek for pardon; she is described immediately afterwards as Mary Magdalen “out of whom seven devils were gone forth”; shortly after, we find her “sitting at the Lord’s feet and hearing His words.” To the Catholic mind it all seems fitting and natural. At a later period Mary and Martha turn to “the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, and He restores to them their brother Lazarus; a short time afterwards they make Him a supper and Mary once more repeats the act she had performed when a penitent. At the Passion she stands near by; she sees Him laid in the tomb; and she is the first witness of His Resurrection–excepting always His Mother, to whom He must needs have appeared first, though the New Testament is silent on this point. In our view, then, there were two anointings of Christ’s feet–it should surely be no difficulty that St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of His head–the first (Luke 7) took place at a comparatively early date; the second, two days before the last Passover. But it was one and the same woman who performed this pious act on each occasion.

Subsequent history of St. Mary Magdalen. The Greek Church maintains that the saint retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved. Gregory of Tours (De miraculis, I, xxx) supports the statement that she went to Ephesus. However, according to a French tradition (see SAINT LAZARUS OF BETHANY), Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalen is said to have retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near by, where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of St. Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin. History is silent about these relics till 745, when according to the chronicler Sigebert, they were removed to Vézelay through fear of the Saracens. No record is preserved of their return, but in 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a convent at La Sainte-Baume for the Dominicans, the shrine was found intact, with an inscription stating why they were hidden. In 1600 the relics were placed in a sarcophagus sent by Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate vessel. In 1814 the church of La Sainte-Baume, wrecked during the Revolution, was restored, and in 1822 the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there, where it has lain so long, and where it has been the centre of so many pilgrimages.  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

 

Pope Callixtus Oct. 14

31

Callistus, a Roman, was head of the Church while Antonius Heliogabalus was emperor. He fixed the four periods of the year for the Ember days, on which the custom of fasting, handed down by tradition from the Apostolic times, was to be observed by all. He built the Basilica of St Mary across the Tiber. Because he enlarged the old cemetery on the Appian Way, where many holy priests and martyrs were buried, it is now called the cemetery of St Callistus. He reigned for five years one month and twelve days. After long starvation and many scourging he was thrown headforemost into a well, and so won the crow of martyrdom under the emperor Alexander. His body was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius in the Aurelian Way at the third milestone from the city, on October 14. Later it was placed under the high altar of the Basilica of St. Mary across the Tiber, where it is venerated with great honor. 1960 Breviary

“Martyr, died c. 223. His contemporary, Julius Africanus, gives the date of his accession as the first (or second?) year of Elagabalus, i.e., 218 or 219. Eusebius and the Liberian catalogue agree in giving him five years of episcopate. His Acts are spurious, but he is the earliest pope found the fourth-century “Depositio Martirum”, and this is good evidence that he was really a martyr, although he lived in a time of peace under Alexander Severus, whose mother was a Christian. We learn from the “Historiae Augustae” that a spot on which he had built an oratory was claimed by the tavern-keepers, popinarii, but the emperor decided that the worship of any god was better than a tavern. This is said to have been the origin of Sta. Maria in Trastevere, which was built, according to the Liberian catalogue, by Pope Julius, . In fact the Church of St. Callistus is close by, containing a well into which legend says his body was thrown, and this is probably the church he built, rather than the more famous basilica. He was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, and his anniversary is given by the “Depositio Martirum” (Callisti in viâ Aureliâ miliario III) and by the subsequent martyrologies on 14 October, on which day his feast is still kept. His relics were translated in the ninth century to Sta. Maria in Trastevere.

Our chief knowledge of this pope is from his bitter enemies, Tertullian and the antipope who wrote the “Philosophumena”, no doubt Hippolytus. Their calumnies are probably based on facts. According to the “Philosophumena” (c. ix) Callistus was the slave of Carpophorus, a Christian of the household of Caesar. His master entrusted large sums of money to Callistus, with which he started a bank in which brethren and widows lodged money, all of which Callistus lost. He took to flight. Carpophorus followed him to Portus, where Callistus had embarked on a ship. Seeing his master approach in a boat, the slave jumped into the sea, but was prevented from drowning himself, dragged ashore, and consigned to the punishment reserved for slaves, the pistrinum, or hand-mill. The brethren, believing that he still had money in his name, begged that he might be released. But he had nothing, so he again courted death by insulting the Jews at their synagogue. The Jews haled him before the prefect Fuscianus. Carpophorus declared that Callistus was not to be looked upon as a Christian, but he was thought to be trying to save his slave, and Callistus was sent to the mines in Sardinia. Some time after this, Marcia, the mistress of Commodus, sent for Pope Victor and asked if there were any martyrs in Sardinia. He gave her the list, without including Callistus. Marcia sent a eunuch who was a priest (or “old man”) to release the prisoners. Callistus fell at his feet, and persuaded him to take him also. Victor was annoyed; but being a compassionate man, he kept silence. However, he sent Callistus to Antium with a monthly allowance. When Zephyrinus became pope, Callistus was recalled and set over the cemetery belonging to the Church, not a private catacomb; it has ever since borne Callistus’s name. He obtained great influence over the ignorant, illiterate, and grasping Zephyrinus by bribes. We are not told how it came about that the runaway slave (now free by Roman law from his master, who had lost his rights when Callistus was condemned to penal servitude to the State) became archdeacon and then pope.

Döllinger and De Rossi have demolished this contemporary scandal. To begin with, Hippolytus does not say that Callistus by his own fault lost the money deposited with him. He evidently jumped from the vessel rather to escape than to commit suicide. That Carpophorus, a Christian, should commit a Christian slave to the horrible punishment of the pistrinum does not speak well for the master’s character. The intercession of the Christians for Callistus is in his favour. It is absurd to suppose that he courted death by attacking a synagogue; it is clear that he asked the Jewish money-lenders to repay what they owed him, and at some risk to himself. The declaration of Carpophorus that Callistus was no Christian was scandalous and untrue. Hippolytus himself shows that it was as a Christian that Callistus was sent to the mines, and therefore as a confessor, and that it was as a Christian that he was released. If Pope Victor granted Callistus a monthly pension, he need not suppose that he regretted his release. It is unlikely that Zephyrinus was ignorant and base. Callistus could hardly have raised himself so high without considerable talents, and the vindictive spirit exhibited by Hippolytus and his defective theology explain why Zephyrinus placed his confidence rather in Callistus than in the learned disciple of Irenaeus.

The orthodoxy of Callistus is challenged by both Hippolytus and Tertullian on the ground that in a famous edict he granted Communion after due penance to those who had committed adultery and fornication. It is clear that Callistus based his decree on the power of binding and loosing granted to Peter, to his successors, and to all in communion with them: “As to thy decision”, cries the Montanist Tertullian, “I ask, whence dost thou usurp this right of the Church? If it is because the Lord said to Peter: Upon this rock I will build My Church, I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven’, or whatsoever though bindest or loosest on earth shall be bound or loosed in heaven’, that thou presumest that this power of binding and loosing has been handed down to thee also, that is to every Church in communion with Peter’s (ad omnem ecclesiam Petri propinquam, i.e. Petri ecclesiae propinquam), who art thou that destroyest and alterest the manifest intention of the Lord, who conferred this on Peter personally and alone?” (De Pudicitia, xxi.) The edict was an order to the whole Church (ib., i): “I hear that an edict has been published, and a peremptory one; the bishop of bishops, which means the Pontifex Maximus, proclaims: I remit the crimes of adultery and fornication to those who have done penance.” Doubtless Hippolytus and Tertullian were upholding a supposed custom of earlier times, and the pope in decreeing a relaxation was regarded as enacting a new law. On this point it is unnecessary to justify Callistus. Other complaints of Hippolytus are that Callistus did not put converts from heresy to public penance for sins committed outside the Church (this mildness was customary in St. Augustine’s time); that he had received into his “school” (i.e. The Catholic Church) those whom Hippolytus had excommunicated from “The Church” (i.e., his own sect); that he declared that a mortal sin was not (“always”, we may supply) a sufficient reason for deposing a bishop. Tertullian (De Exhort. Castitatis, vii) speaks with reprobation of bishops who had been married more than once, and Hippolytus charges Callistus with being the first to allow this, against St. Paul’s rule. But in the East marriages before baptism were not counted, and in any case the law is one from which the pope can dispense if necessity arise. Again Callistus allowed the lower clergy to marry, and permitted noble ladies to marry low persons and slaves, which by the Roman law was forbidden; he had thus given occasion for infanticide. Here again Callistus was rightly insisting on the distinction between the ecclesiastical law of marriage and the civil law, which later ages have always taught.. Hippolytus also declared that rebaptizing (of heretics) was performed first in Callistus’s day, but he does not state that Callistus was answerable for this. On the whole, then, it is clear that the Catholic church sides with Callistus against the schismatic Hippolytus and the heretic Tertullian. Not a word is said against the character of Callistus since his promotion, nor against the validity of his election.

Hippolytus, however, regards Callistus as a heretic. Now Hippolytus’s own Christology is most imperfect, and he tells us that Callistus accused him of Ditheism. It is not to be wondered at, then, if he calls Callistus the inventor of a kind of modified Sabellianism. In reality it is certain that Zephyrinus and Callistus condemned various Monarchians and Sabellius himself, as well as the opposite error of Hippolytus. This is enough to suggest that Callistus held the Catholic Faith. And in fact it cannot be denied that the Church of Rome must have held a Trinitarian doctrine not far from that taught by Callistus’s elder contemporary Tertullian and by his much younger contemporary Novatian–a doctrine which was not so explicitly taught in the greater part of the East for a long period afterwards. The accusations of Hippolytus speak for the sure tradition of the Roman Church and for its perfect orthodoxy and moderation. If we knew more of St. Callistus from Catholic sources, he would probably appear as one of the greatest of the popes.”

1914 Catholic Encyclopedia