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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book III, Letter 5

Book III, Letter 5

To Peter, Subdeacon.

Gregory to Peter, Subdeacon of Campania.

As we have no wish to disturb the privileges of laymen in their judgments, so, when they judge wrongfully, we desire you to resist them with moderate authority. For to restrain violent laymen is not to act against the laws, but to support law. Since then Deusdedit, the son-in-law of Felix of Orticellum, is said to have done violent wrong to the bearer of these presents, and still unlawfully to detain her property, in such sort that the dejection of her widowhood is found not to move his compassion, but to confirm his malice, we charge your Experience that against the aforesaid man, as well as in other cases wherein the aforesaid woman asserts that she suffers prejudice, thou afford her the succour of your protection, and not allow her to be oppressed by any one whatever, lest either thou be found to neglect what without prejudice to equity is commanded you, or widows and other poor persons, finding no help where they are, be put to expense by the length of the journey hither.

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Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360203005.htm>.

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