Philosophy:Second Council of Cirta

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The Second Council of Cirta was a conference of Bishops, held in June 412, at Cirta in Roman North Africa, and was debated between the Catholics led by Augustine and the Donatists led by Silvanus of Numidia. It is notable as the origin of the Catholic dogma that "There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church".[1]


Augustine arguing with Donatists.

The conference was chaired by Augustine,[2] but was called by Donatists in response to the dissatisfaction the Donatist bishops held at the Council of Carthage the year before and by Catholics to refute the Donatists. Mostly what we know of the Council comes from the writings of Augustine.[citation needed]

Most significantly Augustine said,

“He who is separated from the body of the Catholic Church, however laudable his conduct may seem, will never enjoy eternal life, and the anger of God remains on him by reason of the crime of which he is guilty in living separated from Christ because he was separated from the Catholic Church.”[3]

The Donatist position, by contrast, was that "the true church was only composed of those who were repentant."[4] The repetition of baptism was "pollution of the souls",[5] and baptism was only valid based on the character of the baptizer.

See also


  1. Raymond Taouk The Popes and Saints On: The Catholic Doctrine of No Salvation Outside the Church (CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS ).
  2. Eusebius (of Caesarea, Bishop of Caesarea), The History of the Church ...: As it was Written in Greek by Eusebius Pamphilus, Socrates Scholasticus and Evagrius Scholasticus. Made English from that Edition of These Historians, which Valesius Published at Paris ... 1659, 1668, and 1673. Also, The Life of Constantine by Eusebius Pamphilus (A. & J. Churchill, 1709) p140.
  3. Augustine’s Epistulae 141 (Ch 158)
  4. "Encyclical Letter To The Donatists", translated by Rev. J. R. King, M.A. edited by Daniel R. Jennings.
  5. "Petilianus, a Donatist bishop". Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 

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