Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

St. Augustine—Letter to Januarius

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 14, 2020 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“... if any of these customs is common to the whole Church throughout the world, it is the most unheard of madness to doubt that such custom is to be followed.”

For the first time on this podcast (but certainly not the last!), we’ll be hearing from a Church Father and Doctor who needs no introduction: St. Augustine of Hippo.

Also known as “Letter 54”, Augustine’s Letter to Januarius was written in response to a question posed by Januarius in a previous letter: at what time of day should the Holy Sacrifice on Holy Thursday be celebrated?

What follows is an insightful and sometimes humorous letter, even containing a fun anecdote wherein Augustine recounts having once played intermediary between his mother and St. Ambrose. The letter also contains a clear affirmation of the twofold authority of Scripture and Tradition, careful articulation of the distinction between that which is essential to the faith and that which is not, and a hint at some of the early Church’s more procedural disputes.

For a short letter, there’s a lot to enjoy—and, perhaps for some of us, a humbling reminder that disagreements regarding accidental aspects to liturgy are as old as the Church itself!

Translation courtesy of Catholic University of America Press: https://verbum.com/product/120434/saint-augustine-letters-vol-1

Alternate Translation at CatholicCulture.org: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=3202

Theme music: 2 Part Invention, composed by Mark Christopher Brandt, performed by Thomas Mirus. ©️2019 Heart of the Lion Publishing Co./BMI. All rights reserved.

James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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