Letter 3.47 to Bishop Columbus of unknown see in Numidia in Africa (July 593)
Gregory to Bishop Columbus
Gregory praises Columbus' faith and aknowledges the unity of love and thought between both of them.
Indeed, after starting with an address of welcome due to the affection I owe you, I encourage you not to forget about the things you promised to Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles. Therefore, by wary of the primate of your synod, [and make sure?] that boys should on no account be admitted to holy orders, in case they slip all the more dangerously, the more quickly they rush to rise to higher ranks. Let no bribery, force, or plea of some people achieve anything in case of ordinations we prohibit. For without doubt God is offended, if someone is promoted to holy orders not through merit but through favour or (Heaven forbid!) through bribe. Yet if you realize that it is being done, do not keep quiet, but object to it instantly. Since if you fail to investigate such cases or conceal what you have found out, not only will a chain of sin bind those who do this, but no light blame for this matter will befell also on you in the eyes of God. If such sin is committed, it should be therefore punished with canonical retribution, so that through concealment such a great crime will not gain strength with the sin of others.
(trans. Martyn 2004: 266, altered and summarized by J. Szafranowski)