A memorandum: Augustine to the presbyter Restitutus
3. This much the man admitted to me, and I judge that he should not be condemned for this unless perhaps he be proved guilty of a lie. The words of that woman should not be listened to and accepted against him because, fallen as she is, she is undoubtedly looking for a man to attach herself to, and there need to be some other proofs by which any scandalous sin on his part would be disclosed. But these things would not have happened so easily to clerics if they did not go out alone because of their own or the Church’s needs. But since we scarcely get the priests, especially in the country, to avoid going out alone, how much less can we get clerics of a lower rank to avoid this! If, then, the people for whom he was ordained are in no way upset by this rumor against him and have not believed anything shameful about him, and if there is no proof of scandal from other evidence, as I said, let him remain in his state. But if other things are revealed about which we can pronounce some judgment, I would like to know them. If, however, the church for which he was ordained a priest is disturbed over this matter, because it is said to have occurred when he was still a deacon, read this letter to them and explain it to them, as the Lord gives you the ability, in order that they may love, as they began to, their priest, who met with the sort of temptation that any holy man could have met with. And let their love toward him not grow cold in order that the devil, from whom these wiles and snares usually stem, may be defeated by their peaceful behavior. If, however, you see that it is necessary that I send a letter to them, take care to let me know it.