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Did St. Augustine Say This?

Question:

Did Augustine really say something about agreeing on the essentials or was that said by a Lutheran minister?

Answer:

“In essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.”

This statement is usually attributed to St. Augustine, yet no one has been able to point out just where in any of his works it is located.  A general search on the quote reveals it being attributed to all sorts of figures in history.

The earliest Church document in which I am aware of it appearing is Pope St. John XXIII’s Ad Petri cathedram:

But the common saying, expressed in various ways and attributed to various authors, must be recalled with approval: in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity (72).

Pope St. John XXIII merely referred to it as a common saying rather than attributing it to any particular saint or historical figure. And since no one else seems to have a definite source citation to point to, it would appear that its origins are unknown.

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