ca. Jun. 591

[Possible/Probable] Order issued by Pope Gregory I [Present-day Italy] [Provisional]: “[Letter from Pope Gregory I] To Virgilius, Bishop of Arles, and Theodorus, Bishop of Marseilles, in Gaul (June 591): …Very many, though indeed of the Jewish religion, resident in this province [Rome], and from time to time traveling for various matters of business to the regions of Marseilles, have apprised us that many of the Jews settled in those parts have been brought to font of baptism more by force than by preaching. Now I consider the intention in such cases to be worthy of praise, and allow that it proceed from love of the Lord. But I fear lest this same intention, unless adequate justification from Holy Scripture accompany it, should either have no profitable effect; or there will ensue further (God forbid) the loss of the very souls which we wish to save. For, when any one is brought to the font of baptism, not by the sweetness of preaching but by compulsion, he returns to his former superstition, and dies the worse from having been born again. Let, therefore, your Fraternity stir up such men by frequent preaching, to the end that through the sweetness of their teacher they may desire the more to change their old life. For so our purpose is rightly accomplished, and the mind of the convert returns not again to his former vomit. Wherefore discourse must be addressed to them, such as may burn up the thorns of error in them, and illuminate what is dark in them by preaching, so that your Fraternity may through your frequent admonition receive a reward for them, so far as God may grant it, to the regeneration of a new life.”
“Pope Gregory I, ‘Letters on the Treatment of Jews (591, 598)-excerpts.” No author, Accessed online 9/16/2011