The part of Benedict's career that I question is his petition to Pope Constantine to preserve the subordination of the Bishop of Pavia to the archbishop of Milan. Let us grant that Benedict was historically correct that Pavia had been under the See of Milan prior to the schism, but had been reapportioned to Rome's bishop when the Milanese archbishops were not in communion with Rome. What reasons could have impelled him to seek restoration of this former structure?
1. Let's be generous and grant him a conservative desire to restore everything that had been disrupted by his predecessors' breach with Rome. They had done a lot of damage with the Three Chapters Schism and no doubt he wanted to mend things. As he was working toward this, Bishop Armentarius of Pavia was consecrated without his approval or participation. It might have been natural to object to the loss of his privilege in Pavia. Then again, change is natural. Pavia had grown up to become the capital of the Lombard Kingdom while Milan, which had served as the Western Roman capital from 286 to 402, had fallen under the control of the Lombards in 569. This followed the conquest of the city by Huns and then Ostrogoths. Even conservatives have to face the reality of change at some point.
|Pavia: big city|
3. Let's be unkind and think about power. In an era when synods and councils set policies that could get someone anathematized and exiled, it is good to have allies. When papal elections roll around, it is nice to have favors to call in. In the not-too-distant future, the selling of church offices (simony) would become a common practice.
Saint Benedict, bishop of Milan, was a very pious man and dedicated leader of the Church. I imagine, therefore, that he raised the question with a sincere concern for the restoration of the old ways and that he accepted the Pope's reply without resentment or rancor.