Many of the world’s 1.25 billion Catholics are questioning the recent shenanigans of the Marxist Pope Francis. Is a Catholic left with no alternative but to flee to the more traditional SSPX? Or should one forget Catholicism all together, as thousands of priests and tens of thousands of nuns did, following Vatican II?
There is nothing new under the sun. Assuming the moral high ground, traditional Catholics are slipping into a Donatist mindset, as the Marxist papacy of Pope Francis is repeatedly and righteously challenged. For those Catholics aware of the Marxist socialism of Francis, his softness toward Islam, promotion of Masonic policies, liberation theology, Trotskyite multiculturalism, is one justified in abandoning the Catholic Church?
What if you were baptized by a CCHD Alinsky-supporting priest, who prioritizes the Luciferic atheist socialist over Christ? Would you still be validly baptized? Such questions bothered the consciences of early Christians after the various Roman persecutions. Today we unravel the Donatist heresy and how the Catholic Church of the fourth century answered it by demonstrating that sacraments are valid through the righteousness of Christ as Priest and not through the righteousness of the ministerial priesthood:
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And what if someone received baptism or the Eucharist from an evil priest? Is that sacrament still valid? This common question relates increasingly haunts Catholics today. The answer is found in Saint Augustine’s resolution to the ancient heresy of Donatism.
During the Diocletian Persecution, many Christians and even clergy denied Christ by worshipping Roman idols, by burning incense to the Caesar, and by handing over their fellow Christians to the Roman authorities. Many faithful Catholics rightly felt betrayed by these traditores (“traitors”) and some believed that the traditores could not be readmitted to Holy Communion. The Popes in Rome had ruled that these traditores could be restored through sacramental confession and a period of public penance, but some Christians resisted the perceived laxity of the Pope’s message of mercy.
To make a long story short, Donatus was ordained as the rival Bishop of Carthage. This allowed for two rival bishops in Carthage: Bishop Caecilian (tolerant to traditors) vs. Bishop Donatus (intolerant to traitors). In AD 312, the Emperor Constantine summoned the two rival bishops, Caecelian and Donatus, to Rome with 10 bishops favoring Caecilian and 10 bishops favoring Donatus so that Pope Melchiades could settle the matter.
The Pope gathered 15 Italian bishops to sit with him in a synod to judge between the rival Bishops of Carthage. During the proceedings, Bishop Donatus admitted that he had rebaptized and reordained traitor bishops. The Pope found these actions heretical and endorsed Bishop Caecelian as the true Bishop of Carthage. The Emperor Constantine upheld the ruling of the Pope against the Donatists.
Donatists rejected the Pope’s judgment – and here is the parallel for today – against Bishop Donatus and erected a parallel church structure in North Africa. (As we now see erected with the SSPX.) The Donatist movement saw the Roman Pope, the Roman Emperor Constantine, and the Roman Empire as heretical and demonic. They became increasingly hostile to Catholic bishops and Roman law. (As is happening again today!)
Constantine criminalized Donatism, but finally relented in AD 321 and granted toleration of Donatism. In AD 347, Donatus was exiled to Gaul until his death in 355. Donatism remained in North Africa until the Muslims conquered the region in the 7-8th
The Donatists remained strong in North Africa until the time of Saint Augustine. As a North African Catholic, Augustine was able to persuade the Donatists and reconcile them to Rome by teaching that the sacraments work ex opere operato—they are actualized by the act. Saint Augustine argued that it was Christ that was the chief minister of all the sacraments and just as God had used sinful priests in the Old Testament, so God still uses sinful priests in the New Testament.
Today, this appears to be a strong starting point. Following sincere public penance by Pope Francis, a conciliatory college Pope Leo-style must then be set up in Rome to hammer out all differences between SSPX and the Catholic Church. Is it possible? “With God, all things are possible.”Tags: Pope Francis
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