Donatism and Pope Francis

Is the error of Donatism still alive today?

Perhaps un wittingly yes it is.

I think Pope Francis is great, but others strongly disagree.

It is good to recall though that worthiness of an office does not reduce its sacramental powers or its assistance by God.

We can read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a quotation on the worthiness of a minister of the sacraments. It quotes from St. Augustine who heavily debated the Donatists of his day who taught that the moral worthiness of a priest effects the validity of their sacraments. (The Donatists would not recognize priests who denied the Christ during persecutions) This view as we will see was condemned by the Church.

CCC #1584 (Vatican Website Translation)” Since it is ultimately Christ who acts and effects salvation through the ordained minister, the unworthiness of the latter does not prevent Christ from acting.76 St. Augustine states this forcefully:

As for the proud minister, he is to be ranked with the devil. Christ’s gift is not thereby profaned: what flows through him keeps its purity, and what passes through him remains dear and reaches the fertile earth…. the spiritual power of the sacrament is indeed comparable to light: those to be enlightened receive it in its purity, and if it should pass through defiled beings, it is not itself defiled.77

It is the same for the Pope. If you like him or not. He is the Pope and has Papal power. We need to obey and be docile. The ability to teach, govern and utilize infallibility does not depend on Francis’ worthiness.

Just think how horrible life would be if we had to determine who has holy to receive the sacraments! Luckily Christ’s Church does not work that way. We can trust on him acting through his ministers no matter how great they are.

Check out a previous post on Bad Popes (like when Peter does not get everything right)

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