27 May 2010
Sometimes one hears or reads that concerns raised about ministerial acts performed by those who are not in the Office of the Holy Ministry is latent (or blatant!) Donatism. What too often seems to go unnoticed is that the Donatistic controversy centered around the question of whether the moral character of those IN the Office of the Holy Ministry could in fact nullify the sacraments they were called upon to serve - the Church, of course, denied that it could; what that controversy never addressed (and, I'd argue, never even conceived of) was the efficacy of any purported sacramental acts served by those who were not in the Office of the Holy Ministry at all. A further total red herring in the discussion is arguing from what love must do in an emergency, a life and death situation, to what is done regularly and without emergency in the Church. I think the Donatist whipping boy needs to be honestly set aside as we grapple with the implications of systemically ignoring the confession we make in AC XIV in our ecclesial life.
Posted by William Weedon at 4:09 PM