Friday, April 9, 2010

Latent Donatism and Fear of Scandal regarding pedophile priests

The Donatist heresy,back in the early days, held that
the validity or reality of the sacraments, their effectiveness,
depended on the holiness and virtue of the priest.

As St. Augustine pointed out, if this were so no one could
ever tell for sure if they were baptized, or if anyone was
ordained, or whatever. The chain could be broken at any
point, unbeknownst to anyone because of sins the priests
and bishops kept secret.

The fear of scandal harming the Universal or Catholic
Church, apparently only happens when sexual sins are at
issue, but not when an open marriage or a disobedience
issue occurs, which can get someone defrocked quickly

is essentially and probably unconsciously assuming a 
prevalence of Donatist attitude even if not explicit
 heretical opinion, but at the emotional level, in the 
laity, and furthermore, a catering to it, a coddling of it,
instead of addressing the error itself.

That is of course assuming that fear of scandal is
 the real reason, and not that such defrocking will 
open a barrell of worms consisting of a larger 
number of either heterosexually or homosexually 
active priests, even if most are not pedophiles or 
coercive, being discovered and a resultant 
depopulation of the  priesthood.

Indeed, the rule that you have to be legitimate to get
dates to centuries ago when priests and 

bishops were trying 
to establish dynasties involving 

their illegitimate sons, and this 
was blocked.

Donatism was put down long ago. Something someone 
on an Orthodox egroup called the gag factor is not the 
same thing. That is where you don't question the validity 
of the sacrament (eucharist usually) but are distracted
from it by your knowledge of the sinfulness and evil of 
the priest.  This is easily dealt with by seeking it from 
another priest. 

Myself, I am Orthodox, but I suspect the orders of the
Anglicans are legitimate and ordained is ordained, male
or female, so in theory that is the Body and Blood
of Christ in the Eucharist performed by a woman priest.
 HOWEVER, even if I were given permission by my
priest or bishop to partake of the Eucharist from an
Anglican, I would not do so at the hands of some
openly lesbian women priests I know of nearby,
because I would be distracted from the Eucharist by
my knowledge of who was handing it to me, and might
not partake of the Body and Blood of Christ properly '
perceiving it to be so, and instead be thinking about
what grosses me out about the people involved.

Same deal with an Orthodox priest, if I knew too much
and couldn't think of Christ instead of the priest I would
go to another Orthodox priest. I do not question the
validity of the sacrament in his hands, but I do not want
to partake of it in a distracted state of mind.

The Roman Catholic church, in schism from the Eastern
Orthodox, being the only Apostolic or for that matter
Petrine See in the west, but these were a dime a dozen
in the east so the claims of Rome fell on deaf ears, has
apparently adopted an approach, that either bespeaks
fear of discovery of an enormous problem, or an
allowing of laity to continue in a Donatist mindset, since
it fears scandal.

The Orthodox Church in America has apparently run
afoul of similar tendencies. But their Holy Water is
still as strong as The Ecumenical Patriarchate following
Greek Orthodox, and stronger than Roman Catholic.


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