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Friday, 13 September 2013

Are you a grown-up? Are you a Donatist? Are you a Gnostic?

In the past two weeks, I have watched the laity tear themselves apart arguing about personal things. The reasons for such arguing has been the heresies, the faulty thinking of  Gnosticism and Donatism. Now most people do not know that they are Gnosticism or Donatists; in fact if I suggested this, they would think that I fell out of a tree.

Let me start with Donatism. Donatism is the heresy which noted that those who once one fell away from the Church one could not come back, and if a priest sinned, he would not be accepted by the community for dispensing sacraments.

The Donatists wanted a Church merely of saints and not sinners. Some of the Donatists would have hated any of the clergy who offered sacrifices to the gods, and would not receive the sacraments from them. They denied ex opere operato, which means that they insisted that the sacraments were not valid if the priest had sinned seriously. Of course, the real meaning of the sacraments involves the belief that the holiness of God and the grace of the sacrament are sufficient. The heresy was condemned the Council of Arles in 314.

How many people today condemn priests and bishops as too sinful to be in the Church? Not only is this a lack of charity, but a lack of humility. As one sees one's own sins more clearly, one refrains from judgement.

We can criticize faulty thinking, and heresies are faulting thinking, but we cannot attack anyone personally.

Only those who are immature blame others for their own actions or lack thereof. Once a person comes into maturity, one no longer blames others. This is a sign of the strengthening of the inner man, the creation of character.

To be continued....