I remember when I reverted into Catholicism in 2013, I was keen to point out so many of the moral problems that were going on in the Church, whether on a parish level or something higher than that. And the Apologists of the world at the time would respond to me saying something to this effect: “Oh, pffft. That’s Donatism, bro! Your grinding your gears by returning us to the 3rd and 4th centuries when the Catholic Church has already solved that problem! Its no worries, man!”
This meme, outputted by a certain Bishop
yesterday on Twitter, proves without a shadow of doubt that the Latin West has not only received the wrong lesson from Donatism, but has so overreacted to it so as to fall into the ditch on the other side. While I’m sure the Bishop must not have thought this through, what this exemplifies is that, perhaps without knowing, today’s Catholic is quite happy, apt, and sharp to point out that the moral unworthiness of priestly ministers injures nothing to the validity and efficacy of sacraments, but when it comes to following the Apostolic command for a pure Church (1 cor 5:1-13), and to “drive out the evil from among you”, the Catholic hides behind the mask of authority in order to sit their and tolerate evil for the sake of visible unity.
What should be the name of this belief? We need a counter-balance term to bring up against those who cry out “Donatism!” in our evil day. I can only come up with Ultra Contra-Donatism. I’d use “Clericalism”, but that word has been drug through the mud. Anyone who knows me understands I am not creative. Help a brotha out. And please don’t quip “obedience” or “where Peter is”. We need that like a cab driver needs a horse.