Friday, January 23, 2015

Donatism, taint and a little bit of paint.

It's amazing how the same old arguments keep coming back because people can't accept that they are flawed. Again, the Liberals who do not understand the Catholic position wish to paint dissenters to their view with the label Donatist as well as Misogynist.

Take this example.

The nub of the argument is here:

Catholic, orthodox theology holds that a bishop’s ability to validly ordain is not affected by possible errors in previous ordinations. 
The Donatist controversy in the early church sought purity in the one ordaining. Donatism is a heresy. The church is clear – the validity of sacramental actions is not dependent on the worthiness of the one administering that action.
It's not hard to spot the non-sequitur.

The question is not whether women are worthy to be ordained or not, but whether they constitute the correct recipient for Holy Orders. The fact of the matter is that absolutely no-one is worthy to be ordained which is why the Donatist view is heretical. The "wickedness" of the minister as the XXVIth Article might say does not invalidate his sacraments, not being a priest in the first place does.

The idea of taint that seems to be posited in the CofE is not easy to understand. For us Catholics, the idea isn't so hard. For us this is not an issue of "taint", it is an issue of intention. Intention is a quintessential part of the confection of a sacrament. We know that the form, matter, recipient, minister and intention have to be in place for the sacrament to be effective and Divinely ordained. As I've (too) often argued, in women's ordination the recipient is defective and the intention is also defective. In true Catholicism, there is no authority given by God to ordain women, thus to say that "the Church intends to ordain a woman" is not a valid intention. Further, if one believes that women "priests" are the same as male priests, then it does actually seem to imply that the intention is "to ordain a man in the same way as one would ordain a woman as the Church intends." But the Church has no authority to ordain a woman, thus there seems to be a defect in the intention of a woman-"ordaining" bishop in ordaining a man. The whole thing has produced at the very best unreliability in the validity of the sacrament. This is a defect, not a taint.

Of course, if a woman-"ordaining" bishop ordains a man, then that does not necessarily mean that the ordination is invalid. Neither does it mean that the ordination is necessarily valid. Given that, outside the mind of God, no ordinations are certain to be valid, the doubt put into the system by a woman-"ordaining" bishop is markedly greater than one who subscribes to the Catholic Faith. A Catholic inside the CofE can only receive the maximum sacramental assurance if his bishop is not consecrated by women-"ordaining" bishops.

Unfortunately for Fr. North, Bishops Webster of Beverly and Warner of Chichester were consecrated by the woman-"ordaining" Archbishop Sentamu. If these are the gentlemen that will consecrate him, then the defect will remain even in his orders.

So, we Catholics are not Donatists despite the Liberals wanting us to be heretics. We're not the ones who changed things! I wonder when Catholics in the CofE and us Continuing Anglicans will not be tainted with liberal paint.

1 comment:

Jefferson said...

Very nicely said, Father. I keep hearing this from the ACNA folk here in America. So long as they keep charging us with Donatism, we should keep defending against it. Good job.