Donatism

Entertainment / Literature / Donatism: The term donatism is an eponym taken from a bishop in North Africa named Donatus. During the patristic period, Donatus was upset by the readiness of the mainstream church to welcome back into its fold clergy who had temporarily renounced their faith in fear of Roman persecution. Donatus believed that such individuals were not fit to be priests, and that church rituals led by such individuals were worthless. This developed into the heresy of 'donatism' in the medieval period. Donatists argued that baptisms, marriages, confessions, funerals, communion services, and other church rituals were invalid if the priest performing the ceremony was in a state of sin. Thus, the entire ministry of these lapsed clergy was considered invalid by these donatists. Accordingly, donatists declared that anyone 'married' by a sinning priest was actually fornicating, and anyone who confessed and received absolution from evil clergy never actually received forgiveness of sins. Such people would need to have the rituals performed again by a priest in a state of grace.

Links
Home
Glossary
Thesaurus