All posts tagged: ex opere operato

A Painful Look Back at Saint Augustine and the Donatist Schism

In the West we learned from St. Augustine to despise schism, or at least we should have. If we sufficiently understand it in its ecclesiological and Christological import, we should take it for what it is: the rending of Christ’s body. We have Augustine to thank for this stark diagnosis, just as we have him to thank for a remedial understanding of the Church’s unity, grounded as it is in Christ’s action in the sacraments. But as we celebrate his feast day once again, it is perhaps useful to think carefully about that diagnosis in full. At the moment, the Church spread across the orbis terrarum, as he liked to denote it, appears to careen haplessly from one scandalous revelation to the next. And no one version of the ever-growing series of charges need be true to justify the pain felt by so many. Pain. Some of us who study the events and texts of the early Church can easily overlook the fact that it likely occasioned the controversy that took its name from an …