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Controversy Over Baptism By Here

In the great persecutions schisms arose in connection with the
administration of discipline (cf. 46). The schismatics held in general
the same faith as the main body of Christians. Were the sacraments they
administered to be regarded, then, as valid in such a sense that when they
conformed to the Catholic Church, which they frequently did, they need not
be baptized, having once been validly baptized; or should their schismatic
baptism be regarded as invalid and they be required to receive baptism on
conforming if they had not previously been baptized within the Church? Was
baptism outside the unity of the Church valid? Rome answered in the
affirmative, admitting conforming schismatics without distinguishing as to
where they had been baptized; North Africa answered in the negative and
required not, indeed, a second baptism, but claimed that the Church's
baptism was alone valid, and that if the person conforming had been
baptized in schism he had not been baptized at all. This view was shared
by at least some churches in Asia Minor (cf. 51, b), and possibly
elsewhere. It became the basis of the Donatist position (cf. 62),
which schism shared with the Novatian schism the opinion, generally
rejected by the Church, that the validity of a sacrament depended upon the
spiritual condition of the minister of the sacrament, e.g., whether he
was in schism or not.

Additional source material: Seventh Council of Carthage (ANF, vol.
V); Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VII, 7:4-6; Augustine, De Baptismo
contra Donatistas, Bk. III (PNF, ser. I, vol. IV).

(a) Cyprian, Ep. ad Jubianum, Ep. 73, 7 [=72]. (MSL, 3:1159, 168.)

A portion of this epistle may be found in Mirbt, n. 70.

Ch. 7. It is manifest where and by whom the remission of sins can be
given, i.e., that remission which is given by baptism. For first of all
the Lord gave the power to Peter, upon whom He built the Church, and
whence he appointed and showed the source of unity, the power, namely,
that that should be loosed in heaven which he loosed on earth [John 20:21
quoted]. When we perceive that only they who are set over the Church and
established in the Gospel law and in the ordinance of the Lord are allowed
to baptize and to give remission of sins, we see that outside of the
Church nothing can be bound or loosed, for there there is no one who can
either bind or loose anything.

Ch. 21. Can the power of baptism be greater or of more avail than
confession, than suffering when one confesses Christ before men, and is
baptized in his own blood? And yet, even this baptism does not benefit a
heretic, although he has confessed Christ and been put to death outside
the Church, unless the patrons and advocates of heretics [i.e., those
whom Cyprian is opposing] declare that the heretics who are slain in a
false confession of Christ are martyrs, and assign to them the glory and
the crown of martyrdom contrary to the testimony of the Apostle, who says
that it will profit them nothing although they are burned and slain. But
if not even the baptism of a public confession and blood can profit a
heretic to salvation, because there is no salvation outside of the Church,
how much less shall it benefit him if, in a hiding-place and a cave of
robbers stained with the contagion of adulterous waters, he has not only
not put off his old sins, but rather heaped up still newer and greater
ones! Wherefore baptism cannot be common to us and to heretics, to whom
neither God the Father nor Christ the Son, nor the Holy Ghost, nor the
faith, nor the Church itself is common. And wherefore they ought to be
baptized who come from heresy to the Church, so that they who are prepared
and receive the lawful and true and only baptism of the holy Church, by
divine regeneration for the kingdom of God may be born of both sacraments,
because it is written: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God" [John 3:5].

Ch. 26. These things, dearest brother, we have briefly written to you
according to our modest abilities, prescribing to none and prejudging
none, so as to prevent any one of the bishops doing what he thinks well,
and having the free exercise of his judgment.

(b) Cyprian, Ep. ad Magnum, Ep. 75 [=69]. (MSL, 3:1183.) Cf.
Mirbt, n. 67.

With your usual diligence you have consulted my poor intelligence, dearest
son, as to whether, among other heretics, they also who come from Novatian
ought, after his profane washing, to be baptized and sanctified in the
Catholic Church, with the lawful, true, and only baptism of the Church. In
answer to this question, as much as the capacity of my faith and the
sanctity and truth of the divine Scriptures suggest, I say that no
heretics and schismatics at all have any right to power. For which reason
Novatian, since he is without the Church and is acting in opposition to
the peace and love of Christ, neither ought to be, nor can be, omitted
from being counted among the adversaries and antichrists. For our Lord
Jesus Christ, when He declared in His Gospel that those who were not with
Him were His adversaries, did not point out any species of heresy, but
showed that all who were not with Him, and who were not gathering with
Him, were scattering His flock, and were His adversaries, saying: "He that
is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me
scattereth" [Luke 11:23]. Moreover, the blessed Apostle John distinguished
no heresy or schism, neither did he set down any specially separated, but
he called all who had gone out from the Church, and who acted in
opposition to the Church, antichrists, saying, "Ye have heard that
Antichrist cometh, and even now are come many antichrists; wherefore we
know that this is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not
of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us" [I
John 2:18 f.]. Whence it appears that all are adversaries of the Lord
and are antichrists who are known to have departed from the charity and
from the unity of the Catholic Church.

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