Taylor Marshall a Donatist Heretic?

After my review of Dr. Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration, it is not surprising for me to say that I have grave reservations about the direction of Marshall’s career since August, 2016.

This morning was one such moment when my eyebrows perked right up and my eyes about bulged out of my head.

Within the past 24 hours, Marshall “tweeted” the following on his Twitter feed:

Cropped image here:

Marshall says, “Catholics don’t seek to receive ANY sacraments from valid priests who are formal heretics.”

I found this comment to be very disturbing, as did a number of other people who commented underneath this tweet.

The problem is this: Marshall’s tweet is a bit vague and he leaves himself open to accusations of being a Donatist.

Donatism is a heresy from the early Church, one that basically stated that Sacraments celebrated by heretical priests/bishops were not valid. Marshall’s present tweet does not explicitly state this, but he does encourage Catholics (indirectly) not to receive Sacraments from “valid priests” who are formal heretics.

The fact of the matter is that, presuming the intent to do as the Church intends is still present, the Sacraments performed by such clergy are still valid (ex opere operato). Marshall’s tweet, then, tends to undermine this aspect of Catholic doctrine.

Marshall’s declaration, however, is more about exhorting Catholics to avoid exposing themselves to error (the question of the validity of the sacraments aside). Ok, fine, I get that, but the problem is how incautiously worded Marshall’s declaration is. As one commentator wrote to Marshall, “What you say in some level can be sound prudential advice but it can also be perceived as Donatism. Why are you saying this particularly? As Saint Thomas would do, please define your terms.”

For my part, I wish to say the following to Taylor Marshall:

Marshall, you need to rein it in. You’re falling into stridency and that stride is going to send you off the deep end. If you don’t perform a serious self-evaluation and seek healthy spiritual counsel, you are going to fall off that edge.