What are some major scandals/crises in the early Church?


My other thread was closed, for no given reason.

Anyway: the purpose of this thread is not to slander the Church, but to express that the Church has always had sinners and scandal from the very beginning.

I know the Arian crisis is one example.

Any others?


The bit I added (or some variation) might help you come off the right way to others. :slight_smile:


You may find information on heresies right here at Catholic Answers.

2,000 years and still going strong. 054_highprayer


I would look at 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, Hebrews and Jude to get a flavor for some of the earlier issues within the Church. John’s epistles as well.


Are you interested in naming heresies, which is more of an internal theological dispute? Or are you interested in naming political, sexual, power-based atrocities (like the era of the Borgias), which is more along the lines of recently named scandals? They are very different, don’t you think?


Yes they are different. I think both; but mostly the latter. The reason is that I want to put together a well though-out (but concise) blog post on the “Scandals of Every Century of the Church,” so that people know that the “weeds” will always be in the Church. Scandals do nothing to contradict the truth and goodness of the Catholic Faith.

However, some centuries’ major scandals may just be that – the scandal of division and heresy. I imagine the early centuries were like that. However, Peter scandalized some folks. And we can’t forget Judas!


Heresy is scandalous.


As far as Arianism is concerned, there’s a big difference between people believing that Jesus wasn’t God and priests raping kids and then the higher ups covering that up because of their concern of public image.

But Pope Alexander VI had orgies at the Vatican and fathered a few illegitimate children


I never said there wasn’t a big difference.

Scandal is scandal though. There is no point where scandal equates to “THE CHURCH IS NOW CORRUPT, you’re FREE TO GO!”

Indeed, raping of children is the worst of crimes.

But I’m asking about the worst in the early centuries.


But Pope Alexander VI had orgies at the Vatican and fathered a few illegitimate children

Was that in the first few centuries of the church?


no, in the renaissance. in the first few centuries of the church everyone was too busy getting murdered. maybe Christianity thrives best in times of persecution


Both extremes are horrible, for sure.


A big heresy was Gnosticism. Second century.


In the 3rd century, people wanted to ostracize priests and bishops who sinned rather than be martyred during a persecution. That developed into Donatism, who rejected sinful priests and wanted an upright clergy.

St Augustine led the Catholic response that emphasized forgiveness and hels that sacraments were valid even if the priest had sinned.


Heresy is only scandalous to those inside the community, and usually only to leaders and theologians. Rape, abuse, violence, murder, war, infidelities, and other corruption, affect everyone on every level.

Big difference.


The Corpse Synod and Pope Steven VI (896-897)

The Saeculum Obscurum period of Papal history from Popes Sergius II to John XII from 904-964.

Benedict IX selling the papacy: 1032-1044, 1045, 1047-1048

The early Church was primarily just dealing with heresies: Arianism, Gnosticism, Monophysitism, Marcionism, Adoptionism, Docetism, Apollinarianism, Monothelitism, Nestorianism, Donatism, Pelagianism, etc… It wasn’t until the Church began getting involved in politics that major scandals began to arise outside of heresies.


The community is the early Church as per thread topic. As to leaders and insiders, the fact that laity still discuss might suggest that heresy is an issue to those who are not leaders or theologians.


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