Cyprian the Not so Strict

Today’s feast day of SS Cyprian and Cornelius are a reminder of the tensions and conflicts which have always existed in the church. In the mid third century the Decian persecution broke out and many clergy and laity caved under the threat. They made sacrifices to the pagan gods and some bought their way out by purchasing certificates saying they had sacrificed even though they hadn’t. Cyprian himself went into hiding as the emperor had declared that all bishops should be killed. When times eased up the church leadership had to decide what to do about all those who had compromised the faith and now wanted to be re-admitted to the church. The hard liners refused there reconciliation. The liberals accepted them back freely. Cyprian led the church in the moderate view that they could be re-admitted after sincere repentance. So the Catholic Church remains today — always an open door to those who seek the Lord with a sincere and contrite heart.