The Donatist controversy, we noticed in our preceding article, was, according to the eminent church historian, Philip Schaff, a conflict between complete separation and Catholicism. The Donatists started from an ideal and spiritualistic conception of the visible church in the midst of the world. The church must be a fellowship of perfect saints. This also determined their conception of the sacraments. Unholy priests cannot administer the sacraments. That which is holy cannot be imparted by unholy men.