In both respects the reflex action of the Novatianist and Donatist controversies upon Catholicism was disastrous to the earlier idea of church-fellowship. Formal and technical tests of membership, such as the reception of sacraments from a duly authorized clergy, came to replace Christ's own test of character.
Finally, it looks as if Socrates was either himself originally a Novatianist who had afterwards joined the Catholic Church, or stood, through his ancestors or by education, in most intimate relations with the Novatianist Church.
In his History he betrays great sympathy with that body, has gone with exactness into its history in Constantinople and Phrygia, and is indebted for much of the material of his work to Novatianist tradition and to his intercourse with prominent members of the sect.
But the church was thereby involved in a double conflict; for while on the one hand the Novatianist schism represents the puritan outcry against such laxity, on the other the martyrs (not indeed for the first time) claimed a position above church law, and gave trouble by issuing libelli pacis, i.e.