Reply To: [Orthodoxy] Filioque

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[quote:242o8hxq]I am no master of the Filioque situation but reading the Catholic Encyclopedia brought up this point:

[quote:242o8hxq]Even the Greek Orthodox grant that the Latin Fathers maintain the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the son. . . . since the Greek and Latin Fathers before the nineth century were the members of the same Church, it is antecedently improbable that the Eastern Fathers should have denied a dogma firmly maintained by the Western.[/quote:242o8hxq]


Sounds like one of those famously skewed Catholic Encyclopedia articles to me. (Surely, everyone’s aware that it has a rather pro-RC bias?)

I don’t think that any honest Church historian, east or west, would agree that this quote is even vaguely true. The filioque was invented in the west, inserted into the Creed in the west (at Toledo), and was condemned in the east (and west) at our Eighth Ecumenical Council. It was also opposed vehemently by various Popes between the time of its first insertion into the Creed and it’s final acceptance in Rome – for several hundred years!

No Eastern Father that I’m aware of [i:242o8hxq]ever[/i:242o8hxq] taught that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Son. To do so would be to directly contradict Scripture. The aspect of the problem that always seems to go over the heads of the RCs is that in the Creed, the ‘proceed’ is referring to eternal origins, not temporal mission. Eastern Fathers have, indeed, taught that the Holy Spirit was sent into the world, in time, by the Son. This is sometimes expressed by the phrase ‘through the Son’. This however, cannot ever be accepted as an addition to the Creed, because it talks of temporal rather than eternal processionl. Now, I can’t tell if your Chuch still teaches a double eternal procession of the Holy Spirit as I get contradictory answers whenever I ask people about this, but it certainly did once. Reading an older catechism, I found it explicitly stated that the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and Son as of one principle. It is that doctrine that we oppose as heretical and that no Eastern Father has ever come close to supporting and it is that doctrine that was presupposed (and is the only way to read it) when the filioque was inserted into the Creed. If the RCC no longer teaches this then someone needs to come out publicly and say so, because an awful lot of RCs say this is still current teaching, and if you don’t believe in dual procession any more then there is really no reason to have the filioque in the Creed at all. This is why I say that it appears the RCC doesn’t really care about the filioque any more and, if you were serious about reunification with the Orthodox you ought to be willing to return to the original wording of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.