Reply To: [Orthodoxy] Filioque

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[quote:83jpd5t7][quote:83jpd5t7]It’s not what I’ve heard from some other RCs, but you may be right. I have been told before that the Pope is above Ecumenical Councils and that no council can be Ecumenical unless the Pope says so. I, clearly, would disagree.[/quote:83jpd5t7]

James, it seems to me like the East (Anglicans included) have a tendency to make a pope vs. councils type of comparison. As if they were in competition with each other. This is not my understanding of it. The Catholic position is that they work together, in conjunction; not papal power and no conciliar input, or councils with no pope (Orthodoxy and Anglicanism), or neither councils nor popes (Protestantism).

[quote:83jpd5t7]If your understanding is correct, however, how do you account for the fact that the Pope added the flioque to the Creed unilaterally in opposition to the Second Ecumenical Council’s general ban on additions and the specific ban on the filioque addition made by a council accepted as Ecumenical by one of his predecessors? Surely his actions claim, practically, an authority over the Ecumenical Councils (and his predecessors in the Papacy) even if he had no rightful claim to such authority (as we would contend)? [/quote:83jpd5t7]

I am by no means an expert on that controversy of the why the Pope added the filoque, but I would say that matters of highly abstract, difficult philosophical theology concerning the Trinity should not be made into criteria for dividing the Church. Many preeminent Eastern Fathers viewed the manner in much the same way that Rome did as I quoted some earlier.

[quote:83jpd5t7]By the way (and this is to anyone here), why is it that when RCs recite the Creed in Greek they do so without the filioque? It’s always seemed to me that if you are genuine in your wish for reconciliation it would be a simple matter for you to drop the insistance on the filioque. If you don’t always use it, you don’t seem (to me) to care too much about it, whereas for us it’s a major issue.[/quote:83jpd5t7]

Couldn’t we say the same James. I mean, I tried to show in many topics relating to our differences that we really don’t diagree and it seemed that you guys were less hesitant to give in. So who’s not interested in reconciliation? It is rather convenient for you to practically say “well you guys need to drop all your beliefs like papal supremacy and the filoque for us to unite. But we don’t have to drop anything”. This is hardly a way to resolve and promote unity James. I mean it’s not like we can’t pull church father quotes like:

[quote:83jpd5t7][b:83jpd5t7]St Maximus the Confessor[A.D. 650]:[/b:83jpd5t7]

… do not become for us an obstacle unexpectedly, nor use force so as to drive us away or detain us here… the Church and clergy of Rome… the eldest of all the churches under the sun, [b:83jpd5t7]has the pre-eminence over all. Having undoubtedly obtained this canonically, both from the councils and from the apostles as well as from their supreme principality, because of the eminence of her pontificate she is not bound to produce any writings or synodical letters, just as in these matters all are subject to her, in accordance with priestly law.”[/b:83jpd5t7] Having thus by these words shown no fear, but having disputed with the clergy of the imperial city with all holy and becoming assurance, as firm ministers of the truly solid and immovable rock, that is, the greatest apostolic Church, they seemed to calm them down, and preserving humility and simplicity, they acted with prudence, making known to them at the beginning the firmness and orthodoxy of their faith. [Mansi X, 677-8][/quote:83jpd5t7]

This just turns into a quote war. But this doesn’t seem to get me no where with you guys. Because you guys also have some that you can quote as well. Anyways, I don’t want to go off on a tangent.



As you know, I agree with you on the Patristic proof-texting approach and so I try not to get into such arguments. I would argue that RCs often misunderstand the Eastern Fathers by reading them through the lens of post-19th century RC theology and ecclesiology, which they clearly could not have shared. I’m sure you would say that our readings are similarly skewed, but the point is that, like with any text, we cannot read them without some tradition of interepretation.

I didn’t actually say you would have to drop everything before we could be reunified. Personally, I think that the process could be, you drop divisive positions like the filioque that you don’t seem to care much about but we think are major. We do the equivalent for you (if there are any. I’m not aware of any at the moment). You drop the insistence on Papal Supremacy (I’d say that this would be the one absolutely non-negotiable issue, otherwise the next step wouldn’t work). Finally, the whole Church (both sides) meet for a council of reunification which would hash out all the other details. This suggestion (more or less) actually came from an RC acquaintance. He basically said that if the RCC were serious about reunification he couldn’t see why you couldn’t go back to how you were just prior to the Schism and then work all the developments since out with us in council. I agreed with him, but as such a council would be entirely dependent on the Papacy being utterly reformed, I can’t see it happening any time soon unless God grants us a miracle. I’m afraid that, at the moment, the words of reconciliation from the current and last Pope look more like empty gestures than serious attempts at a reunion.