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Monday, June 28, 2010


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Thanks for this exposition - the diagram (borrowed though it might be) is great, too. I will be very interested to read your "adjudication," as I believe that Ware and other eastern exponents assert rather than establish the dilemma that you posit. The western riposte, i.e., that the east is guilty of monarchianism," is more persuasive to me, but ultimately unpersuasive in an absolute sense, so I just stop talking at that point in the creed.

The problem with Ware's argument is that it's merely ad hoc. What does he mean when he uses the word "personal", what is a "principle of unity", and why should it be personal? There is no clear answer to any of these three questions in Ware's writings, and one finds similar problems in John Ziziouslas.

May I suggest the following three chapters from Frank Sheed's Theology and Sanity may prove helpful: (6) Three Persons in One Nature, (7) Father, Son, and Holy spirit, (8) Some Further Precisions.

Met. Kallistos has since modified his position.

"Today many Eastern Orthodox bishops are putting aside old prejudices and again acknowledging that there need be no separation between the two communions on this issue. Eastern Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware (formerly Timothy Ware), who once adamantly opposed the filioque doctrine, states: "The filioque controversy which has separated us for so many centuries is more than a mere technicality, but it is not insoluble. Qualifying the firm position taken when I wrote [my book] The Orthodox Church twenty years ago, I now believe, after further study, that the problem is more in the area of semantics and different emphases than in any basic doctrinal differences" (Diakonia, quoted from Elias Zoghby’s A Voice from the Byzantine East, 43)." http://www.catholic.com/library/Filioque.asp

That's a helpful comment, Joe.

Just a small remark regarding the Orthodox theory: They do not just say that the HG proceeds from the Father, but from the Father THROUGH the Son. Thus, rather than a triangle, the more apt representation of the Trinity in the Orthodox way is a line.

Note also that the formula "From the Father through the Son" is not regarded as heretical from the Catholic point of view but as correct in its way and complementary to the "Filioque". The Catholics say that the HG proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, however, the ability to spirate the HG is originaly in the Father, whereas the Son receives it from the Father (this is the main "systematic" Catholic argument for Filioque: since Father gives the Son everything except his paternity, the Son must be in all things like Father, except his paternity, including spiration of the HG). Thus even in the Catholic view there is only one ultimate "unoriginated origin" of the HG - the Father; and here also lies the possibility to reconcile the two doctrines.

The Catholics see the "Filioque" as a remedy against the Eastern tendency to subordinationism, rooted in the neo-Platonic interpretation of the Trinity, where the 2nd and 3rd persons are often explained in terms similar to neo-Platonic hypostases, so that the equality of the persons is compromised.

I would also like point out the "as from one principle" phrase in the western formulation of the dogma: it is a very important implication of the "perfect identity wherever the opposition of relation does not intrude" principle for God. Just like the Father and the Son are only relatively opposed and are only distinct in relation to each other, they are, in relation to the Holy Ghost, perfectly identical. The Son's spiration is not another one than the Father's, it is the very Father's one that the Son has received from the Father, since it is not something that gets affected by the relative opposition between Son and Father.

@Lukas: What do you make of Aquinas's argument for the filioque. The Son is distinct from the Father b/c he is generated by the Father. But if the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, then the Holy Spirit would not be distinct from the Son--for on this view the Son and the Holy Spirit would originate from one agent (the Father). So, Aquinas argues that the Son and Holy Spirit are distinct b/c the Son originates from one agent (the Father), and the Holy Spirit originates from two agents (the Father & Son). On this argument, we can't say that the Father and Son are identical to each other in regard to originating the Holy Spirit--b/c then the Holy Spirit would originate from one person and not two persons. But this argument depends on there being two persons that originate the Holy Spirit. It's another question to ask what the power is which is that by which the Father and Son originate the Holy Spirit--for Aquinas this power is the divine essence. As someone mentioned above, the Father shares the numerically one divine essence with the Son such that there is one principle by which the two agents (Father and Son) originate the Holy Spirit.

But a western Christian need not appeal to an argument like Aquinas's to argue for the filioque. Other scholastics (e.g., Henry of Ghent, Duns Scotus) developed other arguments for it.

Church unity and world peace will come when we UNIFY THE DATES OF EASTER. Jesus has been asking the Church for more than 2 decades to have ONE EASTER DATE.

“I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor 1:10 RSV)

“Every Easter season I must drink of the cup of your division since this cup is forced on Me... the more time passes for them to unite the dates of Easter, the more severe their sentence this generation will receive.” (May 31, 1994 TLIG)


Dialogues, rationalism and intellectualism will not bring about unity. Unity begins not with a signed treaty, but in the heart. All is possible with God and prayer is our contact with Him. Let us ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to truly repent, for the fruit of repentance is humility and love. "It is not just through words that unity among brothers will come, but through the action of the Holy Spirit" (Sep 30, 1993 TLIG).

We need to and must allow the Holy Spirit to invade our minds and hearts so that He is able to direct us towards complete unity and peace. Until we UNIFY THE DATES OF EASTER, we hinder the Holy Spirit's action to come upon us in full force to give us the next step to take. We must UNIFY THE DATES OF EASTER first.

Let us bend our knees in prayer for the grace of the Holy Spirit to inflame our hearts with obedience and love to UNIFY THE DATES OF EASTER.

Lord, have mercy on us. God bless us.

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