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Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124223 06/03/05 05:01 PM
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While Pavloosh's words may have been a bit too casual and coarse for public consumption... :rolleyes:

It appears that most Orthodox Patriarch’s agree with him in substance.

Witness the Pan-Orthodox Council now in session.

The Orthodox church has recognized its need to change. Especially in it dealings with other Christians. And so for the first time since …

Oh … to save sensitivities let us have an Orthodox bishop tell us why this new council became possible...

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The warmth of Pope John, the great love of Patriarch Athenagoras and the humility of Pope Paul have generated a miraculous change of attitudes among Christians. Thanks to them, Christendom today is witnessing warm and profound relations that are without precedence in almost 2000 years.
What are some of the goals of the Council?

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There is an urgent and pressing need to update the Church on worship, fasting, marriage laws, customs, traditions and the complex and antiquated Canons of Orthodoxy.
Note: Customs and traditions and cannons - will change. Must change. Are changing.

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Speaking of canons, let me cite a few examples that will illustrate how difficult, if not impossible today, it is to abide by the canons.

These rigid and severe laws apply to both clergymen and laymen:

It is forbidden —
Being friendly and associating with non-Christians,
Praying with or attending services of heretics and schismatics,
Using the medical services of a Jewish doctor,
Marrying a non-Orthodox,
Playing cards or even hunting,
Painting artistic works or gazing at the same,
Clergymen using female housekeepers,
Not observing the four main fasts of the year, plus every Wednesday and Friday all year long,
Attending banquets where females are present.

If one were to observe the canons on fasting, it would mean not eating meat on about two-thirds of the year. No wonder a distinguished Orthodox theologian remarked: “THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IS GOOD AND HOLY; HOWEVER, ITS FLOCK IS PRACTICALLY UNDER EX­COMMUNICATION.”

Thank God for the Doctrine of Economy in Orthodoxy that provides shelter and some flexibility. Otherwise, we would all be under the ban of suspension or excommunication.

Such is the dilemma of world-wide Orthodoxy, not to add many new problems and moral issues of this 20th century. Orthodoxy must remind the world of its teachings on abortion, mercy-killing, homosexuality, capital punishment, social injustice, and world-poverty.
Surely Photius - you have been to a Jewish doctor and perhaps a banquet where women were present? Dare we hope you also were once friendly with a non-Christian too. (just a friendly tap on your knee hehe).

Of course - some Orthodox are already calling the Pan-Council a heresy - in non-direct ways.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/thess_conclusions.aspx
And clinging to the concepts of dreaded “Papists and Protestants“.

Becaue traditions and customs are the result of the contemporary pastoral needs and are not items of revealed faith - and there is no single tradition across the entire church (traditions and customes = rites) you Orthodox will have some changes in customs and tradition coming.

Let us hope that the too often used complaint of “Latinisation” for any attempt to keep up with the pastorial needs of feeding the sheep - will ring hollow after that.

I myself would love to see the frustrations of Orthodox biblical scholars - ended. They have done wonderful advancements in biblical research - but must keep from public publications because they include research not restricted to the Septuagint alone - least they battle charges of heresy for not sticking to the Septuagint alone.

Call it what you may (the new Pan-Orthodox Council) but it is comparable in purpose too the Vatican Councils I and II of the Latin church.

A spring in which a new flower may be planted in fresh soil.

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One united Orthodox Church in America, once endorsed and approved by a Pan-Orthodox Council, would usher in the “Golden Age of Orthodoxy.” Only in this free land is the Church safe from interference and political pressures. If world Orthodoxy suffers from external oppression and political pressures, we [also] suffer from internal divisions and weakness.

The time has come for all true Orthodox Christians to support and encourage the establishment of ONE GREAT CHURCH IN AMERICA. If Jerusalem is the holy city of our Lord and the Mother Church of all, and Antioch the great city where we were named Christians for the first time, and Rome the Imperial Capital of the Roman Empire and Seat of the Pope, and Constantinople the New Rome and former capital of the Byzantine Empire, then America has a new role and place in this 20th century. America could become the capital of Christendom in this 20th century. After all, who else in the world, could place the Cross of Jesus and a church, if the need be, on the moon? Thank God for America, thank God for Orthodoxy and thanks be to all who have vision and foresight to dream of all the possibilities that unity can generate. Amen.
I think he meant 21st century.

Amen.

Now can somone point me to resport on the proceedings and progress of the wonderful Council taking place in Turkey...??

-ray


-ray
Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124224 06/03/05 06:00 PM
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Of course, my dear Photius - when I said "a friendly tap on your knee" - I did mean your Orthodox knee - you right - knee.

I jest my firend. I jest. I am the fool and I know it. :rolleyes:

-ray


-ray
Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124225 06/06/05 01:39 AM
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Actually, I have found that to be the case among most members here, but that there are still those few, moreso on the Orthodox side but also from the Catholic position, that at times employ divisive rhetoric and polemics.
I wonder, is it also fear that divides us? Pride, one of man's most eggregious sins, doesn't seem to be all that is at work here. After 1,000 years of separation are we not all afraid of what reconciliation would mean? Do we not all fear losing something of what we hold dear? Perhaps fear and pride go hand-in-hand as well in that we may fear the pride we have in our faith (we being the only correct ones of course unlike those others), may be somewhat misplaced. Difficult to say for certain but much to ponder and pray about.

Pax Christi,
John


Pax Christi,
John
Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124226 06/06/05 01:51 AM
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Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
As a UGCC'er, I always wonder what is up with Rome for refusing to acknowledge the Patriarchate of this Church, a Church of martyrs and confessors - given, as well, all the Roman rhetoric about the EC Churches and the establishment of new Patriarchates etc.

What Roman hypocrisy!
"Roman hypocrisy" or prudence and Christian charity at work? You casigate the Holy See for not doing enough with ecumenical efforts with the East than excoriate it for showing caution to not offend the East? You know the answer to why Rome has been reluctant to recognize Major Archbishop Lubomyr Cardinal Husar as Ukrainian Catholic Patriarch of Kiev. If Rome did so it would be the death-knell of ecumenical talks with the East, particularly with the Russian Orthodox. I share your desire for a patriarchate for our Ukrainian borthers and sisters, indeed I find the ROC's opposition to be specious and self-serving. Having said all this, I believe Rome is correct in proceeding slowly in the matter. Why deliberately antagonize and hurt those we call brethren (even though separated) and seek to reconcile with? Is a title worth all the acrimony it would bring? I think not. There may come a day when the Major Archbishop will be recognized as patriarch regardless of what the Russian Orthodox think, but that day has not come yet.

Pax Christi,
John


Pax Christi,
John
Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124227 06/06/05 07:10 AM
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John wrote:

You know the answer to why Rome has been reluctant to recognize Major Archbishop Lubomyr Cardinal Husar as Ukrainian Catholic Patriarch of Kiev. If Rome did so it would be the death-knell of ecumenical talks with the East, particularly with the Russian Orthodox. I share your desire for a patriarchate for our Ukrainian borthers and sisters, indeed I find the ROC's opposition to be specious and self-serving. Having said all this, I believe Rome is correct in proceeding slowly in the matter.




I am a member of a UGCC community (and perhaps the only member of the congregation that believes a UGCC patriarchate is premature). I agree with John. The Russian Orthodox Church is stuck in a time warp and has not caught up with political developments in the West or even Central Europe. Rome must proceed cautiously, perhaps wait for a new hierarchy in Moscow. Not until the Russian Church recovers from the decades long devastation of Soviet communism can Rome negotiate the issue of a Ukrainian patriarchate. I appreciate the efforts of Roman Catholics in Germany and other countries to aid the Orthodox in Russia and I think that Catholics there are often insensitive in proselityzing (although I recognize the right of Poles, Lithuanians and others in Russia to practice freedom of religion).

Stojgniev

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124228 06/06/05 03:22 PM
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-ray
Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124229 06/06/05 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by RayK:
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Ray,

Allow me to congratulate you on your most profound post ever. I shall spend hours meditating on what it might have been that you had written.

Jason

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124230 06/27/05 07:33 AM
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Originally posted by IrishJohan:
I wonder, is it also fear that divides us? Pride, one of man's most eggregious sins, doesn't seem to be all that is at work here. After 1,000 years of separation are we not all afraid of what reconciliation would mean? Do we not all fear losing something of what we hold dear? Perhaps fear and pride go hand-in-hand as well in that we may fear the pride we have in our faith (we being the only correct ones of course unlike those others), may be somewhat misplaced. Difficult to say for certain but much to ponder and pray about.

Pax Christi,
John
I am sure that fear and pride do play a part in the divisions between East and West, but as a person who has been Western and has now become Eastern, there are real theological differences as well, and some of these differences are greater than people want to admit.

Is grace created or uncreated?

Is there a real distinction in God between His essence and His energy?

Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son in such a way that the Spirit receives His subsistence from both, or is the Father alone the cause of the hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit?

Is the hypostatic union a created reality (as Aquinas holds, see the Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q. 2, Art. 7), or is it uncreated as St. John Damascene holds?

How is a man's divinization effected?

Is the vision of God a vision of the divine essence or is it a vision of the uncreated divine energies?

Are the spouses the minister of the Sacrament of Matrimony, or is the priest?

Are icons merely reminders of those who are not actually present, or are icons infused with divine energy and true theophanies of God and the saint depicted in them?

Etc.

Now these are just a few of the theological questions that need to be resolved before communion (I avoid using the word "union") can be restored between all of the Churches of the East and the Catholic Church.

We must not treat these differences as if they do not exist, or as if they are unimportant, because they concern the very reality of what has been revealed to us in Christ.

God bless,
Todd

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124231 06/27/05 01:31 PM
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Dear IrishJohan,

Yes, I will still call it "hypocrisy."

Unity that is not based on fairness and truth is not unity, but pretence.

Rome's Ostpolitik has gained it . . . what?

And Pope John Paul II, when he became Pope, ensured that the Polish Church was removed from the machinations of the Ostpoliticans at the Vatican.

I think a distinction must be drawn between the Pope and the Holy See - and the quite earthy involvements of Vatican politicans.

If the two are synonymous - I don't believe they are.

In the days of Patriarch Josef the Confessor's time, Rome, the Vatican, whatever you like, was actually quite offensive to him and to the Ukrainian Church.

Rome really doesn't know what it is doing in the East, but it is very positive that Pope Benedict XVI has, in no uncertain terms, affirmed his support and esteem for the UGCC.

You see, the Pope wants unity, but not on a false basis.

Unity must also be a desire from the "other side" and it must involve a turning away from sin and hardened attitudes (on both sides).

Rome's political stance is certainly not covered off by "ex cathedra."

Rome has been wrong historically on a number of scores.

Rome's attitude toward the UGCC has been wrong as well.

This does not mean that redemption on this score cannot yet be achieved through good works, however . . .

I'm sorry to have offended you by my reference to Vatican politicians.

That is who I mean when I say "Rome."

We cannot do without the Pope. We can do without the conniving of those politicians.

Alex

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124232 06/27/05 02:54 PM
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Dear Todd,

Some of your points have already been resolved, or at least there are those who say they CAN be resolved.

As for the procession of the Spirit, even though Aquinas argues for the procession of the Holy Spirit from BOTH the Father and the Son, this does not contradict the view of the East (and of the West prior to the Filioque issue) that:

1) the Spirit is from the Father through the Son, with the Father being the Sole Origin within the Trinity;

2) That the Spirit proceeds "actively" from the Father, but only "passively" from the Son (a better way of saying is the above "From the Father through the Son" - clearer and no confusion).

3) That the Filioque has no place in the Nicene Creed, wether in the West or the East, as the Creed that is intended to confess the Faith of the universal Church of Christ.

My own inclination is to say that the older Fathers of the Church, known for their orthodoxy and their defense of it, as proclaimed by the Church and her tradition of teaching, are the ones we should defer to always.

Also, today, RC theologians have no problem accepting the Orthodox side of each and every one of the points you raised.

Alex

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124233 06/28/05 03:50 PM
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Alex

First I want to thank you for responding to my post.

That being said, as far as the filioque is concerned, I am not sure that there is a real consensus on this issue as of yet.

When you said that, "The Spirit is from the Father through the Son, with the Father being the Sole Origin within the Trinity," I wholeheartedly agree, but I continue to have concerns about the Augustinian / Thomist theological tradition and its view of the Father and the Son as forming a single principle of origin for the Holy Spirit. This idea is represented in the decree of the Council of Florence, which said that, ". . . the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has His essence and His subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration. We declare that when holy doctors and fathers say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, this bears the sense that thereby also the Son should be signified, according to the Greeks indeed as cause, and according to the Latins as principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, just like the Father." [Council of Florence, Session VI, 6 July 1439] The problem with this declaration is that it does not accurately represent the Eastern tradition, which holds that the Father is the sole hypostatic cause of the other two hypostases. In fact generation and procession are hypostatic properties of the Father alone, and consequently they cannot be shared with either the Son or the Holy Spirit. To hold that the Son participates as a cause of the hypostatic origin of the Spirit borders on Sabellianism, because it confounds the hypostases of the Father and the Son.

Now one of the reasons I hold that this problem is not yet resolved is that there are Latin Catholic theologians who continue to argue that the Son is a cause of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit. For example Fr. David Coffey in an article responding to perceived theological problems with the clarification on the filioque that was issued by the Holy See in the mid 1990s concludes by saying that, "If the Orthodox East, in agreeing that the Holy Spirit 'proceeds' from the Son, means by this that He originates from the Son no less than He does from the Father (as Aquinas taught), but without the ultimacy that belongs to the Father alone as the 'monarch' of the Trinity, then it is true, they believe as we do. But this may be an over-optimistic assessment." [Fr. David Coffey, The Roman 'Clarification' on the Filioque, International Journal of Systematic Theology, Volume 5, Number 1, March 2003] He is correct about one thing, his assessment is over-optimistic, because the entire weight of the Cappadocian, Maximian, and Palamite theological tradition holds that the Father alone gives hypostatic existence to the Holy Spirit.

Next you stated that "That the Spirit proceeds 'actively' from the Father, but only 'passively' from the Son (a better way of saying is the above 'From the Father through the Son' - clearer and no confusion)," and again I agree with the idea that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, but I would like to know what is meant by the terms actively and passively. Now if the term actively is meant to indicate that the Father alone is the cause, source, and origin of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit, and that the Son is in no way involved as a cause of the subsistence of the Spirit, then I agree, although I don't care for the term actively because it is somewhat ambiguous. As far as the idea of the Spirit proceeding passively from the Son is concerned, if this word is meant to indicate the manifestation of the Spirit from the Son in the divine energy, then I agree with this comment as well, but as with the previous term, I see the word passively as somewhat ambiguous. I can accept both terms (with additional clarifications) as long as they are not being used to indicate that the Son causes the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, when you said that, ". . . the Filioque has no place in the Nicene Creed, whether in the West or the East, as the Creed that is intended to confess the Faith of the universal Church of Christ," on this issue we are in complete agreement.

God bless,
Todd

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124234 06/28/05 06:42 PM
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Dear Todd,

Yes, I read the "active/passive" Spiration aspect in a number of Latin theological papers that were slated for use in theology courses here at St Michael's University.

I personally don't care for the distinction!

The Thomist position is rooted in what the Orthodox East (rightly) considers to be a rationalist preoccupation with reducing the Trinity to the inner relations.

Both sides have always agreed that the way the Spirit proceeds from the Father is different from the way the Son is Eternally Begotten of the Father - but that the difference cannot by known by us and that the difference itself is more than sufficient to establish the distinction between the two Divine Persons, without having to resort to the reasoning involved with the Filioque or the "Procession from both the Father and the Son as from One Principle."

The tried and true way is the clearest way!

Alex

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124235 06/28/05 06:51 PM
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Todd,

[In advance, let me just say that this post starts out sounding somewhat negative and polemical; that isn't my intention, and if you read through the whole thing I'm sure you'll see that I'm just trying to work this out. smile ]

Your post is well-stated. I only wonder if the unfortunate upshot of it is that true agreement between Catholic and Orthodox believers is simply and utterly impossible unless one side completely repudiates one or more of their essential dogmas. In other words, your post seems to indicate that reinterpretation of the filioque issue is simply not going to work; one side will have to just completely give in (which, as we all know, is very unlikely). Why do I say this? Well, your post make it pretty clear, but I'll try to draw out what I mean.

You cite the Council of Florence for an expression of the Catholic viewpoint. As you note, this council clearly says that the Holy Spirit receives both his essence and his subsistent being from the Father and the Son. It goes on to say that the Son should, therefore, be signified as a cause of the Holy Spirit's subsistence, just like the Father. You then point out that this contradicts the Eastern view that the Father is the sole cause of the hypostasis of the Spirit. According to you, the entire Eastern tradition holds that the Holy Spirit receives hypostatic existence from the Father alone. Both of these viewpoints have the force of dogma on either side. For Catholics, the Council of Florence is (as far as I know) a binding council that, having been ratified by a Pope, is infallible and no longer open to question. For Eastern (Orthodox) believers, the tradition that has been handed down is equally binding and cannot be altered. So, there you have it: two explicitly contradictory viewpoints, neither of which can be altered without a complete abandonment of a piece of dogma. It seems that the Catholic will either have to repudiate the Council of Florence (in which case he will also have to repudiate his theory regarding the infallibility and necessity of the Papacy, particularly when it comes to the ratification of ecumenical councils), or the Orthodox will have to repudiate Eastern tradition (which amounts more or less to a repudiation of the entire Orthodox ecclesiological system in favor of the Papacy). In other words, it seems that the only possibility for reunion is a complete conversion on the part of one side or the other. In such dire circumstances, how is one really supposed to be Byzantine Catholic? Forgive me for speaking so forcefully, but if you are right, it appears that there is simply no hope of maintaining fidelity to both Eastern tradition and the Pope. They are fundamentally incompatible -- one says Father alone, one says Son just like the Father -- and so one can be faithful to only one of the two.

Leaving it there would be rather depressing and negative, of course, so I am going to attempt what I think might be one possible way of reconciling these viewpoints. However, it appears from what you have said that you may already reject my attempt, which is the reason I am writing this post to begin with. As you already know, I am interested in how you might address the above problem; I think that something like what I am about to say is the only way to address it, but I am not sure if you would accept my attempted reconciliation. I would appreciate it very much if you would let me (and the rest of us) know. smile

Here it is: it seems to me that you have just got to make a distinction between being an originating cause and being a mediate cause. The Eastern tradition clearly rejects the idea that the Son is in any way the originating cause; as you have suggested, the Father alone is the (originating) cause of the hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit. The Latin tradition, on the other hand, clearly holds that the Son is a cause of the Holy Spirit's existence in some way. The crucial move is to grab ahold of that caveat -- "in some way" -- and milk it for what it's worth. If one holds that the Father alone is the originating cause of the Holy Spirit's subsistence, but that this cause works through the Son, in a way that makes the Son a cause too, but only a mediate cause, then it seems possible that both viewpoints might be reconciled. According to this viewpoint, the Father is the sole originating cause, but the Son is a mediate cause; this is precisely the meaning of "from the Father through the Son" and "from the Father and the Son." This conception of things upholds both the Father's monarchy as sole originating cause, but also manages to uphold Florence in saying that the Son is a cause -- albeit a mediate cause -- too. It just seems to me that that's the only possible way of solving this thing. Furthermore, it seems to be reconcilable both with Fr. David Coffey's comments and with the Filioque Clarification issued in 1995, which is quite an added benefit. Also, as far as I can tell, it gets around the problem of potential Sabellianism, because no property is confused between the Father and the Son -- the properties of being an originating cause and being a mediate cause are simply different properties. I am thus very curious to know if you think this interpretation gets us anywhere.

Forgive my long-windedness and the forcefulness behind what is my very first post on these forums. I hope you don't mind my questions and my attempts at a solution that might be acceptable to all of us, but it all comes, of course, in the name of peace. smile

Thanks, and God bless,
Jason

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124236 06/28/05 07:11 PM
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Dear Jason,

Great post!

However, the Roman Catholic Church has NEVER officially said that the Son is the Cause of the Spirit - in fact, it denies this and simply says the Spirit proceeds passively from the Son.

A better way of saying this is what the Fathers have said "From the Father through the Son."

I've always wondered how the RC Church reconciles the fact that St John Damascus, recognized by it as a Doctor of the Church, in his "De Fide Orthodoxa" states emphatically that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son with what St Thomas Aquinas said - in fact, Aquinas tried to contradict what the Damascene said.

So since both Saints are recognized as Teachers of the Church by Rome - which one of the two is correct on this score?

And did not Pope John VIII, in reconciling with Photius of Constantinople, affirm the Creed without the Filioque - saying that it represented questionable theology?

Do not the two old tablets with the Creed kept in Rome have it without the Filioque?

Has not the RC Church approved the use of the Creed without the Filioque in all her parishes in Greece?

So it is clear that, tomorrow, the Pope can issue an edict to drop the Filioque from the Creed, citing ancient precedent, and that it that!

Great post, in any event!

Alex

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street #124237 06/28/05 07:42 PM
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Dear Alex,

Thank you for your comments and compliments. smile I must say, however, that I believe you may risk painting a bit too happy of a picture here. The Council of Florence, of course, is an official council of the Roman Catholic Church, and it indeed does teach that "when holy doctors and fathers say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, this bears the sense that thereby also the Son should be signified, according to the Greeks indeed as cause . . . of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit."

As for the differences between St. John of Damascus and St. Thomas Aquinas, I myself don't know too much about that issue. I would, however, wholeheartedly recommend this article that specifically addresses their views on the procession of the Holy Spirit and attempts to reconcile them. In my opinion, it's quite good.

Thanks, and God bless,
Jason

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