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Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street

Posted By: DocBrian

Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 06:21 PM

From Teofilo's Blog: http://www.vivificat.org/2005/06/reconciliation-with-orthodox-is-two.html

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street

Folks, I posted this note on a discussion thread taking place at The Free Republic's Religion forum, and I thought I should repost it here, slightly edited and adapted for Vivificat's readership.

Slava Isusu Christu!
The "Reader David" told me:

If the consciousness of the filioque as heresy was not fixed in Orthodox consciousness (at least within the Patriarchate of Constantinople) prior to the schism--indeed its adoption at Rome being the cause of the schism--you have difficulty explaining the writings of St. Photius the Great on the subject, the fact that the Rome/Constantinople schism dated to 1009 or 1014 with the removal of Rome from the Dipthychs of Constantinople in response, evidently, to the inclusion of the filoque in either the no-longer extant election encyclical of Pope Sergius VI or the still-extant coronation rite for the German Emperor Henry II (Cardinal Humbert's ill-fated embassy had on its agenda not only Patriarch Michael's retaliatory imposition of leaven Eucharistic bread on Latins in Constantinple, but the restoration of the Pope to the Diptychs of Constantinople), and the insistence of the canonist Nikon of the Black Mountain (writing before 1054) that Franks be received by baptism.

I thus replied:

As you already know, there are more than one reading of history on this matter, and I can't through all of them in this forum, without a clear goal. In this case, my goal is to advance the cause of reunification.

Much has been said, suggested, or implied, in or out of context, that I support a willy-nilly reunification by glossing aside the important issues that separate us. I do not believe that, let me make that clear, nor will stand for it.

Nor do I like going around in circles repeating the same again and again, to no avail. The Orthodox claim that they are "the true Church." So do we. The Orthodox claim that history support their viewpoint. So do we. And on and on. So forgive me if I don't follow you on this path. I'll leave that to others with more holiness and knowledge than I. I'll content myself with a short sketch of our fundamental differences that may frame the arena of future discussions, if not between you and me, then between others; if not here, elsewhere.

The Orthodox claim that their theology is the most organic precise, and God-revealing. Funny. We did once, and to a large extent, we still do. Among all the Christian theologies in the world--heck, in the Universe--there's no one with the synthetic drive that has characterized Roman, Latin, Catholic theology. Throughout this process we've always realized the absolute incompleteness of our theological inquiry, not because we lack holy thinkers who wrote their holy thoughts in masterful works, but because as the Spirit lead us to scrutinize the hidden things of God, we've discovered along the way how Big God is and how small we all are. Yet, we plunge ahead still.

In this context, we look upon the Orthodox Church with interest, not because the means of santification and grace available in the Catholic Church are insufficient to achieve the goal the Founder intended for the Church, but because, even in the darkest moments of our relationship with the East, we recognized a fellow pilgrim that could teach us still a couple of things.

Our theology, our mindset, makes us look outward. We have relearned, albeit slowly, the art of looking at you and finding ourselves. Slowly but steadily, we have relearned the ancient truth that we are not enemies, but fellow workers; we have begun to humanize you. We can say that what is ours is yours, and what is yours is ours without fearing to lose our identity and dissolve ourselves in you.

In our nightmares, there is no worse dream than that of the huge monster that devours us. Throughout the centuries, the theme of our relationship has been that we've seen each other as those monsters, monsters that will readily eat us, digest us, and excrete us into shapeless and stinky chunks of nothingness--pardon the gastric analogy.

Orthodox theology, on the other hand, has taken another path. Of course, the Orthodox Church has an impressive theological edifice, built upon the insights of the Greek Fathers. Certainly, the thought of St. Photious and Nikon of the Black Mountain build upon that heritage. Yet they also reveal a certain amount of pride--not that the Latin side didn't have any, but we have come to terms with that--and exclusionary spirit that had already reached the drastic conclusion that the West--the Franks--was nominally Christian and in need of baptism. Byzantium looked inward, rested on her laurels and her position vis-a-vis the West may be summarized as what is yours is yours, what is ours is ours.

This attitude closed Orthodox theology from any other benefic influence, narrowed its universe of discourse, and also helped to close entire civilizations to inquiry and dialogue with other disciplines and other civilizations, to the point that even today, when Orthodox Churches--now we have to speak in the plural--engage the challenges of the modern world, it has to learn its vocabulary and borrow swords and arrows from the Roman Catholic theological quiver to make themselves heard.

From my viewpoint, Orthodox objections to the filioque, papal supremacy, collegiality, and other marginalia--because this is what they are, marginalia--are not insurmountable. Afterall, the Orthodox have agreed with us twice already, which belies their general claim that they are a "conciliar" Church. But that's another subject.

What the Orthodox Church lacks is both the humility and the will to look back upon own history and defects, come to terms with them, and then face the world and face the music. You're still afraid to find yourselves reflected on us and discover that we are not the monsters you believe us to be, and that we can again walk together. The mere thought threatens the core your sense of self-identity.

Once a critical mass of Orthodox and Catholics achieve this humility and will, then the reunion will happen, what you say or object notwithstanding. For whatever is worth, I am willing to cultivate these attitudes. But seriously, are you? I started my intervention in this thread with a variation of that question, and I reluctantly end it with the same question. I don't want to hear words any more, I want deeds.

- Read the entire thread at the Free Republic Religion Forum .
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 06:42 PM

Dear Friend,

As an Eastern Catholic, I find your argument about Orthodox "pride" to be very specious indeed!

The same can apply to Roman Catholic papal triumphalism, surely!

I don't think you've contributed much to the ecumenical dialogue so much as driven another triumphalistic wedge where we don't need one.

Personally, I am much happier to leave these issues to trained ecumenical theologians of both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches - I think you will find that we've advanced beyond the issues you have raised and the way in which you respond to them.

Alex, Internet Carmelite Community of the Byzantine Forum
Posted By: DocBrian

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 06:53 PM

Please note that, though I posted these comments, I did not write them, and neither am I in full agreement with them.

I do know, however, that the author of these comments attended an Orthodox church for many years prior to returning to Catholicism, so his opinion is not completely without basis or merit.
Posted By: DocBrian

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 06:58 PM

Quote
I think you will find that we've advanced beyond the issues you have raised and the way in which you respond to them.
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.

If this thread is inappropriate for this Forum in general, I humbly ask your forgiveness and would request the moderators remove it.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 07:58 PM

Dear DocBrian,

No need to ask for forgiveness, because you did not offend!

I was responding to the text - sorry if I assumed you wrote it, but that doesn't matter.

Whether the author attended an Orthodox church or not - he or she could still be in error, or could be overdoing this or that point.

I am on very good terms with Orthodox and Roman Catholics - we're just having a discussion after all.

I am just reacting to the blanket notion of "pride" expressed by the author as pertaining to the Orthodox.

But if we believe we have the truth, as the Orthodox Church truly does, then we have no choice but to:

1) State and affirm its contents at all times;

2) Defend it against aberration, either by heresy or schism or imprecision of expression;

3) Witness to it and preach it to the world;

4) Accept no counterfeit on a par with it.

That could be construed as "pride" to be sure. But it is a good pride!

The RC Church attitude to the "truth" is less clear nowadays.

With all the emphasis on the theology of the milk glass with respect to religious truth i.e. "almost full" "mostly full" "somewhat full" etc., is it any wonder Catholics are sometimes filled with a sense of religious indifferentism?

And that is not humility! That is confusion at best and/or accepting other churches and even religions as capable of doing the "same thing that the Catholic Church does" at worst.

Am I right?

Alex, ICCBF
Posted By: Mike C.

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 09:06 PM

It seems that, in the past, whenever Catholics would take a step forward toward the Othodox, they would take 2 steps back. It seems that whatever we would do as a church, no matter what, it did nothing to end the break.

Not only pride, but rememberence also has played a large part in that seperation. Look, when the late John Paul II visited Greece where he was greeted with jeers, and priests and monks with signs calling him the devil, etc. How can one reconcile with that?

They still remember the 4th Crusade! The Pope asked for their forgiveness. What more can we do??
Posted By: Pavloosh

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/02/05 11:37 PM

Mike:
Too many Orthodox believe they are members of the one and only true church and therefore won't associate with the rest of us Christians. Some of us repeatedly extend our hand to them, yet they turn their backs on us and continue living and worshipping as if they were still in the dark ages. They haven't even the slightest undertanding of what ecumenism really means. And, as far as forgiveness goes, their leaders don't forgive, yet they consider themselves Christians. Baloney! [or should I say Kobasa?]
Posted By: Brian

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 02:59 AM

I think that painting the Orthodox Church as anti-ecumenical and and the Catholic Church as always being the one to selflessly ask for unity is truly painting with a broad brush. For centuries, the Catholic Church regarded Orthodox Christians as schismatic and "dissidents". Thanks be to God, the attitudes towards Orthodox before the Vatican Council have been withdrawn (much of that was do to the efforts of John XXIII of blessed memory who knew Orthodox in Bulgaria and Greece) As to the Orthodox attitude, one can mention the reception of the Pope in Greece but one can also look at his reception in Romania and Bulgaria where the attitude towards the Catholic Church is more open. I think both sides need to overcome a "martyr" complex.
Posted By: Photius

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 03:02 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Pavloosh:
Mike:
Too many Orthodox believe they are members of the one and only true church and therefore won't associate with the rest of us Christians. Some of us repeatedly extend our hand to them, yet they turn their backs on us and continue living and worshipping as if they were still in the dark ages. They haven't even the slightest undertanding of what ecumenism really means. And, as far as forgiveness goes, their leaders don't forgive, yet they consider themselves Christians. Baloney! [or should I say Kobasa?]
Christ is Risen!
Are you trying to bait soemone into arguing harshly, or do you really think that we are a bunch of [profanity deleted]s, in which case you prove the point that Catholics, on the whole, still do not think of us as their equals?

Photius
Posted By: Wolfgang

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 12:27 PM

Photius,
I sometimes worship at the Greek Orthodox church near my hometown when I go home, because there is not a Byzantine Catholic church nearby. They are very welcoming and the priest is so very wise. (He used to be a Catholic monk.)
They also have an annual Greek festival, which is enjoyed very much by the community.
My point is that they do reach out to the community and are friendly. I don't know, however, how ecumenical they are. For example, there is a minister(priest) exchange among downtown churches. I don't think they participate in that. Wolfgang
Posted By: RayK

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 01:38 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Brian:
I think both sides need to overcome a "martyr" complex.
Very true.

No one can understand that past let alone fix it. No history is objective - no such animal exists. All history is written from the persepective of the one writting the history - that is unavoidable.

To have the past dictate the present is to give the sinners of the past far too much power over us and replacing a living God with someones personal 'god' of percieved history.

-ray
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 01:45 PM

Dear Friends,

With respect to ecumenism, there are RC's as well who don't agree with it, especially with respect to the forms it has taken within their own church that suggests that truth can be negotiated in order to arrive at a corporate reunion etc.

The Orthodox do indeed participate in mutual Christian events and gatherings.

But they hold fast to ancient canons, the creed etc. that they will NOT change for anyone.

There's nothing wrong with that.

And not only the Orthodox, but also EC's have found fault with Rome's attitude towards them.

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!

Let Rome get its act together with respect to the EC churches first.

Alex
Posted By: Myles

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 01:54 PM

Quote
we are not the monsters you believe us to be
*nod...*

Quote
he RC Church attitude to the "truth" is less clear nowadays.
Interesting statement. Interesting statement indeed...
Posted By: RayK

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 04:04 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Pavloosh:
they were still in the dark ages.
Some are very sensitive to wording. This casual way of talk is fine among friends - and I have heard Orthodox themselves say this very same thing in even harsher words - but until charity is re-established - you must be aware that the way you put it can call up knee jerk self-defense. You hit a persons knee and it is going to jerk up - it is just the way it is. No one is to fault.

Do not presume that you are entirely among friends and good charity here which makes us all understand each other in intent and meaning. We all lack that family charity at times. I know I do.

In substance - the new Pan-Orthodox Council would agree with you - however they used different wording.

Self criticism is acceptable - but outside criticism - should be carefully done if it is to be accepted. That is just the way we humans are. It can be a strain - but one which we should often take according to charity. Certainly there is wording that will make your knee jerk also ( Photius will find it wink ).

This is just my opinion. Something to consider. I am not a teacher.

-ray
Posted By: RayK

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 04:24 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
But they hold fast to ancient canons, the creed etc. that they will NOT change for anyone.
Alex
May we all be pleasantly surprised. See my post on Pan-Orthodoox Council

-ray
Posted By: RayK

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 05:01 PM

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...

Quote

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?

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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
Posted By: RayK

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/03/05 06:00 PM

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
Posted By: IrishJohan

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/06/05 01:39 AM

Quote
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
Posted By: IrishJohan

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/06/05 01:51 AM

Quote
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
Posted By: stojgniev

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/06/05 07:10 AM

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
Posted By: RayK

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/06/05 03:22 PM

deleted
Posted By: RomanRedneck

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/06/05 06:41 PM

Quote
Originally posted by RayK:
deleted
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
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/27/05 07:33 AM

Quote
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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/27/05 01:31 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/27/05 02:54 PM

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
Posted By: Apotheoun

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

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/28/05 06:42 PM

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
Posted By: Ecce Jason

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

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/28/05 07:11 PM

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
Posted By: Ecce Jason

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/28/05 07:42 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/28/05 07:56 PM

Dear Jason,

Very good points!

That the Council of Florence is truly a Council of the universal Roman Church - of this there can be no doubt by anyone.

Whether it is an Ecumenical Council on the same footing as the Seven Ecumenical Councils that were held when the universal Church was still one and undivided - I think we are moving in the direction of the negative on that one and I think that at least Pope Paul VI once hinted at this as well.

There can also be no doubt that the Council of Florence affirmed, with Scripture, that all that the Father has, the Son has too.

This is what compelled the Latin Church to say that the Spirit proceeds from Both.

However, the Council nowhere affirmed that the manner of procession from the Son is the same as that from the Father - indeed, it cannot be so, since the Son is eternally Begotten from the Father and the Father is Unoriginate.

Even there, there is a difference and a distinction.

Now IF the Roman Church ever taught that the Spirit proceeded from the Son in the same way that the Spirit proceeds from the Father - then, in that case, there would be no question but that unity between East and West could not be achieved.

For then Rome truly would be in heresy!

Alex
Posted By: Ecce Jason

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/28/05 08:07 PM

Dear Alex,

Quote
However, the Council nowhere affirmed that the manner of procession from the Son is the same as that from the Father - indeed, it cannot be so, since the Son is eternally Begotten from the Father and the Father is Unoriginate.

Even there, there is a difference and a distinction.

Now IF the Roman Church ever taught that the Spirit proceeded from the Son in the same way that the Spirit proceeds from the Father - then, in that case, there would be no question but that unity between East and West could not be achieved.
There, we are entirely in agreement. smile

God bless,
Jason
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/28/05 08:14 PM

Bless you too, Jason,

May Sts. Jason and Sosipater protect you always!

Alex
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/29/05 05:15 AM

Jason,

I commend you for your effort to resolve the apparent conflict between the two traditions, but I still think that making the Son a cause, even a mediate one, of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit is something that cannot be reconciled with the Eastern understanding of the monarchy of the Father. The Father is the sole cause of the hypostasis of the Son, and He is the sole cause of the hypostasis of the Spirit. Both generation and procession (ekporeusis) are hypostatic properties of the Father alone.

Now, in saying this, I am not saying that there is no way to reconcile the filioque with the Byzantine theological tradition, because in fact it has already been reconciled with it at the Council of Blachernae (A.D. 1285), and which is reflected in the writings of Gregory of Cyprus and St. Gregory Palamas.

Thus, there is a way of understanding the filioque without destroying the monarchy of the Father, because properly understood the filioque has nothing to do with the hypostatic origin of the Holy Spirit; rather, the filioque concerns the eternal manifestation of the Spirit from the Father and the Son in the divine energy. In other words, the hypostatic procession (ekporeusis) of the Spirit is from the Father alone, since He takes His subsistent being only from the Father, and not from the Son; but there is also an energetic procession (proienai) or manifestation of the Spirit from the Father and the Son. This second mode of procession or manifestation does not concern the Spirit's existential origin, but rather His shining forth both eternally and in time from the Father and the Son, or from the Father through the Son.

It should be noted that the Tomus issued by the Council of Blachernae (A.D. 1285) rejected the plan for the restoration of communion between East and West as it was proposed by the Council of Lyons, and then went on to speak about the hypostatic origin of the Spirit, which it defined comes from the Father alone. Now, after defining that the Father alone is cause of the other hypostases in the Trinity, it then went on to say that there is an eternal energetic procession or manifestation of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, and in saying this the Council endorsed a true filioque, but without in any way making the Son a cause of the Spirit's hypostasis, and thus protecting the monarchy of the Father.

Gregory of Cyprus in his Confession illustrates the nature of the distinction that must be made between these two modes of procession (ekporeusis and proienai), for as he explains, ". . . the Spirit derives its personal hypostatic existence, its very being, from the Father Himself and not from the Son, nor through the Son. Were this not the case, the Son would also be indisputably the cause of the Paraclete, a fact which is impious and which was never said or written by any of the Fathers. . . . For on the one hand, it [the Spirit] proceeds and has its existence from the Father, of whom is born the Son Himself; while, on the other hand, it goes forth and shines through the Son, in the same manner as the sun's light is said to go forth through its rays, while the sun remains the light's source, the cause of its being, and the natural principle of its origin; and yet, the light passes forth, emanates, and shines through the rays from which it derives neither being nor existence. And, although the light passes through the rays, it in no wise derives the origin of its being through or from the rays, but immediately and exclusively from the sun -- whence the rays themselves, through which the light is made manifest." [Gregory of Cyprus, Confession, PG 142.250D-251B, taken from Aristeides Papadakis' book "Crisis in Byzantium", page 92]

The Eastern tradition is compelled to defend in every way possible the monarchy of the Father, for He is the sole cause and origin of the hypostasis of the Son and the hypostasis of the Spirit; but when speaking of the eternal and the temporal manifestation of the Spirit in the divine energy, it is truth to say that the Spirit is from the Father and the Son, or from the Father through the Son. Clearly this teaching safeguards perfectly the monarchy of the Father as it concerns the hypostases that derive their existence from Him, while simultaneously expressing the truth that Holy Spirit as energy, that is, as gift and not as person, shines forth from the Father and the Son. But anything that makes the Son a cause (even a mediate cause) of the hypostasis of the Spirit confounds the persons, reducing them to mere modes or relations within the divine essence.

I believe that the filioque, understood properly, is true, but in order to understand it correctly the West will need to make some theological distinctions (e.g., between essence, existence, and energy) that it has failed to make since the rise of the Scholastic theological system in the middle ages.

God bless,
Todd
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/29/05 08:44 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Ecce Jason:
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.
Jason,

Although I would refrain from using the word existence in connection with the mediate causality of the Son, preferring in its place the word manifestation, I think that there is a way of reinterpreting the Latin tradition that protects fully the monarchy of the Father as sole existential cause of the other two hypostases, while also showing the true meaning of the filioque. That being said, what needs to be further clarified is what exactly it is that the Son is mediately causing. If this mediate causality is centered upon the hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit, I cannot agree, as this would ultimately destroy the monarchy of the Father. But if it is in connection with the Spirit in His manifestation, both eternally and temporally, in the divine energy, that is, as gift and not as hypostasis (person), then I can agree that the Son is a mediate cause of the shining forth of the Spirit. But I am not sure if this idea will be acceptable to Western theologians, especially those who are of the Thomist and Augustinian tradition. Frankly speaking, I think that the Vatican itself was hinting at this idea in its 1995 clarification, but the article by Fr. Coffey shows that it may be hard for the Vatican itself to enforce this kind of interpretation.

God bless,
Todd
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/29/05 01:29 PM

Dear Todd,

Yes, I think the Roman Catholic Church's theologians today have NO problem agreeing with the Orthodox on the Filioque issue.

Personally, I think it is something that can be solved tomorrow with a stroke of a Papal pen.

The only time the Nicene Creed is used in the West is during Sunday Mass anyway.

And a lot of people are still recovering from the good times of Saturday evening (if they haven't already attended Mass on Saturday evening . . .).

So the likelihood that the Creed without the Filioque would cause raised Latin eyebrows is actually quite minimal.

Rome has little to fear!

Alex
Posted By: Ecce Jason

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/29/05 04:55 PM

Dear Todd,

Forgive the length of this post.

Thanks for your reply. I am a bit disappointed, of course, to see that my reinterpretation won't work for you, but, then again, I shouldn't be so idealistic in the first place. wink

I have just a few comments, or really questions, in response to what you've said.

First, let me say that I understand the distinction you're making between eternal manifestation and hypostatic existence. The quote you provide from Gregory of Cyprus is quite instructive. I am also aware of the distinction between ekporeusis and proienai, and share your concern that they not be confused. That said, I'll move on to my questions for you.

The biggest question first: at one point in your response to me, you say, "the hypostatic procession (ekporeusis) of the Spirit is from the Father alone, since He takes His subsistent being only from the Father, and not from the Son." This latter (emphasized) portion is crucial, or so it seems to me, for the Council of Florence explicitly says exactly the opposite: namely, "the Holy Spirit . . . has . . . His subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration." Whether we construe the word "proceeds" as ekporeusis or proienai here, it remains that the first clause of that sentence says exactly what you deny: that the Holy Spirit does have His subsistent being in some way from the Father and the Son, and not just the Father alone. I am not attempting to debate with you here, but I am still sincerely wondering how you can expect any form of reconciliation between these two viewpoints which appear to so be explicitly contradictory. If Roman Catholics want to fully accept what you say, they will simply have to repudiate the Council of Florence, and -- as I noted before -- doing so would basically amount to an admission that the Catholic theory of the Papacy is flawed and that Roman Catholicism has been in error. I don't see how this could ever possibly happen, at least any time soon. But even if it did happen, I don't see how that's a reconciliation, rather than a wholesale conversion, at all.

Let me just make explicit what I am saying here, albeit in the spirit of open dialogue rather than debate. If you are correct, Todd, then it appears that we have two completely irreconcilable traditions. Your way of reconciling the filioque is not really a reconciliation, because it reconciles a different filioque (i.e., one having to do with eternal manifestation rather than hypostatic being) than the one that Rome actually defined at Florence. It is as if one side says 1 + 1 = 1 and the other side says 1 + 1 = 2. It does not seem possible to have it both ways. In light of your comments, in fact, Fr. David Coffey's article seems not to be just one interpretation of the problem, but an honest assessment of exactly what is the case: there is no genuine agreement here because the two opposing traditions do not and cannot actually believe the same thing. And that is where it must stand.

That said, I would like to bring up my attempted reconciliation one last time and ask exactly how it is that it destroys the monarchy of the Father. I do not believe that it necessarily does so. You make all of the following statements regarding the Father's monarchy:

1) The Father is the sole cause of the hypostasis of the Son, and He is the sole cause of the hypostasis of the Spirit. Both generation and procession (ekporeusis) are hypostatic properties of the Father alone.

2) The hypostatic procession (ekporeusis) of the Spirit is from the Father alone, since He takes His subsistent being only from the Father.

3) Citing Gregory of Cyprus: " . . the Spirit derives its personal hypostatic existence, its very being, from the Father Himself and not from the Son, nor through the Son. Were this not the case, the Son would also be indisputably the cause of the Paraclete, a fact which is impious and which was never said or written by any of the Fathers."

4) Anything that makes the Son a cause (even a mediate cause) of the hypostasis of the Spirit confounds the persons.

I believe, however, that each one of these points can either be accepted or legitimately disputed from my viewpoint while still maintaining the monarchy of the Father and still keeping distinct the hypostatic properties of the Persons. Regarding (1), the Father is the sole originating cause of the hypostasis of the Son, and He is the sole originating cause of the hypostasis of the Spirit. We can interpret ekporeusis as referring exactly to this kind of procession: ekporeusis refers to the procession involved in being the originating cause of the Holy Spirit's subsistent being. Thus, the Father maintains His monarchy as the only originating cause, and He maintains both generation and ekporeusis as His hypostatic properties alone. That said, point (2) is dealt with as well: yes, ekporeusis is from the Father alone, since the Holy Spirit originally (that is, as from an originating cause) takes His subsistent being only from the Father. Now, point (3) is more difficult, for Gregory of Cyprus says that the hypostatic existence cannot even come through the Son, which is something my viewpoint implies. However, note why he says this: "were this not the case, the Son would also be indisputably cause of the Paraclete, a fact which is impious." This suggests that perhaps, through no fault of his own, Gregory did not have a distinction between originating and mediate causes in mind. His assertion that the Son would also be a cause (the word "also" implying that he means this in the same way as the Father is a cause), and the assertion that this is "impious," implies that he did not have this distinction in mind, but rather thought that the filioque necessarily applied the same property to the Father and the Son. But that isn't the case, on my view, and can be disputed. The Son would not, contra Gregory, also be an originating cause, so there is no property being shared by the Father and the Son, and -- given what I have said above about how this still leaves it possible to guard the monarchy of the Father -- I do not quite see what is impious about this. Finally, regarding point (4), as I have already pointed out, there is no confounding of the Persons here, because only the Father has the property of ekporeusis as the unoriginating cause; the Son does not have such hypostatic properties.

So, again, I do not necessarily see how my attempted reconciliation necessarily destroys the monarchy of the Father. Even Fr. Coffey expresses something very much like my viewpoint when he says that the filioque means that the Holy Spirit comes from -- Fr. Coffey uses the word "originates," here, but I think that is simply unfortunate word choice -- 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." Further, as I have noted, I do not see how any viewpoint which allows absolutely no form of causality to the Son whatsoever can be reconciled with the Council of Florence. Florence seems to explicitly say that the Son is a cause in some form of the subsistent being of the Spirit; if we cannot allow this in any possible way, how can we have union?

Thanks, and God bless,
Jason
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/29/05 05:29 PM

Dear Jason,

A learned commentary, to be sure!

But, in the end, the Latin Catholic Church does NOT teach that the Holy Spirit is from the Son as He is from the Father.

Nor can He be. All Three Persons are, of course, Unoriginate in the sense they are equally Eternal.

The best expression, in this respect, is "From the Father through the Son."

It is Patristic and one that both sides could have easily agreed on at Florence and before, according to Fr. John Meyendorff (+memory eternal!), with Rome dropping the Filioque from the Nicene Creed.

All other reflections and views by later Latin teachers and saints can remain within the corpus of the Latin Catholic theological patrimony.

What we want, I believe, is where we have to be at to have full unity on Triadology or Trinitarian theology.

If you can subscribe to this, we can let Rome know, and then the Forum can move on to the even more difficult question of Papal authority and the Petrine Office.

So if you are O.K. with this and don't want to hold up the progress of ecumenism any more, we can proceed . . . wink

Alex
Posted By: Ecce Jason

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 06/30/05 09:00 PM

Dear Alex and Todd,

I want to add a brief "Addendum" to my recent post by elaborating a bit upon my view and the view that Gregory of Cyprus seems to express in the quote Todd provides us with. I address this to Alex as well particularly because it draws upon his earlier distinction between actively and passively causing.

The further point that I think should be made is that the quote from Gregory of Cyprus actually seems to possibly support my view, in addition to being simply compatible with it. How so? Well, let’s examine the quote with which Todd provides us again:

". . . the Spirit derives its personal hypostatic existence, its very being, from the Father Himself and not from the Son, nor through the Son. Were this not the case, the Son would also be indisputably the cause of the Paraclete, a fact which is impious and which was never said or written by any of the Fathers. . . . For on the one hand, it [the Spirit] proceeds and has its existence from the Father, of whom is born the Son Himself; while, on the other hand, it goes forth and shines through the Son, in the same manner as the sun's light is said to go forth through its rays, while the sun remains the light's source, the cause of its being, and the natural principle of its origin; and yet, the light passes forth, emanates, and shines through the rays from which it derives neither being nor existence. And, although the light passes through the rays, it in no wise derives the origin of its being through or from the rays, but immediately and exclusively from the sun -- whence the rays themselves, through which the light is made manifest." [Gregory of Cyprus, Confession, PG 142.250D-251B, taken from Aristeides Papadakis' book "Crisis in Byzantium", page 92]

We have already examined the first clause and found that it can be interpreted in a manner consistent with my viewpoint (see above): the Son is not also the originating cause of the Holy Spirit as the Father is, so no properties are blurred between the hypostasis of the Father and the hypostasis of the Son, and “impiety” is avoided. But what of the “sun” analogy that Gregory makes? In this analogy, Gregory compares the Father to the sun, the Son to the sun’s rays, and the Holy Spirit to the sun’s light, which goes forth through its rays while the sun remains its source. Clearly Gregory intends this analogy to explain his view of the filioque. Now, he does say explicitly that the light (the Holy Spirit) derives neither being nor existence from the rays (the Son), nor does it derive its origin from them, but only from the sun itself (the Father). This may seem, at first glance, to actually contradict my viewpoint, especially because Gregory says that the light comes in some immediate way from the sun. However, appearances might be deceiving, and I think that this is all in fact compatible with my interpretation.

To see this, it will first be necessary to further elaborate on what exactly it means to be a mediate cause. Here, it will be helpful to draw on a distinction that was mentioned (though not elaborated upon) by Alex earlier in the discussion: namely, the distinction between being an active and a passive cause. I would maintain that there is an equivalence in meaning between terms here, so that an active cause is an originating cause and a passive cause is a mediate cause, at least in this case. Thus, an elaboration upon what it may mean to be a passive cause will also shed light upon what is being said here. Coincidentally, this is exactly where the compatibility between Gregory of Cyprus’ view and my own view comes out, for his analogy of the sun expresses implicitly what it means to be a passive cause. Here is how: while it may be true that the light derives its origin and being from the sun, in the sense that the sun actively sends the light out, albeit (as Gregory says) through the rays (though the rays are not an active cause because they do not actively send the light out), it is also true that the light depends on the rays for its existence. Clearly, there could be no light if the there were no rays, for the rays are the very thing which the light shines through. But this means that the light implicitly depends in some way upon the rays for its very existence. This, I think, is what is meant by one entity’s being a passive – i.e., mediate – cause of another entity’s existence; there is no active causing, but the thing caused passes through and depends upon the first entity. This is why we hold that the rays are a passive, mediate cause of the light’s existence. Analogously, this is what is meant by the Son’s being a passive -– i.e., mediate –- cause of the Holy Spirit’s subsistent being; there is no active causing of the procession (i.e., no ekporeusis), but the procession passes through and depends upon the Son. This is why we hold that the Son is a passive, mediate cause of the Holy Spirit’s hypostatic existence. This is also, perhaps, a way of understanding what is meant when the East says that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father through the Son” and when the West says, in words intended to express the same thought, ex patre filioque.
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 07/01/05 05:37 AM

Jason,

Although I haven't had time to formulate a full response to your posts, I can say this, after reviewing the Tomus of 1285 it is not possible to describe the Son in any sense, immediate, mediate, proximate or remote, as a cause of the subsistent being of the Holy Spirit. In fact the Tomus of 1285 declares the definition of Lyons to be heretical. Thus, neither the definitions of Lyons nor that of Florence can be used as a basis for restoring communion between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and I say this as a Byzantine Catholic. Moreover, the fact that the Catholic Church has entered into dialogue with the Orthodox Churches seems to imply that the Holy See itself does not view either Lyons or Florence as the basis for any future restoration of communion between the Catholic Church and the Churches of the East, for if that were the case, the dialogue presently being carried out would be merely a pretentious exercise lacking in any substance. Dialogue that merely requires the Eastern Orthodox to subscribe to definitions that they have already explicitly rejected isn't a real dialogue. Moreover, the fact that the Vatican itself completely ignored the teaching of the Council of Florence in its clarification on the filioque (issued back in 1995) is quite telling, because the Vatican knows that the Orthodox Churches will not accept anything that makes the Son a cause (aitia) of the hypostatic being of the Holy Spirit.

It is also my hope that the Eastern Orthodox Churches will be willing to set aside their condemnations of the Western teaching as both sides attempt to understand each other better, and as both sides attempt to resolve the present disagreement. Clearly I favor the Eastern solution to the present theological dispute, but as is clear from my previous post, I am willing to say that the Son is a mediate cause of the shining forth of the Spirit in the divine energy, which to be honest, I doubt many Eastern Orthodox theologians will admit at the present time. The reason that the East rejects the use of the word cause in relation to the Son is centered on the fact that historically the word cause (aitia) has only been applied to the Father, and this is a part of the Cappadocian tradition. To use the term cause (aitia) in connection with the Son would involve, at least in part, a rejection of the teaching of the Cappadocians. As St. Gregory of Nazianzus wrote: ". . . all that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality." [St. Gregory Nazianzus, Oration 34]

Now, speaking as a Byzantine Catholic, who was a Latin Catholic for more than 17 years, I will say this, in my experience the Eastern Orthodox are at least familiar with the Western position on the filioque, while sadly Westerners are often completely ignorant of the Eastern position on this issue. Westerners often approach the East with the mistaken idea that it has theologically stagnated for more than a thousand years, when nothing could be further from the truth.

That being said, I will give a further reply to your posts as soon as I can, addressing the issues you've raised and giving the dogmatic response of the Council of Blachernae.

God bless,
Todd
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Reconciliation with the Orthodox is a two-way street - 07/01/05 05:41 AM

Jason,

I forgot to address something in my previous post. The use of the terms active and passive in connection with the hypostasis of the Spirit is not traditional in the East. Those terms are applicable in Roman theology.

God bless,
Todd
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