Thursday 23rd September 2021

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

A Protestant Views The Filioque

June 27, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES LIKOUDIS

A recent article in Christianity Today (January-February 2014) by a Protestant of Lebanese descent, Bradley Nassif, a professor of biblical and theological studies at North Park University in Chicago, attracts attention to one of the major historical and dogmatic differences between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, namely whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone (as the separated Orthodox hold) or from the Father and the Son (as Catholics believe with their inclusion of the word “Filioque” [“and the Son”] in the Latin text of the Creed).
Over a thousand years of theological controversy regarding the orthodoxy of the “Filioque” has served to embitter relations between Catholics and Orthodox to this very day and to justify the breaking of full communion between them, marking the most tragic ecclesiastical schism in the history of the Church.
Professor Nassif asks if the controversy over the Filioque is but a trivial one and fundamentally unimportant, or has that “one small change [in the Creed] affect[ed] the whole of Christian life and thought,” as some Orthodox have claimed. Does the “Filioque” destroy a proper understanding of the mystery of the Trinity? He notes that “the Protestant Reformers of the 16th century, including Martin Luther and John Calvin, supported the Filioque.”
Our author gives a fair assessment of the Eastern Orthodox side of the controversy. There are “two camps, one strict and one moderate. Many strict thinkers regarded the Filioque as dangerous and heretical — a view held by people such as Photius (ninth century), Mark of Ephesus (15th century), and Vladimir Lossky (20th century). They claim the Filioque confuses the eternal relations among the divine Persons and destroys the priority of the Father within the Trinity. If both the Father and the Son are sources of the Trinity, then the Spirit is subordinated to both, leading to a belief in two gods. Lossky has even blamed the Filioque for the Catholic emphasis on papal supremacy (a position today’s more moderate Orthodox writers find farfetched)….
“‘Strict’ theologians think Filioque creates an imbalance among the members of the Trinity, destroys the Father as ‘sole source’ of the Son and Spirit, and violates church unity.
“. . . Meanwhile moderate Orthodox think the Filioque can be true if we say that the Spirit proceeds from the Father ‘through the Son.’ Only if, in other words, the Son mediates — not causes — the Spirit’s procession from the Father alone. Regardless of the strict or moderate positions, Eastern theologians agree that there are two issues at stake in the Filioque debate: the truth of the doctrine itself, and unilaterally altering a creed that was accepted by an earlier ecumenical Council [the Council of Constantinople, AD 381].”
What the above exposition reveals is the doctrinal conflict among Orthodox theologians who condemn the Filioque doctrine as blatantly heretical, those willing to accept the Filioque if properly explained as conforming to the Orthodox teaching that the Father alone is the origin of the Spirit, and those other “moderates” (not mentioned by our author) who accept the Filioque as it is taught and defended in Catholic theology. Those in the last group candidly acknowledge that it represents an acceptable clarification of a revealed truth that was taught by such Greek Fathers as St. Epiphanius and St. Cyril of Alexandria, such Latin Fathers as Saints Augustine, Jerome, Hilary, Ambrose, and such Roman Pontiffs as Saints Leo the Great, Hormisdas, and Gregory the Great.
The doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son, and expressed in the formulation of the Filioque, was upheld by the entire Western Church long before the Orthodox consummated the schism in the 13th century.
In reply to Byzantine Greek dissent, the Western Church’s greatest theologians (Saints Peter Damian, Anselm, Bernard, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and Blessed John Duns Scotus) taught in accordance with Scripture and the Tradition handed down from the apostles that the Eternal Son of God cannot be excluded from His active role in breathing forth the Spirit from all eternity.
No explanation of the Father as the ultimate source in the Holy Trinity is acceptable which denies that the Son is one and equal with the Father in the procession of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine stressing the divine equality of the Son with the Father had been denied by Arian and Adoptionist heretics and it was soon grasped that the divine equality of the Son with the Father could not be maintained without affirming that the Spirit receives His existence simultaneously from the Father and the Son and proceeds eternally from both by a single spiration as from a single principle.
To avoid a serious misinterpretation of the Filioque, the famous Council of Lyons (1274) defined that the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and from the Son, not as from two principles or causes but as from one single principle or cause. That is to say, the Son receives from the Father the power to be together with Him the one cause or principle of the Spirit who proceeds principally from the Father.
The great Reunion Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439), attended by a special delegation of Byzantine theologians, witnessed exhaustive discussion and debates concerning the Filioque and the trinitarian doctrine it embodied. Agreement was finally reached that “everything that belongs to the Father, the Father has given to His Son by begetting Him, except the fact of being Father; consequently, the Holy Spirit’s proceeding from the Son, this the Son has eternally from the Father who eternally begets Him.” It furthermore defined that “it was for the purpose of declaring the truth and under stress of necessity that those words ‘and the Son’ were added to the Creed by way of explanation, both lawfully and with good reason.”
Professor Nassif refers to “what the global church has been debating for the past 1,500 years.” This “global church” of Protestants does not exist; it is a mere abstraction without form or content. He ignores that the Catholic Church is the only “global church.” It was her fathers, saints, and councils who defended and expounded the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
It is not surprising that Professor Nassif concludes his article by leaving it up to the reader to decide for himself whether “the East or West,” who have disputed for 1,500 years with the most subtle arguments involving an article of faith, was faithful to divine Revelation! As is known, some Protestants have proved all too ready to junk the Filioque for the sake of a false ecumenism. The Protestant reliance on private judgment of Scripture and/or Tradition to deal with questions affecting the awesome mystery of God’s unity in the Trinity of Persons can only lead to chaos and cannot arrive at religious certitude.
We can also see how ecclesiastical separation from the infallible See of Peter by the patriarchs and bishops of the 16 autocephalous Byzantine Greco-Slav churches has only led to confusing variations in their doctrine concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit, and a departure from the patristic teaching of their own Eastern tradition. Even the ecumenical-minded Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople not too long ago deplored “the addition to the Symbol [Creed] of one and only word: the familiar ‘Filioque,’ to create new caco-doxies and schisms and heresies, which, to this day holds Western Christianity a long way from the Orthodox East” (quoted in Orthodox Press, May 11, 2010).
Other hard-core “anti-Catholic Orthodox” have not hesitated to excoriate “the isolationist, anti-trinitarian doctrine known as the ‘filioque’.” Thus a Russian Orthodox priest in England has indulged in fantastic allegations concerning “the ideology of papism, this ideology known as the filioque and stating that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Pope of Rome.” (!)
Catholics cannot give sufficient thanks to our Lord for having established an infallible and unerring magisterial (teaching authority) for His Church in the Successor of Peter the Rock and the bishops in communion with him so that the Church could not fail to be the “Teacher of Truth.”

+    +    +

(James Likoudis has written many articles on Catholic-Eastern Orthodox relations. See his website: www.jameslikoudispage.com.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source

.

LifeNews.com

Load More...

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Abortion On Demand Act . . . House Set to Vote Friday on Massive Abortion Bill

CV NEWS FEED // Democrats in the House of Representatives will vote Friday to pass legislation that would enshrine the “right” to abortion in federal law. The “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which Republican opponents have dubbed the “Abortion On Demand Act,” would preemptively destroy all future state-level legislation to protect the unborn.  If the bill passes the House, it is not expected to pass the Senate, where it would need a 60-vote supermajority to overcome…Continue Reading

Federal judge rejects Biden admin’s demand to block Texas abortion ban before hearing

A federal judge has blocked Joe Biden’s emergency request to stop the Texas abortion ban, which has saved anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 babies from abortion. The Texas heartbeat law went into effect Sept. 1, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other state heartbeat laws, the Texas law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law…Continue Reading

Archbishops criticize ‘outrageous’ claims against St Junipero Serra

A California bill to replace a statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol unfairly slanders the saint’s legacy, two archbishops claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Sunday, Sept. 12.  Last month, California lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to pass Assembly Bill 338, which would replace the statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol with one honoring local Indigenous populations. The bill text claims that 

Catholic health ministry head decries ‘unjust’ federal vaccine mandate

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many private employers, drawing criticism from the head of one Catholic health care ministry. “Coercing individuals into making a medical intervention is unjust,” said Louis Brown, executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation and former acting deputy director of the Civil Rights Division of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, in an interview with CNA on Thursday. “And a vaccine mandate that could…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone raises issue of excommunication for abortion advocates

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 5, 2021 / 18:07 pm Calling abortion “the most pressing human rights challenge of our time,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone on Sunday invoked the excommunication of prominent Catholic segregationists in the early 1960s as an example of a legitimate response to Catholics politicians who support “a great moral evil.” In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, the leader of the Archdiocese of San Francisco pushed back against recent statements by Catholic politicians…Continue Reading

The Enduring Path To Financial Health: Graduate, Work, Marry And Have Children

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The basic path to financial success in this country has been revealed once again by the Census Bureau’s annual report on income and poverty, which was released this week. What did it show?People who graduate from college, get a job, get married and have children generally earn more money than those…Continue Reading

Our Vindictive Culture

By REY FLORES We have all known political correctness as a way of life for years now. It seems that everyone gets offended by one thing or another, but as we spiral out of control into the unknown future, it’s no longer about pointing out political incorrectness — today it’s about punishing the accused in…Continue Reading

If Dems Trample U.S. Into The Dust … They’ll Have Cleared The Ground To Build New Dictatorship

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX – Like many other people who don’t determine the priorities for coverage by dominant left-wing media, conservative pundit Bill Bennett was puzzled at irrational behavior in Joe Biden’s proclaimed steely fight against the COVID virus.Commenting that 40,000 people a week come up to the southern border, Bennett said, “If this is…Continue Reading

A Philadelphia Lawyer In The Garden Of Eden

By DONALD DeMARCO There was no moment in the annals of biblical history, if we are to give full rein to our imagination, when the presence of a lawyer was more urgently needed than immediately after Adam and Eve ingested the forbidden fruit. His absence was most keenly felt, for he was not there to…Continue Reading

Who and What Is Tearing the US Apart?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, September 11, former President George W. Bush’s theme was national unity — and how it has been lost over these past 20 years.“In the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks,” said Bush, “I was proud to lead an amazing, resilient, united people. When it comes…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

“Abortion is Murder”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning.” was the Pope’s answer to a question from a reporter on the return flight from his recent apostolic journey to Slovakia and Hungary. The context was a question posed: “What must the pastor do?” in reference to pro-abortion politicians. On the subject of abortion, the Pope repeated the Church…Continue Reading

The Exorcistic Effect… Of The Word Of God

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this commentary on September 8 and it is reprinted here with permission. His blog is found at https://msgrpope.com/.) + + Many often think of exorcism only in relation to driving out demons from possessed people using ancient prayers. But, truth be told, we all have afflictions, oppressions, temptations, and other…Continue Reading

Love God With Your Whole Heart

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Numb. 11:25-29James 5:1-6Mark 9:38-43; 45, 47-48 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us that if our hand or foot causes us to sin, cut it off; if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. Obviously, our hand, foot, or eye cannot be the cause…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: If the following lessons, which were prepared for Confirmation students, are of value to you, put them to whatever use you can. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well, so please send them along, either to the postal mailing address or the email address below, and we will interrupt this series to answer…Continue Reading

The Beating Heart Of Texas

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK When it comes to legalized baby killing, also known as abortion, untold numbers of Catholics are languishing spiritually under what I’ll call the “Biden delusion.” Some of them would begin to explain it by stating, “I’m personally opposed, but….”For a few years now Biden has survived politically as a Democrat, while claiming to be Catholic,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Nicholas Owen

By DEB PIROCH First you see him…and then you don’t. Dangerous times call for dangerous measures. During the reign of Elizabeth I and James I of England, St. Nicholas Owen was the expert at creating what became known as “priests’ holes,” or secret hiding spots for clergy. Located in the homes of wealthy recusant Catholics, these were hidden compartments or…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mariam Of Jesus Crucified

By DEB PIROCH Her parents had tried so hard to have a child. Again and again they had a little boy, one after the other dying in infancy. After losing 12 boys, Mariam’s mother said to her father: Let’s go to the Holy Grotto in Jerusalem and pray to the Blessed Virgin to intercede for a girl.Mariam’s parents were Greek…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)