i’m curious as to the justification catholics have to adding the fililoque to the creed.

You know… I would say that if the Spirit doesn’t come from the Father and the Son, the Son is not a perfect magnification. I would agree that the origination is the Father, and I imagine we agree on this. But the Son must, to be a perfect Son, reflect the Father entirely, up to and including procession of the Holy Spirit. I think this is why the Holy Spirit is unity, fruit, life/breath, etc…

I love Michael Liccione’s writing on this. It will take a while to read through, but I think you will enjoy this resource if you have a desire to look into this question in detail.

not to be to limiting, but i’d rather stay away from theological and spiritual discussions on the fililoque and focus more on the political and historical aspects,

hope that’s ok with everyone

Huh. I mean, all that amounts to is that the OT makes it plenty clear that abandoning Israel, even if Jeroboam was being quite difficult, is not an option.

Theologically is much more interesting, because we can learn from each other. The history is full of errors on both parts that no one can change :frowning:

But it is your question :smiley:

While the historical details are vague, it is generally held that it was first added to the creed in the sixth century in Spain to combat a strain of Arianism. It is also found in the Athanasian Creed from around the same period. Here is an explanation from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It has been seen that the Creed of Constantinople at first declared only the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father; it was directed against the followers of Macedonius who denied the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father. In the East, the omission of Filioque did not lead to any misunderstanding. But conditions were different in Spain after the Goths had renounced Arianism and professed the Catholic faith in the Third Synod of Toledo, 589. It cannot be acertained who first added the Filioque to the Creed; but it appears to be certain that the Creed, with the addition of the Filioque, was first sung in the Spanish Church after the conversion of the Goths. In 796 the Patriarch of Aquileia justified and adopted the same addition at the Synod of Friaul, and in 809 the Council of Aachen appears to have approved of it.


First, it’s the Filioque from the Creed:

qui ex Patre Filioque procedit,


The argument is deep and complicated, but there are several reasons.

As as has been pointed out; if the the Holy Spirit did not proceed from the Son, as well as the Father, it would basically mean that the Son is somewhat less than God, or that the Son is the two are not one in the Holy Spirit. Not to get too sexual here, but if you think about a child, and it’s relationship to it’s parents, the fact that the father begets the child actively, whereas the mother receives the sperm from the father, doesn’t mean that we say that the child is from only the father, and not the mother. This analogy is similar to that of the Holy Spirit, the fact that the love of the Father for the Son is the Holy Spirit, does not mean that the Holy Spirit is not also from the Son, who perfectly loves the Father back. Therefore, etc.,

Furthermore, it’s taught by the Latin fathers, notable Augustine in De Trinitate, Hilary of Poitiers in De Trinitate (different work with the same name), as well as by Ambrose in a number of places. Similarly in the Greek Church, Maximus the Confessor refuses to condemn it and the silence of the other Greek fathers is deafening. Furthermore, the only Church ‘Father’ who might be a problem is John the Damascene, but his condemnation of those who say that the Holy Spirit is from the Son is directed at those who say that the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son is separate from His [the Holy Spirit’s] procession from the Father.

And if that’s not enough, the Council of Ephesus declared this:

"9. If anyone says that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Spirit, as making use of an alien power that worked through him and as having received from him the power to master unclean spirits and to work divine wonders among people, and does not rather say that it was his own proper Spirit through whom he worked the divine wonders, let him be anathema. (emphasis added)

  • Council of Ephesus, Canon IX, XXII Anathemas Proposed by Cyril, 431

I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,

Jesus said when he left he (Jesus) would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-7). Thus, from the Father AND the Son.

Of course there is much more to it, but this is the simplest way I can think to explain.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church dates the filioque dogma to 447 A.D., both of Roman and Alexandrian tradition. This occurred before the changes made in the local eastern council of 381 were recognized and received by Rome. In was well after 451 A.D., in 587 A.D., that the local western council of Toledo Spain added filioque to the Creed to combat Arianism.247 The affirmation of the *filioque *does not appear in the Creed confessed in 381 at Constantinople. But Pope St. Leo I, following an ancient Latin and Alexandrian tradition, had already confessed it dogmatically in 447, [76] even before Rome, in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, came to recognize and receive the Symbol of 381. The use of this formula in the Creed was gradually admitted into the Latin liturgy (between the eighth and eleventh centuries). The introduction of the filioque into the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed by the Latin liturgy constitutes moreover, even today, a point of disagreement with the Orthodox Churches.
[76] Cf. Leo I, Quam laudabiliter (447): DS 284.

*DS 284, Pope St. Leo I: *St. Leo the Great, “Quam Laudabiliter,” to Turibius, Bishop of Astorga (21 July 447): [The Holy Spirit] “who proceeds from the two.”

284 (c. 1) Primo itaque capitulo demonstratur, quam impie sentiant de Trinitate divina, qui et Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti unam atque eandem asserunt esse personas, tamquam idem Deus nunc Pater, nunc Filius, nunc Spiritus Sanctus nominetur; nec alius sit qui genuit, alius qui genitus est, alius qui de utroque processit, sed singularis unitas in tribus quidem vocabulis, sed non in tribus sit accipienda personis. Quod blasphemiae genus de Sabellii opinione sumpserunt, cuius discipuli etiam Patripassiani merito nuncupantur; quia si ipse est Filius qui et Pater, crux Filii Patris est passio; et quidquid in forma servi Filius Patri oboediendo sustinuit, totum in se Pater ipse suscepit. Quod catholicae fidei sine ambiguitate contrarium est, quae Trinitatem deitatis sic homousion confitetur, ut Patrem et Filium et Spiritum Sanctum sine confusione indivisos, sine tempore sempiternos, sine differentia credat aequales: quia unitatem in trinitate non eadem persona, sed eadem implet essentia. …

Thanks for the link.

Forgive me for using a cliche, but I find that “possession is nine-tents of the law” fits many situations, including this one.

I don’t believe there would be any good reason to insert the filioque now, if it weren’t already in use by a large portion of the church (keep in mind that it was originally inserted by the Carolingians in direct defiance of the pope). However, because of the difficulty of dropping it, it is generally deemed acceptable for those Catholics who already say it (which is most Catholics) to keep doing so (at least for now).

Not to be the negative nancy, but this topic has been discussed excessively on this forum and a quick search would reveal the [probably] hundreds of pages of discussion on the filioque, which at this point I think any further discussion will just be redundant.

If you could provide links to those for isus to view I am certain he/she would appreciate the assistance. New people arrive daily with what is to them new questions. It would be wise and prudent to use patience and understanding when responding to their questions. For some, their question may be the last hurdle they have to navigate prior to joining the Church.

Not simple. This is in time, which even the Orthodox would of course admit.

When it comes to history - why did the East never combat Arianism with this addition? It is not like this heresy was something new.

You have confused me. Is your assertion the Filioque is heretical? :confused:

Additionally, I admitted in my post this issue had more involved. I only said its the simplest way I could explain.

Off the top of my head, here are 56 pages of filioque discussion in two threads:
Debating the Filioque

Do Eastern Catholics Accept the Filioque?

I cant believe catholics and orthodox are still arguing over this

It’s very mysterious.

I am sorry if I came off as a “wise guy”, but I just wanted to say that the dispute is not about whether Jesus sent us the Spirit of the Father or not, but rather the Latin claim that he proceeds from the Son in His essence before all times.

Heresy or not, God knows. This where the schism started and it is not easy for us poor sinners to make up our mind about it.

I cant believe catholics and orthodox are still arguing over this

What I have noticed is that the ones who say this is nothing is argue about usually comes from the same Church who made the addition. If it is not important, why insist on the addition?

The Fourth Lateran Council states:

The Father is from none, the Son from the Father alone, and the holy Spirit from both equally, eternally without beginning or end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal, co-omnipotent and coeternal; one principle of all things, creator of all things invisible and visible, spiritual and corporeal; who by his almighty power at the beginning of time created from nothing both spiritual and corporeal creatures, that is to say angelic and earthly, and then created human beings composed as it were of both spirit and body in common. The devil and other demons were created by God naturally good, but they became evil by their own doing. Man, however, sinned at the prompting of the devil.

Later it says:

It is therefore clear that in being begotten the Son received the Father’s substance without it being diminished in any way, and thus the Father and the Son have the same substance. Thus the Father and the Son and also the holy Spirit proceeding from both are the same reality.

And the Council of Lyon

the holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle; not by two spirations, but by one single spiration.

I think this is where we find the problem…

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