Question about the filioque

Hello all. I would like to ask a question about the filioque.

From this 1995 clarification on the filioque released by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, I got that the Greek Patristic Tradition has two words to describe the procession of the Holy Spirit. One was ekporeusis, and the other was proienai. Ekporeusis is the spiration of the Holy Spirit from the principle without principle, ie the Father alone. Therefore the ekporeusis of the Holy Spirit can only be said to be from the Father, and not from the Son, but through the Son, as He has a mediating role in the ekporeusis. It can be said that the Holy Spirit has His proienai from the Father and the Son, as proienai is the more general term for spiration, and not exclusive to the spiration from the principle without principle.

However, this link quotes the decree from the Council of Florence, saying that in the greek version, the Holy Spirit has His “ekporeuetai” from both. This, as I understand it, is wrong, as ekporeusis can only be said to be from the Father.

My questions are:

  1. Does the greek decree from the Council of Florence really say that the Spirit has His ekporeuetai from both the Father and the Son? The link author cites the book “Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils” by Norman P Tanner. Is this true?
  2. If the quote was true, then the decree is in error, as per the clarification from the Pontifical Council. But how can this be, since the Council of Florence is an ecumenical council, and thus infallible?

Thank you.

The eastern Churches did not accept the decrees of Florence even though it was accepted by some eastern faithful.

Stating the dogma, is the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

246 The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque)”. The Council of Florence in 1438 explains:
[INDENT]“The Holy Spirit is eternally from Father and Son; He has his nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration. . . . And, since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.” 75

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.

248 At the outset the Eastern tradition expresses the Father’s character as first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he “who proceeds from the Father”, it affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son. 77 The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque). It says this, “legitimately and with good reason”, 78 for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as “the principle without principle”, 79 is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. 80 This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.

75 Council of Florence (1439): DS 1300-1301.
76 Cf. Leo I, *Quam laudabiliter *(447): DS 284.
77 Jn 15:26; cf. AG 2.
78 Council of Florence (1439): DS 1302.
79 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1331.
80 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 850.

As less of a legal matter and more practical, Father and Son are “consubstantial” - of the same substance. The Holy Spirit is defined (among other things) as the intense love existing between Father and Son. A love so utterly pure and intense that He constitutes a Divine Person. If He exists between them, and is a part of their ‘consubstantiality’, and cannot be separated from either, He was intended from the beginning to be present on earth after the Son ascended. Jesus did nothing that was outside of, or contrary to the Father’s will. Therefore, the Father clearly intended the shared Spirit of love to proceed also from the Son.

And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote about it:

Summa Theologica First Part

Question 36. The person of the Holy Ghost

Article 3. Whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son?

Reply to Objection 2. If the Son received from the Father a numerically distinct power for the spiration of the Holy Ghost, it would follow that He would be a secondary and instrumental cause; and thus the Holy Ghost would proceed more from the Father than from the Son; whereas, on the contrary, the same spirative power belongs to the Father and to the Son; and therefore the Holy Ghost proceeds equally from both, although sometimes He is said to proceed principally or properly from the Father, because the Son has this power from the Father.

Summa Theologica First Part

Question 37. The name of the Holy Ghost–Love

Article 2. Whether the Father and the Son love each other by the Holy Ghost?

I answer that, A difficulty about this question is objected to the effect that when we say, “the Father loves the Son by the Holy Ghost,” since the ablative is construed as denoting a cause, it seems to mean that the Holy Ghost is the principle of love to the Father and the Son; which cannot be admitted.

… In this way, therefore, we must say that since in God “to love” is taken in two ways, essentially and notionally, when it is taken essentially, it means that the Father and the Son love each other not by the Holy Ghost, but by their essence. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 7): “Who dares to say that the Father loves neither Himself, nor the Son, nor the Holy Ghost, except by the Holy Ghost?” The opinions first quoted are to be taken in this sense. But when the term Love is taken in a notional sense it means nothing else than “to spirate love”; just as to speak is to produce a word, and to flower is to produce flowers. As therefore we say that a tree flowers by its flower, so do we say that the Father, by the Word or the Son, speaks Himself, and His creatures; and that the Father and the Son love each other and us, by the Holy Ghost, or by Love proceeding.

Thank you for your answers. But I guess my question can be boiled down to this: the Council of Florence states that the Holy Spirit has his ekporeusis from both the Father and the Son as one principle. Yet the PCPCU statement states that the Holy Spirit has his ekporeusis from the Father alone. Why this contradiction? And how can the PCPCU contradict an ecumenical council, which is infallible?

The Pontifical Council reference is to origin from the Father alone:

“The Holy Spirit therefore takes his origin from the Father alone (ek monou tou PatroV) in a principal, proper and immediate manner.1”

1 These are the terms employed by St Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, Ia, q. 36, a. 3, 1um and 2um.

From the Council of Florence (Catholic Encyclopedia), there is also ***“one principle, one cause … the Father”***"

In the last session but one (twenty-fourth of Ferrara, eighth of Florence) Giovanni di Ragusa set forth clearly the Latin doctrine in the following terms:
[INDENT]“the Latin Church recognizes but one principle, one cause of the Holy Spirit, namely, the Father. It is from the Father that the Son holds his place in the ‘Procession’ of the Holy Ghost. It is in this sense that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, but He proceeds also from the Son.”
In the last session, the same theologian again expounded the doctrine, after which the public sessions were closed at the request of the Greeks, as it seemed useless to prolong further the theological discussions.[/INDENT]

Van der Essen, L. (1909). The Council of Florence. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

…not a scholar or reader… so all of it seems Greek to me; yet, Scriptures are clear that the Holy Spirit emanates from both the Father and the Son:

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed [size=]the Spirit of God [/size]lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:9-10)

…so either there are two distinct Holy Spirits or the One Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3, 11, 13; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4) truly proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Further, if there is designation to be found/argued, then we have Scriptures that attest that it is Jesus Who holds/contains the Spirit of God:

To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Apocalypse 3:1)

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Apocalypse 5:6)

Finally, consider the problem with dissecting God:

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from [size=]the throne of God and of the Lamb[/size] 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. **The throne of God and of the Lamb **will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Apocalypse 22:1-3)

24**[size=] God is spirit**[/size], and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (St. John 4:24)

Maran atha!


Try this…it has been awhile since i read it…

**JPII explains Greek vs Latin expression of proceeds **

**[FONT=&quot]dual procession [/FONT]****≠ **dual origin

There is a dual procession, Summa Theloogica, Part I,
Question 27. The procession of the divine persons
Article 3. Whether any other procession exists in God besides that of the Word?

I answer that, There are two processions in God; the procession of the Word, and another. In evidence whereof we must observe that procession exists in God, only according to an action which does not tend to anything external, but remains in the agent itself. Such an action in an intellectual nature is that of the intellect, and of the will. The procession of the Word is by way of an intelligible operation. The operation of the will within ourselves involves also another procession, that of love, whereby the object loved is in the lover; as, by the conception of the word, the object spoken of or understood is in the intelligent agent. Hence, besides the procession of the Word in God, there exists in Him another procession called the procession of love.

In S.T. Q28 he also states that “The procession of the Word is called generation in the proper sense of the term, whereby it is applied to living things.” and “But the procession of Love has no proper name of its own (27, 4); and so neither have the ensuing relations a proper name of their own. The relation of the principle of this procession is called spiration; and the relation of the person proceeding is called procession: although these two names belong to the processions or origins themselves, and not to the relations.”

But then finally in Q30:

I answer that, As was explained above, there can be only three persons in God. For it was shown above that the several persons are the several subsisting relations really distinct from each other. But a real distinction between the divine relations can come only from relative opposition. Therefore two opposite relations must needs refer to two persons: and if any relations are not opposite they must needs belong to the same person. Since then paternity and filiation are opposite relations, they belong necessarily to two persons. Therefore the subsisting paternity is the person of the Father; and the subsisting filiation is the person of the Son. The other two relations are not opposed to either of these, but are opposed to each other; therefore these two cannot belong to one person: hence either one of them must belong to both of the aforesaid persons; or one must belong to one person, and the other to the other. Now, procession cannot belong to the Father and the Son, or to either of them; for thus it would follows that the procession of the intellect, which in God is generation, wherefrom paternity and filiation are derived, would issue from the procession of love, whence spiration and procession are derived, if the person generating and the person generated proceeded from the person spirating; and this is against what was laid down above (27, 3 and 4). We must frequently admit that spiration belongs to the person of the Father, and to the person of the Son, forasmuch as it has no relative opposition either to paternity or to filiation; and consequently that procession belongs to the other person who is called the person of the Holy Ghost, who proceeds by way of love, as above explained. Therefore only three persons exist in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As I said #9 to longislandicedt , (said simply)**[FONT=&quot] dual procession [/FONT]****≠ **dual origin

The phrase causes problems because origin can be Greek aiton or a second meaning is origin of what occurs together (simul), Father and Son. Doubt is introduced by use of the word as. “nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration.”

In the following link, whether one looks at the usage of

*]“origin” used (32 times)
*]or “source” used (12 times),
*]or Principle mentioned (19 times)
*]or proceeds mentioned (21 times)
JPII gave a thorough explanation

Scripturally, [FONT=&quot]when Jesus was sending the HS. notice how He said it. [/FONT]

John 14:26

John 15:26

"The doctrine of the Filioque must be understood and presented by the Catholic Church in such a way that it cannot appear to contradict the Monarchy of the Father nor the fact that he is the sole origin (arch, aitia) of the ekporeusiVof the Spirit. " (from that EWTN link)

Thus Re: the HS, condensing what JPII said, **[FONT=&quot]dual procession [/FONT]****≠ **dual origin

Isn’t the question the meaning of the Latin word proceed which has other connotations than originate.
If you tell an average English /Latin speaker that the Orthodox deny that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. Many reactions are amazement that the Orthodox deny the Trinity.
Making them somewhat Arian. Of course a Greek speaker would be appalled by this assertion
That’s probably why it’s insertion became important in the West.

Scriptural references are only about the mission of the Holy Spirit. Ontology is defined through the Symbol of Faith with the use of ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί (consubstantial with the Father).

in this case,

Could you show me where Latin for proceeds, means the HS originates from the son?

Denzinger (Sources of Catholic Dogma)

GREGORY XIII 1572-1585

Profession of Faith Prescribed for the Greeks *

[From the acts concerning the union of the Greco-Russian church, 1575]

1083 I, N., in firm faith believe and profess each and every thing which is contained in the Creed of faith, which the holy Roman Church uses, namely: I believe in one God [as in the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, n. 86, 994].

1084 I also believe, and I accept and profess all the things which the holy ecumenical Synod of FLORENCE defined and declared concerning the union of the western and eastern Church, namely that the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son; and that He has His essence and His subsistent being from the Father and from the Son together; and that He proceeds from both eternally, as from one principle and by a single procession, since what the holy Doctors and Fathers say comes to mean the same thing, that from the Father through the Son the Holy Spirit proceeds, and that the Son, according to the Greeks, is also the cause, and according to the Latins, indeed the principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, as is the Father. All things, however, which are of the Father, the Father Himself has given to His only-begotten Son in generation, outside of being the Father; the very fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, the Son himself eternally has from the Father, by whom He has also been eternally begotten. And that the explanation of these words, “Filioque,” for the sake of declaring the truth, and because of imminent necessity, has lawfully and reasonably been added to the Creed. . . . The text follows from the decrees of the union of the Greeks. Council of FLORENCE.

"If it is correctly situated, the Filioque of the Latin tradition must not lead to a subordination of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. Even if the Catholic doctrine affirms that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son in the communication of their consubstantial communion, it nonetheless recognizes the reality of the original relationship of the Holy Spirit as person with the Father, a relationship that the Greek Fathers express by the term ekporeusiV.5
In the same way, if in the Trinitarian order the Holy Spirit is consecutive to the relation between the Father and the Son, since he takes his origin from the Father as Father of the only Son,6 it is in the Spirit that this relationship between the Father and the Son itself attains its Trinitarian perfection. Just as the Father is characterized as Father by the Son he generates, so does the Spirit, by taking his origin from the Father, characterize the Father in the manner of the Trinity in relation to the Son and characterizes the Son in the manner of the Trinity in his relation to the Father: in the fullness of the Trinitarian mystery they are Father and Son in the Holy Spirit.7
The Father only generates the Son by breathing (proballein in Greek) through him the Holy Spirit and the Son is only begotten by the Father insofar as the spiration (probolh in Greek) passes through him. The Father is Father of the One Son only by being for him and through him the origin of the Holy Spirit.8
*The Spirit does not precede the Son, since the Son characterizes as Father the Father from whom the Spirit takes his origin, according to the Trinitarian order.9 *But the spiration of the Spirit from the Father takes place by and through (the two senses of dia in Greek) the generation of the Son, to which it gives its Trinitarian character. It is in this sense that St John Damascene says: “The Holy Spirit is a substantial power contemplated in his own distinct hypostasis, who proceeds from the Father and reposes in the Word” (De Fide orthodoxa I, 7, PG 94, 805 B, ed. B. Kotter, Berlin 1973, p. 16; Dialogus contra Manichaeos 5, PG 94, 1512 B, ed. B. Kotter, Berlin 1981, p. 354).10 "

excerpted From : JPII [FONT=&quot]homily

[FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]"The Holy Father, in the homily he gave in St Peter Basilica on 29 June in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, expressed a desire that “the traditional doctrine of the Filioque, present in the liturgical version of the Latin Credo, [be clarified] in order to highlight its full harmony with what the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople of 381 confesses in its creed: the Father as the source of the whole Trinity, the one origin both of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.


[/FONT][FONT=&quot]**[FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]IOW, dual procession [/FONT]****≠ **dual origin[/FONT][/FONT]

Excellent quotes. Notice the footnote 8 refers to St. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 A.D.). He was the one that was able to get some agreement between the two divergent positions of Alexandria and Antioch (Council of Ephesus). The word cause has been used in the east and avoided in the west.

St. Thomas identifies four real relations in God: paternity [1], filiation[2], (active [3]) spiration, and procession (passive spiration[4]), he says these

“real relations in God can be understood only in regard to those actions according to which there are internal, and not external, processions in God… the action of the intellect, the procession of the Word; and the other from the action of the will, the procession of love.”

[1] The relation of the Father to the Son. - really distinct
[2] The relation of the Son to the Father. - really distinct
[3] The relation of the Father and the Son to the Spirit. - virtually distinct
[4] The relation of the Spirit to the Father and the Son. - really distinct

St. Thomas Aquinas, Contra Errores Graecorum

Among the Latins, however, the Father is not usually called the cause of the Son or of the Holy Spirit, but only their principle or origin, for this there are three reasons.
[LIST]*]First, because the Father cannot be understood as a cause of the Son in the manner of a formal or material or final cause, but only after that of an originating cause, to wit an efficient cause. But we find that an efficient cause is always diverse in essence from that of which it is the cause. Therefore, to exclude the notion that the Son has an essence diverse from that of the Father, we are not accustomed to speak of the Father as cause of the Son, but prefer to use words connoting origin jointly with consubstantiality, such as fount, head, and the like.
*]Second, because for us cause and effect are correlative terms. Hence we do not say the Father causes, lest someone take this to mean that the Son was made. And even with the philosophers God is called prime cause; whatever is caused is included by them in the universe of creatures. And so, if the Son could be said to have a cause, he could be understood as being included within the universe of caused beings or creatures.
*]Third, because when speaking of God man should not lightly depart from the scriptural mode. Sacred Scripture, however, calls the Father the beginning (or principle) of the Word, as is clear from John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word.” Nowhere does it say that the Father is a cause or that the Son is caused. Therefore, since cause says more than principle, we do not presume to say that the Father is a cause or the Son is caused.[/LIST]

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