The Holy Spirit


The way the East defines, “Proceeds from the Father,” seems to make sense (keep reading for the reverse), but, I have read that The Holy Spirit proceeds from The Father and The Son (West) because he is the Love that is between Them.

If I cannot accept, “Proceeds from The Father and The Son,” then I don’t think I can rightly call myself, “Catholic,” anymore; this is not an ultimatim, but, I truly want to understand, how are we to know what/Who is The Holy Spirit? Am I confusing myself because, “proceeds,” makes it sound like there was a beginning?

How can The Father be the Source of both The Son and The Holy Spirit? If I am to accept what the East says it sounds as though The Son has nothing to do in how The Holy Spirit is defined? The East then makes it sound like The Son was just sitting on The sidelines in regard to The Holy Spirit.

head hit keyboard
So VERY confused.

Please, for the Love of God, help. Thank you.


I may get in trouble here but - won’t be the first time - - -

The Godhead is three in one - All are the same essence regardless of the “persons” or “roles” or “spirits” that we attempt to define them as.
Therefore the Holy Spirit, or Spiit of God must, of necessity flow from both the Father AND the Son since they are all the same essence.

Now as relates to “timing”.
My - personal - picture goes something like this.

When God made Adam, He walked and talked with him in the Garden.
Adam had God’s Spirit with him constantly. That is The Holy spirit was in the World. Once Adam sinned, the Holy Spirit left him.

Jesus, our salvation came to return the Holy Spirit to the world. Look at what He says to the Apostles - He had to Go so that the father could send them the Holy Spirit. That is because Jesus contained the Holy Spirit and as long as He remained, we would only look to Jesus instead of looking inside ourselves for God’s Spirit.

After the Ascention, God (Father and Son) sent the Holy Spirit back into the world acting through the faith and gifts of each believer. This Holy, Godly Spirit that permeates our Faith binds us to each other in Christian fellowhip.

Hope teh above doesn’t increase your head-keyboard banging.



I can’t say I’ve examined the question much of what the east professes vs. what the west professes. But some thoughts occurred to me though as I was reading your post and I’d like to offer some reflections.

The words “Proceeds from” and “source” are words that we normally use to describe things in the natural temporal order. When we use these same words to describe a reality which exists in the eternal supernatural order, the words cannot perfectly reflect the reality in a way that will ever resolve perfectly an understanding of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. When we speak of God there are two questions we can consider: What is he? He is God. Who is he? He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In word, He is the Blessed Trinity, one God in three divine persons.

Now on the question of succession, how can there be succession in the supernatural nature of the eternal being of God? There can be no temporal succession because He exists outside time. The three persons of the divinity are neither older nor younger then each other.

I would like to offer another reflection on the Trinity. In the temporal order God the Father “spoke” the Eternal Word. That is, God the Son (the Word made flesh) entered into the temporal order. In other words in a certain manner of speaking, Jesus the Son, is an expression of God himself. We creatures express in words to communicate to each other. God the Father expressed himself (to us) in Christ incarnate to communicate to us his salvific mission. The “word” of God in that sense is generated, not in the supernatural order, but in the temporal order as the mystery of the incarnation. Christ has entered into the temporal order to reveal God the Father, so as the Father sent the Son, so now the Son sends the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals the Son, as the Son reveals the Father.


ECF’s understood, explained H.S. as being the Hand of God the Father.

The Father reaches out to mankind with Christ in his right hand and H.S. in the left. If we reach up and except hand of Christ with our hand, Christ will acknowledge us to the Father … and God the Father will illuminate us thru the H.S.

God’s left hand draws us, his right hand heals us. Both our hands are lifted up to the Father … linking us to the Trinity. Picture your hands crossed over your head … ‘the sign of the cross’.


This PDF file explains it well:

On the Procession of the Holy Spirit by John F. McCarthy
It’s long, but it really flushes out the issue. Remember, the Filioque does not mean to intend to imply two spirations or two principles (this is why it would be wrong to switch the order and say “proceeds from the Son and the Father”). Likewise, it would also be wrong to accuse the Easterners of implying the Son and Holy Spirit have the same relationship to the Father, thus not distinguishing between the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Rather, we both mean the same thing but the West makes what is implicit explicit (which is often the case in what appears to be a difference between East and West).

closed #6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit