Sunday, October 05, 2008

Compatibility of Cappadocian Principle and Filioque

MYTH
Filioque is incompatible with the Cappadocian principle and therefore false

Definition of Cappadocian Principle
1. St. Basil the Great of Caesarea and St. Gregory the Great Theologian of Nazianzus rightly affirmed the Cappadocian Principle: every real divine property must be individual or common to all three Persons of the Trinity. The two-person description "of the cause" applies to the Son and the Holy Spirit but is not a single distinctive property; rather, this two-person description only safeguards the distinctive property of the Father.{1} "Of the cause" actually supposes two distinct properties and therefore can be subject to further distinction, i.e. into the person Who is of the cause as only-begotten [Jn 3:16] and the person Who is of the cause by interposition.{2}

Necessity of Two-Person Descriptions
2. The Cappadocian Principle is no prejudice to the Filioque clause because there must be descriptions shared by two persons and not the third, or else we could not describe the Son and Holy Spirit as "of the cause" and thus we could not say that the Father is the cause of the Godhead.{3}

Distinguishing Between Generation & Procession
3. The processions could have no order to each other, and the Son and Holy Spirit would not be distinct and would thus be a Semi-Sabellian monster, if the Son did not proceed from the Father alone while the Holy Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son.{4} To that extent, we do in fact know how generation differs from procession.

Saint Photius the Great on Properties Vis-à-vis Filioque
4. Properties are natural when they are not distinctive.{5} Ergo Patriarch St. Photius I the Great of Constantinople was right that predicating of the Son the distinctive property of the Father makes the Father an attribute of the nature rather than a subsistent person.{6} But the same great saint was wrong to reject the Filioque, for the Filioque does not attribute to the Son the property distinctive of the Father.{7}

Notes and References
{1} Watson, Brandon. "Interposition." Siris. 9 May 2007. 5 Oct. 2008 <http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2007/05/interposition.html>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor Angelicus), Summa Theologica 1:36:2 @ http://newadvent.org/summa/1036.htm#article2.
{5} Watson, Brandon. "Interposition." Siris. 9 May 2007. 5 Oct. 2008 <http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2007/05/interposition.html>.
{6} Patriarch St. Photius I the Great of Constantinople, Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit.
{7} Watson, Brandon. "Interposition." Siris. 9 May 2007. 5 Oct. 2008 <http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2007/05/interposition.html>.

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