Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Filioque, and the Encylical of the Eastern Patriarchs

1. It would seem that the May 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs accuses Catholics of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is an unforgivable sin. In section six the Patriarchs state:
But over time, by envy of the devil, the novelties respecting the sound and orthodox doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the blasphemy of Whom shall not be forgiven unto men either in this world or the next, according to the saying of our Lord [Matthew 12:32], and others that succeeded respecting the divine Mysteries, particularly that of the world-saving Baptism, and the Holy Communion, and the Priesthood, like prodigious births, overspread even Old Rome; and thus sprung, by assumption of special distinctions in the Church as a badge and title, the Papacy.
2. Section 20 makes the same allusion to Catholics as adding to the Sacred Deposit of Faith, and therefore subjecting themselves to the anathema of Christ in Mt 12:32. Not withstanding the bankruptcy of the separated Patriarchs' objections to Filioque,{2}, the above accusation against Catholics seems self-defeating. Is it not true that there is no turning back towards salvation after one blasphemes the Holy Spirit? That is what the wording of our Lord implies. Therefore it would seem that the Patriarchs have, whether they realized or not, committed themselves to saying that someone who once professes the Catholic doctrine on the procession of the Holy Spirit can never be saved. This notion is absurd because the Patriarchs would have to say that, e.g., Fr. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre († 5/7/1909), Isidore the Fool-for-Christ of Rostov († 5/14/1474), and Nicephorus the Solitary of Mt. Athos (†5/4/1340?), who instructed St. Gregory Palamas († 11/14/1359), in Hell, something they would have never dreamt of affirming.

3. In the same vein, the Eastern Orthodox do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit in the sense of Mt 12:32, even though they err in denying the Catholic dogma on the procession of the Holy Spirit.{3} Otherwise we could not venerate as saints the martyrs Josaphat Kuntsevych{4} and Constantine XI Palaiologos,{5} who converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to the true faith.

4. Sts. Maximos the Confessor, Cyril, Methodios, and Josaphat Kuntsevych, pray to our Lord for the imminent reunion of the Eastern Orthodox with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church! Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

Notes & References
{1} The anti-Catholic Encyclical has, among many other clerical signatures, the names of Patriarchs Anthimos VI of Constantinople († 1878), Hierotheos II of Alexandria († 1858), Methodios I of Antioch († 1859), and Cyril II of Jerusalem († 1872).
{2} "Filioque." Catholic Patristics. 6 Mar. 2009. 25 Mar. 2009 <>.
{3} Ibid.
{4} "Josaphat the Malevolent?" The Banana Republican. 20 Sept. 2008. 26 Mar. 2009 <>.
{5} "A Special Note Concerning the Status of Blessed Constantine XI." The Society of St. John Chrysostom of Ayatriada Rum Katoliki Kilise. 26 Mar. 2009 <>.

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