Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son

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1. In the ontological Trinity, the person of the Father, through and with the person of the Son, eternally spirates the person of the Holy Spirit in one spiration as from one principle (cf. Denzinger 460, 463, 691, 1084).

2. That the Son sends the Holy Spirit [John 15:26] means He has some authority over Him. Since it is not authority of dominion (e.g., King St. Vladimir I the Great rules over Russia), seniority (e.g., a general is ranked higher than a colonel), or superiority (e.g., John is holier than Jack), it must be authority of origin, whereby the Holy Spirit has His existence from the Son and not only the Father.{1}

3. The early Fathers (e.g., Sts. Hilary of Poitiers, Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, Basil the Great of Caesarea, Epiphanius of Salamis, and Augustine the Great of Hippo) interpret John 16:14 ("He shall receive of Mine") to mean that the Holy Spirit receives His being from the Son ("He shall receive from Me"),{2} not that the Holy Spirit receives His being from the Father alone ("He shall receive from Him that is Mine"), as St. Photius taught [Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit 22 in P.G. 102:301B].

4. The Son is the Image of the Father, from Whom He has His being [Col 1:15; Heb 1:3]. The Holy Spirit cannot be the image of the Son, as the Greek Patristic tradition teaches,{3} unless He has His being from the Son, and not only the Father.

5. The hypostases of the Son and the Holy Spirit would not be distinguished from each other if there was not a relation of origin between Them.{4} The order of names tells us that it must thus be the case that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.

6. The incommunicable personal properties are generation (paternity), filiation (sonship), and passive spiration (procession).{5} It is not proper to the Father or the Son to spirate, because active spiration is not relatively opposed to paternity or filiation [ST I, q. 28, art. 3, ad 1], but it is proper to the Holy Spirit to be spirated. In this way the difficulty of all real divine properties being common to all three hypostases or proper to one hypostasis is circumvented.

7. The monarchy of the Father means that He alone has His being from no other hypostasis. That the Son also spirates the Holy Spirit does not make Him a second source of divinity, because He is begotten from the Father and has it from the Father that He also spirates the Holy Spirit.{6} The Greek Fathers use "cause" in a very narrow, determinate, and specific sense: the unbegotten source from Whom the other two persons proceed.{7} Catholics use principle in an indeterminate sense when they say that the Father and the Son are the one "principle" of the Holy Spirit [ST I, q. 36, art. 4, ad 4]. "Principle" is a substantive name with a form and an accompanying suppositum: the Father and the Son must be one "principle" of the Holy Spirit because even though they are two supposita spirating, they are one form, God [ibid., ad 7].

8. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of the Father and belongs to Him because the Father spirates Him. If the Son did not spirate the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit could not be the Spirit of the Son.

9. Several Eastern Fathers teach expressly that the Son also spirates the Holy Spirit in the immanent or ontological Trinity.{8} This teaching is not explicit in all the Eastern Fathers. However, all the Latin Fathers, from the Doctor Bishop St. Hilary of Poitiers onward, explicitly teach Filioque in the sense defined above.{9} To maintain that Filioque is false is to say that the God-bearing Eastern and Western Fathers, who were inspired by the one Spirit of Truth when communicating the traditions of the Church, taught mutually exclusive doctrines on the procession of the Holy Spirit.

Notes & References
{1} Aquinas, St. Thomas (Angelic Doctor). "That the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son." Summa Contra Gentiles: On God and His Creatures. Trans. Joseph Rickaby, S.J., M.A. London: Burnes and Oates, 1905. 6 Jan. 2010 <http://www2.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/gc4_24.htm>.
{2} Huysman, Will R. "Filioque: Fathers, Popes, & Councils." Catholic Patristics. 4 Aug. 2009. 6 Jan. 2010 <http://catholicpatristics.blogspot.com/2009/08/filioque.html>.
{3} Creed of St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea, Doctor St. Athanasius the Great [To Serapion 1:19,20, 21, 24 and 2:1, 4], Doctor St. Gregory the Theologian of Nazianzus [Oration 31:31-32], Doctor of the Incarnation St. Cyril of Alexandria [Thesaurus 33], and Doctor St. John of Damascus [An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 1:13].
{4} St. Gregory of Nyssa [To Ablabius on Not Three Gods], Doctor St. Gregory the Theologian of Nazianzus [Oration 31:9], Doctor St. John of Damascus [An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 1:8].
{5} New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., s.v. "Divine Personal Properties."
{6} Jugie, Martin, A.A. De processione spiritus sancti ex fontibus revelationis et secundum orientales dissidentes (Rome: Istituto Grafico Tiberino, 1936), 293-294.
{7} Huysman, Will R. "The Cappadocian Fathers and Filioque." The Banana Republican. 6 Jan. 2010 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2010/01/cappadocian-fathers-and-filioque.html>.
{8} Huysman, Will R. "Filioque: Fathers, Popes, & Councils." Catholic Patristics. 4 Aug. 2009. 6 Jan. 2010 <http://catholicpatristics.blogspot.com/2009/08/filioque.html>.
{9} New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., s.v. "Filioque."

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