Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Council of Florence Debate: Closing Argument

This is my closing argument for a December 4th debate in my Byzantine Christianity class about whether the Byzantines were wrong to reject the Council of Florence. I'll post the section on the papacy when I finish it.

The Byzantines were wrong to reject the Council of Florence.

The Bible does not teach Filioque formally, but materially,{1} according to the unanimous interpretation of the Latin Fathers from the time of St. Hilary of Poitiers,{2} and the clear statements of many Greek Fathers.{3} The Fathers believe that John 16:14, "He shall receive of Mine," indicates that the Holy Spirit, from eternity, receives the divine substance from the Son.{4} They also said that the Son's sending the Holy Spirit in time points to the Holy Spirit's eternal hypostatic procession from the Son in the Immanent Trinity.{5}

In the 18th session of the Council, John of Montenero said, "According to both the Latin and the Greek doctors, it is relation alone that multiplies the divine [hypostases] in the divine productions, and this relation is the relation of origin."{6} Neither Mark of Ephesus nor any Greek cleric objected.{7} The order of Names entails that there is a relation of origin between the Son and the Holy Spirit, so that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son and not only from the Father.{8} Filioque is thus necessary to distinguish the hypostases of the Son and the Holy Spirit.{9}

Filioque does not negate the monarchy of the Father. The three incommunicable hypostatic properties are generation, filiation, and passive spiration.{10} Active spiration is not a hypostatic property of the Father, but a notional act common to the Father and the Son, since it is not relatively opposed to generation or filiation.{11} Thus we say, in an analogical sense, that the Father and the Son are notionally one principle of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit.{12} The Father and the Son are two spirating because they are two hypostases, but They are one spirator or principle because They are one form, God.{13}

Think about the Name "Father." Fatherhood consists in being the sole begetter of the Son, not in being the sole spirator of the Holy Spirit.{14} The Son has everything from the Father except being Father, so He has it from the Father that the Holy Spirit proceeds from Him.{15} The Father remains the primordial source of the Godhead.

All the clerics at the Council agreed to the principle of the harmony of the Church Fathers: the saints generally agree on matters of faith even if they appear to disagree at first.{16} Thus the Greek and Latin Fathers agree about the procession of the Holy Spirit. If the Latin Fathers clearly teach that the Holy Spirit, as hypostasis, proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, the writings of the Greek saints must not be understood as denying this doctrine.{17} Even Mark of Ephesus admitted that the passages of the Latin Fathers the Catholics cited in favor of Filioque taught a hypostatic, and not merely energetic or temporal, procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son; his only way out of accepting the union was to maintain the absurd hypothesis that all these passages were spurious.{18}

Although Pope Benedict VIII (1012-1024) authorized the addition to the Creed{19} by virtue of his plenary power of binding and loosing, whereas previous popes refused to add the words to the Creed,{20} no pope ever denied the Filioque doctrine.{21} Sts. Damasus I (366-384),{22} Leo I the Great (440-461),{23} Hormisdas (514-523),{24} Gregory I the Great (590-604),{25} and Martin I the Martyr (649-655){25} confessed it. Canon seven of Ephesus only prohibits heterodox additions to the Creed, not orthodox additions.{26} The Second Council did not define Filioque. Since the Macedonians denied that the Son is consubstantial with God the Father, the Council would not achieve its goal of proving the Holy Spirit is ὁμοούσιος with God the Father by defining that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.{27} The later ecumenical Councils, which hailed many Filioquist Fathers as illustrious teachers of orthodoxy,{28} had no need to define Filioque because there was no widespread denial of the doctrine in those times.{29}


Notes & References
{1} "But although we do not find it verbally expressed in Holy Scripture that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son, still we do find it in the sense of Scripture..." -- St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelic Doctor), Summa Theologica I, q. 36, art. 2, ad 1.
{2} Gill, Fr. Joseph, S.J., and B. L. Marthaler "Filioque." New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. p. 720. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 23 Mar. 2009.
{3}
{4}
{5}
{6} In Mansi XXXI-1:738DE; qtd. in Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., The Trinity and God the Creator, chapter 10.
{7} Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., loc. cit. See Mansi XXXI-1:739A-744D.
{8}
There cannot be in God any relations opposed to each other, except relations of origin, as proved above (Question 28, Article 4). And opposite relations of origin are to be understood as of a "principle," and of what is "from the principle." Therefore we must conclude that it is necessary to say that either the Son is from the Holy Ghost; which no one says; or that the Holy Ghost is from the Son, as we confess.
-- Aquinas, ST I, q. 36, art. 2, corp.
{9} Ibid.
{10} Bermejo, A. M. "Properties, Divine Personal." New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. p. 755. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 23 Mar. 2009.
{11}
The Father and the Son, unity of essence considered, do not differ save in this: He is the Father and He is the Son. So, anything other than this is common to the Father and the Son. But to be the principle of the Holy Spirit is not included in the notion of paternity and of sonship, for it is one relation by which the Father is Father, and another by which He is the principle of the Holy Spirit, as was said above. Therefore, to be the principle of the Holy Spirit is common to the Father and the Son.
-- Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles IV, ch. 24, §14.
{12} "The name for a principium, said essentially and notionally, is accepted neither univocally nor equivocally, but analogically." -- St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (Seraphic Doctor), Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard b. I, d. 29, art. 1, q. 2.
{13} Aquinas, ST I, q. 36, art. 4, ad 7.
{14} Cf. Bermejo, loc. cit, and St. Maximus the Confessor [Ambigua 26 in PG 91:1265CD; qtd. in Fr. Congar, III:82]: "The Name 'Father' is neither a Name of essence nor a Name of energy. It is a Name of a relationship and it tells us how the Father is with regard to the Son and how the Son is with regard to the Father."
{15} "One power belongs to the Father and the Son; and ... whatever is from the Father must be from the Son unless it be opposed to the property of filiation; for the Son is not from Himself, although He is from the Father." -- Aquinas, ST I, q. 36, art. 2, ad 6.
{16}
{17}
{18}
{19}
{20}
{21} Scourtis, C. "Eastern Schism." New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. p. 24. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 12 Feb. 2009.
{22}
{23}
{24}
{25} The holy pontiff states the following: "it is certain that the comforting Spirit always proceeds from the Father and the Son" [Dialogues 2:38 in PL 76:204; qtd. in Fr. Jugie, p. 219]; "the Spirit, even in substance, flows from the Son" [Morals 2:92 in PL 75 ; qtd. in Fr. Jugie, p. 218 & Siecienski, p. 70]; "The Spirit of the Father and the Son Who issues from both … proceeds ever from the Father" [Morals 30:17 in PL 76:534; qtd. in Fr. Jugie, p. 218 & Siecienski, p. 70]; and that the Holy Spirit's procession from the Father and the Son in time corresponds to His eternal hypostatic procession from the Father and the Son [Homily 28 on John 20:21; qtd. in Siecienski, p. 70].
{26}
{27}
{28}
{29}
{30}

1 comment:

Andrew Behm said...

If the Holy Spirit spirates from the Father and the Son as from one principle, then is the Son, in turn, begotten from the Father and Holy Spirit as from one principle?