19 August 2021

FILIOQUE; and incense

There are Roman Catholics for whom the central dogma of their Faith is that Anglican Orders, invariably and in any conceivable circumstances, must be invalid.

Similarly, there are Orthodox for whom the fearful iniquity of Filioque is the central dogma of all Orthodoxy.

Both of these questions rather bore me. I'm unwilling to spend time on them.

But, as far as Filioque is concerned, I follow the lines of the Roman document The Greek and Latin traditions about the procession of the Holy Spirit, 1995. I see the heart of the 'problem' as the imperfect match between Greek terminology (proienai ... ekporeuesthai) and Latin (procedere). If I were to press things further, I would suggest that putting Filioque into the Greek Creed would be heretical or nearly heretical, as implying two pegai, two arkhai, of the theotes. I would be uneasy about leaving Filioque out of the Latin Creed, lest this conveyed a hint of Arianism.

Our Byzantine brethren need to remember that, in our heterodox West, Arianism is still alive and mightily flourishing. Orthodox worshippers are given no opportunity to forget that Christ is indeed our true God. In the West, however, we have Bergoglianite heretics, not all of them Jesuits, asserting that we do not know what the Man from Nazareth really taught ... there was nobody present with a tape-recorder ... an attitude which betrays a powerful underlying Arian mindset. 

Readers will be aware that the simple and obvious Hunwicke solution to this phenomenon would be to have the 'Athanasian Creed' chanted at least once a month in every parish church before the Most Holy Sacrament solemnly exposed, with incense offered at those points in the text which most forcefully assert the Godhead of the Son. Plenary Indulgences toties quoties. This ceremony, so latreutic, so didactic, could also profitably take the place of those preposterous 'papal public audiences'. His all-holiness the Patriarch of Moskow and All the Russias prostrates himself for quite some time before the Blessed Sacrament after the Epiclesis; it would be very decently Ecumenical for the Bishop of Rome to be seen doing something analogous.

I have said that I would be uneasy about leaving the Filioque out of the Latin Creed. But I sha'n't express this sentiment too intemperately, because in the admirable papal/CDF document Dominus Iesus of 2000, the text begins with the Creed in Latin but ... ... ... without the Filioque!!

I am not happy, in future, to entertain on my blog arguments or rhetoric about Filioque which do not engage soberly and politely with the 1995 paper; or fail to show decent respect for our Latin traditions.


Gil Garza said...

Rev. Dr. Aidan Nichols (Blackfriar) treats this topic at length (which you have so deftly summarized) in his excellent book, “Rome and The Eastern Churches,” Ignatius, 2010, for those seeking an in depth discussion. Definitely worth the read.

Stephen said...

Very much appreciate your approach regarding the Filioque as to its content, context and meaning. But is there not more to be said regarding, not just the what, but the who, the how and the why it came to used the way it has been used? These touch on the timely topics of the day regarding liturgy, authority, obedience and conscience, and I'd very much be interested in knowing your take.

PM said...

For my money, one of the most precious gems in the Summa Theologiae is the characterisation of the Son as the 'Verbum Spirans Amorem'.