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The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue?

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  • Thomas Daniel
    An Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Saint Paul s College, Washington, DC October 25, 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10, 2003
      An Agreed Statement of the
      North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological
      Saint Paul's College, Washington, DC
      October 25, 2003


      IV. Recommendations

      We are aware that the problem of the theology
      of the Filioque, and its use in the Creed, is
      not simply an issue between the Catholic and
      Orthodox communions. Many Protestant Churches,
      too, drawing on the theological legacy of the
      Medieval West, consider the term to represent
      an integral part of the orthodox Christian

      1. that all involved in such dialogue expressly
      recognize the limitations of our ability to make
      definitive assertions about the inner life of God;

      2· that in the future, because of the progress in
      mutual understanding that has come about in recent
      decades, Orthodox and Catholics refrain from labeling
      as heretical the traditions of the other side on the
      subject of the procession of the Holy Spirit;.........

      7· that the Catholic Church, following a growing
      theological consensus, and in particular the statements
      made by Pope Paul VI, declare that the condemnation made
      at the Second Council of Lyons (1274) of those "who presume
      to deny that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the
      Father and the Son" is no longer applicable.

      We offer these recommendations to our Churches in
      the conviction, based on our own intense study and
      discussion, that our traditions' different ways of
      understanding the procession of the Holy Spirit
      need no longer divide us. We believe, rather, that
      our profession of the ancient Creed of Constantinople
      must be allowed to become, by our uniform practice
      and our new attempts at mutual understanding, the
      basis for a more conscious unity in the one faith
      that all theology simply seeks to clarify and to
      deepen. Although our expression of the truth God
      reveals about his own Being must always remain
      limited by the boundaries of human understanding
      and human words, we believe that it is the very
      "Spirit of truth," whom Jesus breathes upon his
      Church, who remains with us still, to "guide us
      into all truth" (John 16.13). We pray that our
      Churches' understanding of this Spirit may no
      longer be a scandal to us, or an obstacle to unity
      in Christ, but that the one truth towards which he
      guides us may truly be "a bond of peace" (Eph 4.3),
      for us and for all Christians.
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