At vigil Mass on Saturday, while we were praying the Nicene Creed, a thought flashed into my head at the second filioque – and the Son – wondering if it will be removed when the Orthodox and Catholic churches are reunited. Its insertion in the creed was one of the reasons given for the schism in 1054 – and one in which the Catholic side was almost assuredly in error. I certainly have no problems with dropping it…

What is more enlightening for me than the thought itself this weekend but that it coincided with Francis’s visit to Turkey. I hadn’t had the chance to keep up with news from the visit over the weekend but was catching up on some of the coverage through NCR today, reading about how Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had both spoken very strongly in favor of unity in the immediate future. Talks between the two churches have been ongoing for decades and I share in the hope that this unity will come soon.

Francis made very clear that all the various churches that make up the Catholic and Orthodox communions would retain their own identities, that unity is only in profession of faith together. Bartholomew spoke poignantly about how unity among Christians is already evident in the lives of those being persecuted for being Christian, whatever their denomination.

So, I guess the Catholics would not have to drop the second filioque, but I think it would be a nice gesture.

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

8 thoughts on “unity”

  1. I had to look up second filioque, and I’m still not sure what it means. I grew up Catholic but now I’m what they call lapsed, I’m an agnostic. It is nice to hear that the two churches are talking of unity, I wish there was more unity all over the world, that would be nice.


    1. I knew I was risking being too much of an insider throwing Latin and ancient church history around! 😉 In the last part of the current Catholic version of the Nicene Creed, the phrase “and the Son” (filioque in Latin) appears twice in quick succession. “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.” In this version, the original “and the Son” actually appears second, as it does in the Orthodox version. The additional “and the Son” was added by accident in the Catholic Church at some point and was a major reason given for the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in 1054. It really was more about the authority of the pope and political/geographic wrangling, but the filioque issue gets a lot of attention in church history books, which is how I learned about it when I was taking some religion courses in college.


      1. It’s another one of those problems where “the rules” or the minutiae take over from the real core message of love of God and neighbor. Maybe we will all ignore the differences in detail and get on with the big work of loving-kindness some day soon…


  2. In recent years, the Lutheran Church has gone back “into communion” with the Episcopal Church, which I belong to, but that would be nothing compared to this reuniting. I wish we could all focus on our shared love while respecting differences if we want to, but I know others do not see it that way.Thanks for the post.


    1. I think it would be great for unity to break out all over! Not only do all the Christian denominations have so much in common, but other faith traditions also share in the central message of love and peace. We could make the world so much better by, as you say, “focus(ing) on our shared love while respecting differences.”


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