HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

According to Renaudot (Liturg. Orient., i. p. 200), the Nicene Creed was introduced into the Mass of the Eastern Church immediately after its formation by the “Three hundred and eighteen,” and its recital was never interrupted. But it did not find its way into the Mass of the Western Church at so early a period, for the reason, given by some, that this Church never fell into any of the errors spoken of, and that, therefore, since its faith was evident to all, there was no necessity of making open profession of it. Indeed, it may be asserted without fear of contradiction that the Nicene Creed, strictly so called, was never recited in the Mass of the Western Church; for when the practice of reciting one at all came into use, which, according to Pope Benedict XIV. (De Sacr. Miss., p. 46), was soon after the year 471, the Creed was not the Nicene but that of Constantinople. The custom of singing the Creed at Mass was not, according to the same pontiff, introduced into the Roman Church until the time of Benedict VIII. (1012–1024), and it was only introduced then in order to gratify the most earnest wishes of Henry II., Emperor of Germany. Previous to this, the Creed was simply recited.

ADDITION OF THE “FILIOQUE”

We have now come to one of the most interesting questions that we possibly could be engaged in considering, and the most difficult, perhaps, that has ever been raised in the Church; but, inasmuch as we are not writing an ecclesiastical history or dealing with purely dogmatical questions, we think our duty will be discharged if we give the reader the leading facts of the great controversy that this celebrated clause gave rise to.

We preface our remarks by correcting an error which too many have fallen into for want of a thorough examination of the case—to wit, that of ascribing the separation of the Eastern Church from the Western to the doctrine involved in the “Filioque.” Every student of ecclesiastical history knows that the original cause of this separation was the refusal on the part of Rome to acquiesce in the impious action of the Emperor Bardas, who thrust into the See of Constantinople the audacious Photius, a mere layman, in place of St. Ignatius, the legitimate bishop. This happened about the year 858, and from this dates the separation of the two churches. Photius, finding that his sacrilegious act would not be countenanced at Rome, moved heaven and earth to stir up as bitter feelings as he could between the two churches, and so began to arouse the suspicions of the Greeks by representing to them that the Latins were favoring the Manichæan heresy, inasmuch as they admitted two principles in the Deity; furthermore, that the Latin Church, in holding that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son, acted contrary to the express wishes and declarations of the previous general councils, and that, in consequence, it had fallen from the faith and become heretical. The Latin Church foresaw from the beginning that the state of affairs in the Greek Church would eventually take this turn, for the Greeks were always hot-headed and difficult to manage; but she wisely abstained from aggravating the case by making any public parade of the “Filioque” until things would assume a more tranquil appearance.

It is now very well understood that there never existed anything more between these churches on the doctrine involved in the clause in question than a mere misunderstanding in regard to some theological technicalities. “The Greeks,” says the late Dr. Brownson in an article in the Ave Maria of June, 1868, “never denied that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son as medium; what they denied was—what they understood by the ‘Filioque’—that he proceeds from the Son as a principle distinct from the Father.… There was a misunderstanding between the Latins and the Greeks. The Latins supposed that the Greeks excluded the Son, and made the Holy Ghost proceed from the Father alone without any participation of the Son, which is unquestionably a heresy; the Greeks, on the other hand, supposed that the Latins by their ‘Filioque’ represented the Holy Ghost as proceeding from the Father and the Son as two distinct original principles, which was equally a heresy.” The depositions made at the Council of Florence in 1439 clearly show that both Greeks and Latins were alike orthodox on this celebrated question.

When the Filioque was inserted.—The reader need hardly be told, but we think it well to call his particular attention to the fact, that the early ages of the Church and those we now live in differ very widely. There were no swift ships then to cross the ocean and bear despatches from place to place; nor had such things been heard of as railroads and telegraphs. News travelled very slowly; and things went on in their own way, unknown and unobserved by any save those in whose locality they occurred. That Rome, the centre of unity and orthodoxy, always kept a vigilant watch over the whole of Christendom nobody attempts to deny; but as Rome was often very far away, it could not be expected that she would become cognizant of local events as soon as they occurred. For this reason customs were introduced into many remote churches and allowed to take deep root there before the Holy See even knew of their existence. The “Filioque” first took rise in this way, and forced itself into the Creed without either the knowledge or consent of Rome. The precise date at which this happened remains yet among the disputed points—some say in the year 400; others, 589. All, however, are unanimous in saying that the addition, was first made in Spain; that thence it made its way into France; from France it was introduced into Germany, and so continued its course until it was deemed necessary at last to authorize its final insertion.

When the Spanish Church was called upon to answer for its conduct in this matter, it alleged as a plea that it was necessitated to place the divinity of our Lord in as strong a light as possible, in order to check the rapid strides that Arianism was making in its territories at the hands of the Goths and Visigoths, who had then almost undisturbed possession of the country, and who were avowed professors of this dangerous heresy. As the French Church had some misgivings about the propriety of following the example of the Spanish in a matter so very delicate, a council was summoned at Aix-la-Chapelle, in December, 809, by order of Charlemagne, to see what steps should be taken. Pope Leo III. was the reigning pontiff at the time. The council unanimously agreed that the proper way to act was first to consult the Holy See and abide by its decision. Bernhar, Bishop of Worms, and Adelard, Abbot of Corby, were accordingly despatched to the Pope with instructions to ask whether it would be pleasing to his Holiness or not to have the Church of France, after the example of its Spanish sister, add the “Filioque” to the Creed. From the manner in which the Holy Father, Pope Leo, acted with the legates it is easy to see how displeased he was at learning that any Church should dare to tamper with the Creed without the supreme authority of the Holy See. He did not say to the legates that they might add it, nor did he say that they might not. If he said the first, he clearly foresaw the unpleasant results that would ensue when the thing came to the knowledge of the troublesome Greeks, who would not hear of any intermeddling whatever with the Creed of Nicæa or Constantinople; and if he said the second, he feared very much that the Spaniards and others might accuse him of favoring the Arians. He evaded a direct answer by saying to the legates: “Had I been asked before the insertion took place, I should have been against it; but now—which, however, I do not say decidedly, but merely as discussing the matter with you—as far as I see both things may thus be accomplished: Let the custom of singing that Creed cease in the palace, since it is not sung in our holy Church, and thus it will come to pass that what is given up by you will be given up by all; and so, perhaps, as far as may be, both advantages will be secured.” The legates departed satisfied with this response, and Pope Leo, to evince his determination to preserve the Creed inviolate, caused two silver plates to be cast, upon which he had the symbol engraved in Latin and Greek and affixed to the gate of the Church of St. Paul. For a full and interesting account of the entire interview between the legates of Charlemagne on this occasion and the Sovereign Pontiff, the reader is requested to consult Baronius, tome ix., or Neale’s Holy Eastern Church, ii. p. 1163.

According to some, the final insertion of the “Filioque” was made by Pope Nicholas the Great somewhere between the years 858 and 867; others maintain that this was not authoritatively done until the time of Pope Benedict VIII.—that is, about the beginning of the eleventh century (see Perrone, Prælectiones Theol., iv. p. 346, note 8). It will interest the reader to know that the Uniat Greeks, or those in communion with Rome, are not required to recite the “Filioque” in the Creed at the present day, even though saying Mass in presence of the Supreme Pontiff. All that the Holy See requires of them in this matter is that they believe in the doctrine involved in it, and be ready to make open profession of it when called upon to do so (ibid. p. 350, note 16).








Copyright ©1999-2016 e-Catholic2000.com