Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ecumenical news: Pope & Patriarch recite the Creed in Greek (without "and the Son")!

People, you really need to check out Fr. Z's blog... very insightful, and full of goodies like this...

Today during the Mass for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I recited the Creed together in Greek.

This is just a wonderful gesture, if nothing else. However, I think it's more than just a gesture, we're slowly getting somewhere here; I really believe it. We (Orthodoxy and Catholicism) need each other. I hate to say it, but I bet I know a few Orthodox who'd think this is stupid and/or dislike it. They'd say that the pope is trying to manipulate the patriarch into a deal by providing such gestures, or that the pope is a relativist because he's not reciting the Creed with the "filioque" as he should if he's truly Roman. Go figure. As Fr. Z. notes, this really, at the end of the day, should now be a non-issue. Maybe I'm naive, but it really should, after all we know about the Holy Ghost. No reason to keep pouring salt on this wound. It's a done deal. The Roman Church believes the same thing as the Orthodox Churches about the Holy Spirit, and everyone knows that as a fact (too many pointless, semantical battles); to pretend otherwise is just intolerance and hatred. I'd be hard-pressed to find a Catholic (a serious one too) who'd balk at the prospects of not reciting the "filioque" for ecumenical reasons; and I really don't think you'd have to call them a relativist either. Yet part of me would like to see the same thing from the Orthodox, but I doubt I'll ever see a patriarch recite the Creed in Latin with the "filioque". Dare to dream. It seems somewhat clear that part of the essence of being Orthodox (for SOME), part of the identity itself (sadly), is to be anti-Roman. That's just one practical reason (and other theological reasons such as the papacy, of course), why I could never consider converting to Orthodoxy - it's tempting if you love liturgy though, but liturgy and correctly painted icons are NOT the faith (albeit important). At the end of the day, SOME Orthodox, not all, are just down-right anti-Roman no matter what. Well, God bless the patriarch for such generosity during the commemoration of the Pauline Year.

[Here them reciting the Creed! AWESOME!!! Real ecumenism in action.]

This is interesting for several reasons.

First, for so long it has been nearly obligatory to have the whole congregation sing the Creed alternating with the Sistine Chapel "Choir".

Apparently it isn’t so obligatory as we thought that the whole congregation recite the Creed.

Second, the text of the Creed is that the 381 Council of Constantinople, and thus it is the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed:

The Patriarch and the Pope both use the singular "I believe", rather than "We believe" of the conciliar formula. The conciliar form of the Creed was a group document, that needed a plural form. The liturgical form is a personal declaration made together with everyone else gathered.

This brings the third point: It did not contain the so-called "Filioque" clause. This is why they could recite it together easily. The Filioque clause has been a source of division from the time when the Latin Church and the Greek Church were talking past each, with a lack of comprehension on both sides of the theology of the Holy Spirit and His relationship to the Father and the Son. Now that there is greater comprehension about this relationship and what each side means when they talk about the Holy Spirit, there is far less reason to stress the differences that historically surround the Filioque clause.

Thus, the fourth point is notice how well the Holy Father reads the Greek text.

Fifth, could you local priest, seminary instructor, or bishop do the same, even with the Creed in Latin?

Thanks, Fr. Z.!

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