Author Topic: Will Rome and Constantinople become one Church again prior to 2054 A.D.?  (Read 10136 times)

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Offline Francis of Assisi

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Orthodox Christians:  It has been almost 1,000 years since the joint excommunication of 1054 and although said excommunications have been cancelled, the break still remains.  Two issues pop into my mind with frequency re: Catholic-Orthodox relations.  (1) Is it realistic to expect that a reunion can be achieved in the near future?  (2) It seems that Catholics favor a merger much more so than Eastern Orthodox, at least based upon my survey of numerous posts on a variety of websites.  If this is true, why would the Orthodox be more opposed to a reunion than Roman Catholics?

Offline Ignatios

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(1) Is it realistic to expect that a reunion can be achieved in the near future? 

As where we stand today, looking at the diffrences, especially the dogmas that were added after the Schism, One cannot refrain from saying that it is not realistic, However, One should not loose faith, hope, and love nor cease praying for this reunion not only with the RCC but also with all, For, what is at GOD's is not at man.

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It seems that Catholics favor a merger much more so than Eastern Orthodox, at least based upon my survey of numerous posts on a variety of websites.

Your survey results wouldn't be the same, if the RCC agree to go back and hold to what the Orthodox Church along with the RCC agreed and held to, prior to the Schism.

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  If this is true, why would the Orthodox be more opposed to a reunion than Roman Catholics?

Reunion of the churches is not a reunion if they do not hold to the same Faith, belief... Let me give you an example, say that a reunion happened, Now as an Orthodox Christian went to attend the Mass, How can I accept your communion if your preist held the precious BLOOD and minister only the Wafer? or how could we both accept eachothers if we stood to recite the Nicene Creed, It will be a chios when it comes to say that the HOLY SPIRIT proceeded from the Father.(period) and you continue saying ( and the SON) and the list goes on . 

Offline desertknight

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Quote from: Ignatios
As where we stand today, looking at the diffrences, especially the dogmas that were added after the Schism, One cannot refrain from saying that it is not realistic, However, One should not loose faith, hope, and love nor cease praying for this reunion not only with the RCC but also with all, For, what is at GOD's is not at man.
To be perfectly accurate, there were no dogmas added after the schism.  Dogmas cannot, by definition, be added, but can only be clarified through the deposit of faith.  Without re-hashing the whole filoque dilemma, the only thing I can think of is the Assumption of Our Holy Mother, which is stated to mean after her earthly death by our Eastern brothers and is left open, (before or after death), in the West.  Purgatory in the West is fully compatible within Theosis in the East and is the preferred definition of all the Eastern Rite Catholics who remain with Rome.  Maybe you can point out some others I may be missing.

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Now as an Orthodox Christian went to attend the Mass, How can I accept your communion if your preist held the precious BLOOD and minister only the Wafer?

Two points.  1.  I can tell it has been awhile since you have been in a Catholic Church.  Holy Eucharist is almost always offered to the faithful under both forms and has been for many years now.  Only in very large churches or if Mass is offered under the extraordinary form, (the old Latin Mass), is it only offered under the species of the consecrated bread alone.  This was begun as a practice only, not doctrine, in order to fight the Protestant heresy that the "Lords Supper" was symbolic only and was not actually the Real Presence of Our Lord.  2.  The Eastern Orthodox dogma is the same as the Catholic one in regards to Holy Eucharist.  Even the slightest particle of consecrated bread or a single drop of consecrated wine is the full Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity or Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  It is custom to always receive the Eucharist under both forms in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, but the actual doctrine is identical for both Catholic and Orthodox.  Both Churches completely accept the validity of each other's Holy Orders, Apostolic Succession and the validity of all sacraments performed by both Orthodox and Catholic clergy.  It is sadly, not the same with our Protestant bros.

I would also point out that in terms of differences, the Eastern Rite Catholics share virtually identical perspectives and practice on almost all matters of the faith and are still united with Rome.  We miss our Eastern Othodox brothers terribly and pray constantly for our reunion.  As HH John Paul II said of our Orthodox brethren, "We must have both our lungs, East and West, working together to breath properly."
« Last Edit: Thu Apr 16, 2009 - 15:04:23 by desertknight »

ex cathedra

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Orthodox Christians:  It has been almost 1,000 years since the joint excommunication of 1054 and although said excommunications have been cancelled, the break still remains.  Two issues pop into my mind with frequency re: Catholic-Orthodox relations.  (1) Is it realistic to expect that a reunion can be achieved in the near future?  (2) It seems that Catholics favor a merger much more so than Eastern Orthodox, at least based upon my survey of numerous posts on a variety of websites.  If this is true, why would the Orthodox be more opposed to a reunion than Roman Catholics?

Because in history the greek orthodox have  identified the papacy with the seat of the Anti Christ.

and the pope He is not Going to step down as the vicar of Christ and ruler of the church.

Offline trifecta

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This is not my favorite topic, but one which I have thought about more than most.

Orthodox Christians:  It has been almost 1,000 years since the joint excommunication of 1054 and although said excommunications have been cancelled, the break still remains.  Two issues pop into my mind with frequency re: Catholic-Orthodox relations.  (1) Is it realistic to expect that a reunion can be achieved in the near future? 

This is really up to the RCC.  I am more optimistic than most.  Pope Benedict XVI, for example, has a great amount of respect for the Orthodox Church.  More below.

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(2) It seems that Catholics favor a merger much more so than Eastern Orthodox, at least based upon my survey of numerous posts on a variety of websites.  If this is true, why would the Orthodox be more opposed to a reunion than Roman Catholics?

Desire is not the only issue; it's not even a major one.  Father Thomas Hopko has put together a good list of what it would take to reunite the churches.   Google and you will find.   

The main issue is: does the Pope (or Bishop of Rome) have universal authority over the church?  This is a binary question.   Until the Pope says "No," we cannot have unity.  The previous pope invited Orthodox (and Protestants) to come to the RCC and accept his authority.  Well, we could do something similar: renounce your claim to universal authority and we'll be back together.  In fact, the Bishop of Constantinople had said this, just less formally than John Paul II.  Personally, I prefer Bartholomew's approach.  If the answer is going to be no, don't trumpet it.   

Admittedly, the mechanics of reunification would be more difficult under the Orthodox Church (because we have 4 Patriachates and lots of independent churches) than the Catholic (just one man needs to approve).   But, if the Pope (of Rome) denounces his claim to universal authority, unity would take about a generation to happen (IMHO).


Because in history the greek orthodox have  identified the papacy with the seat of the Anti Christ.

and the pope He is not Going to step down as the vicar of Christ and ruler of the church.

At times, but not really.   We have not objected to the title of "Patriachate of the West" given to the Bishop of Rome.   Strangely, Pope Benedict XVI recently renounced this title which was in place for some 1500 years or so.

Can unity happen by 2054?  I think it can, and I hope and pray so.

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Offline christclem

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As long as rome insists on a man (pope)other than Christ as being infallible it will never happen.History is full of atrocities committed by infallible popes.

Offline desertknight

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As long as rome insists on a man (pope)other than Christ as being infallible it will never happen.History is full of atrocities committed by infallible popes.
I'm not sure you understand the Eastern Orthodox position on infallibility.  This is a good explanation...

From OrthodoxWiki.  "Thus, the Orthodox churches, even though they may not use the same terminology, would generally accept the Catholic views of the infallibility of bishops in an ecumenical council, with the important reservation that not every council that proclaims itself ecumenical is so in fact. The Orthodox would not accept the infallibility of the ordinary and universal Magisterium."

The Orthodox differ with Catholics on the specific role of the Bishop of Rome, but they share with Catholics the belief in the authority vested in the divine Apostolic Succession, exercised through our Bishops, in defining correct doctrine and preserving the teachings and beliefs of the Church based on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.    We Catholics do not agree with every Orthodox interpretation of some issues, but we fully accept the Apostolic authority and validity of their Bishops.  Her sacraments are completely valid to Catholics.


Offline christclem

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The orthodox position on infallibility:

"Orthodoxy does not believe in the infallibility of the Pope of Rome, nor of any other individual.

Orthodoxy upholds the reality that the Church, gathered together in Council under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is guided in making correct decisions and in enunciating truth."

Angelos

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There's a very easy way to reunite the two Churches. The Catholic Church has to promise that the next Pope (in case of reunification) will be Greek or Russian Orthodox!!

Truth is the schism was and still is political. Russians and Greeks and Serbs are afraid that the Western powers want to dominate the east. The way the Germans helped the (Catholic) Croats and hurt the (Orthodox) Serbs when Yugoslavia fell apart didn't help either.

So if somehow Pope Benedict can make a promise to help pacify the Greeks' and Slavs' political concerns, reunification could happen tomorrow. There are NO real dogmatic differences. The Orthodox keep talking about the filioque, but the Catholic Church has said that in case of reunification the filioque is optional.

As far as the infallibility is concerned, if the pope is Greek, I'm sure the Greeks are not going to complain about it!!


Anyway, the only thing that really annoys me is that I, as an Eastern Orthodox, could walk in any Roman Catholic Church and receive ANY sacrament. On the other hand, the Orthodox are rigid and still refuse to give Sacraments to Catholics.

I'm really disappointed with the petty ethnic/political differences of the Orthodox churches, I really hope that a more ecumenical spirit will one day shine in the East

Offline stevehut

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2054?  I suppose we'll have to wait and see the split when it happens in 45 more years   ::noworries::

Angelos

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stevehut,

The question was legitimate and you made fun of a question you didn't understand.

The Great Schism happened in 1054, when the one and only, at that point ,Church split in two: Eastern (now called Eastern Orthodox) and Western (now caled Catholic).

The original poster was asking whether it would be possible for the two Churches to reunite by 2054 (there have been talks about reunification and the Churches are in partial communion).

Offline stevehut

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Oh lighten up, Angelos.  Did you not notice the typo in the thread's title?

I understood the original question just fine.  I've been a student of church history for many years.

But the Catholic church was far from the only church of its day.

The only true church?  I will let others argue about that.  But the only?  Hardly.

As for me, I don't have a dog in this fight.  I am neither Catholic or Orthodox.  But in my 47 years I have witnessed many, many church mergers.  Some were mergers local congregations, and others were mergers of denominations.  And in every case it caused many people on both sides to compromise their core beliefs and convictions.  And legions of others simply quit because they couldn't bear the changes.

But whatever they do, it certainly won't rock my world.

Offline trifecta

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I dunno, Steve, I saw more church splits than mergers in my time as a Protestant.

But to get off the subject for a minute,  you, Angelos, and I share something in common:   ::smile::  We broke away from our faith tradition that we grew up in.

I have read that something like a third of all church-goers have changed religious denominations or affliations.  What makes people like us do that?   I'd like to think that my separation from my birth faith (RCC) had something to do with doctrine, but more likely it had to do with the rebellious nature that the three of us share.

Just a thought.


 

Offline Wycliffes_Shillelagh

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A thought occurs to me...

When a church split in two - it multiplies itself.  It now has two bases from which to build.  Is that necessarily a bad thing?

(I suppose it is if the two sides fight and devour each other, but that isn't necessarily the case now, is it?)

Offline stevehut

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When a church split in two - it multiplies itself.  It now has two bases from which to build.  Is that necessarily a bad thing?

I suppose that a split could be good, if in fact it did produce "building."  But 1000 later, the net effect is that it hasn't.

The last research that I saw, was that both RC and 'Dox are actually shrinking year to year.  About 90% of all their baptisms are the children of existing members, very few off the street.  The majority of the baptized kids and babies don't make it to Confirmation, and even fewer continue in the faith after high school.  

Most RC kids I've met, have told me they went through Conf by the compulsion of their families, and not particularly because they wanted it for themselves.

So if "building" is the concern, I suppose it wouldn't make much of a difference whether they join forces or not.

Offline trifecta

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A thought occurs to me...

When a church split in two - it multiplies itself.  It now has two bases from which to build.  Is that necessarily a bad thing?

(I suppose it is if the two sides fight and devour each other, but that isn't necessarily the case now, is it?)

Jarrod,

Schisms are bad. John 17 says the people should be united, as God is united. 

Today we apply the enterpreneural model to everything.  Shame on us!
If the church is the body of Christ, how can the body of Christ be divided?

If not saying we (Orthodox) don't have problems in this area, but if we denied this was a problem, we'd be hopelessly divided.

I also think what a poor witness to the world our divisions made.  It says "We believe in the love of God, but can't stand each other."

Offline trifecta

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When a church split in two - it multiplies itself.  It now has two bases from which to build.  Is that necessarily a bad thing?

The last research that I saw, was that both RC and 'Dox are actually shrinking year to year.


Actually, I read the opposite.  The fastest growing church in America is the RCC.  We're maintaining our numbers, and the Prots are declining.   However, the newer Prot churches are growing at a higher rate, but that's just what happens with small numbers.  If I converted you to the Church of Trifecta, my (now our) church would enjoy a 100 percent growth rate.

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About 90% of all their baptisms are the children of existing members, very few off the street. 

Since we have infant baptism, this will be more likely. 

The overall trend in all three groups is we are getting adults (converts) into the church, but children are leaving all churches for secularism.


Offline stevehut

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Actually, I read the opposite.  The fastest growing church in America is the RCC. 


Can you send me a link to this info?  I would be interested to know.


ex cathedra

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This is not my favorite topic, but one which I have thought about more than most.

Orthodox Christians:  It has been almost 1,000 years since the joint excommunication of 1054 and although said excommunications have been cancelled, the break still remains.  Two issues pop into my mind with frequency re: Catholic-Orthodox relations.  (1) Is it realistic to expect that a reunion can be achieved in the near future?

This is really up to the RCC.  I am more optimistic than most.  Pope Benedict XVI, for example, has a great amount of respect for the Orthodox Church.  More below.

Quote
(2) It seems that Catholics favor a merger much more so than Eastern Orthodox, at least based upon my survey of numerous posts on a variety of websites.  If this is true, why would the Orthodox be more opposed to a reunion than Roman Catholics?

Desire is not the only issue; it's not even a major one.  Father Thomas Hopko has put together a good list of what it would take to reunite the churches.   Google and you will find.   

The main issue is: does the Pope (or Bishop of Rome) have universal authority over the church?  This is a binary question.   Until the Pope says "No," we cannot have unity.  The previous pope invited Orthodox (and Protestants) to come to the RCC and accept his authority.  Well, we could do something similar: renounce your claim to universal authority and we'll be back together.  In fact, the Bishop of Constantinople had said this, just less formally than John Paul II.  Personally, I prefer Bartholomew's approach.  If the answer is going to be no, don't trumpet it.   

Admittedly, the mechanics of reunification would be more difficult under the Orthodox Church (because we have 4 Patriachates and lots of independent churches) than the Catholic (just one man needs to approve).   But, if the Pope (of Rome) denounces his claim to universal authority, unity would take about a generation to happen (IMHO).


Because in history the greek orthodox have  identified the papacy with the seat of the Anti Christ.

and the pope He is not Going to step down as the vicar of Christ and ruler of the church.

At times, but not really.   We have not objected to the title of "Patriachate of the West" given to the Bishop of Rome.   Strangely, Pope Benedict XVI recently renounced this title which was in place for some 1500 years or so.

Can unity happen by 2054?  I think it can, and I hope and pray so.



Sure it will happen i also have no doubt . He has already ALMOST won you over hasnt he? And he still claims to have authority over your churches at the same time.

Offline Francis of Assisi

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I appreciate all the responses.   Having studied the matter more, I am only slightly more optimistic that a reunion will occur by 2054.  The bottom line is that either side still must concede on the issue of authority.  There does not seem to be a way to have a middle ground.  Either the Pope is the head of the Church or he is not. 

Offline DCR

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If the Catholic and Orthodox ever do reunite, I'm sure the End-Timers will have a heyday over that.  ::wink::

Offline trifecta

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I'm sure that they will!   I think they would die out, and most Christians would join the one church.  On the other hand, traditions are strong (even Protestant ones  ::smile::) and they would hold their ground.

I'd like to think that the uniting of Catholic and Orthodox would unite Christianity, but changing hearts is not easy!

Offline extranos

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If the Pope renounced his position as the sole authority in the Church, I think it would be very interesting to see how the Lutherans would react.  I don't think that the RC is the same church today as it was during the Reformation, and I think that the Lutherans are not so far off from the Orthodox as to not be able to understand each other.
The first move belongs to Rome, though, not to the Orthodox or the Protestants.

Offline desertknight

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Quote from: extranos
If the Pope renounced his position as the sole authority in the Church

Just a small quibble, the Pope is not the "sole" authority of the Church...just the ranking one.  The Catholic Church is primarily run by the collegial body of Bishops around the world.  Very little is handled by the Holy See unless absolutely necessary.  The Pope's authority and his infallibility on matters of faith and morals is inseparable from either the body of Bishops or even the whole body of the faithful.  The Pope must only act within the guidance of Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition and it is a fairly rare occurrence that he does so ex cathedra, for the whole Church.   I understand that many may think Pope's have just forced what they want down the pike, but decisions take centuries sometimes and are based much more on consensus than dictate.  As to any reunification based on a Pope renouncing any authority as the holder of Peter's See....don't bet on it.  It will never happen.  I am a pessimist on reunification with any other churches in general and think it only possible in some limited way with our Eastern Orthodox brothers who we have much less division, especially in light of the millions of Eastern Rite Catholics who share so much with them.  To have a wider sharing of sacramental communion would be wonderful and already exist with many Eastern Orthodox.  We Catholics recognise the Apostolic Authority and Sacramental validity of all Eastern Orthodox churches, as they have no central authority, it is not entirely reciprocal.  Maybe that will change in the near future.  The discussions between us seem to be very productive, especially with the His Most Reverend Grace, the current Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
« Last Edit: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 03:27:29 by desertknight »

Offline CDHealy

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The Orthodox position is really quite clear: The Pope would have to give up the innovation of universal jurisdiction and papal infallibility, and would have to reject the filioque.  The Orthodox are quite willing to reunite if the Pope will do that.  Oh, sure, there are some Athonite monks who will still go down swinging as it were, but those are the most contentious issues.

By the way, the use of 1054 as the date of schism makes some nice shorthand, but is historically untenable.  It was the council of Lyons in 1274 that put the schism into formal effect.  And, indeed, the schism had been building since the Photios affair in the mid ninth century.  1054 only breached the communions of Rome and Constantinople.  The other patriarchates (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria) still remained in communion with the patriarchate at Rome.  Indeed, there's some evidence that technically Antioch and Rome were not in schism until the nineteenth century.  I myself can't speak to that, but a church historian (and priest) whose opinion I respect (who reposed in the Lord some time ago) taught this.

Truth is always stranger than fiction.

Offline extranos

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Quote
and would have to reject the filioque. 

Not to hijack the thread, but I read recently that the RCC does not consider the filioque to be improper because, so I read, the comparisons were between Latin and Greek.  The RCC admitted that the Greek translation of the Latin is problematic, but that the original Latin is not problematic.  (see, e.g., http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a52.htm)

Offline CDHealy

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Greek, Latin, or Klingon, the filioque was never part of the Creed.  That's the most basic objection: this changes the Creed without the consent of the whole Church.

But as St Photios showed in his Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, it sorely distorts the dogma of the Trinity, and is a form of Macedonianism by denying to the Holy Spirit the same essence the Father and the Son have.

Offline desertknight

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Greek, Latin, or Klingon, the filioque was never part of the Creed.  That's the most basic objection: this changes the Creed without the consent of the whole Church.

But as St Photios showed in his Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, it sorely distorts the dogma of the Trinity, and is a form of Macedonianism by denying to the Holy Spirit the same essence the Father and the Son have.


...and this is the tragic misconception of Catholic doctrine regarding this.

"According to Sacred Scripture, the Son sends the Holy Ghost (Luke 24:49; John 15:26; 16:7; 20:22; Acts 2:33; Titus 3:6), just as the Father sends the Son (Romans 3:3; etc.), and as the Father sends the Holy Ghost (John 14:26).

Now the "mission" or "sending" of one Divine Person by another does not mean merely that the Person said to be sent assumes a particular character, at the suggestion of Himself in the character of Sender, as the Sabellians maintained; nor does it imply any inferiority in the Person sent, as the Arians taught; but it denotes, according to the teaching of the weightier theologians and Fathers, the Procession of the Person sent from the Person Who sends. Sacred Scripture never presents the Father as being sent by the Son, nor the Son as being sent by the Holy Ghost. The very idea of the term "mission" implies that the person sent goes forth for a certain purpose by the power of the sender, a power exerted on the person sent by way of a physical impulse, or of a command, or of prayer, or finally of production; now, Procession, the analogy of production, is the only manner admissible in God. It follows that the inspired writers present the Holy Ghost as proceeding from the Son, since they present Him as sent by the Son. "


http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06073a.htm

Offline CDHealy

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DK:

Your quote confirms St Photios' criticism, that the Holy Spirit is essentially different from the Father and the Son, since he does not "produce" anyone/-thing as the Father and the Son "produce" the Spirit.  Thus the criticism of a type of Macedonianism.

Classical Trinitarianism permits procession from the Father alone.  The Father begets the Son, thus the Son is distinct from the Father.  The Father does not beget the Spirit, but causes the Spirit to proceed, and thus the Spirit and the Father are distinct.  Since the Son is begotten, but does not cause to proceed, and since the Spirit is caused to proceed, but is not begotten, the Spirit and the Son are distinct as well.

By arguing for double procession, you necessarily collapse the distinction between Father and Son, and demote the Spirit from equality with the other two Persons.

This may explain in part why Pentecostalism/charismaticism originated in the West and not among the Eastern Churches: there is a deficient understanding of the Holy Spirit.