Paul VI: Credo of the People of God

Introductory Note

June 30, 2018, marks the fiftieth anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s proclamation of the Credo of the People of God. This event will likely be overshadowed by two other major events pertaining to Paul VI. One is, of course, the fiftieth anniversary of Paul’s prophetic encyclical letter On the Regulation of Birth, known around the world by its incipit, Humanae vitae. The encyclical, which cut through the error and confusion of its age and ours like lightning, remains a central point in the ongoing struggle against modernism and liberalism in the Church. The other event is the likely canonization of Paul by Pope Francis sometime this fall. However, it would be a shame to let the fiftieth anniversary of the Credo of the People of God pass unremarked.

Paul’s Credo of the People of God was, according to Paul himself, an act by the successor of Peter to confirm his brethren in the faith of Peter. Confronted with the explosion of heresy in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, especially the infamous Dutch Catechism, Paul declared a Year of Faith, which culminated in the proclamation of the Credo of the People of God. Seen in this context, it is clear that Paul, exercising solemnly his office as Supreme Pontiff, sought to combat the errors of the age with his profession of faith. Additionally, in preparing and proclaiming a profession of faith, Paul was making good a significant failure of the Second Vatican Council.

Prior to the Second Vatican Council, there were two professions of faith required of clergy and professors in ecclesiastical faculties. One was the creed prepared by Pius IV in 1564 pursuant to the mandate of the Council of Trent. In two bulls, Iniunctum nobis and In sacrosanctum beati Petri, Pius IV formulated a profession of faith binding on clergy and public teachers on ecclesiastical faculties. This Tridentine creed was modified in 1870 following the dogmatic definitions of the Vatican Council. Pius’s creed achieved wide use both as an admirable summation of the Faith and as a profession of faith by converts to the Church. The other was the Anti-Modernist Oath of St. Pius X. In 1910, Pius X handed down his motu proprio, Sacrorum antistitum, which included an oath to be sworn against the principal errors of the Modernists, as condemned in Pascendi and Lamentabili. Thus, most clerics and professors in Catholic colleges and universities had to make the profession of faith handed down by Pius IV as it was modified following the Vatican Council and swear Pius X’s Anti-Modernist Oath.

In the preparatory sessions for the Second Vatican Council, on November 9, 1961, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani presented a draft of a new profession of faith. As Cardinal Ottaviani explained in his relatio to the Central Preparatory Commission, the draft creed was proposed to resolve several issues. First, it was thought best to consolidate the creed of Pius IV and the Anti-Modernist Oath into one formula, not least to avoid unnecessary duplications. Second, there had been some major doctrinal developments since Pascendi, especially Pius XII’s Humani generis, that ought to be reflected in an official profession of faith. On the other hand, certain issues addressed in the two existing formulas were no longer live controversies. And, perhaps the best reason: St. John XXIII had asked Cardinal Ottaviani to prepare a new formula.

 Of course, the liberals on the Central Preparatory Commission hated the proposal. In what would be a sad spectacle repeated over and over, especially during the Council itself, the liberal cardinals lined up to rubbish the proposed profession of faith. Many of the critics objected strenuously to the inclusion of Pius XII’s Humani generis in the draft. Most notably, Josef Cardinal Frings of Cologne stated that, unless the references to Humani generis and Pascendi were excised, he would vote non placet on the entire draft. Other cardinals expressed concerns about offending protestants unnecessarily with certain formulas in the proposed creed. Of course, it all came to naught: by the end of the Council, no creed was proclaimed. Given the other setbacks incurred by Cardinal Ottaviani—and the traditionalists generally—at the Council, it is not surprising that it proved impossible to get a new creed prepared and promulgated. The Second Vatican Council, unlike Trent and the First Vatican Council, did not promulgate a creed. This omission was noticed at the time.

In an extraordinary 2008 essay, Sandro Magister told the story of the Credo of the People of God. In early 1967, George Cardinal Journet wrote to the philosopher Jacques Maritain, telling him that he would soon be meeting with Paul VI. Maritain wrote back and mentioned to Cardinal Journet that it had occurred to him that Paul should prepare a profession of faith setting forth explicitly all that is contained in the Nicene Creed. Cardinal Journet met with Paul at the end of January 1967 and gave the pope a copy of Maritain’s letter. Paul and Cardinal Journet commiserated about the explosion of heresy and the Dutch Catechism. About a month after Paul’s meeting with Cardinal Journet, Paul proclaimed his Year of Faith, which included the first meeting of the Synod of Bishops in the fall of 1967. Among the things that that first Synod recommended was that Paul prepare a statement of the fundamental tenets of the Faith.

Then, in December 1967, Cardinal Journet met with Paul VI again. They discussed once more Maritain’s idea of Paul issuing a new creed. Paul told Cardinal Journet that there had been many requests for a new profession of faith at the end of the Council and that he had even gone so far as to ask Yves Congar, the Dominican theologian so prominent during that time, to prepare a text. However, Paul was not pleased with Congar’s draft. In a moment of inspiration, according to Magister, Paul told Cardinal Journet to work with Maritain and prepare a proposed creed. Cardinal Journet told Maritain about the pope’s request and Maritain duly prepared a draft for review by Cardinal Journet, who sent it to Paul VI at the end of January 1968. Maritain’s text rebutted the novelties found, for example, in the Dutch Catechism. In the early spring of 1968, Cardinal Journet received a polite note of thanks from Paul VI and a letter from a theologian at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, containing a positive appreciation of the text.

 According to Magister, neither Cardinal Journet nor Maritain heard anything more about the proposed creed until July 2, 1968. On that date, Cardinal Journet learned that, on June 30, 1968, at the conclusion of his Year of Faith, Paul VI had made a solemn profession of faith in St. Peter’s Square, surrounded by cardinals, bishops, religious, and laity. A quick check confirmed that Paul’s Credo of the People of God matched very closely the text that Maritain and Cardinal Journet had prepared for him. One notable change was a revision to Maritain’s language about the witness of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike give to the one God; Paul removed that language and instead referred to “believers” who share faith in the one God with Christians.

Paul’s introduction to the Credo of the People of God reveals that the developments that had disturbed him in early 1967 still weighed on his mind in the summer of 1968. Paul saw the profession of faith that he was about to make as inextricably tied up with the Petrine office: “we deem that we must fulfill the mandate entrusted by Christ to Peter, whose successor we are, the last in merit; namely, to confirm our brothers in the faith.” He went on to declare, “[i]n making this profession, we are aware of the disquiet which agitates certain modern quarters with regard to the faith.” He went on to say that, “[w]e see even Catholics allowing themselves to be seized by a kind of passion for change and novelty.” Paul acknowledged the duty of the Church to study ever more deeply the Faith and to find new and better ways of presenting the Faith to the world; however, he proclaimed “the greatest care must be taken, while fulfilling the indispensable duty of research, to do no injury to the teachings of Christian doctrine. For that would be to give rise, as is unfortunately seen in these days, to disturbance and perplexity in many faithful souls.”

Paul’s Credo is not as technical as either the creed of Pius IV or St. Pius X’s Anti-Modernist Oath, nor is it as technical as the draft profession of faith prepared by Cardinal Ottaviani in 1961. But it is clear that Paul did not intend to promulgate the Credo as a formal profession of faith to be sworn by clergy and professors in ecclesiastical colleges and universities. Instead, Paul’s Credo lives up to the promise of the Second Vatican Council—a promise that the Council itself failed to live up to at times—by presenting the timeless Faith anew to modern men and women. Seen in this regard, that is, seen as Peter’s successor proclaiming Peter’s faith to the men and women of his age, the Credo of the People of God is a document as significant in its own was as Humanae vitae.

Even Paul’s critics recognized the Credo of the People of God as an extraordinary event. In his justly famous Open Letter to Confused Catholics, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre described it as “an act which from the dogmatic point of view is more important than all the Council.” The Credo “was an event of quite exceptional solemnity”: Paul VI, successor of Peter and vicar of Christ, rose alone to affirm the faith of Peter in clear, solemn terms, free of confusion. Lefebvre observed that in this profession of faith, “[w]e have thereby the consolation and the confidence of feeling that the Holy Ghost has not abandoned us. We can say that the Act of Faith that sprang from the First Vatican Council has found its other resting point in the profession of faith of Paul VI.”

Venerabiles Fratres ac Dilecti Filii,
1. With this solemn liturgy we end the celebration of the nineteenth centenary of the martyrdom of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and thus close the Year of Faith. We dedicated it to the commemoration of the holy apostles in order that we might give witness to our steadfast will to be faithful to the deposit of the faith which they transmitted to us, and that we might strengthen our desire to live by it in the historical circumstances in which the Church finds herself in her pilgrimage in the midst of the world. Sollemni hac liturgia concludimus sive commemorationem saeculi XIX post martyrium a Sanctis Petro et Paulo Apostolis factum, sive annum, quem a fide appellavimus. Hunc scilicet annum eo consilio Sanctis Apostolis commemorandis dicavimus, non solum, ut constantissimam voluntatem Nostram testaremur incorrupte fidei depositum custodiendi (Cfr. 1 Tim. 6, 20), quam nobis ipsi tradiderunt, sed etiam ut propositum nostrum confirmaremus eandem fidem ad vitam hoc tempore referendi, cum Ecclesiae in hoc mundo peregrinandum est.
2. We feel it our duty to give public thanks to all who responded to our invitation by bestowing on the Year of Faith a splendid completeness through the deepening of their personal adhesion to the word of God, through the renewal in various communities of the profession of faith, and through the testimony of a Christian life. To our brothers in the episcopate especially, and to all the faithful of the holy Catholic Church, we express our appreciation and we grant our blessing. In praesenti Nostrum esse putamus iis publicas persolvere gratias, qui invitationibus Nostris respondentes, id effecerunt ut annus a fide nuncupatum summam ubertatem acciperet, tum quia plurifariam singuli christifideles ad verbum Dei penitius adhaeserunt, tum quia in multis consortionibus et professio fidei renovata est, et fides ipsa perspicuis vitae christianae testimoniis comprobata. Quare dum Fratribus Nostris in Episcopatu, omnibusque catholicae Ecclesiae filiis gratissimum declaramus animum Nostrum, ipsis Apostolicam Benedictionem Nostram impertimus.
A Mandate
3. Likewise, we deem that we must fulfill the mandate entrusted by Christ to Peter, whose successor we are, the last in merit; namely, to confirm our brothers in the faith. With the awareness, certainly, of our human weakness, yet with all the strength impressed on our spirit by such a command, we shall accordingly make a profession of faith, pronounce a creed which, without being strictly speaking a dogmatic definition, repeats in substance, with some developments called for by the spiritual condition of our time, the creed of Nicea, the creed of the immortal tradition of the holy Church of God. Porro Nostrarum esse partium existimamus mandatum conficere a Christo delatum Petro, cuius Nos, licet meritis inferiores, successores sumus: ut nempe in fide confirmemus fratres (Cfr. Luc. 22, 32). Quam ob rem, etsi exiguitatis Nostrae conscii simus, maxima tamen animi vi, quam a mandato Nobis tradito ducimus, professionem fidei facturi sumus, atque formulam a verbo credo incipientem sumus. iteraturi, quae, quamvis definitio dogmatica vere proprieque non sit nominanda, tamen, nonnullis adhibitis explicationibus, quas spirituales nostrae huius aetatis condiciones postulant, formulam Nicaenam quoad rerum summam repetit: formulam dicimus immortalis traditionis sanctae Dei Ecclesiae.
4. In making this profession, we are aware of the disquiet which agitates certain modern quarters with regard to the faith. They do not escape the influence of a world being profoundly changed, in which so many certainties are being disputed or discussed. We see even Catholics allowing themselves to be seized by a kind of passion for change and novelty. The Church, most assuredly, has always the duty to carry on the effort to study more deeply and to present, in a manner ever better adapted to successive generations, the unfathomable mysteries of God, rich for all in fruits of salvation. But at the same time the greatest care must be taken, while fulfilling the indispensable duty of research, to do no injury to the teachings of Christian doctrine. For that would be to give rise, as is unfortunately seen in these days, to disturbance and perplexity in many faithful souls. Quod dum facimus, probe novimus quibus perturbationibus, ad fidem quod attinet, nunc temporis quaedam hominum convictiones commoveantur. Quae quidem affectionem mundi sese penitus mutantis non effugerunt, in quo tot veritates vel prorsus negantur, vel in controversiam vocantur. Immo vel nonnullos catholicos homines videmus aut mutandarum, aut novandarum rerum quadam quasi cupiditate capi. Ecclesia sane ad officium suum pertinere putat nisus non intermittere, ut arcana Dei mysteria, unde in omnes tot salutis fructus manant etiam atque etiam perspiciat, pariterque secuturae aetatis hominibus aptiore cotidie ratione proponat. Sed simul maximopere cavendum est ne, dum necessarium investigandi officium usurpatur, christianae doctrinae veritates labefactentur. Quod si fiat – videmusque, pro dolor, hodie id reipsa fieri – pertubatioqem et dubitationem fidelibus multorum animis afferat.
Await the Word
5. It is important in this respect to recall that, beyond scientifically verified phenomena, the intellect which God has given us reaches that which is, and not merely the subjective expression of the structures and development of consciousness; and, on the other hand, that the task of interpretation—of hermeneutics—is to try to understand and extricate, while respecting the word expressed, the sense conveyed by a text, and not to recreate, in some fashion, this sense in accordance with arbitrary hypotheses. Ad hanc rem quod spectat, summi est momenti animadvertere, praeter id quod aspectabile est, quodque scientiarum ope percipimus, intellegentiam a Deo nobis datam id quod est attingere posse, non vero tantummodo significationem in opinione positam sive structurarum, quas vocant, sive evolutionis humanae conscientiae. Ceterum recolendum est, illud ad interpretationem seu ad hermeneuma pertinere, ut, verbo, quod pronuntiatum est, observato, intellegere et discernere studeamus sensum textui cuidam subiectum, non vero novum quendam sensum fingere, prouti arbitraria coniectura tulerit.
6. But above all, we place our unshakable confidence in the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church, and in theological faith upon which rests the life of the Mystical Body. We know that souls await the word of the Vicar of Christ, and we respond to that expectation with the instructions which we regularly give. But today we are given an opportunity to make a more solemn utterance. Attamen ante omnia Spiritui Sancto firmissime confidimus, qui est anima Ecclesiae, et origo cuiusvis meri progressus in veritate et caritate inque theologica fide, in qua Corporis mystici vita nititur. Cum profecto non ignoremus homines verba expectare Christi Vicarii, propterea normis praeceptisve datis eorum exspectationem explemus. Sed hodierno die opportunitas Nobis offertur sententiam Nostram sollemniore modo declarandi.
7. On this day which is chosen to close the Year of Faith, on this feast of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, we have wished to offer to the living God the homage of a profession of faith. And as once at Caesarea Philippi the apostle Peter spoke on behalf of the twelve to make a true confession, beyond human opinions, of Christ as Son of the living God, so today his humble successor, pastor of the Universal Church, raises his voice to give, on behalf of all the People of God, a firm witness to the divine Truth entrusted to the Church to be announced to all nations. Itaque hoc die, a Nobis electo ad concludendum annum a fide appellatum, atque in hac celebratione sanctorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum, summo Deo viventi obsequium professionis fidei deferre volumus. Atque quemadmodum olim Caesareae Philippi Simon Petrus, se ab hominum opinionibus emergens, verbis etiam ceterorum Apostolorum vere Christum Dei viventis Filium professus est, ita hodie tenuis eius Successor, universaeque Ecclesiae Pastor, nomine totius populi Dei, vocem suam intendit, ut firmissimum testimonium divinae Veritati dicat, quae ideo Ecclesiae est credita, ut eam omnibus populis nuntiet.
We have wished our profession of faith to be to a high degree complete and explicit, in order that it may respond in a fitting way to the need of light felt by so many faithful souls, and by all those in the world, to whatever spiritual family they belong, who are in search of the Truth. Hanc autem Nostram fidei professionem satis et expletam et expressam esse volumus, ut apta ratione necessitati luminis satisfaciamus, qua tot fideles homines premuntur, iique omnes qui in mundo – ad quemcumque religiosum coetum pertinent – Veritatem conquirunt.
To the glory of God most holy and of our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, for the profit and edification of the Church, in the name of all the pastors and all the faithful, we now pronounce this profession of faith, in full spiritual communion with you all, beloved brothers and sons. Ad gloriam igitur omnipotentis Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi spectantes, fiduciam in auxilio Sanctissimae Virginis Mariae et beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum habentes, animum ad utilitatem spiritualemque progressionem Ecclesiae attendentes, omnium sacrorum Pastorum et christifidelium verbis animoque vobiscum, Fratres ac Filii dilectissimi, mirifice coniuncto, nunc hanc fidei professionem pronuntiamus.
8. We believe in one only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of things visible such as this world in which our transient life passes, of things invisible such as the pure spirits which are also called angels, and creator in each man of his spiritual and immortal soul. Credimus in unum Deum, Patrem, Filium et Spiritum Sanctum, Creatorem rerum visibilium – cuiusmodi est hic mundus ubi nostram degimus vitam – rerumque invisibilium – cuius generis sunt puri spiritus, quos etiam angelos appellamus (Cfr. Dz-Sch. 3002) – itemque Creatorem, in unoquoque homine, animae spiritualis et immortalis.
9. We believe that this only God is absolutely one in His infinitely holy essence as also in all His perfections, in His omnipotence, His infinite knowledge, His providence, His will and His love. He is He who is, as He revealed to Moses; and He is love, as the apostle John teaches us: so that these two names, being and love, express ineffably the same divine reality of Him who has wished to make Himself known to us, and who, “dwelling in light inaccessible,” is in Himself above every name, above every thing and above every created intellect. God alone can give us right and full knowledge of this reality by revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in whose eternal life we are by grace called to share, here below in the obscurity of faith and after death in eternal light. The mutual bonds which eternally constitute the Three Persons, who are each one and the same divine being, are the blessed inmost life of God thrice holy, infinitely beyond all that we can conceive in human measure. We give thanks, however, to the divine goodness that very many believers can testify with us before men to the unity of God, even though they know not the mystery of the most holy Trinity. Credimus in hunc unum Deum, qui ita absolute unus est in sua sanctissima essentia, ut in ceteris suis perfectionibus: in sua onnipotentia, in sua scientia infinita, in sua providentia, in sua voluntate et caritate. Ille est qui est, ut ipse Moisi revelavit (Cfr. Ex. 3, 14), ille est amor, ut nos Ioannes Apostolus docuit (Cfr. 1 Io. 4, 8): ita ut duo haec nomina, Esse et Amor, supra quam dici potest divinam eandem exprimant Illius veritatem, qui seipsum nobis manifestavit, quique lucem habitans inaccessibilem (Cfr. 1 Tim. 6, 16) est in seipso super omne nomen, superque omnes res et intellegentias creatas. Deus unus potest nobis suipsius veram plenamque impertire cognitionem, seipsum revelans uti Patrem, Filium et Spiritum Sanctum, cuius nos per gratiam ad aeternam vitam participandam vocamur, hisce in terris in obscuritate fidei, et post mortem in sempiterna luce. Mutua vincula, ex omni aeternitate Tres Personas constituentia, quarum unaquaeque est unum idemque Esse divinum, beatam efficiunt intimam sanctissimi Dei vitam, quae infinite omne id superat, quod nos uti homines intellegere possumus (Cfr. Dz.-Sch. 804). Quam ob causam gratias divinae bonitati agimus, quod quam plurimi credentes coram hominibus nobiscum Unitatem Dei testari possunt, quamvis mysterium sanctissimae Trinitatis non cognoscant.
The Father
10. We believe then in the Father who eternally begets the Son; in the Son, the Word of God, who is eternally begotten; in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated Person who proceeds from the Father and the Son as their eternal love. Thus in the Three Divine Persons, coaeternae sibi et coaequales, the life and beatitude of God perfectly one superabound and are consummated in the supreme excellence and glory proper to uncreated being, and always “there should be venerated unity in the Trinity and Trinity in the unity.” Credimus igitur in Deum, qui in omni aeternitate parit Filium, credimus in Filium, Verbum Dei, qui in aeternum gignitur, credimus in Spiritum Sanctum, Personam increatam, qui a Patre Filioque ut sempiternus eorum Amor procedit. Ita in tribus Personis divinis, quae sunt coaeternae sibi et coaequales (Dz.-Sch. 75), vita et beatitudo Dei plane unius quam maxime abundant et consummantur, summa cum excellentia et gloria propria Eius qui est neque creatus est, ita ut et unitas in Trinitate et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit (Dz-Sch. 75).
The Son
11. We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. He is the Eternal Word, born of the Father before time began, and one in substance with the Father, homoousios to Patri, and through Him all things were made. He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was made man: equal therefore to the Father according to His divinity, and inferior to the Father according to His humanity; and Himself one, not by some impossible confusion of His natures, but by the unity of His person. Credimus in Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, qui est Filius Dei. Ipse est Verbum aeternum, natus ex Patre ante omnia saecula et consubstantialis Patri, seu homoousios to Patri (Dz-Sch. 150); per quem omnia facta sunt. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine et homo factus est: aequalis ergo Patri secundum divinitatem, minor Patre secundum humanitatem (Cfr. Dz-Sch. 76), unus omnino non confusione (quae fieri non potest) substantiae, sed unitate personae (Cfr. Ibid.).
12. He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. He proclaimed and established the Kingdom of God and made us know in Himself the Father. He gave us His new commandment to love one another as He loved us. He taught us the way of the beatitudes of the Gospel: poverty in spirit, meekness, suffering borne with patience, thirst after justice, mercy, purity of heart, will for peace, persecution suffered for justice sake. Under Pontius Pilate He suffered—the Lamb of God bearing on Himself the sins of the world, and He died for us on the cross, saving us by His redeeming blood. He was buried, and, of His own power, rose on the third day, raising us by His resurrection to that sharing in the divine life which is the life of grace. He ascended to heaven, and He will come again, this time in glory, to judge the living and the dead: each according to his merits—those who have responded to the love and piety of God going to eternal life, those who have refused them to the end going to the fire that is not extinguished. Ipse habitavit in nobis plenus gratiae et veritatis. Annuntiavit et constituit Regnum Dei, efficiens ut nos Patrem cognosceremus. Dedit nobis mandatum, ut nos invicem diligeremus, quemadmodum ipse dilexit nos. Docuit nos viam Beatitudinum evangelicarum, ex quibus essemus pauperes in spiritu, et mites, dolores toleraremus in patientia, sitiremus iustitiam, essemus misericordes, mundi corde, pacifici, persecutionem pateremur propter iustitiam. Passus est sub Pontio Pilato, Agnus Dei, suscipiens peccata mundi, mortuus est pro nobis Cruci affixus, sanguine redemptionis afferens nobis salutem. Postquam sepultus est, propria virtute resurrexit tertia die, ad consortium vitae divinae, quae est gratia, Resurrectione sua nos evehens. Ascendit in caelum, unde iterum venturus est ad iudicandos vivos et mortuos, unumquemque secundum merita: qui Amori et Pietati Dei responderunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam, qui vero ea usque ad exitum respuerunt, igni addicentur interituro numquam.
And His Kingdom will have no end. Et Regni eius non erit finis.
The Holy Spirit
13. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is Lord and Giver of life, who is adored and glorified together with the Father and the Son. He spoke to us by the prophets; He was sent by Christ after His resurrection and His ascension to the Father; He illuminates, vivifies, protects and guides the Church; He purifies the Church’s members if they do not shun His grace. His action, which penetrates to the inmost of the soul, enables man to respond to the call of Jesus: Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Mt. 5:48). Credimus in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur. Qui locutus est per Prophetas; hic missus est nobis a Christo post eius Resurrectionem et Ascensionem ad Patrem; ipse illuminat, vivificat, tuetur ac regit Ecclesiam, cuius purificat membra, dummodo gratiam ne aversentur. Eius opera, quae ad intimum animum permanat, homo, in humilitate ex Christo hausta, fieri potest perfectus, sicut Pater, qui in caelis est, perfectus est.
14. We believe that Mary is the Mother, who remained ever a Virgin, of the Incarnate Word, our God and Savior Jesus Christ, and that by reason of this singular election, she was, in consideration of the merits of her Son, redeemed in a more eminent manner, preserved from all stain of original sin and filled with the gift of grace more than all other creatures. Credimus Beatam Mariam virginali semper florentem honore, Matrem fuisse Verbi Incarnati, Dei nostri et Salvatoris Iesu Christi (Cfr. Dz.-Sch. 251-252), eamque intuitu meritorum Filii sui sublimiore modo redemptam (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 53), ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservatam immunem (Cfr. Dz-Sch. 2803) et dono gratiae omnibus aliis creaturis longe antecellere (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 53).
15. Joined by a close and indissoluble bond to the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate, was at the end of her earthly life raised body and soul to heavenly glory and likened to her risen Son in anticipation of the future lot of all the just; and we believe that the Blessed Mother of God, the New Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ’s members, cooperating with the birth and growth of divine life in the souls of the redeemed. Arcto et indissolubili vinculo mysterio Incarnationis et Redemptionis coniuncta (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 53, 58, 61), Beatissima Virgo Maria, Immaculata, expleto terrestris vitae cursu, corpore et anima ad caelestem gloriam est assumpta (Cfr. Dz.-Sch. 3903) et Filio suo, qui resurrexit a mortuis, similis reddita, sortem omnium iustorum in antecessum accepit; credimus Sactissimam Dei Genitricem, novam Hevam, Matrem Ecclesiae (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 53, 56, 61, 63; PAULI VI, Alloc. in conclusione III Sessionis Concilii Vat. II: A.A.S. 56, 1964, p. 1016; Exhort. Apost. Signum Magnum, Introd.), caelitus pergere materno munere fungi circa Christi membra, eo quod operam conferat ad gignendam augendamque vitam divinam in animis hominum redemptorum (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 62; Pauli VI, Exhort. Apost. Signum Magnum, p. 1, n. 1).
Original Offense
16. We believe that in Adam all have sinned, which means that the original offense committed by him caused human nature, common to all men, to fall to a state in which it bears the consequences of that offense, and which is not the state in which it was at first in our first parents—established as they were in holiness and justice, and in which man knew neither evil nor death. It is human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin. We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “not by imitation, but by propagation” and that it is thus “proper to everyone.” Credimus in Adam omnes peccavisse; ex quo fieri, ut propter originalem culpam ab illo commissam natura humana, universis hominibus communis, ad eam adducatur condicionem, in qua damna inde secuta patiatur; hanc vero non eam esse, in qua primi parentes nostri sint versati, utpote in sanctitate et iustitia constituti et in qua homo expers fueri mali et mortis. Itaque humana natura lapsa, gratiae munere quo antea erat ornata, est destituta, atque in suae ipsius naturae viribus sauciata, mortis imperio est subiecta, quae in omnes homines pertransit; qua quidem ratione omnis homo nascitur in peccato.
Reborn of the Holy Spirit
17. We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, by the sacrifice of the cross redeemed us from original sin and all the personal sins committed by each one of us, so that, in accordance with the word of the apostle, “where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” Tenemus igitur, Concilium Tridentinum secuti, peccatum originale, una cum natura humana, transfundi propagatione, non imitatione, idque esse unicuique proprium (Dz-Sch. 1513).
18. We believe in one Baptism instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Baptism should be administered even to little children who have not yet been able to be guilty of any personal sin, in order that, though born deprived of supernatural grace, they may be reborn “of water and the Holy Spirit” to the divine life in Christ Jesus. Credimus Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum Crucis Sacrificio nos redemisse a peccato originali et ab omnibus peccatis personalibus, ab unoquoque nostrum admissis, ita ut vera extet Apostoli sententia: Ubi autem abundavit delictum, superabundavit gratia (Rom. 5, 20).
The Church
19. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, built by Jesus Christ on that rock which is Peter. She is the Mystical Body of Christ; at the same time a visible society instituted with hierarchical organs, and a spiritual community; the Church on earth, the pilgrim People of God here below, and the Church filled with heavenly blessings; the germ and the first fruits of the Kingdom of God, through which the work and the sufferings of Redemption are continued throughout human history, and which looks for its perfect accomplishment beyond time in glory. In the course of time, the Lord Jesus forms His Church by means of the sacraments emanating from His plenitude. By these she makes her members participants in the Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, in the grace of the Holy Spirit who gives her life and movement. She is therefore holy, though she has sinners in her bosom, because she herself has no other life but that of grace: it is by living by her life that her members are sanctified; it is by removing themselves from her life that they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for these offenses, of which she has the power to heal her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Credimus in Unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam, a Iesu Christo super petram, qui est Petrus, aedificatam. Ea est mysticum Christi Corpus, societas aspectabilis, organis hierarchicis instructa, et communitas spiritualis, Ecclesia terrestris, Populus Dei hic in terris peregrinans, et Ecclesia caelestibus bonis ditata, germen et initium Regni Dei, quo opus et cruciatus Redemptionis per hominum aetates continuantur, et quod totis viribus perfectam consummationem exoptat, post finem temporum in caelesti gloria assequendam (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 85. et 25). Ecclesiam suam Dominus Iesus per Sacramenta, quae ab ipsius plenitudine manant, conformat (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 7, 11. 26). His enim facit, ut membra sua mysterium Mortis et Resurrectionis Iesu Christi participent, gratia afflante Spiritus Sancti, qui illi vitam agendique facultatem impertit (Cfr. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 5, 6; Lumen gentium, 7, 12, 50). Est igitur sancta, licet in sinu suo peccatores complectatur; nam ipsa non alia fruitur vita, quam vita gratiae; hac profecto si aluntur, membra illius sese sanctificant, si ab eadem se removent, peccata sordesque animi contrahunt, quae obstant, ne sanctitas eius radians diffundatur. Quare affligitur et paenitentiam agit pro noxis, potestatem habens ex his Sanguine Christi et dono Spiritus Sancti filios suos eximendi.
The Word
20. Heiress of the divine promises and daughter of Abraham according to the Spirit, through that Israel whose scriptures she lovingly guards, and whose patriarchs and prophets she venerates; founded upon the apostles and handing on from century to century their ever-living word and their powers as pastors in the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him; perpetually assisted by the Holy Spirit, she has the charge of guarding, teaching, explaining and spreading the Truth which God revealed in a then veiled manner by the prophets, and fully by the Lord Jesus. We believe all that is contained in the word of God written or handed down, and that the Church proposes for belief as divinely revealed, whether by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal magisterium. We believe in the infallibility enjoyed by the successor of Peter when he teaches ex cathedra as pastor and teacher of all the faithful, and which is assured also to the episcopal body when it exercises with him the supreme magisterium. Divinarum heres promissionum atque Abrahae filia secundum Spiritum, per illum scilicet Israel, cuius et sacros Libros amanter tuetur et Patriarchas Prophetasque pie veneratur; super fundamentum Apostolorum aedificata, quorum per saeculorum decursum sive verbum semper vivax sive proprias Pastorum potestates in Petri Successore et in Episcopis, communionem cum ipso servantibus, fìdeliter tradit; perpetuo denique Sancti Spiritus patrocinio fruens, Ecclesia munus obtinet illius servandae, docendae, explicandae atque pervulgandae veritatis, quam per Prophetas quadamtenus adumbratam Deus per Dominum Iesum perfecte absoluteque hominibus revelavit, Nos ea omnia credimus, quae in verbo Dei scripto vel tradito continentur et ab Ecclesia sive sollemni iudicio sive ordinario et universali magisterio tamquam divinitus revelata credenda proponuntur (Cfr. Dz.-Sch. 3011). Nos eam credimus infallibilitatem, qua Petri Successor perfruitur, cum omnium christianorum Pastor et Doctor ex cathedra loquitur (Cfr. Dz.-Sch. 3074), quaque Episcoporum etiam Corpus pollet, quando supremum cum eodem magisterium exercet (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 25).
21. We believe that the Church founded by Jesus Christ and for which He prayed is indefectibly one in faith, worship and the bond of hierarchical communion. In the bosom of this Church, the rich variety of liturgical rites and the legitimate diversity of theological and spiritual heritages and special disciplines, far from injuring her unity, make it more manifest. Nos credimus Ecclesiam, quam Christus condidit et pro qua preces effudit, unam et fide et cultu et communi sacrae Hierarchiae vinculo indeficienter esse. Huiusce in sinu Ecclesiae sive uberrima liturgicorum rituum varietas sive legitima theologici spiritualisque patrimonii peculiarumque disciplinarum differentia, nedum eiusdem unitati obsint, eam vel luculentius demonstrant (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 23; Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 2, 3, 5, 6).
One Shepherd
22. Recognizing also the existence, outside the organism of the Church of Christ, of numerous elements of truth and sanctification which belong to her as her own and tend to Catholic unity, and believing in the action of the Holy Spirit who stirs up in the heart of the disciples of Christ love of this unity, we entertain the hope that the Christians who are not yet in the full communion of the one only Church will one day be reunited in one flock with one only shepherd. Nos item, hinc agnoscentes extra Ecclesiae Christi compaginem elementa plura sanctificationis et veritatis inveniri, quae ut dona ipsius Ecclesiae propria, ad unitatem catholicam impellunt (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 8), hinc credentes Sancti Spiritus actionem, qui in cunctis Christi discipulis desiderium huiusce unitatis suscitat (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 13), id fore speramus, ut christiani, qui nondum plena unius Ecclesiae communione fruuntur, in uno grege sub uno Pastore tandem uniantur.
23. We believe that the Church is necessary for salvation, because Christ, who is the sole mediator and way of salvation, renders Himself present for us in His body which is the Church. But the divine design of salvation embraces all men; and those who without fault on their part do not know the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but seek God sincerely, and under the influence of grace endeavor to do His will as recognized through the promptings of their conscience, they, in a number known only to God, can obtain salvation. Nos credimus Ecclesiam necessariam esse ad salutem. Unus enim Christus est Mediator ac via salutis, qui in Corpore suo, quod est Ecclesia, praesens nobis fit (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 14). Sed divinum propositum salutis universos amplectitur homines: qui enim Evangelium Christi eiusque Ecclesiam sine culpa ignorantes, Deum tamen sincero corde quaerunt, eiusque voluntatem, per conscientiae dictamen agnitam, adimplere sub gratiae influxu conantur, ii etiam, numero quidem quem unus Deus novit, ad eius Populum, modo licet invisibili, pertinent et aeternam salutem consequi possunt (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 16).
Sacrifice of Calvary
24. We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence. Nos credimus Missam, quae a sacerdote in persona Christi, vi potestatis per sacramentum Ordinis receptae, celebratur, quaeque ab eo Christi et membrorum eius mystici Corporis nomine offertur, revera esse Calvariae Sacrificium, quod nostris in altaribus sacramentaliter praesens efficitur. Nos credimus, ut panis et vinum a Domino consecrata in ultima Cena in eius Corpus eiusque Sanguinem conversa fuerunt, quae mox pro nobis in Cruce erant offerenda, ita pariter panem et vinum a sacerdote consecrata converti in Corpus et Sanguinem Christi, in caelis gloriose assidentis; et nos credimus arcanam Domini praesentiam, sub specie illarum rerum, quae nostris sensibus eodem quo antea modo apparere perseverant, veram, realem ac substantialem esse (Cfr. Dz-Sch. 1651).
25. Christ cannot be thus present in this sacrament except by the change into His body of the reality itself of the bread and the change into His blood of the reality itself of the wine, leaving unchanged only the properties of the bread and wine which our senses perceive. This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church transubstantiation. Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable body and blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine, as the Lord willed it, in order to give Himself to us as food and to associate us with the unity of His Mystical Body. In hoc igitur Sacramento Christus non aliter praesens adesse potest, nisi per conversionem totius substantiae panis in eius Corpus et per conversionem totius substantiae vini in eius Sanguinem, integris tantum manentibus, panis et vini proprietatibus, quas nostris sensibus percipimus. Quae arcana conversio convenienter et proprie a sancta Ecclesia transsubstantiatio appellatur. Quaevis porro theologorum interpretatio, quae huiusmodi mysterio aliquatenus intellegendo studet, ut cum catholica fide congruat, id sartum tectum praestare debet, ut in ipsa rerum natura, a nostro scilicet spiritu distincta, panis et vinum, facta consecratione, adesse desierint, ita ut adorandum Corpus et Sanguinis Domini Iesu post ipsam vere coram nobis adsint sub speciebus sacramentalibus panis et vini (Cfr. Dz.-Sch. 1642, 1651; Pauli VI, Litt. Enc. Mysterium Fidei), quamadmodum ipse Dominus voluit, ut sese nobis alimentum praeberet nosque mystici corporis sui unitate sociaret (Cfr. S. Th. III, 73, 3).
26. The unique and indivisible existence of the Lord glorious in heaven is not multiplied, but is rendered present by the sacrament in the many places on earth where Mass is celebrated. And this existence remains present, after the sacrifice, in the Blessed Sacrament which is, in the tabernacle, the living heart of each of our churches. And it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore in the blessed Host which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word whom they cannot see, and who, without leaving heaven, is made present before us. Una atque individua Christi Domini existentia, qua in caelorum claritate vivit, per Sacramentum non multiplicatur, sed praesens efficitur variis in terrarum orbis locis, ubi Eucharisticum sacrificium peragitur: en habemus illud Mysterium fidei atque eucharisticarum divitiarum, cui assentiamur sine ulla exceptione oportet. Eadem autem exsistentia, post celebratum Sacrificium, praesens manet in Sanctissimo Sacramento, quod in altaris aedicula, veluti in vivo quodam nostrorum templorum corde, asservatur. Quam ob rem suavissimo sane officio tenemur honore afficiendi atque adorandi in Sancta Pane, quem oculi nostri intuentur, Verbum ipsum incarnatum, quod iidem intueri non possunt, quodque tamen praesens coram nobis effectum est, neque tamen deseruit caelos.
Temporal Concern
27. We confess that the Kingdom of God begun here below in the Church of Christ is not of this world whose form is passing, and that its proper growth cannot be confounded with the progress of civilization, of science or of human technology, but that it consists in an ever more profound knowledge of the unfathomable riches of Christ, an ever stronger hope in eternal blessings, an ever more ardent response to the love of God, and an ever more generous bestowal of grace and holiness among men. But it is this same love which induces the Church to concern herself constantly about the true temporal welfare of men. Without ceasing to recall to her children that they have not here a lasting dwelling, she also urges them to contribute, each according to his vocation and his means, to the welfare of their earthly city, to promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to give their aid freely to their brothers, especially to the poorest and most unfortunate. Confitemur pariter Regnum Dei, quod hic in terris in Christi Ecclesia primordia habuit, non esse de hoc mundo, cuius figura praeterit, itemque eius propria incrementa idem existimari non posse atque progressionem humanitatis cultus, vel scientiarum, vel technicarum artium, sed eo prorsus spectare, ut investigabiles divitiae Christi altius usque cognoscantur, ut spes in aeternis bonis constantius usque ponatur, ut Dei caritati flagrantius usque respondeatur, ut denique gratia atque sanctitudo largius usque diffundantur inter homines. At eodem huiusmodi amore Ecclesia quoque ducitur ad germanam hominum utilitatem, ad externa bona quod attinet, continenter procurandum. Etenim, etsi quotquot habet filios monere non cessat, eos hic in terris manentem civitatem non habere, eosdem tamen exstimulat ut, pro sua quisque vitae condicione atque subsidiis, propriae humanae civitatis incrementa foveant, iustitiam, pacem atque fraternam concordiam inter homines promoveant, atque pauperioribus et infelicioribus fratribus opportuna conferant adiumenta.
The deep solicitude of the Church, the Spouse of Christ, for the needs of men, for their joys and hopes, their griefs and efforts, is therefore nothing other than her great desire to be present to them, in order to illuminate them with the light of Christ and to gather them all in Him, their only Savior. This solicitude can never mean that the Church conform herself to the things of this world, or that she lessen the ardor of her expectation of her Lord and of the eternal Kingdom. Quare impensa sollicitudo, qua Ecclesia, Christi Sponsa, hominum necessitates prosequitur, hoc est eorum gaudia et exspectationes, dolores et labores, nihil aliud censenda est nisi studium, quo ipsa vehementer impellitur, ut iis praesens adsit, eo quidem consilio, ut Christi luce homines illuminet, universosque in Illum, qui ipsorum unus Salvator est, congreget atque coniungat. Numquam vero haec aollicitudo ita accipienda est, quasi Ecclesia ad res huius mundi se conformet, aut deferveat ardor, quo ipsa Dominum suum Regnumque aeternum expectat.
28. We believe in the life eternal. We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ whether they must still be purified in purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies Jesus takes them to paradise as He did for the Good Thief are the People of God in the eternity beyond death, which will be finally conquered on the day of the Resurrection when these souls will be reunited with their bodies. Credimus vitam aeternam. Credimus animas eorum omnium, qui in gratia Christi moriuntur – sive quae adhuc Purgatorii igne expiandae sunt, sive quae statim ac corpore separatae, sicut Bonus Latro, a Iesu in Paradisum suscipiuntur – Populum Dei constituere post mortem, quae omnino destruetur Resurrectionis die, quo hae animae cum suis corporibus coniungentur.
Prospect of Resurrection
29. We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in paradise forms the Church of Heaven where in eternal beatitude they see God as He is, and where they also, in different degrees, are associated with the holy angels in the divine rule exercised by Christ in glory, interceding for us and helping our weakness by their brotherly care. Credimus multitudinem earum animarum, quae cum Iesu et Maria in Paradiso congregantur, Ecclesiam Caelestem efficere, ubi eaedem, aeterna beatitudine fruentes, Deum vident sicuti est (Cfr. 1 Io. 3, 2 ; Dz-Sch. 1000) atque etiam, gradu quidem modoque diverso, una cum Sanctis Angelis partem habent in potestatis divinae exercitio, quae ad Christum glorificatum pertinet, cum pro nobis intercedant suaque fraterna sollicitudine infirmitatem nostram iuvent (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 49).
30. We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are attaining their purification, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion the merciful love of God and His saints is ever listening to our prayers, as Jesus told us: Ask and you will receive. Thus it is with faith and in hope that we look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Credimus multitudinem earum animarum, quae cum Iesu et qui in terris peregrinantur, qui vita functi purificantur et qui caelesti beatitudine perfruuntur, universosque in unam Ecclesiam coalescere; ac pariter credimus in hac communione praesto nobis esse amorem miserentis Dei eiusque Sanctorum, qui semper precibus nostris pronas aures praebent, ut Iesus nobis asseveravit: Petite et accipietis (Cfr. Luc. 10, 9-10; Io. 16, 24). Hanc fidem profitentes et hac spe suffulti exspectamus resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi saeculi.
Blessed be God Thrice Holy. Amen. Benedictus Deus sanctus, sanctus, sanctus. Amen.