40 Reasons Why It’s Cool to be Catholic #13 The Creed

Earlier in this series we’ve discussed The Code of Canon Law and The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  These two books contain the nuts and bolts of our faith.  To paraphrase the late Ed McMahon, “Everything you ever wanted to know about being a Catholic is in these two books!”  Thankfully we don’t all have to carry these two big books around with us.  In fact, it’s not necessary to own, or even to ever have seen these two volumes to be a good Catholic.

For the Cliff Notes version of our faith, all we have to do is look to one of the creeds.  Chances are you know one, or both of them by heart, even with the recent changes to the English translations.

You may wonder, why are there two of them when they’re both so similar.  Basically the Apostle’s Creed is said to have been written by the Apostles (hence the name) with each of them contributing part of it.  That would make it the older of the two creeds.  The ‘newer’ Nicene creed was promulgated by the  Council of Nicea in 325 and revised by the Council of Constantinople in 381.  The official name of this version is the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed, but it was shortened to the Nicean Creed for obvious reasons).

At mass we refer to the creed as the Profession of Faith.  And, that’s what it is.  We stand and declare the things that we believe.  If anyone were to ask you what you believe in, you could do worse than reciting the creed.  We believe in one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We describe each of the three persons.  We describe Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and His ascension into heaven.  He will come again.

One interesting thing in the last section of the creed is that we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.  Note that the word “catholic” isn’t capitalized.  It means universal.  In fact the Catholic Church isn’t the only one who recites the creed.  But, since it was the big C Catholic Church that originally established the creed, we’ll go ahead and take credit for it.

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