The Credo of the People of God was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI at the close
of the Year of Faith on June 29, 1968. Its purpose was to offer the Christian
world, after the Second Vatican Council, a profession of the principal articles
of the Catholic faith. It is no mere summary, however, but a carefully assembled
synthesis of those revealed truths which today are either most challenged or
that especially need to be understood by the faithful. It incorporates all the
familiar doctrines of the Nicene Creed but goes beyond them in occasionally
updating their verbal expression and showing how these mysteries are to be lived
by the Christian believer.
POPE PAUL V1
The Credo of the People of God
as published in The Acts of the Apostolic
See, August 10, 1968
THE SOLEMN PROFESSION OF FAITH
pronounced by Pope Paul VI at St. Peter's
Basilica, June 30, 1968, at the end of the
"Year of Faith," the nineteenth
centenary anniversary of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.
VENERABLE BROTHERS AND BELOVED SONS:
- 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 guard the deposit
of faith from corruption, that deposit which they transmitted to us, and to
demonstrate again our intention of relating this same faith to life at this
time when the Church must continue her pilgrimage in this world.
- 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 gatherings 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.
- 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 formula which begins with
the word Credo, I believe. Without being strictly speaking a dogmatic
definition, it repeats in substance, with some developments called for by the
spiritual condition of our time, the Creed of Nicaea, the Creed of the immortal
tradition of the Holy Church of God.
- In making this profession, we are aware of the disquiet which agitates
certain groups of men at the present time with regard to the faith. They do
not escape the influence of a world being profoundly changed, in which so many
truths are being denied outright or made objects of controversy. 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 truths of Christian doctrine. For that
would be to give rise, as is unfortunately seen in these days, to disturbance
and doubt in many faithful souls.
- It is supremely important in this respect to recall that, beyond
what is observable, analyzed by the work of the sciences, 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, it is important to remember 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Therefore, 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 communion
with you all, beloved brothers and sons.
PROFESSION OF FAITH
- We believe in one only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator
of things visible such as this world in which our brief 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.
- 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.
- We believe then in God 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."
- 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 consubstantial 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.
- 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. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, 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 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.
And His Kingdom will have no end.
- 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 governs 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.
- We believe that Mary is the Mother, who remained ever a Virgin, of
the Incarnate Word, our God and Savior Jesus Chest, 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.
- 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, co-operating with the birth and growth
of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.
- 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
"in each of us as his own."
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 in true reality 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 sense as before, is a true, real and substantial
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Blessed be God Thrice Holy. Amen.
Pronounced in front of the Basilica of St. Peter, on June 30, 1968, the sixth
year of our pontificate.
Pope Paul VI
Modern Catholic Dictionary - John A. Hardon, S.J.
Abridged Edition of the Modern Catholic Dictionary
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