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The New Translation: The Creeds
Sunday, September 4th 2011

When it comes to the Nicene Creed we will notice the first change immediately – ‘I believe’, not, ‘We believe’. We have become used to praying the Creed all together as a parish. The trouble is, when we say ‘we believe’ it could suggest that between us all we believe everything being said. It is not clear that we all believe everything that is being said. To say ‘I believe’ makes it quite clear that each one of us believes everything we are saying.

The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake
he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated
at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,
the giver of life, who proceeds
from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son,
our Lord,
who was conceived
by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again
from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge
the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

I believe… (prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy)

The Creed we usually say at Mass is called the Nicene Creed, though the shorter Apostle’s Creed is also included in the Missal. This Nicene Creed was drawn up by a council held in Nicea in the fourth century. In the new edition of the Missal people will notice many changes to this prayer. The new translation aims to reflect the original Latin text more faithfully. As the prayer that professes our faith and that is professed by Catholics each Sunday across the world, it is important that we say the same words. Here we note some of the changes.

I believe is a literal translation of the Latin credo. In the English translation, unlike in the Latin, this phrase is repeated three times in the course of the prayer to help the flow of the text. While the Creed professes the faith of the entire Church the use of “I” in this prayer invites us to join our personal faith with that of other believers.

Consubstantial with the Father is an example of a re-introduction of theological term that may be unfamiliar to many people. What does it mean? At Nicea when they talked about the relationship between the Father and the Son they used the Greek term homoousios to describe the unique nature of Jesus. The term expresses our belief that the Son is of the same essential Being and substance as the Father. The Latin term is consubstantialis – hence the use of consubstantial in the new translation.

By the Holy Spirit was incarnate again reintroduces a time-honoured word that may be unfamiliar to many today. The birth of Jesus has a significance beyond that of any other human birth. The Word became flesh in the womb of Mary, the Son of God was incarnate, assumed human nature.

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