Creeds of the Catholic Church

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Creed - From the Catholic Encyclopedia

(Latin credo, I believe).

The Principal Creeds of the Catholic Church are: The Apostles', Athanasian, and the Nicene. For the present purpose it is chiefly important to indicate the function of the Creed in the Life of Religion and especially in the Work of the Catholic Church. That the Teachings of Christianity were to be Cast in some Definite Form is evidently implied in the Commission given the Apostles (Matthew 28:19-20). Since they were to Teach all Nations to observe whatsoever Christ had Commanded, and since this Teaching was to carry the Weight of Authority, not merely of Opinion, it was necessary to formulate at last the Essential Doctrines. Such Formulation was all the more needful because Christianity was destined for all Men and for all Ages. To preserve Unity of Belief itself was quite clearly stated. The Creed, therefore, is fundamentally an Authoritative Declaration of the Truths that are to be Believed.

The Church, moreover, was organized as a Visible Society. Its Members were called on not only to hold-fast the Teaching they had received, but also to Express their Beliefs. As Saint Paul says: "With her Heart we believe unto Justice; but, with the Mouth, Confession is made unto Salvation" (Romans 10:10). Nor is the Apostle content with Vague or Indefinite Statements; he insists that his Followers shall "hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me in Faith" (2Timothy 1:13), "embracing that Faithful Word which is according to Doctrine, that he (the Bishop) may be able to Exhort in Sound Doctrine and to convince the Gainsayers (Titus 1:9). Hence we can understand that a Profession of Faith was required of those who were to be Baptized, as in the case of the Eunuch (Acts 8:37); in fact the Baptismal Formula prescribed by Christ Himself is an Expression of Faith in the Blessed Trinity. Apart then from the question regarding the composition of the Apostles' Creed, it is clear that from the beginning, and even before the New Testament had been written, some Doctrinal Formula, however concise, would have been employed both to secure Uniformity in Teaching and to place beyond doubt the belief of those who were admitted into the Church.

Along with the diffusion of Christianity there sprang up in the course of time various Heretical Views regarding the Doctrines of Faith. It thus became necessary to define the Truth of Revelation more clearly. The Creed, in consequence, underwent modification, not by the introduction of New Doctrines, but by the Expression of the Traditional Belief in terms that left no room for Error or Misunderstanding. In this way, the "Filioque" was added to the Nicene and the Tridentine, professing-forth in Full and Definite Statements the Catholic Faith on those Points especially-which the Reformers of the Sixteenth Century had assailed. At other times the circumstances required that Special Formulas should be drawn up in order to have the Teaching of the Church explicitly-stated and accepted; such was the Profession of Faith prescribed for the Greeks by Gregory XIII, and that which Urban VIII and Benedict XIV prescribed for the Orientals (cf. Denzinger, Enchiridion). The Creed therefore, is to be regarded not as a lifeless formula, but rather as a Manifestation of the Church's Vitality. As these Formulas preserve intact the Faith once delivered to the Saints, they are also an effectual means of warding off the incessant Attacks of Error.

On the other hand, it should be remarked that the Authoritative Promulgation of a Creed and its acceptance, imply no infringement of the Rights of Reason. The Mind tends naturally to express itself and especially to utter its thought in the Form of Language. Such expression, again, results in greater clearness and a firmer possession of the mental content. Whoever, then, really believes in the Truths of Christianity cannot consistently object to such Manifestation of his Belief as the use of the Creed implies. It is also obviously illogical to condemn this use on the ground that is makes Religion simply an affair of repeating or subscribing Empty Formulas. The Church insists that the Internal Belief is the Essential Element, but this must find its Outward Expression. While the Duty of Believing rests on each individual, there are further Obligations resulting from the Social Organization of the Church. Not only is each Member obliged to refrain from what would Weaken the Faith of his Fellow-Believers, he is also bound, so far as he is able, to Uphold and Quicken their Belief. The Profession of his Faith as set forth in the Creed is at once an Object-Lesson in Loyalty and a means of Strengthening the Bonds which Unite the Followers of Christ in "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism".

In addition to the Three (3) Principal Creeds of the Catholic Church, Pope Paul VI on 30 June 1968 presented a Creed of the People of God (entirely consistent with, but more detailed than the above Three (3) Creeds):

"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.

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."

 

 

 

  The Athanasian Creed
[QUICUNQUE VULT]

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Whosoever will be Saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic [Apostolic/Universal] Faith, which except everyone shall have kept Whole and Undefiled, without doubt he will Perish Eternally.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Now the Catholic Faith is this: We worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) For there is One Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Coeternal.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit; the Father Uncreated, the Son Uncreated, and the Holy Spirit Uncreated; the Father Infinite, the Son Infinite, and the Holy Spirit Infinite; the Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Spirit Eternal. And yet not Three Eternals but One Eternal, as also not Three Infinites, nor Three Uncreated, but One Uncreated, and One Infinite. So, likewise, the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty; and yet not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) So the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God; and yet not Three Gods but One God. So the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; and yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For like as we are compelled by Christian Truth to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be both God and Lord; so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Father is Made of none, neither Created nor Begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not Made nor Created but Begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son, not Made nor Created nor Begotten but Proceeding. So there is One Father not three Fathers, One Son not Three Sons, and One Holy Spirit not Three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less, but the whole Three Persons are Coeternal together and Coequal.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Trinity in Unity and the Unity in Trinity is to be Worshipped. He therefore who wills to be in a State of Salvation, let him think thus of the Trinity.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) But it is necessary to Eternal Salvation that he also believe Faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Right Faith therefore is that we Believe and Confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) He is God of the Substance of the Father Begotten before the Worlds, and He is Man of the Substance of His mother born in the World; Perfect God, Perfect Man subsisting of a Reasoning Soul and Human Flesh; equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Who although He be God and Man yet, He is not Two but One Christ; One however not by Conversion of the Godhead in the Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood in God; One altogether not by Confusion of Substance but by Unity of Person. For as the Reasoning Soul and Flesh is One Man, so God and Man is One Christ.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Who suffered for our Salvation, descended into Hell, rose again from the Dead, ascended into Heaven, sits at the Right Hand of the Father, from whence He shall come to Judge the Living and the Dead. At Whose coming all Men shall rise again with their Bodies and shall give Account for their own Works. And they that have done Good shall go into Life Eternal, and they who indeed have done Evil into Eternal Fire.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man shall have believed Faithfully and Firmly he cannot be in a State of Salvation.


The Apostle's 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; the third day He
arose again from the Dead; He ascended into
Heaven and is seated at the Right Hand of God
the Father Almighty, from thence He shall 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.


The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
(Profession of Faith from the Sacrifice of the Mass)

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
Eternally Begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
True God from True God,
Begotten, not Made,
One in Being with the Father.
Through Him all things were made.
For us Men and for our Salvation
He came down from Heaven;
by the Power of the Holy Spirit
He was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became Man.

For our sake He was Crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day He rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
He ascended into Heaven
and is seated at the Right Hand of the Father.
From thence He will come again in Glory
to Judge the Living and the Dead,
and His Kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the Giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son
He is Worshiped and Glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one Holy Catholic
and Apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one Baptism
for the Forgiveness of Sins.
We look for the Resurrection of the Dead,
and the Life of the World to come.
Amen.


The Trentine Creed or
The Creed of Pius IV,
From the Sacred Council of Trent, A.D. 1564.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I most steadfastly admit and embrace Apostolical and Ecclesiastical Traditions, and all other Observances and Constitutions of the Church.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I also admit the Holy Scripture according to that sense which our Holy Mother the Church has held, and does hold, to which it belongs to Judge of the True Sense and Interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the Unanimous Consent of the Fathers.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I also profess that there are Truly and Properly Seven Sacraments of the New Law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the Salvation of Mankind, though not all for every one; to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; and that they confer Grace; and that of these, Baptism, Confirmation, and Order cannot be reiterated without Sacrilege. I also receive and admit the received and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church in the Solemn Administration of the aforesaid Sacraments.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I embrace and receive all and every one of the things which have been Defined and Declared in the Holy Council of Trent concerning Original Sin and Justification.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I profess, likewise, that in the Mass there is Offered to God a True, Proper, and Propitiatory Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead; and that in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist there is Truly, Really, and Substantially, the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is made a Conversion of the Whole Substance of the Bread into the Body, and of the Whole Substance of the Wine into the Blood, which Conversion the Catholic Church calls Transubstantiation. I also confess that under either kind alone Christ is received Whole and Entire, and a True Sacrament.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I constantly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the Souls therein detained are helped by the Suffrages of the Faithful.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Likewise, that the Saints, Reigning together with Christ, are to be Honored and Invocated, and that they offer Prayers to God for us, and that their Relics are to be Respected.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I most firmly assert that the Images of Christ, of the Mother of God, ever Virgin, and also of the Saints, ought to be had and retained, and that due Honor and Veneration is to be given them.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I also affirm that the Power of Indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian People.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the Mother and Mistress of all Churches; and I promise True Obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I likewise undoubtedly receive and profess all other things Delivered, Defined, and Declared by the Sacred Canons, and General Councils, and particularly by the Holy Council of Trent.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) And I Condemn, Reject, and Anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all Heresies whatsoever, Condemned, Rejected, and Anathematized by the Church.

This True Catholic Faith, without which no one can be Saved, I (N.N.) do at this present freely confess and sincerely hold; and I promise most constantly to retain, and confess the same entire and unviolated, with God's assistance, to the end of my life.

Amen


The Credo of the People of God
Promulgated on June 30, 1968

by His Holiness Pope Paul VI

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.

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 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".

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.

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.

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 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 (Matthew 5:48).

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.

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.

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".

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 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.

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 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.

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.