MY CATHOLIC FAITH
|The Apostles, before they parted, gathered together in Jerusalem in
the first Council of the Church. There they decided to put down in a brief
statement their principal doctrines, so that their teachings might be
uniform wherever they preached. This statement of the articles of faith we
call today "The Apostles' Creed." It was formulated in order to put into
fruition the command of Our Lord: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of
all nations ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;
and behold, I am with you all days" (Matt. 28:19-20).
2. The Apostles' Creed
Where do we find the chief truths taught by Jesus Christ through the
Catholic Church? -- We find the chief truths taught by Jesus Christ
through the Catholic Church in the Apostles' Creed.
Into how many articles may the Apostles' Creed be
divided? -- The Apostles Creed may be divided into twelve articles.
- A creed is a summary or statement of what one believes. "Creed" comes from
the Latin credo, which means I believe; that is, I accept or hold true
something on the word of another.
"I believe," with relation to the Apostles' Creed, means that I firmly
assent to everything contained in it. I believe it exactly as if I had seen
those truths with my own eyes. I believe it on the authority or word of God,
Who cannot deceive or be deceived.
- The Apostles Creed is so called because it has come down to us from
apostolic times, and contains a summary of the principal truths taught by the
The Apostles' Creed is repeated at Baptism, as a declaration of faith. In
ancient times it was required before Baptism, as a sign of fitness for
reception into the Church.
- The Apostles' Creed has come down to us intact, except for a few clauses
added by the Church later, in order to counteract various heresies. These
additions, however, are not new doctrines, but a clarification of what the
Creed already contained.
Thus the words "Creator of heaven and earth" were added to counteract the
Manichaean heresy that the world was created by the principle of evil; and the
word "Catholic" was added, to distinguish the True Church from churches
springing up around it. As our Lord said, "And you also bear witness, because
from the beginning you are with me" (John 15:27).
- There are several other creeds used by the Church, in substance identical
with the Apostles' Creed.
The Nicene Creed, which is said in the Mass, was mainly drawn up at the
Council of Nicea, in the year 325. The Athanasian Creed is said by priests in
the Divine Office for Sunday.
What act of religion do we make when we say the Apostles'
Creed? -- When we say the Apostles' Creed we make an act of faith.
- All the articles are absolutely necessary to faith: if even one article is
omitted or changed, faith would be destroyed. It is symbolical to divide the
Apostles' Creed into twelve articles, because the Apostles numbered twelve;
thus we are reminded that the Creed comes to us and was taught by the Apostles
of Our Lord.
- The following are the articles:
The twelve articles of the Apostles' Creed contain the
mystery of the Blessed Trinity, one God in three distinct Divine Persons, --
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, -- with the particular operations attributed to
each Person. The Creed contains three distinct parts. The first part treats of
God the Father and creation. The second part treats of God the Son and our
redemption. And the third part treats of God the Holy Ghost and our
- 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 Ghost, 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, sitteth 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 Ghost;
- The Holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints;
- The forgiveness of sins;
- The resurrection of the body;
- And life everlasting. Amen.
- Christian faith is a supernatural gift of God which enables us to believe
firmly whatever God has revealed, on the testimony of His word. By it we
believe in the truth of many things which we cannot grasp with our
For example, we believe in God, although we cannot see Him. We believe in
the Trinity, although it is beyond our understanding. "Without faith it is
impossible to please God" (He. 11:6).
- Faith does not require us to believe in anything contrary to reason. When
we believe what we cannot perceive or understand, we act according to reason,
which tells us that God cannot err, lie, or deceive us. We therefore put our
trust in God's word.
In many natural things we often believe what we do not see, as sound waves
and atoms, on the testimony of scientists who have studied them. Thus we act
within reason; but how much more reasonable it is to believe on the word of
- A great reward in heaven awaits those who suffer persecution or die for
the faith or some Christian virtue. The number of martyrs who have died for
the Catholic faith is estimated at more than sixteen millions.
All the Apostles suffered persecution, and all except St. John suffered
death by martyrdom, for their faith. St. John the Baptist was beheaded because
he censured Herod for violating the law of marriage. St. John Nepomucene was put to
death because he refused to violate the seal of confession. "Therefore,
everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my
Father in heaven" (Matt. 10:32)
- Neglect of the study of the truths of our religion is frequently the cause
of lukewarmness, a bad life, and final apostasy and impenitence. We should be
zealous in studying the Christian doctrine, in the catechism and religion
lessons, in sermons, missions, and retreats.
If we have any doubts, we should consult our priests; God will not forgive
ignorance if we voluntarily neglect the means He has granted to dissipate it.