The following are the four primary faith statements, Credos, from the Church’s tradition. They infallibly subsist in themselves as true forms of the Catholic faith. By reciting them, we confirm and reinforce our faith in all that God has revealed through His one holy Catholic Church–God Who, as the act of faith tells us, can neither deceive nor be deceived.
“It is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church.” (Pope Pius IX, Nostis Et Nobiscum).
“Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: ‘This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved’ (Athanas. Creed)” (Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum).
Quicunque Vult / Athanasian Creed
“One of the symbols of the Faith approved by the Church and given a place in her liturgy, is a short, clear exposition of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, with a passing reference to several other dogmas. Unlike most of the other creeds, or symbols, it deals almost exclusively with these two fundamental truths, which it states and restates in terse and varied forms so as to bring out unmistakably the trinity of the Persons of God, and the twofold nature in the one Divine Person of Jesus Christ. At various points the author calls attention to the penalty incurred by those who refuse to accept any of the articles therein set down. The results of recent inquiry make it highly probable that the Creed first saw the light in the fourth century, during the life of the great Eastern patriarch [St Athanasius] or shortly after his death. The fact alone that it is approved by the Church as expressing its mind on the fundamental truths with which it deals, is all we need to know.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Quicunque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit. Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes. Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti:
Sed Patris, et Fili, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coaeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis Spiritus Sanctus.
Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus Spiritus Sanctus.
Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus.Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus. Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens Spiritus Sanctus.
Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus.
Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus est Dominus. Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compellimur: ita tres Deos aut Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur.
Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens. Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales. Ita ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit.
Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat. Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus et homo est. Deus est ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem. Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae. Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. Ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis: inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cuius adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis: et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum.
Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit. Amen.
Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever. And the Catholic faith is this: we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.
But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.
The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.
Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being. So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.
Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
However, there are not three gods, but one God. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord. However, there are not three lords, but one Lord. For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord, so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone. The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits. In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another. So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshiped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.
He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity. It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man. As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh. He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity. Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ. And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed unto God. He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person. As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ. He died for our salvation, descended into Hell, and rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. Amen.
Symbolum Nicaenum / The Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed, as approved in amplified form at the Council of Constantinople (381), is the profession of the Christian Faith common to the Catholic Church, to all the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, and to most of the Protestant denominations.
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. [kneel] Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est. [stand] Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten, not made: consubstantial with the Father; by Whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from Heaven: [kneel] and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. [stand] He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures. And He ascended into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead: of Whose kindgom there shall be no end.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life: Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified: Who spoke through the Prophets.
Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.
And in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Symbolum Apostolorum / Apostles Creed
Throughout the Middle Ages it was generally believed that the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, while still under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, composed our present Creed between them, each of the Apostles contributing one of the twelve articles. The Catechism of the Council of Trent also assumes Apostolic origin of this Creed. As a result of this intimate association with the liturgy and teaching of the Church, the Apostles’ Creed has always been held to have the authority of an ex cathedra utterance. It is commonly taught that all points of doctrine contained in it are part of the Catholic Faith, and cannot be called in question under pain of heresy. (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.
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 Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Professio fidei Tridentina / Profession of the Tridentine Faith (The Creed of Pope Pius IV)
This is the fourth authoritative Creed of the Catholic Church. It was issued by Pope Pius IV on November 13, 1565 in his bull “Iniunctum Nobis” after the completion of the Council of Trent. This Creed defined quite clearly the Catholic faith in response to the challenges of Protestantism and was used for centuries as a creed to be professed by theologians as an oath of loyalty as well as for converts to the Catholic Church.
|Ego N. firma fide credo et profiteor omnia et singula, quae continentur in Symbolo, quo Sancta Romana ecclesia utitur, videlicet:||I, N, with a firm faith believe and profess each and everything which is contained in the Creed which the Holy Roman Church maketh use of. To wit:|
|Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium. Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis. Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.||I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. He was also crucified for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and sits 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. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, and who spoke through the prophets. And one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.|
|Apostolicas et Ecclesiasticas traditiones reliquasque eiusdem ecclesiae observationes et constitutiones firmissime admitto et amplector.||The Apostolic and Ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church I firmly admit to and embrace.|
|Item sacram Scripturam iuxta eum sensum, quem tenuit et tenet sancta Mater Ecclesia, cuius est iudicare de vero sensu et interpretatione sacrarum Scripturarum, admitto; nec eam umquam nisi iuxta unanimem consensum Patrum, accipiam et interpretabor.||I also accept the Holy Scripture according to that sense which holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, and to whom it belongeth to judge 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.|
|Profiteor quoque septem esse vere et proprie Sacramenta novae legis a Iesu Christo Domino nostro instituta, atque ad salutem humani generis, licet non omnia singulis, necessaria: scilicet Baptismum, Confirmationem, Eucharistiam, Paenitentiam, Extremam Unctionem, Ordinem et Matrimonium; illaque gratiam conferre; et ex his Baptismum, Confirmationem et Ordinem sine sacrilegio reiterari non posse. Receptos quoque et approbatos Ecclesiae catholicae ritus in supradictorum omnium Sacramentorum solemni administratione recipio et admitto.||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 are necessary for everyone; to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and that they confer grace; and that of these, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also receive and admit the accepted and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.|
|Omnia et singula, quae de peccato originali et de iustificatione in sacrosancta Tridentina Synodo definita et declarata fuerunt, amplector et recipio.||I embrace and accept each and everything which has been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification.|
|Profiteor pariter, in Missa offerri Deo verum, proprium et propitiatorium sacrificium pro vivis et defunctis. Atque in sanctissimo Eucharistiae Sacramento esse vere, realiter et substantialiter Corpus et Sanguinem, una cum anima et divinitate Domini nostri Iesu Christi, fierique conversionem totius substantiae panis in Corpus ac totius substantiae vini in Sanguinem, quam conversionem Ecclesia catholica transubstantiationem appellat. Fateor etiam sub altera tantum specie totum atque integrum Christum verumque Sacramentum sumi.||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 a conversion takes place 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 species alone Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.|
|Constanter teneo, Purgatorium esse, animasque ibi detentas fidelium suffragiis iuvari. Similiter et Sanctos, una cum Christo regnantes, venerandos atque invocandos esse, eosque orationes Deo pro nobis offerre, atque eorum reliquias esse venerandas. Firmiter2 assero, imagines Christi ac Deiparae semper Virginis, necnon aliorum Sanctorum habendas et retinendas esse, atque eis debitum honorem et venerationem impertiendam.||I steadfastly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints, reigning together with Christ, are to be honored and invoked, and that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated. I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, of the Mother of God, ever virgin, and also of other Saints, ought to be kept and retained, and that due honor and veneration is to be given them.|
|Indulgentiarum etiam potestatem a Christo in Ecclesia relictam fuisse, illarumque usum Christiano populo maxime salutarem esse affirmo.||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.|
|Sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Romanam Ecclesiam omnium ecclesiarum matrem et magistram agnosco, Romanoque Pontifici, beati Petri Apostolorum principis successori, ac Iesu Christi Vicario, veram oboedientiam spondeo ac iuro.||I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church as the mother and teacher of all churches; and I promise true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.|
|Cetera item omnia a sacris canonibus et oecumenicis Conciliis, ac praecipue a sacrosancta Tridentina Synodo, et ab oecumenico Concilio Vaticano tradita, definita et declarata, praesertim de Romani Pontificis Primatu et infallibili Magisterio, indubitanter recipio ac profiteor; simulque contraria omnia, atque haereses quascumque ab Ecclesia damnatas et reiectas et anathematizatas ego pariter damno, reicio, et anathematizo.||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, and by the ecumenical Council of the Vatican, particularly concerning the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching. I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies which the Church hath condemned, rejected, and anathematized.|
|Hanc veram Catholicam Fidem, extra quam nemo salvus esse potest, quam in praesenti sponte profiteor et veraciter teneo, eandem integram, et immaculatam usque ad extremum vitae spiritum, constantissime, Deo adiuvante, retinere et confiteri, atque a meis subditis, vel illis, quorum cura ad me in munere meo spectabit, teneri, doceri et praedicari, quantum in me erit, curaturum, ego idem N. spondeo, voveo ac iuro. Sic me Deus adiuvet et haec sancta Dei Evangelia.||This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, I do so profess and swear to maintain inviolate and with firm constancy with the help of God until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and professed by all those over whom I have charge. I N. do so pledge, promise, and swear, so help me God and these Holy Gospels of God.|