Monday 23rd October 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

I Believe — We Believe

March 7, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

Over the past three weeks of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we have been reflectively examining the characteristics of the indescribably wonderful gift of faith that Almighty God has so generously availed mankind.
As so adeptly summarized in the Compendium of the CCC, we know that faith is “the supernatural virtue which is necessary for salvation. It is a free gift of God and is accessible to all who humbly seek it. The act of faith is a human act, that is, an act of the intellect of a person — prompted by the will moved by God — who freely assents to divine truth. Faith is also certain because it is founded on the Word of God; it works ‘through charity’ (Gal. 5:6); and it continually grows through listening to the Word of God and through prayer. It is, even now, a foretaste of the joys of Heaven” (n. 28).
Clearly, then, “faith is a personal act — the free response of the human person to the initiative of God Who reveals Himself” (CCC, n. 166). At the same time, however, how true is an insightful spiritual maxim that I’ve often heard preached: You don’t get to Heaven on your own — either you bring others with you or risk not making it yourself. Just as we have not given ourselves life, we have not given ourselves faith; just as others have formed us in faith, it is our duty to hand that precious gift on to others. If we are authentically living out the twofold Gospel message of love for God and love for neighbor, we cannot help but speak to others about our faith.
As the Catechism so succinctly puts it, “each believer is…a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith” (CCC, n. 166).
Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, describes the societal character of faith as follows: “Faith is a social virtue because every believer has received his faith from other believers. Moreover, we have the duty to share our faith with others. Finally, our faith supports the faith of others, even as their faith sustains us in our believing in the Word of God” (The Faith, p. 38).
Put another way, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, all believers are called to support one another in building up the Church by assisting each other in learning, living, and spreading the faith. Is not this a key element of the New Evangelization as called for by Blessed John Paul II and embraced by Pope Benedict XVI?
The text of the Catechism sets before us, in side-by-side fashion, two Creeds of the Church by which we profess our faith personally and publicly, the Apostles’ Creed and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (or Nicene Creed), respectively.
The Apostles’ Creed, the prayer with which we begin the rosary, is “the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism” (CCC, n. 167). On the other hand, the Nicene Creed, which the congregation prays in community immediately after the Liturgy of the Word at each Sunday Mass, is “the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers” (CCC, n. 167). A careful examination of these two forms of the Creed reveals that they profess one and the same faith of the Catholic Church, the Apostles’ Creed in more brief form.
When making our profession of faith at Holy Mass, we all simultaneously say, “I believe . . . ” As Christoph Cardinal Schönborn points out in Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Here, each one speaks for himself personally, since believing is a quite personal act. Nevertheless, what we express in the Creed is not our ‘private’ ideas but something shared by all of us in the Faith. We could also say, ‘We believe . . . ,’ as is done in the Greek version of the ‘major’ profession of faith” (p. 31). He goes on to say that “the expression ‘I believe…’ refers in the first instance to the ‘I’ of the Church. I, as an individual, can join in saying the ‘I believe…’ only within the communion of the Church” (ibid., p. 32).
Hence, as the Catechism tells us: “It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes, and sustains my faith. . . . It is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ by Baptism” (CCC, n. 168).
The Catechism goes on to tell us that “salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother…[and] because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the Faith” (CCC, n. 169).
How can this be? Just as our mother in the natural order carries us in her womb and gives us physical life, nourishes and cares for us, and teaches us about life, so too, it is the Church who gives us spiritual life through the saving waters of Baptism, who sustains, nourishes, and strengthens us through the other sacraments, and who is constant and vigilant in safeguarding, defending, and teaching the faith for all generations.
“Our salvation comes through the Church,” says Fr. Hardon, “because she nourishes and sustains our faith through her teaching, her sacraments, and her treasury of merit as the Mystical Body of Christ” (The Faith, p. 97).
The third-century bishop and martyr St. Cyprian of Carthage powerfully puts it this way in his treatise De Unitate: “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” (chapter 6).
What we profess in words, then, whether personally in the Apostles’ Creed or communally in the Nicene Creed, are formulations which permit us to express and hand on what we believe in faith. However, it is critically important to realize and take to heart that “we do not believe in formulas, but in those realities they express, which faith allows us to touch” (CCC, n. 170). St. Thomas Aquinas expresses this fundamental principle as follows: “The act of the believer does not terminate in a proposition, but in a thing. For as in science we do not form propositions, except in order to have knowledge about things through their means, so is it in faith” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 1, art. 2, ad 2).
In his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul states with great clarity that there is one, unchanging body of truth that the Church faithfully defends and proclaims throughout the ages: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, Who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). Indeed, the Church is “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). “She guards the memory of Christ’s words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the Apostles’ confession of faith” (CCC, n. 171).

One House

St. Irenaeus, a second-century Early Church Father, touched on this very topic in his famous work Adversus Haereses that he wrote in defense of the early Church against the heresy of Gnosticism. Says St. Irenaeus:
“The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and their disciples this faith….As if occupying but one house, [she] carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same” (book I, chapter 10, nn. 1-2).
Historically speaking, St. Irenaeus was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was in turn a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. So, most assuredly, it is beyond question that this unwavering doctrine of the Church dates back to apostolic times.
Next week, we’ll begin an article-by-article journey through the profession of the Christian faith as expressed in the Creed.

+    +    +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Ban on Communion for divorced and remarried is ‘absurd and inhuman’: Cardinal

October 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin commended Catholics in new unions who bear witness to true matrimony by refraining from partaking in the Eucharist but clearly opened a door to those who feel they should receive communion while remaining…Continue Reading

Catholic youth: Thanks for asking our opinion, here’s what we think

A survey of nearly 900 local Catholic young adults shows they fear for the future, they want to do works of service and they want to gather with other young people in retreats, sports and in the Sunday Mass. The…Continue Reading

Fr. Perrone: without an intense, devout life, Catholics will not survive the age

The saintly priest, learned theologian, and catechist extraordinaire, Fr. John A. Hardon, was fond of saying that without an intense, devout life Catholics will not survive the age. I admit that at the time I thought this a ruse to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Be agents of Mary’s Immaculate Heart to combat ‘diabolical forces’

BUCKFAST ABBEY, England (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke has summoned the faithful to become “agents” of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order to combat the “diabolical forces” that have been “unleashed upon the world” and are…Continue Reading

Callista Gingrich confirmed as US Ambassador to the Vatican

Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2017 / 04:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The vote was 70-23. In a…Continue Reading

Pope Francis canonizes 35 new saints

(Vatican Radio) Inviting all faithful to practice Christian love every day, Pope Francis on Sunday canonized 35 new saints, nearly all of them martyrs, holding them up as models who “point the way”. To the over 35,000 pilgrims gathered in…Continue Reading

President Trump: Our ‘religious heritage’ will be ‘cherished, protected, and defended’

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump said this morning that his administration is “stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values” in a rousing speech at the Values Voter Summit. In his first major speech to a socially conservative conference…Continue Reading

Capuchin Priest Who Ministered Under Soviet Rule Moves Closer to Sainthood

VATICAN CITY — On Monday, Pope Francis advanced nine causes for sainthood, including a Capuchin priest who ministered underground across the Soviet Union for nearly 40 years. Father Serafin Kaszuba was born June 17, 1910, in Zamarstynów, near Lviv, in…Continue Reading

Notre Dame student fears losing birth control coverage under university health plan

The Trump administration’s plan to roll back mandatory insurance coverage for birth control faces a new federal court challenge. Washington state’s attorney general sued Monday to stop the new rules from taking effect. California and Massachusetts have already filed similar complaints. Last…Continue Reading

European Nation to Unite in Prayer for Its Salvation

On Saturday, October 7, up to one million Poles are expected to line the country’s border to pray the rosary. They will be joined in prayer by many others in Poland and throughout the world. This extraordinary display of public…Continue Reading

A big-money Catholic group just said it’s yanking all of its cash out of fossil fuels

A coalition of 40 Catholic institutions on Tuesday announced a decision to pull their money from — or block future investment in — fossil fuels. The Global Catholic Climate Movement called it the biggest collective announcement of divestment by Catholic…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Returned to Vatican Court, but not as Prefect

VATICAN CITY, September 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews): Pope Francis has reinstated Cardinal Burke as a member of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. Cardinal Burke, dismissed as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura nearly three years ago, has been appointed to…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Polish bishops’ new guidelines to follow John Paul II in refusing Communion to remarried: repor

LUBLIN, Poland, October 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Conference of Polish Bishops is gearing to finalize guidelines for implementing Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia that allegedly adhere to perennial Catholic teaching of refusing Holy Communion to remarried Catholics living in adultery. The guidelines, examined at the bishops’ General Assembly that met last week in Lublin, make it clear that Pope Francis’ teaching on ‘accompaniment’ must be interpreted according to previous Catholic teaching. The guidelin

At university, it’s risky to ‘come out’ as Christian

In the university town of St Andrews, along the narrow road that overlooks the North Sea, there is a modest townhouse with a red door. The small black plaque at the building’s entrance reads “Chaplaincy”. Between its steps and the ocean is the little Catholic church of St James and, nearby, the ruins of a great cathedral. The chaplaincy’s interior, its 1970s decor, dim lighting and musty scent, in many ways symbolises the impression I…Continue Reading

Priest who signed Filial Correction: It was ‘the Catholic thing to do’

BUCKFAST ABBEY, England (LifeSiteNews) — The number of signatories of the Filial Correction charging Pope Francis with spreading seven heresies, at least by omission, has now risen to 245 professors and clergy. That is up from 62 at the time of its publication on September 24, and 40 when it was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11 at his Santa Marta residence. Critics of the Filial Correction have accused the signatories of standing as “judges over the…Continue Reading

Trump admin makes protecting citizens “from conception to natural death” top priority

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — In a stunning change of direction from the Obama administration, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not only declared that human life begins “at conception,” but has made protecting citizens “from conception to natural death” one of its top priorities. While the Obama HHS under Kathleen Sebelius

Pope invites prisoners to lunch, they break free instead

Bologna, Italy, Oct 17, 2017 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- They were supposed to be having lunch with Pope Francis. During his Oct. 1 trip to Bologna, the Holy Father was scheduled to dine with 20 prisoners from a local drug rehabilitation facility, along with refugees and the poor of the area, during a “Lunch of Solidarity” at San Petronio Basilica. Instead, two of the Italian prisoners shirked their invitation for what they saw as…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Experimenting On Embryonic Humans Is Evil And Must Be Opposed

By FR. MARK HODGES (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews published this commentary on October 16. All rights reserved.) + + + UK scientists are experimenting on seven-day-old humans to learn how to “edit” DNA before killing them and discarding them. A team from the Francis Crick Institute is using “excess” living human embryos for their experiments who…Continue Reading

Book Review… Meditating On The Mysteries

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Donal Anthony Foley reviews The Rosary In Action, by John S. Johnson (TAN Books and Publishers), 271 pages; $16.95 paperback, $7.98 Kindle on Amazon). The Rosary In Action is a reprint of a book originally published in the early 1950s. It was written by a Catholic layman who had served in…Continue Reading

The Making Of A Philosopher

By DONALD DeMARCO A new year arrives every 12 months; a new millennium, every 12,000 months. In celebrating the latter, how does one begin to do justice to its magnitude? The rarity of the event demands something far more imaginative than noisemakers and funny hats. There should be some serious reflection about life and the…Continue Reading

Fr. Solanus Casey To Be Beatified November 18

The beatification Mass for Fr. Solanus Casey is scheduled for November 18 at Ford Field in Detroit. “Not unlike the [1987] Silverdome Mass celebrated by St. John Paul, this, too, will be a history-making liturgy,” said Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit. “The beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey is an incomparable grace for the Church in the…Continue Reading

Poverty As An Evil And Poverty As A Good

By PHILIP TROWER On November 19 the Church will celebrate the first “World Day of the Poor” which the Holy Father instituted last year at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy by means of the apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera. Then on the June 13 he issued a papal message entitled Do not Be…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacred Liturgy… Where Thy Glory Dwells

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 Yes, the liturgy of the Church must be sacred. The Church did not institute the liturgy for our Sunday entertainment, but to give glory to God. Because of its sacredness, it cannot be celebrated just anywhere, as in parks, beaches, or backyards. Today, there is a weird trend — to put it charitably —…Continue Reading

The Common Priesthood Of The Faithful And The Ministerial Priesthood

By DON FIER The priest-king Melchizedek, as we saw last week, is a type, or figure, of Christ. He appears only briefly in the Old Testament and his figure is shrouded in mystery. Yet he is the first person in the Pentateuch to explicitly be called a “priest,” he is the only figure in the Book of Genesis to be…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent issue, we addressed the problem of pornography addiction by an 84-year-old man. At the end of the column, we invited readers of the column to pray for this man. The following note from the man’s wife illustrates the power of your prayers: “I’m writing to thank you for asking your readers to ‘pray for this…Continue Reading

Love God And Neighbor

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirtieth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Exodus 22:20-26 1 Thess. 1:5c-10 Matt. 22:34-40 In the second reading today St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians about the nature of their conversion. They had turned from idols to worship the Living and True God. By itself that is wonderful, but it becomes extraordinary when we hear that…Continue Reading

Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog of October 7. All rights reserved.) + + + There is an urgency and clarity about Sunday’s Gospel that is often lacking in modern Christians, including the clergy. The…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Edward The Confessor

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Middle Ages, England not only endured the raids of the Vikings, but also suffered from the raids initiated by Denmark and Normandy to control the small kingdom across the straights. Battles and intrigues were frequent, leaving little peace until the time of King Edward the Confessor. Even his reign experienced the plots and conspiracies so…Continue Reading