Sunday 27th May 2018

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.

Speaker Ryan Proposes a Return to Catholic Social Doctrine at Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday about how he believed the answer to many of the political problems society faces today, including “moral relativism” and “tribalism,” can be found in Catholic…Continue Reading

Judge rules ‘transgender’ high-schooler should have been allowed opposite-sex bathroom

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia, May 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has ruled that a Virginia high school should have allowed a gender-confused former student to use the restrooms designated for the opposite sex. Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School…Continue Reading

One of the most ‘liberal abortion regimes’ if vote passes

Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe if Friday’s referendum is passed, the No campaign warned during its final press conference on Wednesday. With the broadcasting ban set to come into force on the eve of the…Continue Reading

Pope asks for prayers for Catholics in China

Pope Francis has appealed to all Christians to be spiritually close to Catholics who live in China, and to pray they may live their faith in full communion with the Holy See. Speaking during the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope recalled…Continue Reading

Life is the ‘true source of America’s greatness,’ President Trump tells pro-life gala

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — President Donald Trump affirmed the importance of the right to life and called on pro-life voters to help secure it Tuesday night, in his keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List’s 11th…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: Priests who ‘bless’ gay unions will answer for it on Judgement Day

May 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Clerics who “bless” homosexual unions are “reintroducing a kind of pagan temple prostitution,” which is “akin to apostasy,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider said in a newly-published interview addressing ongoing controversies and crises in the Catholic Church.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Catholics must let Christ reign as King in face of ‘apostasy’ within Church

ROME, May 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics must consciously place themselves under the “Kingship of Christ” in the face of enemies of the Church today attempting to “infiltrate the life of the Church herself and to corrupt the Bride of…Continue Reading

President Trump to cut Planned Parenthood funding

The Trump administration is announcing its intentions to cut a significant amount of taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses. The proposed regulation will also better protect victims of sexual assault, incest and rape because it will require that…Continue Reading

Bishop Tobin is right: the Catholic Church must stay true to itself

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, who is the Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, in the United States, has tweeted, and it is a mighty tweet, a gem amidst the dross and banality of Twitter. The Bishop has written:

Alfie Evans laid to rest today with no coroner’s investigation, no toxicology report

LONDON, May 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The question of what caused the death of UK toddler Alfie Evans may never be known. The UK High Court refused today to order a post-mortem examination of the toddler’s remains at the request…Continue Reading

Google and Facebook Censor Pro-Life Free Speech Ahead of Ireland Vote to Legalize Abortion

This has been coming on in Ireland for months, really since the outlines of the wording for the May 25 referendum to gut protections for unborn children were released. Simon Harris, the Minister of Health, and others, committed to overturning…Continue Reading

Bill Nye the Science Guy Headlines Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” a man who became famous for teaching children about science, has anything but children’s best interests at heart. Nye is an abortion activist who spoke Tuesday at fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in Texas. San Antonio…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

Catechism

Today . . .

Ireland votes to legalize abortion: ‘a tragedy of historic proportions’

baby2

IRELAND, May 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Irish citizens voted to legalize abortion on Friday, ending Ireland’s legacy as one of the world’s most pro-life nations. The votes are still being officially counted, but the pro-abortion campaign is declaring victory and pro-lifers are calling this a “tragedy of historic proportions.” “The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child – it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, h

Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI. The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign

Voting underway on Ireland’s abortion referendum

Voting was underway in Ireland on Friday on a referendum that could legalize abortions in the country, which currently bans the practice except in rare cases when the mother’s life is in danger. The referendum in the largely Roman Catholic country will decide whether to repeal a constitutional amendment, in place since 1983, that protects the life of fetuses from the moment of conception. If citizens vote to repeal the amendment, new abortion laws would…Continue Reading

Ireland . . . Abortion referendum: Last call for campaigners as voting starts

Both Yes and No campaigns have been holding events in Dublin on Thursday as the two sides prepare for the final day of campaigning before voting. Both sides are making their final appeals to voters ahead of the moratorium on broadcast coverage, which begins on at 2pm on Thursday. The ballot boxes are open from 7am to 10pm across the country and the results will be counted on Saturday morning

Cardinal Sarah: Ordaining married men would be a ‘break’ with Apostolic Tradition

CHARTRES, France, May 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ordaining married men to the Catholic priesthood would be a break with apostolic tradition, a leading Catholic prelate has said. Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that “serious consequences” would arise in the Church if she were to admit married men of sound reputation, or “viri probati” into the priesthood. The Cardinal, who is 72, made

Advertisement(2)

Can A Pope Change Moral Truth?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN (Editor’s Note: Please see commentary from The Wanderer on p. 4A.) + + + That joking retort we heard as children, “Is the Pope Catholic?” is starting to look like a serious question. Asked five years ago about a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, Pope Francis responded, “If a person is…Continue Reading

Teacher-Strike Movement . . . Looks Ahead To Using Experience Gained To Help Dems In November

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — It looked like one of those YouTube man-at-the-beach interviews by Mark Dice where random clueless passers-by don’t know what country Mt. Rushmore is located in, or where Donald Trump lives. But these particular questions were posed to red-clad protesters outside the Arizona State Capitol. They had answers, all right, but…Continue Reading

Laboratory Rats And Their Masters

By GEORGE A. KENDALL I recently heard a story which upset me more and more the longer I thought about it. It concerned a young man getting ready to go off to college. The young man’s father is a very successful executive, and his son has been accepted for admission to his father’s alma mater,…Continue Reading

In Defense Of An Ancient And Universal Tradition Of The Church

By JAMES MONTI On Sunday, June 3, here in the U.S., we will be observing the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. In other places this same feast will be celebrated on the preceding Thursday, the day of the week originally chosen by Pope Urban IV (+1265) for this commemoration of the Holy Eucharist in accord with…Continue Reading

Iraqi “Republic”: No Christian Converts

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. His column is distributed by Creators.com.) + + + The 2017 State Department report on human rights in Iraq, which was released last month, begins by unambiguously declaring: “Iraq is a constitutional parliamentary republic.” It says, “The outcome of the 2014…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Sacrament Of Confession

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 30 Confession is certainly the most controversial of all sacraments that Christ instituted for our salvation, especially among Protestants of every denomination. The most common objection is, “Why should I confess my sins to a man just like me, and perhaps a worse sinner?” The objector misses the point completely, since Confession is not…Continue Reading

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

By DON FIER In our treatment up until now of the eight Beatitudes, it has been demonstrated that the first three, in keeping with the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, are mainly associated with “flight from and deliverance from sin. The next two…are the beatitudes of the active life of a Christian who, freed from evil, engages in the pursuit…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Can you explain how the date for Easter is determined? It changes every year. — R.W., Massachusetts. A. Since the Council of Nicaea in 325, the date on which Easter falls is determined by the full moon. It is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon occurring after the vernal equinox, that is, the time of…Continue Reading

The Tenth Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum… “Any Experience Of Rupture Must Come To An End”

By ARCHBISHOP ALEXANDER K. SAMPLE (Editor’s Note: The Most Rev. Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., gave this homily for the Pontifical High Mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2018. (The occasion was a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter that…Continue Reading

The Oneness Of God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (YR B) Readings: Deut. 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matt. 28:16-20 In the first reading today, Moses addresses the people of Israel, challenging them to think about what they might believe about God and about themselves in relation to God. The problem for the Jewish people, having come out of Egypt,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Louis-Zéphirin Moreau

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late 19th century the Canadians endured a crisis of education called the Manitoba question. Prelates, priests, politicians, and laity joined in both the private and the public debate that lasted for years. The Catholic Church was deeply divided over the question of the schools and letters crossed the Atlantic to and from Rome in efforts…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Ivan Merz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord paid the laborers the same wage whether they worked from early morning or began in the afternoon. The rewards were the same (Matthew, chapter 20). So too are the rewards for serving the Lord with zeal and perseverance. St. Augustine, converting at the age of 33, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi — all…Continue Reading