Sunday 24th July 2016

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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal Burke: Islam is ‘fundamentally a form of government’

Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a telephone interview that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.” Speaking with Religion News Service, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said that “when they (Muslims) become the majority in any…Continue Reading

Nienstedt: misconduct allegations retribution for opposition to gay marriage

In other words, he’s the real victim here. Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “John Nienstedt, the former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said accusations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a false smear campaign in response…Continue Reading

5 faith facts on Mike Pence: A ‘born-again, evangelical Catholic’

(RNS) While an official announcement has not yet been made, IndyStar and other media outlets are reporting that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate. Pence became governor of the Hoosier State in…Continue Reading

Trump In Tatters As Catholic Voters Shift Their Support To Hillary Clinton

A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans as Catholic voters have shifted their support to Hillary Clinton. A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans…Continue Reading

St. Anne Catholic Church prepares for 136th annual novena

There used to be a steady flow of stories, tales of miracle cures. They were covered in the Daily Journal, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, in the early 1900s. The Catholic church in St. Anne, a village of 1,239,…Continue Reading

More deception in the war on Card. Sarah

Speaking at a liturgy conference in London, Card. Sarah, clearly not acting in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a personal appeal to priests to say Mass ad orientem and the world is coming down on his head.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Caffarra on Marriage, Family, Amoris Laetitia, & Confusion in the Church

cardc

Editor’s note: the following is an exclusive interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, conducted by OnePeterFive’s Dr. Maike Hickson. Cardinal Caffarra is Archbishop emeritus of Bologna and former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. It was in a letter to Cardinal…Continue Reading

Vatican Liturgy Chief asks all priests and bishops to face east for Mass, faithful to kneel for Communion

LONDON, July 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking at a conference on the liturgy in London yesterday, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the highest authority on the topic in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, asked all bishops and priests to adopt the…Continue Reading

This priest died in a Korean prison camp. Will the Catholic Church beatify him?

Wichita, Kan., Jul 2, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There’s good news in Kansas: former army chaplain Father Emil J. Kapaun has taken a step closer to possible beatification and sainthood. But for Scott Carter, coordinator for the Father…Continue Reading

The Affirmative Argument for Receiving Communion on the Tongue

A recent post at the site Roman Catholic Man has focused a great deal of attention on the manner in which the faithful receive Communion. As any discussion regarding the Eucharist is a discussion about Our Lord Himself, the importance…Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton: “I Will Always Stand With Planned Parenthood,” It Does “Extraordinary Things”

Earlier this month, pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told activists at a Planned Parenthood abortion business rally that she would “always have your back.” She means it. In an op-ed written to bolster support for America’s biggest abortion business, Hillary…Continue Reading

United Way Sent $3 Million to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in 2015

LifeNews has repeatedly chronicled the relationship between dozens of local United Way agencies and the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Last year, on the heels of shocking videos showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts of aborted babies,…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Hillary Clinton Names Pro-Abortion Tim Kaine VP, Says He’s “Catholic” Who “Supports Abortion”

kaine

Abortion activist Hillary Clinton today tapped pro-abortion Virginia Senator Tim Kaine has her vice-presidential running mate. The Virginia politician is on record as trying to have it both ways — saying he is both a “traditional Catholic” and a strong supporter of abortion. Kaine has a pro-abortion record and the potential Clinton running mate is not following anyone. As LifeNews previously reported, Kaine said he is a “strong supporter of Roe v. Wade” despite supposedly…Continue Reading

Macy’s Fires Catholic Employee for Questioning Transgender Policy

FLUSHING, New York, July 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Macy’s department store has fired a Catholic employee because he questioned their transgender bathroom policy, even though he says he told his employer he would enforce the policy. Back in May, Javier Chavez, a senior store detective at Macy’s Flushing, New York, location got a phone call about a male accessing the ladies room along with a female. A female customer and her daughter were afraid to enter…Continue Reading

Land O’ Lakes on Steroids

In this bulletin on the Laetare Medal/Vice President Joe Biden episode, we consider its broad significance. As Bishop Kevin Rhoades declared, the University of Notre Dame has given scandal, but there is much more. In publicly spurning the counsel of Notre Dame’s (and his) bishop for the third time, University President Father John Jenkins has further undermined the crucially important relationship between Notre Dame and the Church. More, he rejected the recommendations for honorees from…Continue Reading

GIRM warfare: Experts criticize Vatican’s quick dismissal of Cardinal Sarah’s call for Mass facing East

cardinalsara

July 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Recent official statements from the Vatican and United States bishops’ conference on the Catholic Church’s chief liturgist Cardinal Robert Sarah’s call for priests to offer Mass facing the apse have been misleading, Catholic liturgists and experts say. Earlier this month, Sarah spoke at a London conference on sacred liturgy and asked priests and bishops to offer Mass ad orientem — that is, facing the tabernacle with the congregation rather than facing…Continue Reading

Pope Angelus: Listen and offer welcome to one another

(Vatican Radio) Before the recitation of the Marian prayer the Holy Father spoke of the importance of hospitality calling it a real Christian virtue, but one which at times the world neglects. He drew his inspiration for this theme from the Sunday Gospel in which St Luke recounts the story of Jesus who is welcomed into the home of two sisters Martha and Mary. They both offer their hospitality in different ways. Martha is busy…Continue Reading

Who Gave Us Justice Ginsburg?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Her mind is shot.” That was the crisp diagnosis of Donald Trump on hearing the opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the possibility he might become president. It all began with an interview the past week when the justice was asked for her thoughts on a Trump presidency. Ginsburg went…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Second Time Around: The Future Of Euthanasia In Holland”

By BRIAN CLOWES “There will be casualties” — Australian euthanasia activist Dr. Philip Nitschke. + + + The Final Step: Accepting And Accommodating Evil After decades of struggling with the euthanasia issue, it appears that the government of the Netherlands is in the process of accepting reality. It has given up attempting to place any…Continue Reading

New Film . . . Explores Jerome Lejeune’s Life And Work

By MARY O’NEILL LE RUMEUR “To kill or not to kill; that is the question.” It is August 1969, in San Francisco, and Professor Jerome Lejeune is addressing the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. Ten years before, in 1959, he had discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome, when he saw…Continue Reading

Lawyer Says . . . Not Even Kafka Could Write Something Like Obama’s Bathroom Edict

By DEXTER DUGGAN The Obama administration’s legal assault against sexual reality is something that not even novelist Franz Kafka could have written, an attorney representing the North Carolina legislature told a presentation at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Attorney Kyle Duncan made that comparison as he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… The Innocents: The Light Of Life

By REY FLORES Poland 1945 — cold, dark, and bleak. This is how The Innocents starts off, giving the viewer an idea of what the rest of the film will look like. But despite the grayish and neutral look of the movie, the light of life and faith in God radiates much brighter than if…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Liturgical Diversity And Unity

By DON FIER In considering where the liturgy is celebrated, we saw last week that “the worship ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24) of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any place because Christ is the true temple of God” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCCC], n. 244). It is through Him that the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I would like to know where St. Patrick is buried. — M.A., Pennsylvania. A. St. Patrick, who died in AD 461, is thought to be buried next to Down Cathedral in Northern Ireland. Once a former Benedictine monastery that was built in 1163, the church now belongs to the Church of Ireland and is known as the Cathedral Church…Continue Reading

Seek What Is Above

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Eccl. 1:2; 2:21-23 Col. 3:1-5, 9-11 Luke 12:13-21 “Vanity of Vanities, all things are vanity!” What a great line and what profound insight Solomon shows in writing these words. Most everything that the world holds up to be of some importance is nothing but vanity. Unfortunately, it is…Continue Reading

From Casuistry To Mercy . . . Toward A New Art Of Pleasing?

By MSGR. MICHEL SCHOOYANS Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Michel Schooyans wrote the following essay for LifeSiteNews, which graciously granted reprint permission to The Wanderer. The essay will appear in two parts because of its length; part two will appear in this space in next week’s issue. (John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, provided this background information about the essay: (“Msgr.…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Sex Outside Of True Marriage Is A Lie

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Every one of us searches for comfort in this world, one example being that we all experience weariness and a need for sleep. No one has yet denied the experience of pleasure upon arising from bed after a good period of needed rest. All of our physical needs are like this: Our pleasure indicates that…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Cassian

By CAROLE BRESLIN Frequently, the lives of the saints demonstrate that God calls us to go in directions that we would never consider unless it became clear that it is God’s will. St. Francis Xavier went to the Far East, St. Damien died in Hawaii on the opposite side of the world from his native Belgium, and St. John Cassian…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Saints Louis And Azelie-Marie Guerin Martin

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Lord sends the Church the men and women who are needed to keep her holy in times of trouble. Among these are: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Faustina, and the first married couple ever to be canonized together: Louis and Azelie-Marie (Zelie) Martin. Their feast day is…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading