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The Creed


“On October 11, 1992, Pope John Paul II published his apostolic constitution The Deposit of Faith, promulgating the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). He chose the publication date to mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.”
 
We celebrated the opening of the Year of Faith this past October to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In this Year of Faith, we are all challenged to awaken, deepen, and renew our faith and our relationship with Jesus.
 
One way to do this is to deepen your understanding of the teachings of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has four pillars, the first of which is the Creed. “When we pray or recite the Creed, we can be reminded that Catholicism is a revealed religion. God is the author of our faith. All that we are expected to believe is summed up in the revelation of Jesus Christ. God has spoken all that is necessary for our Salvation in Jesus, the Word made flesh. God also gives us the gift of faith that enables us to respond, accept, and live out the implications of Divine Revelation.” Within the first pillar lies an understanding of Apostolic Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium—that is, the teaching authority of the Church.
 
Apostolic Tradition
“Graced by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles did what Jesus commanded them. They did this orally, in writing, and by the heroic sanctity of their lives,” to ensure “that there would be successors for this mission.” Paul tells the Corinthians, “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you” (1 Cor 11:2). He commands the Thessalonians, “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter” (2 Thess 2:15). To make sure that the apostolic tradition would be passed down after the deaths of the Apostles, Paul told Timothy, “…and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2). In this passage Paul refers to the first four generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, the generation Timothy will teach, and that generation in turn will teach. The early Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, recognized the necessity of the traditions that had been handed down from the Apostles and guarded them well.
 
Sacred Scripture
“Sacred Scripture is inspired by God and is the Word of God. Therefore, God is the author of Sacred Scripture, which means he inspired the human authors, acting in and through them. Thus, God ensured that the authors taught, without error, those truths necessary for our salvation. Inspiration is the word used for the divine assistance given to the human authors.’’ “When interpreting Scripture, we should be attentive to what God wanted to reveal through the authors for our salvation. We need to see Scripture as a unified whole with Jesus Christ at the center. We must also read Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church, so that we may come to grasp a true interpretation of the Scriptures.’’
 
Magisterium
“The pope and bishops in union with him are successors of the Apostles and inherit the responsibility of authoritative teaching from them.’’ This teaching office is called the Magisterium. “The task of giving an authoritative interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone” (CCC, 85).
 
Taken in part from United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, pp. xv, xx, 24, 25, 26-27.
 
Sr. Maureen P. Colleary, FSP is on the Pastoral Services team at RENEW International and a Franciscan Sister of Peace.

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