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Part One:  The Apostles’ Creed

The Basic Profession of Faith

Table of Contents    

St. Peter's Basilica The Apostles’ Creed was originally a profession of faith required of converts to Christianity before they were baptized. As a formula of belief it goes back in substance, if not in words, to the twelve apostles.

Following Christ’s declaration that “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16), the Apostles’ Creed was the precondition for baptism. Only believers could be baptized. Even when children were baptized in the early Church, someone had to profess the faith for them.

Since the Apostles’ Creed was first formulated, there have been many other creeds approved and used by the Church. But this creed still remains the most common profession of the Christian faith in the world.

There is no other place to start talking about Christianity than with the Christian faith. “Our faith,” we are told, “can guarantee the blessings that we hope for and prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

What the Apostles’ Creed tells us is what everyone who calls himself a Christian must accept on the word of God, that is, on faith.

We accept three fundamental truths in the Apostles' Creed.

  • We believe that the world did not always exist, but was created by God who existed from all eternity.

  • We believe that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, that He was born of the Virgin Mary, died on the cross and rose from the dead, and that He will return on the last day to judge the living and the dead.

  • We believe that Christ sent His Holy Spirit, who is the soul of the Church which Christ founded, and that through the Church we receive all the graces we need to reach the eternal life for which we were made.

What needs to be emphasized is that belief in these revealed truths is the foundation of Christianity. We can hope only in what we know to be true; faith provides us with the guarantee that our hope is not in vain. We can love only what we know to be good; faith provides us with the vision that God is so good we should love Him with our whole heart and soul.

The Vine and the Branches

Copyright © 2002 Inter Mirifica
Pocket Catholic Catechism

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St. Peter's Basilica photo by Ryan Doolittle is courtesy of Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. Used with permission.

The picture “The Vine and the Branches” at the bottom of the page is from the book Christian Symbols, drawn by Rudolf Koch (1876 – 1934) with the collaboration of Fritz Kredel (1900 – 1973) (trans. Kevin Ahern; San Francisco: Arion Press, 1996) courtesy of Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

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