The Profession of Faith
In this short series of catechises on aspects of the Easter liturgy, we come this week to the Profession of Faith.
In the messages and apparitions from Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother often says her favourite prayer is the Creed, the Profession of Faith. We usually say at Mass the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, a statement of faith promulgated after the great Council of Constantinople, a council of the Church held in that city in 381. In Lent and Easter, we sometimes say the shorter and – in its origins – older Apostles Creed. But both are essentially the same. They express our belief, our faith in the Triune God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We also profess faith we in the Church and her teaching. It is magnificent when you’re in, say, Rome or Lourdes attending an international Mass and seeing thousands of people from every nation on earth, singing together Credo in unum Deum. It’s a marvellous, visible, spiritual sign of unity.
When someone receives Baptism or Confirmation, they have to make a public profession of the Christian Faith. Its usual form is the Creed, although if a person is being received into full communion with the Catholic Church they have to add, at the end of the Creed, a further statement: I believe all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God. There are similar, longer additions that a deacon, priest and bishop have to make before their ordination or when assuming a new office in the Church. So at the Easter Vigil, there’s a solemn moment when the catechumens and candidates have to make a public Profession of Faith. In other words, to become a Christian they have to say they believe what Christians believe and to promise to live as members of the Christian community, disciples of Christ. This usually takes place in a Question-and-Answer format: three questions about renouncing Satan to which the candidate replies I do, and three about faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, again to which the candidate responds: I do.
Let us thank God today for all those new members preparing for Baptism and for admission into full communion with the Catholic Church. Let us pray for them that they will be beacons of light and faith in the difficult times in which we live. This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Bishop of Portsmouth