- Nicene / Apostles' - 

Section 2, Chapt. 1, Article 1-12. CCC

Article 1

"I believe in God the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth."

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,

"I believe in God" is first affirmation and also the most fundamental. The beginning and the end of everything. the Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.

The whole Creed speaks of God.

"I believe in one God" is how the Nicene Creed begins, the confession of God's oneness, which has its roots in the divine revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God's existence and is equally fundamental. God is unique; there is only one God.

Jesus himself affirms that God is "the one Lord" whom you must love "with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength". At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is "the Lord".

"I Am who I Am".

He is neither man nor woman: he is God. Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him. He transcends the world and history. God is almighty "in heaven and on earth", it is because he made them.

In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth.

The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the "mysteries that are hidden in God. Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life. Christians are baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil.

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of.

The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that "nothing will be impossible with God".

Article 2

"and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord."

et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,

The Good News:

God has sent his Son - his own beloved Son.

At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father. . .who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.

Only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.

By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. Jesus distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying "our Father", and he emphasized this distinction, saying "my Father and your Father".

The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ.

After his Resurrection, Jesus' divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity.

Article 3

"who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,"

qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,

The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins": "the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world", and "he was revealed to take away sins".

The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.

The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time", the time of the fulfilment of God's promises and preparations. What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.

At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

Mary's virginity manifests God's absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father.

Article 4

"suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;"

passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,

The Paschal mystery of Christ's cross and Resurrection stands at the centre of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God's saving plan was accomplished "once for all"313 by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.

Christ's death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption." Jesus' Resurrection "on the third day" was the proof of this.

The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus. The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition. We cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole. Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross:

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them;

for they know not what they do." (Luk 23:34)

The sacrifice of Jesus "for the sins of the whole world" expresses his loving communion with the Father. This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. 

Article 5

"he descended into Hell;
On the third day he rose again from the dead;"

descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,

In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only "die for our sins" but should also "taste death", experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. the state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell.

At Christ's death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence. Baptism, the original and full sign of which is immersion, efficaciously signifies the descent into the tomb by the Christian who dies to sin with Christ in order to live a new life. The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

Christ is risen from the dead!

Dying, he conquered death;

To the dead, he has given life.

Article 6

"he ascended into heaven,

seated at the right hand of

God the Father almighty;"

ascendit ad caelos,

sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis,

"I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Being seated at the Father's right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah's kingdom, the fulfilment of the prophet Daniel's vision concerning the Son of man. 

As "high priest of the good things to come" he is the centre and the principal actor of the liturgy that honours the Father in heaven. 

Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father's glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever. 

Article 7

"from there he will come to judge

the living and the dead."

inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.

He Will Come Again in Glory - the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.

Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

Since the Ascension God's plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at "the last hour". Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect." Christ's kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.

According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days.

This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history.

The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.

God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.

Article 8

"I believe in the Holy Spirit,"

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,

Through his grace, the Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us and to communicate to us the new life and the Spirit is the last of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed.

On the day of Pentecost, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed.

Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty.

The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the plan for our salvation.

The joint mission of the Father's Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work. But in these "end times," ushered in by the Son's redeeming Incarnation, the Spirit is revealed and given, recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine plan, accomplished in Christ, the firstborn and head of the new creation, be embodied in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit: as the Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

"Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

Article 9

"the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,"

sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,

To believe that the Church is holy and catholic, and that she is one and apostolic, is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ.

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellow-ship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

“My tabernacle also shall be with them: and, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Ezek 37:27)

The Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan. Its structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. and holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom.

She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body. She is called "our mother".

The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners." Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.

Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church. Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.

The term communion of saints has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta) and among holy persons (sancti).

The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith.

Article 10

"the forgiveness of sins,"

remissionem peccatorum,

Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved."

The grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. On the contrary, we must still combat the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into evil.

It is in this battle against our inclination towards evil, we could be brave and watchful enough to escape every wond of sin.

It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of baptism." This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn.

Article 11

"the resurrection of the body,"

carnis resurrectionem,

After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.

In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body.

In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification.

We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.

To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ

Article 12

"and life everlasting."

et vitam aeternam.


Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven - through a purification or immediately, -or immediate and everlasting damnation.

When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world

in the name of God the almighty Father,

who created you,

in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,

who suffered for you,

in the name of the Holy Spirit,

who was poured out upon you.

Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,

may your home be with God in Zion,

with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,

with Joseph, and all the angels and saints....
May you return to your Creator

who formed you from the dust of the earth.

May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints

come to meet you as you go forth from this life....
May you see your Redeemer face to face.

Last Judgement, Léonard Gaultier after Michelangelo, c. 1620.

Credo, Johann Sadeler after Maarten de Vos, 1579.

Art of Christianity Collection. Used with Permission.