At the Easter Vigil Mass Catholics renew their Baptismal Promises and make the Profession of Faith in a question-and-answer form. Moreover, Catholics profess their faith at the Mass every week on Sundays through the recitation of the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed. Yet what is it, really, that we say and profess in the Creed? Do we take the Profession of Faith seriously? Or do we go through the motions each time we recite the Creed or Renew our Profession of Faith?
I think it is easy for us to fall into the trap of routine, not only with our prayer, but also with our own profession of faith. It seems that Catholic authors, Steve Ray and Deacon Dennis Walters understands the need for some sort of “review” of the Creed and Faith that we profess in writing, The Catholic Faith: An Introduction to the Creeds. This book is one that I recommend, not only to those new to the Catholic faith, but a great resource to have beside your copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Perhaps a question we rarely ponder when reciting the Creed is: Where did it come from? In what context was it written in? Some may say that it came from a specific ecumenical Council, but rather, these statements of the faith derive from the time of Jesus and His earliest followers… just read the New Testament and we will see how many Credal statements there are scattered throughout. The first two chapters are dedicated to speaking about the roots, developments and needs addressed at a certain point in Christian history which gave way to a formation of various Creeds and formulae of the Profession of Faith.
Chapters three through to seven are what makes up the meat of the book, as both authors dedicate these chapters to a thorough break-down of the Creed, specifically the forms of the Apostles and Nicene-Constnatinople (commonly abbreviated in layman’s terms as the “Nicene Creed”). Both authors draw on Scripture as their foundation, but speaks to our beliefs in light of the Tradition of the Church. This is so important in speaking of the Deposit of Faith within Catholicism, because what we believe in is not solely based on the Scriptures, but through the Tradition of the Church too – the two are so essential to understand the derivation of the truths of the faith.
And no fear, I found the language to be simple to understand, and also, fascinating to read. I was amazed at how much I took my faith for granted, and how there are things in the Creed in relation to Scripture that I just failed to connect-the-dots. I say: consider this a review of what you learned in Catechism class, but in a different way, as Ray and Walters gives you new insight to what you thought you knew well, but in reading, realize still have gaps here and there in understanding what the Church believes in.
The last chapter is apologetical in its nature as it discusses some common objections to the Creed. Who knows, you might come across some of these points in passing on an online forum or conversation and so, it is good to have some of these answers in mind. But moreso, it is important Again, very easy to read and follow. I recommend you take notes as you read, especially notes in bullet form for your own reference and knowledge.
To supplement the contents, the Appendix contains a Short list of Creeds and Glossary. I was amazed to see how many Creeds the Catholic Church has, and it has come in a variety of forms throughout various points in history. How beautiful is a our Catholic Faith!
I certainly recommend this book, or at least give it a read after exams. I hope it will help you when you recite the Creed at Mass or within any prayerful context, because it is just so important to understand what we say and do.
To learn more and purchase The Catholic Faith: An Introduction to the Creeds, click here.
The following is a video version of the review, produced by the Newman Catholic Students’ Club – University of Toronto.
Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy of The Catholic Faith: An Introduction to the Creeds to provide an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks TAN Books for the opportunity for us to review this title on our blog and look forward to future reviews. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the title.