Sunday, December 10, 2006

Of creeds and men

The Nicene Creed was originally composed as an answer to Arianism. Arianism denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God. The Church's answer was the Creed. In some form the Creed is used by Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Anglican, Lutheran, and most other Protestant Churches. I have heard a nondenominational Christian minister of my acquaintance quote almost the whole creed verbatim when explaining what beliefs a Christian must hold to be Christian. His interpretation of "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church" is slightly different than mine, but in the other areas of the Creed we agree almost exactly.
Now one of the reasons that the Creed was created was so that Christians would be able to state what they believed. It was also created so that a priest, bishop or lay person could not finesse the issues. This is what you had to believe. This was the teaching of the Church. This is what you stood up at Mass and said you believed.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a creed of beliefs for the issues of our days? The beliefs are the same as the Church has always held, but what a difference there would be if Catholics had to stand up at Mass and state them. Contraception, abortion, homosexuality. How many would continue to pretend that they didn't understand the Churches teachings, or that they could continue to be Catholic without holding these beliefs in common with the Church?

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