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The Creed is the faith that we confess at every Mass, and it is therefore a summary of what we believe, the truths we hold as such – truths. These truths not only identify what we believe in, but also who we are. They form our Catholic identity.

On the road towards the Year Of Faith, I want to take a look at the Nicene Creed, line by line, to see what it tells us about the truth of being Catholic Christians.

born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light,true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.

We continue to profess the identity of Christ, and more specifically, His relationship with God the Father. The first line in this section once again repeats that the Son came forth from the Father alone, as we found out in the last post in this series. The following lines seem to want to emphasise that, and in doing so they also underline that the Son is God, just like the Father. Both are divine persons of one being. There are no levels of Godhood, the one is not more or less God than the other. God from God, even true God from true God.

The Creed also presents us with a handy simile: The reflection of the sun on water is no less light than the sunlight directly hitting our eye. Christ is no less God than the Father. They are both God, just as the reflected light and the direct sunlight are both light. The comparison doesn’t completely fly, but it’s a handy enough introductory one.

Christ came forth, was begotten, from the Father. He is pertinently not part of Creation, although He did dwell fully in it. God the Father did not create His Son like He created Adam. This indicates a difference, a hierarchy. By His entire being, Christ is of another level than us men. It’s hard to imagine otherwise, since we already know that God exists outside of Creation, and since Christ is God…

Considered a difficult word by some, ‘consubstantial’ offers a glimpse of the Father-Son relationship within the Trinity (of which we’ll encounter the third person later). A literal translation of this word, which is derived from Latin consubstantialis, would be ‘of the same substance’. In this case ‘substance’ indicates matter but also being, and that is the important element here. God the Father and God the Son are distinct beings, but they are of one being, one substance.

This is not the place to delve in the doctrine of the Trinity, so let’s leave it at this. We confess that Jesus is God, in no way less so than God the Father, and He is forever (“before all ages”) begotten of the Father.

Photo credit: Kitty Goeman

About this blog

I am a Dutch Catholic from the north of the Netherlands. In this blog I wish to provide accurate information on current affairs in the Church and the relation with society. It is important for Catholics to have knowledge about their own faith and Church, especially since these are frequently misrepresented in many places. My blog has two directions, although I use only English in my writings: on the one hand, I want to inform Dutch faithful - hence the presence of a page with Dutch translations of texts which I consider interesting or important -, and on the other hand, I want to inform the wider world of what is going on in the Church in the Netherlands.

It is sometimes tempting to be too negative about such topics. I don't want to do that: my approach is an inherently positive one, and loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. In many quarters this is an unfamiliar idea: criticism is often the standard approach to the Church, her bishops and priests and other representatives. I will be critical when that is warranted, but it is not my standard approach.

For a personal account about my reasons for becoming and remaining Catholic, go read my story: Why am I Catholic?

Copyright

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Netherlands License.

The above means that I have the right to be recognised as the author of both the original blog posts, as well as any translations I make. Everyone is free to share my content, but with credit in the form of my name or a link to my blog.

Blog and media

Over the years, my blog posts have been picked up by various other blogs, websites and media outlets.

A complete list would be prohibitively long, so I'll limit myself to mentioning The Anchoress, Anton de Wit, Bisdom Haarlem-Amsterdam, The Break/SQPN, Caritas in Veritate, Catholic Culture, The Catholic Herald, EWTN, Fr. Ray Blake's Blog, Fr. Z's Blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity, Katholiek Gezin, Katholiek.nl, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, New Liturgical Movement, NOS, Protect the Pope, Reformatorisch Dagblad, The Remnant, RKS Ariëns, Rorate Caeli, The Spectator, Vatican Insider, Voorhof and Whispers in the Loggia.

All links to, quotations of and use as source material of my blog posts is greatly appreciated. It's what I blog for: to further awareness and knowledge in a positive critical spirit. Credits are equally liked, of course.

Blog posts have also been used as sources for various Wikipedia articles, among them those on Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carré, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Archbishop Sergio Utleg and Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki.

Latest translations added:

1 December: [English] Archbishop Stephan Burger - Advent letter 2014

29 November: [English] Bishop Frans Wiertz - Homily for the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life

29 November: [English] Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke - Advent letter 2014

27 November: [English] Bishop Johan Bonny - Advent letter 2014

27 November: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Toespraak voor het Europees Parlement.

25 November: [English] Bishop Gerard de Korte - Advent letter 2014.

17 November: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Toespraak voor de conferentie over de complementariteit tussen man en vrouw.

10 November: [English] Pope Francis - Letter to the Church of the Frisians.

22 October: [English] Bishop Gerard de Korte - The doctrine of the Church must always be actualised.

9 October: [English] Godfried Cardinal Danneels - Intervention at the Synod.

Sancta Maria, hortus conclusus, ora pro nobis!

Sancte Ramon de Peñafort, ora pro nobis!

Pope Francis

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of God

Bishop Gerard de Korte

Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden

Willem Cardinal Eijk

Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto, Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht

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