On my profession of faith
One of the things that I remember relishing in the past was developing a "profession of faith." I love thinking creatively, and I love drafting new documents (nerd alert). I love things of the Christian faith. Combine all three of those? Yes please.
As of August 1, 2011, however, I'm no longer a man on my own. Now, I stand for more than myself. Admittedly, I would be most accurately compared to some sort of pre-larval stage with respect to public ministry in the Church; nonetheless, I am now no longer my own; my days of drafting a creative, cool-sounding profession of faith are over.
The first profession of faith that I made in a public way in the midst of the People of God came from the heart of the Church herself:
I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.1
I don't think I realized at the time what an incredible leap of faith this profession requires. Did I really believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God at Easter 2009? I don't know if I truly did. But I know I wanted to -- I wasn't ready to intellectually appreciate and approve everything that Mother Church had said for 2,000 years,2 but I definitely believed that Jesus was present in the Blessed Sacrament; the Church had the Blessed Sacrament; and I wanted Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
In the past three years, thanks be to God, my faith and my trust in the Church have increased. I like to think that I've grown as a man, as well. And as I continue to deepen and mature in my faith -- and now that I have set out into the deep with my admission and formation at Catholic Hogwarts -- it's time for me to be more specific about who I am and what I believe.
Initially, I wanted to reproduce Pope Paul VI's Credo of the People of God, which is fast becoming my favorite document from his magisterium.
It is a beautiful, moving statement of the Catholic Christian Faith. I heartily recommend that you take 8 minutes and read it. Heck: take notes (especially if you're not Catholic -- it will challenge some of your assumptions). The Credo would be a bit cumbersome to post in full here, however; and it would be even more cumbersome to post it in the side-bar (where I intend to post my profession of faith once I've made it).
Happily, the Church is already a step ahead of me, and she has provided a succinct Profession of Faith that covers just about everything that one needs to cover. In the July 15, 1998 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, one can find the profession of faith currently required of the Church's public ministers, published by the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.3
I, D. E. Barker, with firm faith believe and profess everything that is contained in the Symbol of faith: namely:
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, 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; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.
I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.
Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.
So, there it is. It requires quite a bit of docility, doesn't it? It requires some pretty dang charitable submission, as well. But this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is who, with God's grace, I will become.
1. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 490.
2. And heck, who can say that they can even know everything that Mother Church has said for 2,000 years? Certainly not your humble interlocutor.
3. The man in charge of the CDF at the time? None other than His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger -- a.k.a., His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Here's the source I'm using for the text of the Profession (I have gone ahead and amended the 1974 version of the Niceno-Costantinopolitan Creed with the updated, 2011 version by ICEL (taken from the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)).