Skip to comments.How is it that CREDO is rendered “We believe”?
Posted on 04/27/2005 8:13:05 PM PDT by sionnsar
A protest on behalf of the historic Faith of holy, Mother Church by Peter Toon
In English, but not in other European languages, the Nicene Creed is presented in modern Liturgy, be it Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran or Methodist, as beginning We believe
This is very odd bearing in mind that we call the Creed the Credo, which is it first word in the Latin Liturgy and that Credo clearly can only mean I believe. In fact in the Greek Orthodox Liturgy also it is Pisteuo, which also can only mean I believe.
Some years ago I had a correspondence with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now the Pope) on this topic and we agreed that while we believe is not heretical it is nevertheless wrong and should be I believe and (to jump into the 21st century) I understand that eventually the Roman Missal in English will revert to I believe and will have other changes, e.g., and with your spirit for and also with you.
Two reasons have been given by modern bishops and liturgists for having we believe in modern rites and services.
First of all, the original form of the Creed, as agreed in the Ecumenical Councils of the fourth century was certainly in the first person plural, we believe, for all the bishops spoke together to affirm it. However, and this is very important, when it was received in local dioceses it was used as a Baptismal Creed and so it automatically became I believe. And later when it entered the Divine Liturgy in the East in the fifth century it was in the form of the Baptismal Creed. Then when it eventually entered the Latin Liturgy it also entered in the form of the first person singular, Credo. And theologians of the Church interpreted the Pisteuo and the Credo
not only in terms of the personal confession of Faith at Baptism but also as the response of the Bride, the Church, to the Bridegroom, Christ (speaking of course as one Person the Church thus speaks in the first person singular). All musical settings for the Creed until very recently were to the Creed in the first person singular in all languages.
The second reason why modern liturgists have rendered Credo as we believe lies in their desire to combat insidious western individualism and in contrast to emphasize community we together, we in community, we united in our voluntary faith. (In contrast I believe as the word of the Bride to her Bridegroom is the word of communion, koinonia, not community as the association of individuals!)
Both reasons for having we believe are false and belong to the wider attempt by modern liturgists to change important parts of the received Liturgy and Tradition. As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to me, we believe is not heretical. However, it is less than the best and it is not right. Let the Church as the One Body, One Household, One Bride echo what She/It has heard from her Lord in His Divine Revelation and let Her/It speak as One, saying, Credo, Pisteuo, I believe.
Toon is absolutely right and his history lesson is on the mark re the Pistevo. His notions about koinonia are distincly Western and do not express the Orthodox, read Greek here...it is one of our words, phronema.
The Trinity Hymnal, jointly published by the conservative Orthodox Presbyterians and the fairly conservative PCA also uses the "We Believe" construct.
Rendering "Credo" as "We believe", as Benedict (pre elevation) said, is not heretical.
Insidious western individualism is heretical and lies at the root of the "dictatorship of relativism", to use another phrase of Benedict's. This dictatorship is directly responsable for the advancement of such abominations as the gay "marriage" and non-celibate gay ordination agenda.
Historically, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was developed to combat heresy. While not historically correct to render "Credo" in the plural, it is essential in this period of history if the Creed is to fulfill its proper role in attacking all that would undermine the community of the Body of Christ.
A more important question than the use of personal pronouns in a liturgy: Why are Anglicans so enamored with divorce even though it is explicitly condemned by Jesus Christ?
"Enamored"? Please explain. I know none, even including liberal Episcopalians, who love divorce.
Insidious western individualism attacking the basic unit of civilization: insistence on "my rights" and "my needs". Ephesians 5 clearly puts each individual spouses "needs" subordinate to the other's, subortinate to the needs of the marriage as a greater entity, and above all subordinate to the Lordship of Christ.
I don't really know what those around me believe so I can't speak for them. If I am to believe the polls many don't really believe what I believe. I solve that problem by responding in Latin and saying the Creed in Latin. That way I am stating what I believe.
As a Catholic, I blame ICEL. I don't know who you Anglicans are going to blame for deliberately sloppy translations from the Latin.
I don't know who/what ICEL are/is, but for the Episcopal church I'd blame those who created the '79, and those who voted for it.
Relatively recently I've encountered several situations where the '79 was in use, and have been appalled by the changes from the '28. Some day I should write them down. Or perhaps somebody already has.
ICEL = International Commission on English in the Liturgy, a multinational commission set up after Vatican II to translate liturgical texts into English. As they based their work on "dynamic equivalence" and inculturation, their sloppy paraphrases often had a revisionist agenda to them. That's why in the mass we say "and also with you" while the Latin is "et cum spirito tuo". It's not even close! However, ICEL is being restructured and there are new translation norms enacted a couple of years ago which put more emphasis on faithfulness and accuracy of translation. The liturgical texts have yet to be revised in accordance with the new translation norms, so that will likely be a tussle with the remaining liturgical free spirits.
Some liturgists are unhappy that Rome should dictate what is proper to the Roman rite! ;-)
No doubt there are folks out there who'll disagree, but it's my observation that the Episcopal Church unabashedly plaigerized Novus Ordo. So, if you blame it on ICEL, then I suppose traditionalist Anglicans should do the same. It certainly wasn't an original idea of ECUSA to have a 3-year church cycle & such innovations as that little social hour they call "passing the Peace" or the "And also with you" response. Perhaps the Holy Father will rein in some of this nonsense in the Roman Catholic Church & the Episcopalians (what's left of them) will do the "copy cat" thing once more. Unfortunately, by that time, ECUSA will just be a shadow of its former self - just some strange sect that's neither Catholic nor Anglican.
"No doubt there are folks out there who'll disagree, but it's my observation that the Episcopal Church unabashedly plaigerized Novus Ordo."
Surprise. Surprise. Novus Ordo was designed for Protestants .... and has had the effect of protestantising Catholics. So successful has this initiative been, one would be hard-pressed to discover much difference, both liturgically and theologically. Ratzinger's call for Christian unity lags behind what is happening already, albeit in a modernised and decentralised form.
Agreed. Toon's history is right. +Benedict XVI is right, "Pistevomen" is not heresy. Toon is wrong to dismiss the use of "Pistevomen" because his concept of koinonia is wrong. "Pistevomen" is useful to combat the very danger, western individualism, which the Pope decries because it does in fact tend to create koinonia.
Well said. I agree with you completely.
I'm a big fan of Peter Toon, but I think he's making a mountain out of a molehill. The Book of Common Prayer changes many original phrases from singular into plural (e.g. Psalm 51: 16 reads "Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall show thy praise" but in Morning Prayer the phrase is rendered responsively in the plural: "O Lord, Open thou our lips, and our mouth shall show forth thy praise.")
Given that the Nicene Creed is said at Holy Communion, which is always conducted by the priest and at least one communicant, I don't see what's wrong with the creed being said in a plural form but keeping all other parts of the original language. I wouldn't change the Apostles' creed, however, because the Daily Office can be said by one person alone.
Credo and "we believe" is only one of more than 360 gross mistranslations and non-translated words in the English Novus Ordo Missae.
For 40 years, Catholics have had their faith corrupted and destroyed through this insidious process. Another example is the so-called "mysterium fidei" (mystery of Faith) in the Novus Ordo. This was pulled out of the consecration formula itself, and has one Latin option. But alas, the English version has 4 approved versions, all of varying meanings, none of which are correct. Right after the consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation, which IS TRULY the "mysterium fidei"), we often repeat "when we eat this BREAD and drink this CUP we proclaim your death Lord Jesus, until you come in glory." Of course, this is in effect, a subtle denial of transubstantiation.
For non-Catholics, this is no big deal, I understand. But this is but one of hundreds of mistranslations and shenanigans that infringe on "lex orandi lex credendi" in the Novus Ordo rite of the Catholic liturgy.
Pray for Pope Benedict XVI to free the Classical Roman rite of Mass for all priests in the Catholic Church, and for all the altars on the world on a daily basis.
This discussion misses the mark by majoring in the minor. IMHO, perhaps one of the most misleading translations used throughout scripture is the rendering of Pisteuo, as believe.
Pisteuo is much more than believe. In the Greek usage of the time, it is action based upon belief sustained by confidence in the Deity. There is no English equivalant verb unless the word "faithe" were invented. Trust would be closer but still inadequate.
Mountain out of molehill is an understatement.
Some parishes, including mine, have now gone back to "I believe". We also have been instructed not to hold hands during the "Our Father", although many still do (I'll be charitable and say it is an old habits die hard kind of thing, and they might not have been at the masses when Father instructed us not to).
I agree that taken individually it might not be a huge deal, the problem is that there are thousands of these "mole-hills" and most of them are expressions of the belief that each individual parish preist or worse "liturgical council" has the right to change the mass as they see fit. I don't can't completely blame many of the priests and laypersons for thinking this way as it was supported by the ICEL and many bishops for years.
The problem is that combined with the emphasis on individualism in western nations it will be hard to bring the mass back into the accepted norms without a bit of house cleaning. With luck it will be as quick an painless as possible, but I'm not a big believer in luck.
Your suggestion that it be translated "I trust" agrees with one of England's most religious poets:
Even such is time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wander'd all out ways,
Shuts up the story of our days;
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.
[Sir Walter Raleigh - found written in his Bible after his execution]
I just don't see where "I believe" or "We believe" matters a bit. The communion of saints, community, charity, humilty, service... depend on other factors.
Thanks for your reply.