Sunday, 15 September 2013

(Latin) prayer of the week: Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

In this year of faith, I've been looking at the prayers provided in Latin and English in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (plus a few extras), and I've previously looked at the Apostles Creed.

Now up until now, I've been focusing on learning the Latin of the prayer.

But this week, I actually want to focus on the English, for this is a prayer where most traditionalists at least will actually know the Latin reasonably well, from Mass each week, but may be rather less familiar with the text of official new translation.  Accordingly, consider this a chance to catch up so you don't have to clutch the sheet at the next Novus Ordo Mass you happen to be at!

Why not use the Nicene Creed?

Mind you of course, in many dioceses today (most notably Adelaide and my own (something our new Archbishop could usefully fix!) the form of the Creed traditionally utilised in the liturgy, namely the Nicene-Constantinopolitan, is no longer used in English at Mass.

There are I suspect, three key reasons for that.

First, the new version is more confronting.  It actually translates the Latin 'credo' literally, so it starts 'I believe', and requires our individual affirmation to its clauses, not offering the effective opt out of the 'we believe' of the older version.  The new version requires us not to just 'acknowledge' one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, for example, but to 'confess' it, and one can't help but suspect that many at Mass actually don't want to 'confess' anything at all.

Secondly, it uses big words that some bishops seem to think the laity are incapable of understanding, such as 'consubstantial' and 'incarnate'.  Some complain about the feminisation of the liturgy - personally, I think what they are mostly pointing to is the dumbing down of it to the lowest possible common denominator.

And worst of all to some minds, it uses 'non-inclusive' language, like 'man' as a collective descriptor for us all.

In reality the Nicene Creed has often been controversial.

Its initial formulation at the Council of Nicaea in 325 had to be amended at the Council of Constantinople in 381 in order to counter the heresies that arose in the wake of Nicaea.  And of course, the addition of the 'and the son' (filioque) to counter Arianism in the Western Church continues to cause endless angst and debate with the Orthodox.

Nonetheless, it has long been regarded as the more definitive of the Creeds - the Apostles Creed, for example, is not much used in the East.

Accordingly, here is the Latin, together with the official translation used in the Novus Ordo Mass.

Symbolum Nicænum Costantinopolitanum

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipoténtem, Factorem cæli et terræ,visibílium ómnium et invisibilium
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth,of all things visible and invisible.

Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigénitum et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sǽcula:
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,

génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri: per quem ómnia  facta sunt;
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem, descéndit de cælis,
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex Maria Víirgine  et homo factus est,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto, passus et sepúltus est,
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried,
et resurréxit tértia die secúndum Scriptúras,
and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad  déxteram Patris,
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

et íterum ventúrus est cum glória, iudicáre vivos et mórtuos, cuius regni non erit finis.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

Credo in Spíritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificántem,
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
qui ex Patre Filióque procédit,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
qui cum Patre et  Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur, qui locútus est per prophétas.
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

Et unam sanctam cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.
 believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
Confíteor unum Baptísma in remissiónem peccatórum.
 I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
Et exspécto resurrectiónem mortuórum, et vitam ventúri sæculi.
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.


Sing the Creed!

And for a change, an English version of the text, sung to one of the traditional chant tone, just to show it can be done convincingly!


For those who want to learn the Latin chant versions though, go over and take a look at the excellent Corpus Christi Watershed Kyrie , which offers alternate versions of all of the usual chant tones to learn from.                                    

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