Why the Creed Doesn't Mention the Eucharist
ROME, JUNE 28, 2006 (Zenit) - Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: Could you tell me why, in our profession of faith and creed, we don't profess our belief in the Real Presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist? -- D.K., Norwalk, Connecticut
A: The reasons are above all historical but also involve the purpose of the liturgy itself.
From a historical perspective the creed as we know it was first sketched out at the Councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381) although in its developed form it first appears in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451).
This creed was probably based on a baptismal profession of faith and encapsulated what were perceived as the essential tenets of the faith.
Above all it was a response to Arian and other heresies and defended the doctrine of the Trinity and Christ's true humanity and divinity. It was never intended to be an exhaustive exposition of every aspect of the faith.
Since it was necessary to defend the very foundations of the faith, such questions as the nature of the Eucharist were simply not on the theological horizon and would not be for several centuries more.
Also, during this early period, the fullness of Eucharistic doctrine was often explained only after baptism -- thus only after the new Christian had publicly recited the creed.
The practice of reciting the creed at Mass is attributed to Patriarch Timothy of Constantinople (511-517), and the initiative was copied in other churches under Byzantine influence, including that part of Spain which was under the empire at that time.
About 568, the Byzantine emperor Justinian ordered the creed recited at every Mass within his dominions. Twenty years later (589) the Visigoth king of Spain Reccared renounced the Arian heresy in favor of Catholicism and ordered the creed said at every Mass.
About two centuries later we find the practice of reciting the creed in France and the custom spread slowly to other parts of Northern Europe.
Finally, when in 1114, Emperor Henry II came to Rome for his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor, he was surprised that they did not recite the creed. He was told that since Rome had never erred in matters of faith there was no need for the Romans to proclaim it at Mass. However, it was included in deference to the emperor and has pretty much remained ever since, albeit not at every Mass but only on Sundays and on certain feasts.
Eastern and Western Christians use the same creed except that the Latin version adds the expression "filioque" (and the Son) to the article regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit, a difference that has given rise to endless and highly complex theological discussions.
In spite of this difference, there is a common understanding among all Christians that the creed should be left as it is and that neither the creed, nor indeed the Mass itself, is a suitable place to give technical expression to every tenet of the faith.
On another level, however, the entire Mass is itself a profession of faith. It is the living faith celebrated and heralded in a great and sublime act of worship that is converted into a faith that imbues every aspect of daily activity.
Even though there is no explicit mention of the real presence in the creed, Catholics proclaim their Eucharistic faith through almost every word and gesture at Mass and especially by their Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and when receiving Communion.
In a similar fashion they liturgically express their faith in other dogmas not contained in the creed. Going to Mass for the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption also proclaims our faith in these doctrines.
Going to confession or receiving the sacrament of the sick affirms our faith in the sacramental system itself and our belief that Christ has granted the Church power to forgive sins.
In short, every act of liturgical worship is, by its very nature, also a proclamation of faith.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Eucharist, Creed, Christ, Jesus, Faith
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Here are the answers to the Ash Wednesday quiz. How did you do?
- Priest shares Living Rosary on Mardi Gras to bring people back to God
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 28, 2017
- Oarfish strandings in Philippines could mean massive quake coming HD ...
- Who do YOU answer to? Californians prepare safe houses for illegal ...
- St. Hilary, Pope: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 28, 2017
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 HD Video
- Pope Francis makes history by celebrating Christ alongside an Anglican Bishop HD
- St. Dominic Savio HD
- Clinton contributor makes revealing 'life insurance' video over fear of assassination HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.