The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.
The Profession of Faith is one way we respond to what we have heard in the scripture readings during Mass. The translation of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed has been revised, as has the translation of the Apostles’ Creed.
One of the noticeable elements of the new translation of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed is that the existing text “We believe…” is replaced with “I believe…” Although it is a seemingly small change, it will no doubt take some getting used to. Some people will wonder why this change occurred, and may agree or disagree with it.
As we’ve already discussed, the new translation of the Missal is characterised by a closer, word-for-word translation of the Latin text into English. The Latin word Credo, which begins the creed, translates into English as “I believe”. There is more to consider here, however, than simply translation.
As we discussed last week, the creed did not become a commonly used prayer during the Mass for about 600 years after it was developed. It was originally intended as a personal or individual profession of faith. Parents are asked to renew their baptismal promises when they want their child to be baptised. Confirmation candidates are asked to profess their faith, as are adults when they approach Christian Initiation. Each of us is invited to renew our baptismal promises at Easter time. In each case, we respond not with “We do”, but “I do”, for each of us is called to give personal testimony and witness to our faith.
While we have been used to saying “We believe…” each Sunday, the upcoming change back to “I believe…” does not try to deny the communal nature of the Eucharistic celebration. The use of the words “I believe…” will hopefully challenge each of us to personally consider our subscription to the faith of the Church and its consequences. Our communal praying of the creed will hopefully serve as a sign to each of us that we stand in solidarity with everybody who belongs to this community of faith.