Catholic belief is succinctly expressed in the profession of faith or credo called the Nicene Creed:
The Nicene Creed
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.
What We Believe about the Bible
(also called “Sacred Scripture” or “Holy Scripture”)
Our Church’s “Constitution on Divine Revelation” (DV) teaches:
The “divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” “In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.
We believe that “the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation. However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.”
The Bible “must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written”, thus we must pay attention to “the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out.” “The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith.”
“In Sacred Scripture, therefore, while the truth and holiness of God always remains intact, the marvelous “condescension” of eternal wisdom is clearly shown, “that we may learn the gentle kindness of God, which words cannot express, and how far He has gone in adapting His language with thoughtful concern for our weak human nature.” For the words of God, expressed in human language, have been made like human discourse, just as the word of the eternal Father, when He took to Himself the flesh of human weakness, was in every way made like men.”
Tradition: Keeping the Gospel Whole and Alive
The Apostles handed on what they had received from Jesus Christ, “everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God.” Through the sucessors of the apostles, our bishops, we continue to pass on in our teaching, life, and worship all that our Church believes. As a Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we grow in understanding of these things that have been passed down by both word of mouth and in written form (2 Thessalonians 2:15), calling this our “living tradition.” This sacred and living tradition takes “the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known” (DV 7-9).