Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"I" or "We"

I've found it difficult to remember at Mass that the new translation of the Creed begins with "I" rather than "we."

Of course, the "consubstantial with the Father" has caused its share of questions.

"What does that word mean?"

"It means, one in being with."

"Well, we were already saying that."

"I know, but I guess someone thought 'consubstantial' was more exact. But in that case we really should be saying homoousion --that's the word the bishops used at the Council of Nicea."

Wikepedia explains: Ancient Greek: ὁμοούσιος, from the Ancient Greek: ὁμός, homós, "same" and Ancient Greek: οὐσία, ousía, "essence, being."

But back to my "I" versus "We" problem.

The Latin version of the Nicean (Constantinople) Creed begins with "credo," which is rendered "I believe."

But the Catechism of the Catholic Church, took a different approach. It says:

"'I believe' (Apostles Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism.

"'We believe' (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers.

"'I believe' is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both 'I believe' and 'We believe'" (#167).

Pope Benedict quoted article 167 of the Catholic Catechism in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, announcing a Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013). He seems to agree that we should be saying "we believe" at Mass.

The "We" reflects the assembly of believers.

I wish the translators of the Mass had been influenced by the Catechism.

My sense of the liturgy, as I stand with the congregation to recall the tenets of our belief, naturally calls for "We believe."

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