What every Catholic must believe

The following is taken from “A Manuel of Catholic Prayers, 1988”:

1. Every Christian must believe that there is one God, and no more than one God: that God is a pure Spirit, the Lord and Maker of heaven and earth, who has neither beginning nor end, but is always the same; who is everywhere present; knows and sees all things; can do all things whatsoever He pleases; and is infinite in all perfections.

2. Every Christian is bound to believe that in one God there are three distinct Persons, perfectly equal, of the same substance, and having the same nature: the Father, who proceeds from no one; the Son, who is born of the Father before all ages; and the Holy Ghost, who proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son as from one principle; and that the three Persons are all equally eternal, equal in wisdom and power, and are all three one and the same Lord, one and the same God.

3. We must believe that God created the angels to be with Him for ever, and that one part of them fell from God by sin, and became devils; that God also created Adam and Eve, the first parents of all mankind, and placed them in the earthly Paradise, from whence they were justly banished for the sin they committed in eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree; and that by this trangression of Adam we are all conceived and born in sin, and must have been lost for ever, if God had not sent us a Saviour.

4. We are bound to believe in the Saviour of all mankind, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, true God and true man; perfect God from all eternity, equal to His Father in all things; and perfect man, from the time of His coming down from heaven for us, having a body and soul like ours.

5. We must believe that Jesus Christ, our Saviour, who had been long foretold by the prophets, was, at God’s appointed time, by the power of the Holy Ghost, without having any man for His father, conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary; whom God had prepared for this wonderful Maternity in a wonderful manner: in that by a singular grace and privilege, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, she was in the first instant of her conception preserved free from every taint of original sin. Of her, who is blessed among women for evermore, was born our Lord–she still remaining a pure virgin. During the time of His mortal life Jesus Christ founded the Christian religion; and then offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, by dying upon a cross, to obtain mercy, grace, and salvation for us; and that neither mercy, nor grace, nor salvation can, or ever could, since Adam’s fall, be obtained except through the mediation of the Son of God.

6. We must believe that Jesus Christ, after He died and was buried, arose on the third day from death to life, never to die again; and that, for the space of forty days, He was pleased, at different times, to manifest Himself to His disciples, and then ascended into heaven in their sight; where, as God-man, He continually intercedes for us. Thence He sent down the Holy Ghost upon His disciples, to abide with them for ever, as He had promised, and to guide them and their successors into all truth.

7. We must believe the Catholic or Universal Church of Christ, of which He is the perpetual Head, and His Spirit the perpetual Guide; which is founded upon a rock, and is ever victorious over all the powers of earth and hell. The Church is always One, in all its members professing one faith, in one communion, under one chief pastor, called the Pope, succeeding St. Peter, to whom Christ committed His whole flock. The Church is always Holy, in teaching a holy doctrine, in inviting all to a holy life, and in the eminent holiness of many of its children. It is Catholic, or Universal, for it subsists in all ages, and teaches all nations, and maintains all truth. It is Apostolic, for it derives its doctrine, its communion, its orders, and its mission, by an uninterrupted succession, from the Apostles of Christ.

8. With the Catholic Church the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, were deposited by the Apostles. It is the guardian and interpreter of them, and the judge of all controversies relating to them. The Scriptures, thus interpreted, together with the traditions of the Apostles, are to be received and admitted by all Christians for the rule of their faith and practice of Christ, there ever resides in the Church the active power of forgiving sin, and of granting Indulgences for the remission of the temporal punishments of sin; which may be applied to the souls both of the living and of the dead who have died friends of God and in the peace of Christ.

14. We must believe also the necessity of Divine Grace, without which we cannot make so much as one step towards heaven; and that all our good and all our merits are the gift of God; that Christ died for all men, and that His grace does not take away nor oppress our free will.

15. We must believe that Jesus Christ will come from heaven at the last day to judge all men; that all the dead, both good and bad, shall arise from their graves, and shall be judged by Him according to their works; that the good shall go to heaven with Him, body and soul, to be happy for all eternity in the enjoyment of the Sovereign Good; and that the wicked shall be condemned, both body and soul, to the torments of hell.

The Athanasian Creed

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary, that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which faith, except everyone do keep entire and inviolate, without doubt he will perish everlastingly.

Now the Catholic Faith is this; that we worship One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance.

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all One; the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also they are not three uncreates, nor three incomprehensibles; but one uncreate, and one incomprehensible. In like manner the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty. And yet not three almighties, but one almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Ghost is Lord. And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord; so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion, to say there are three Gods, or three Lords.

The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is from the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.

So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is to be worshipped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity. He, therefore, that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and Man.

He is God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world; and He is man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect man; of reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father according to His Godhead; and less than the Father according to His Manhood.

Who, although He be both God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; One, not by the conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of the Manhood unto God; One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and the flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ.

Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven; He sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

This is the Catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully and steadfastly, he cannot be be saved.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, and in in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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