The Roman Catholic Church requires the making of a particular Profession of Faith, in addition to recitation of the Nicene Creed during Mass, by various persons when they undertake specific duties related to Church administration and teaching. (cf. Canon 833), or in the cases of excommunicants wishing a return to full communion in the Church. In certain dioceses, this has been expanded to include those who take on the ecclesial duties of Catechist, Liturgical Reader, Cantor, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and other Church positions which entail a presumption of orthodoxy.
At the Easter Vigil, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” That doesn’t mean it is or will be or makes it easy. It’s not all sugar and spice and everything nice from then on. Quite the contrary. Quite. Trust me. I trust you do.
Get ready for a lifetime of struggle, of prayer, of deep, deep introspection, examination of conscience, as life’s experiences present realities, and those realities probe, and pull, and tug, and rip at the commitment you just made, and what those those realities, with ALL their forcefulness, and commanding, demanding strength, mean in the light of Faith, of what one has said, of what one says one believes, of what one professes, assents to believe.
Get ready. Get ready to be tested, constantly. Faith tested by fire, tested in the crucible, unless you were just kidding? 1 Peter 1:7. Steady yourself. Steel yourself. Prepare yourself. Prepare to be tested. Constantly. The Profession of Faith is just to be clear what one is signing up for at the Easter Vigil. Just to be clear. Reasonable, if ever there was any, imho. While hopefully less a litmus test of orthodoxy, as if we, the Church, did not trust, nor take at their word, or meant to imply we do not trust those of whom we ask this profession, and more a reflection on the profundity of what it means to say “I am a Catholic.”, and, by definition, what that means, imho.
In my own reflections, I have thought what does it mean to say, “I am an American.” Being an alumnus of Mr. Jefferson’s university, I feel a special intimacy with the sage of Monticello, a special profundity of affection to American gospel and its author, having spent my undergraduate years in his personal intellectual shadow, where he lived, and died, and is buried. If, having claimed to be an American, proudly, I then stated, “But all this (political) equality of all, you know that’s just nonsense, right?” Am I still an American? I suppose so. I haven’t gotten on a plane to go join ISIS or anything. I just suppose I am not a very good American? Discuss.
CREDO in unum Deum, Patrem
Et in unum Dominum
Et in Spiritum Sanctum
Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.
I affirm and believe the Church’s teaching about the inviolability of human life. In accord with that teaching I affirm that human life is sacred and must be protected and respected from the moment of conception until natural death. I affirm that I reject direct, intentional abortion and I do not recognize the legitimacy of anyone’s claim to a moral right to form their own conscience in this matter. I am not pro-choice. I further attest that I am not affiliated with, nor supportive of, any organization which supports, encourages, provides or otherwise endorses abortion or euthanasia. (cf. CCC 2270-2283)
I affirm and believe the Church’s teaching about the sinfulness of contraception. I affirm, in accord with the teachings of the Church that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil. (CCC 2370)
I affirm and believe that every person is called to chastity in accord with their present state of life and that it is only in marriage between man and woman that the intimacy of spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. (CCC 2337—2365) I accept the Church’s teaching that any extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include pre-marital relations, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.
I affirm and believe the teaching of the Church about the evil of homosexual acts. I accept the formulation in the Catechism which states: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (CCC 2357)
I affirm and believe all that the Church teaches about the Reality and Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Specifically I believe that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under each of the forms of bread and wine and that receiving either one is Communion with the whole Christ. I recognize that worship and adoration are appropriate, not only during Mass but also outside of Mass and that the Most Holy Eucharist must always be handled with the utmost care and devotion. (CCC 1373-1381)
I affirm and believe the teachings of the Church regarding Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. I accept with the Church that it is fitting and proper to honor the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. (CCC 963-975)
I affirm and believe that it is possible for a person to choose to remain separated from God for all eternity and that “This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” ” (CCC 1033)
I affirm and believe that those who die in God’s grace and friendship but are still imperfectly purified undergo additional purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joys of heaven. I affirm that the Church’s name for this final purification is Purgatory. (CCC 1030-1032)
I affirm and believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and I embrace the teachings about the Church, as enunciated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (cf. CCC 748-962)
I affirm and believe that the Church teaches with God-given authority and that the promise of Christ to remain with His Church always, until the end of time, is a reality. I further acknowledge that those teachings pronounced in a definitive manner, even though not as an infallible definition, are binding on the consciences of the faithful and are to be adhered to with religious assent. (CCC 892)
To these and to all the teaching of the Catholic Church I give my assent. I attest that I believe these things and, while I am aware of my own sinfulness and shortcomings, I strive in my beliefs and life style to conform to this Affirmation of Faith.
In the crucible with you, pray for me, know I pray for you, I do, God have mercy on my soul,