articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the
And so the Creed is divided into three parts: “the first part
speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of crea
tion; the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery
of his redemption of men; the final part speaks of the third divine
Person, the origin and source of our sanctification.”
These are “the
three chapters of our [baptismal] seal.”
“These three parts are distinct although connected with
one another. According to a comparison often used by the Fathers,
we call them
Indeed, just as in our bodily members there
are certain articulations which distinguish and separate them, so
too in this profession of faith, the name
has justly and rightly
been given to the truths we must believe particularly and dis
In accordance with an ancient tradition, already attested
to by St. Ambrose, it is also customary to reckon the articles of the
thus symbolizing the fullness of the apostolic faith
by the number of the apostles.
Through the centuries many professions or symbols of
faith have been articulated in response to the needs of the different
eras: the creeds of the different apostolic and ancient Churches,
also called the Athanasian Creed;
sions of faith of certain Councils, such as Toledo, Lateran, Lyons,
or the symbols of certain popes, e.g., the
Credo of the People of God
of Paul VI.
None of the creeds from the different stages in the
Church’s life can be considered superseded or irrelevant. They help
us today to attain and deepen the faith of all times by means of the
different summaries made of it.
Among all the creeds, two occupy a special place in the
I, 1, 3.
5 St. Irenaeus,
100: SCh 62, 170.
I, 1, 4.
7 Cf. St. Ambrose,
8 Cf. DS 1-64.
9 Cf. DS 75-76.
10 Cf. DS 525-541; 800-802; 851-861; 1862-1870.
11 Cf. DS 71-72.
12 Paul VI,