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66

Part One

legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not

affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.

III.

T

he

H

oly

T

rinity

in

the

T

eaching of

the

F

aith

The formation of the Trinitarian dogma

249

From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity

has been at the very root of the Church’s living faith, principally

bymeans of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal

faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis, and prayer of the

Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic

writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the

fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

81

250

During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify its

Trinitarian faith, both to deepen its own understanding of the faith

and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This

clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the

theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the

Christian people’s sense of the faith.

251

In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to

develop its own terminologywith the help of certain notions of philosophi­

cal origin: “substance,” “person” or “hypostasis,” “relation,” and so on. In

doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new

and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be

used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can

humanly understand.”

82

252

The Church uses (I) the term “substance” (rendered also

at times by “essence” or “nature”) to designate the divine being in

its unity, (II) the term “person” or “hypostasis” to designate the

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them,

and (III) the term “relation” to designate the fact that their distinc-

tion lies in the relationship of each to the others.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity

253

The Trinity is One.

We do not confess three Gods, but one

God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity.”

83

The divine

persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each

81

2 Cor

13:13; cf.

1 Cor

12:4-6;

Eph

4:4-6.

82 Paul VI,

CPG

§ 2.

83 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 421.

683

189

94

170

2789