Just What Is the Creed for the Year of Faith?

Hmmm, this is odd. The Vatican website for the Year of Faith is up… and here’s the Creed!



  1. I see that the languages offered are Italian and English. I suspect that the clue lies there.
    Italians can be well organised but often are not.
    Just think how boring it would be if the Swiss ran the Vatican.

    1. I see that the languages offered are Italian and English.

      Well, that can’t be right, can it? I thought the language of the Roman Church was Latin. And to suggest that the Vatican is run by a group of Italians? That would imply that some decisions about Church teachings, practices and laws have more to do with the goals of a small entrenched group of bureaucrats than with the teachings of Christ!

      1. No not the decisions but much of the staffing. I think that you are right about the small group: the Holy See does not employ large numbers and so services are likely to be patchy.
        Italian would be the one language that all would speak simply as that is the language of day to day life in Rome. In the same way UN staff in New York would speak English.
        I suggest that the use of the previous text was a case of an administration that is imperfect rather than an intentional decision. This leads to this case. I suspect that Swiss administrators would give fewer illustrations of ineffectiveness. The effect would be soporific. Have you ever tried to read a Swiss newspaper or watched Swiss TV?

  2. “We believe….” and “I believe….” do look odd together on one page. What year is this?

  3. Should we not be calling it ‘Year of the Faith’, since the focus is the (objective) Faith in which we believe (fides quae creditur) rather that the (subjective) faith with which we believe (fides qua creditur)?

    1. But, Monsignor Harbert, there is no definite article in the Latin title, so shouldn’t it be “Year of Faith” with no article inserted, either before “Year” or before “Faith”?

      1. Rev Harbert, we know Latin doesn’t have a definite article. No need to insult our intelligence.

      2. It’s the same point as with the pre-2002 GIRM, which had the Latin heading forma typica that those intent on control translated as “the typical form, while those of a more liberal persuasion insisted meant “a typical form”.

  4. The Motu Proprio letter Porta Fidei, ‘for the indiction [sic] of the Year of Faith’ left me somewhat confused as to whether the year focuses on the faith which we believe or the faith with which we believe. It seems to cover both.

    It also left me puzzled about the translation of Credo in the Nicene Creed. Here is §17,

    Profession of faith is an act both personal and communitarian. It is the Church that is the primary subject of faith. In the faith of the Christian community, each individual receives baptism, an effective sign of entry into the people of believers in order to obtain salvation. As we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “ ‘I believe’ is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during baptism. ‘We believe’ is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers [not anymore!]. ‘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’.”

    1. I’m not quite sure what that “[sic]” is doing after the word “indiction”. Perhaps you thought it was a mistake? The OED has:



      [ad. L. indictiōn-em, noun of action from indīcĕre to appoint, announce, indict v.2, perh. immed. a. OF. indiction, indictiun (Ph. de Thaun, 12th c.).]

      1. The action of ordaining or announcing authoritatively and publicly; an appointment, declaration, proclamation.

      1. If you have to resort to the OED for the definition of a word, it’s a pretty safe bet that the word isn’t in common usage. The Corpus of Contemporary American Usage has only 5 instances of “indiction”; the British National Corpus has only 13 instance of “indiction”. Most of these references are related to discussions of the history of art; in that context “indiction” refers to a cycle of 15 years. The similar words that are commonly used in English are “indict” and “indictment”, both of which are primarily used in references to criminal law. That a definition of the word “indiction” can be found doesn’t make it any less bizarre of a word choice.

        I suspect that someone stuck too closely to the Italian translation (original?) of the motu proprio without considering how it might sound in English. More appropriate terms to use could have included “convoke”, “proclaim”, or “promulgate”–which would have been reasonable cognates based on what is used in other translations of the motu proprio. But as we’ve seen with the new translation of the mass, some people in the Vatican aren’t concerned that their documents use good English.

      2. That a definition of the word “indiction” can be found doesn’t make it any less bizarre of a word choice.

        It’s not a “bizarre” word choice to use the word you’ve been using for hundreds of years for the same purpose you’ve been using it.

        You can take a look at Incarnationis Mysterium, the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee Year of 2000 or the documents of the Council of Trent, as described in this 1706 Ecclesiastical History.

      3. “It’s not a “bizarre” word choice to use the word you’ve been using for hundreds of years for the same purpose you’ve been using it. ” S. Howard

        It could be.

        Would you be happy to refer to a church as an ‘awful’ place?

      4. It could be.

        But it’s not. What it “could be” is not particularly relevant when it’s not. The word “indiction” hasn’t shifted meaning in English the way “awful” has.

        Was anyone actually confused? Did anyone thing the Pope was actually a grand jury that had indicted a year?

      5. Samuel,

        The problem with the word “indiction” is that those who are not familiar with it assume it is a typo for “indication”. The Vatican are unwise to use it on that basis alone.

        And don’t tell us “People should get educated, then”. This is about elementary communication skills, something which those in the Vatican cocoon are still very inadept at.

      6. I do not think it is too much to ask to expect people to pick up a dictionary if they are actually confused about a word. Hell, they might just happen to learn something!

      7. Indiction is a calendrical term of art. It is what it is; it’s not a term in common usage, but that is often the case for terms of art. Epacts, anyone?
        Or, for that matter, perichoresis?

      8. The problem with the word “indiction” is that those who are not familiar with it assume it is a typo for “indication”.

        On first reading, since I did not know what it meant and did not have time to go to a dictionary, I simply skipped it and changed the text to: “For the Year of Faith”, which works just fine. That word was superfluous, so its meaning does not matter.

      9. “Avoid fancy words. Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able. ” — William Strunk, Jr.

  5. On another odd note (so to speak), the site proclaims that the “Official Hymn” is now available for download (with an English translation to “be available soon”). Unfortunately, the link to the download returns a “The requested object does not exist on this server” message.

    This does not bode well for the Year of Faith.

    1. The music of the Italian version is rather uninspiring [understatement]. This, too, does not bode well.

      Peter, I think the link is to the Italian download, not the English one. If you copy the Italian page visible on the website into a Word document and then enlarge it, it is very blurred. Text only partly decipherable. This, yet again, does not bode well…….

      1. I know it’s to the Italian version. But even that link is dead.

        Hmmmm . . .

        There’s a metaphor there . . .


    “… symbolizing the Church, is represented as sailing on a graphically minimal representation of waves.”

    “graphically minimal” is the understatement of the year!

  7. And the official Vatican logo is a boat (duc in altum, etc), rather than a door: http://www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en/annus-fidei/logo.html

    Go figure.

    (I know of at least two English dioceses that had already been using a door symbol for quite some time before the boat appeared on the Vatican press office English-language bulletin yesterday — http://press.catholica.va/news_services/bulletin/news/29382.php?index=29382&po_date=21.06.2012&lang=en)

  8. In response to Jonathan, it seems like it would be appropriate to use this “we” translation at least on the Sundays that open and close the Year of Faith, if not throughout the entire year.

    In response to Cameron, how do we know that this a mistake? Maybe the one we’ve been using for the past seven months is the mistake?

  9. To step back from some of these details, I’d like to raise the broader question: what’s the deal with the Roman infatuation with all of these theme years? Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention before, but they seem to be increasing in frequency, and I’m still at a loss as to the point of them.

    Not exactly a criticism, but a question: what’s going on here?

    1. Thank you Chris. We do seem to be witnessing the death of Ordinary Time. Some may say these special years have no impact on the liturgy or on the liturgical year, but every special year seems to bring with it a song and an insipid prayer which is recited weekly but which adds nothing or–even worse, only trivia — to the prayer of the liturgical assembly. And no one ever asks us what we think we need to spend a year on. It’s the high up and far away telling us what we need.

    2. Since the Year of the Priest seemed to have been plagued with many stories relating to the sex abuse scandal, I expect the Year of Faith will be filled with many stories of the how the faithful are continuing to leave.

      The “Years” just seem to be a way for the Vatican to try to deny reality. No wonder the Bishops are thinking about hiring a “communicator,” and the Vatican is in the process of hiring a guy from Fox News. Evidently he turned the job down twice before.

      They seem to understand that they need help. However as a guy who taught a course on “how to become a paid consultant” told me, ninety percent of the time when a manager hires you to figure out what the problem is and how to solve it, the problem is the guy who has hired you!

      1. Jack – favorite story from my father who hated consultants:

        “A consultant is someone you hire; they come to you; look at the watch on your arm; tell you the time; and charge you $10,000 dollars!”

  10. Perhaps next year could be the year of the “Overdue Library Book” – promising redemption and forgiveness for all offenders!

    1. Libraries like to limit such amnesties to a week or month at most, but the Church could certainly do a year out of the abundance of grace.

  11. And why does the Year begin each time as a fiscal year begins? Why not in Advent, like a liturgical year?

    1. The Year begins and ends in varying places. The Year of St. Paul began and ended in January because of the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, if I’m not mistaken. The Year of Faith begins in October (10/11/12, to be exact) and ends the following November, on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

  12. The Vatican website has corrected the error and replaced
    the former translation of the Creed with the current one.

  13. Yes, they corrected now the beginning of the niceno-constantinopolitan creed, but the apostles’ creed is still the old translation. This shows that those in the Vatican have really the ability to correct, to change and even censure English translations. They know what they are doing. So be it!

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