Saturday, June 28, 2008

Solemni Hac Liturgia - 40th Anniversary

With this weekend, on which we celebrate the martyrdom of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and which inaugurates a Pauline year, celebrating the 2000th anniversary of his birth, I would like to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the publication of a great work of orthodoxy and defense of the Catholic faith by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, may he rest in peace.

On June 30, 1968, Pope Paul celebrated the closing solemn liturgy of the nineteenth centenary of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul. At this liturgy, the Holy Father gave a Catholic exposition of the profession of faith, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Although he made it clear it was not "strictly speaking a dogmatic definition" (n. 3), nonetheless he called it a "true confession" (n. 7) modeled after that of the apostle Peter at Caesarea Philippi, speaking "beyond human opinions" (ibid.); he would be giving "a firm witness to the divine Truth entrusted to the Church to be announced to all nations" (ibid.), and that this "profession of faith" would be "to a high degree complete and explicit." (ibid.)

This exposition on the Creed came to be known as "The Credo of the People of God" (Confessio Populi Dei, if my Latin is not mistaken). Earlier this year, I learned from Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog "What Does the Prayer Really Say?" that this document was, in fact, authored by the Pope's philosopher-friend Jacques Maritain.

I strongly encourage everyone to read this document. It provides the Catholic perspective on the Creed. I would reproduce it below with my emphases added, except that I would end up emphasizing nearly every sentence! That is how concise and thorough this profession has been presented. It is an astonishing defense of the Catholic faith in the midst of a tumultuous time of turmoil, explained to a T.

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