Profession of faith (Christianity)

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Various Christian Churches require people to make a personal profession of faith according to a prescribed formula, when taking up certain posts in its service or joining that Church.

Catholic Church[edit]

Persons taking up certain responsibilities[edit]

A public profession of faith in accordance with a formula approved by the Holy See is required of[1]

  1. Participants in a council or synod
  2. Cardinals
  3. Bishops and those equivalent to them in canon law
  4. Diocesan administrators
  5. Vicars general, episcopal vicars, and judicial vicars
  6. Parish priests, seminary rectors and teachers of theology and philosophy, those about to be ordained deacons
  7. Rectors of ecclesiastical or Catholic universities and teachers of Catholic theology in any university
  8. Superiors of clerical religious institutes and societies of apostolic life

Those listed under numbers 5 to 8 also take an oath of fidelity on assuming the office they are to exercise in the name of the Church.

Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was superseded in 1973 by a revised text, the obligation also fell on those who were appointed as[2]

  1. Canons
  2. Diocesan consultors
  3. All professors at a canonically erected university and those gaining academic degrees in them

The approved formula now in use for the profession of faith and the accompanying oath of fidelity are given, together with a commentary, on the website of the Holy See.[3]

The prescribed profession of faith begins with the statement, "I, N., with firm faith believe and profess each and everything that is contained in the Symbol of faith, namely", followed by the words of the Nicene Creed. It then continues with three more paragraphs:

With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

Tridentine Creed[edit]

The earliest formula prescribed in this way for use by classes of people as a profession on faith on certain occasions was the Tridentine Profession of Faith contained in the papal bull Iniunctum nobis of 13 November 1564 issued by Pope Pius IV.[4][5] The original name of this formula was Forma professionis fidei Catholicae, or orthodoxae fidei (Formula of profession of the Catholic faith, or of the orthodox faith) and it expressed the teachings enunciated by the Council of Trent (1545-1563) in response to those of Protestantism.[5]

Websites of Traditional Catholic tendency generally describe this profession of faith as a Creed classified together with the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.[6][7][8] (They also often give 1565 as the year in which the bull of Pius IV was issued.)[7]

This formula was modified in the late 19th century by the addition of clauses regarding the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and papal infallibility.[5]

Persons becoming Catholics[edit]

The rite of reception of baptized Christians into the Communion of the Catholic Church states that "one who was born and baptized outside the visible communion of the Catholic Church is not required to make an abjuration of heresy [publicly] but simply a profession of faith.[9] Today, normally, an abjuration of heresy is made in the privacy of the confessional, though in the past it was often a public matter. After joining with the congregation in reciting the Nicene Creed, the person being received into the Catholic Church makes the following profession of faith:

I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.[10]

As indicated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, adults joining the Catholic Church were formerly asked to abjure the previous faith to which they belonged ("Hebrew superstititon", the Islamic "sect of the infidel", or "the heretical errors of the evil sect" from which they came). The profession of faith used was the Tridentine Profession of Faith.[11]

Lutheran Churches[edit]

When a baptized individual joins a Lutheran Church, he or she becomes a Lutheran by making a profession of faith:[12]

℣ Dear friends in Christ, the members of our congregation are happy that you are to become part of our Christian fellowship. Our Lord Jesus Christ bids us to confess him before men, with the promise that he will then confess us before his Father in heaven. That we may rejoice in your confession, I now ask you in the presence of God and of this congregation: Do you accept and confess that the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as you have learned to know them from the Small Catechism, are faithful and true to the Word of God? If so, answer: I do.

℟ I do.

℣ As a member of this Church, do you intend to continue in the confession of this Church, attend corporate worship, make diligent use of the means of grace, and lead a righteous and godly life? If so, answer: l do so intend with the help of God.

℟ I do so intend with the help of God.

℣ Will you support the work our gracious Lord has given this congregation with your prayers, time, treasure, and talent? If so, answer: I will with the help of God.

℟ I will with the help of God.

℣ Upon this your promise, I, in the name of this congregation, extend to you the right hand of fellowship and love, acknowledging you as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and inviting you to receive the Lord’s Supper and to participate in all the other blessings of salvation which God has given to his Church, in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Peace be with you. Amen.[12]

Anglican Churches[edit]

In the Anglican Churches, a profession of faith is made by "those elected or nominated in the office of bishop."[13] For baptisms in the Church of England, the Apostle's Creed is the profession of faith made by the candidate (or his/her sponsors).[14]

Methodist Churches[edit]

In the United Methodist Church, a profession of faith is made by one's parents or sponsors when one receives the sacrament of Holy Baptism.[15]

A profession of faith is taken by confirmands, as well as new Christians joining the United Methodist Church.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 833
  2. ^ The 1917 or Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, canon 1406
  3. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Profession of Faith"
  4. ^ Henry Bettenson, Christ Maunder (editors), Documents of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-19956898-7), pp. 270-271
  5. ^ a b c The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. XII, "Tridentine Profession of Faith (Creed of Paul IV)
  6. ^ The Sacraments
  7. ^ a b [1]
  8. ^ Creed of Pope Pius IV
  9. ^ Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 479
  10. ^ Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 491
  11. ^ Maxwell E. Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation (Liturgical Press 2007 ISBN 978-0-81466215-1), pp. 435-436
  12. ^ a b "Rite of Receiving of Members". Faith Lutheran Church. 1984. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Profession of Faith". Anglican Church of India. 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Ecumenical Creeds and Authorized Affirmations of Faith". The Church of England. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  15. ^ "The Baptismal Covenant I". Discipleship Ministries. 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  16. ^ Hahn, Heather (2012). "Church vitality: Professions of faith rise". United Methodist News Service. Retrieved 18 June 2019.