Is it 'I believe' or ' We believe'?


Lately I noticed that in our catholic church in the Middle east, we recite the Nicene creed beginning with ’ I believe’ . But in the Vatican website, it shows that the Nicene creed begins by ’ We believe’ . Is the Nicene creed used in both forms in the Roman Catholic church? It would be helpful if someone would clarify.


It is the tradition of the Church to say: We believe, for it is our common faith. In the individualistic culture we live in, this too has permeated the Church. I believe leads to,* I decide what I believe.* As part of the Mystical Body of Christ, we should profess our faith together. Even at home, when we pray, we should always have it in our mind and soul, that we are not alone in this fight.


Actually, that’s not true. The new revised translation of the Mass from Latin into English correctly translates “credo” as “I believe” and that is why you are seeing that.

You will also notice that we now say “consubstantial with the Father” which is a better translation than the previous “One in being”.

CREDO in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei **unigenitum, ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt.


You are right. Sorry, I was thinking of the renewal of baptismal promises. But now I checked that, too. It seems it is credo there, too. But still, isn’t there something in the Church history and practice that supports the we believe? At my parish we practice the We believe and We renounce formulas for renewal of baptismal promises, ie at Easter Vigil.


2011 Pope Benedict corrected the language.


From We to I? Can you provide a document, if it isn’t too hard, please.


The Latin word “credo” means “I believe”. The correct translation of the prayer is “I believe”, That is why we are now saying that in the Mass. The rites for Sacraments probably have not been looked at yet, so you might find the old wording cropping up until that happens. That’s all. Nothing to be concerned about.


The Nicene Creed promulgated at Nicea begins with “We believe.” The modified liturgical version used in the Latin Rite begins with “I believe.”


So when we switched to “We believe” post Vat II, we actually were saying the words of the original Creed. When did the switch in Latin to “Credo” occur and why?


As far as I know the original Greek uses the singular “I believe”.

The creed itself professes an individual’s belief. It was formulated as a personal statement partially to reject heresies that had crept into teachings (ala Arius). In essence it is almost like a pass phase that is to be checked against orthodoxy teachings. It is not a statement of what the universal church believes so much as a decleration that an individual believes as the Church teaches.


The Creed was produced by the Council as a statement on behalf of the whole Church. A Council speaks for the Church.

The Creed recited a Mass is not the same. A pastor or lay person does not speak for the Church, rather, I is a confirmation that I, personally, hold to the teachings of the Church.

FYI, the Orthodox do the same. The Creed as recited in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom uses the first person as well.


You just have to find a missal or missalette from early 2011 to see the difference. When the new English translation of the Mass came into effect on the First Sunday of Advent 2011, the Creed changed from ‘We’ to ‘I’.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises is usually done in question and answer form:
“Do you believe in …?”
“I do.”


Actually anixx has a valid point.

The English language requires a pronoun, where in Latin and some other languages (Polish, Spanish, for example) it is just understood as a first person singular. There is no “ego” in the Latin but the end result of the English translation comes across, well, as somewhat egoistical. No other way to do it, except not to recite it in English.


One in being is much better. The key to communication is using words and terms people understand. 99 of 100 people don’t have a blessed clue what consubstantial means. Even if it’s a “better translation” what’s the point if nobody knows the meaning of the word. Simpler in writing and simpler in explaining is the key to effective communication.


However, these languages have different forms for the different persons (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and number (singular, plural).

So while the ancient Romans may not have said Ego credo, the “ego” is subsumed in the “o” of credo.

When some says in Latin, “Credo,” it means “I believe.” The mistranslation was when Credo was translated We believe.

Since the recitation of the Creed is a personal statement of one’s own loyalty to the Church and Her Teachings, saying we believe dilutes that personal commitment one is supposed to be making.

Egoism (ETA: as a reflection of the use of the word I) and all that sort of thing is just very recent Freudian fantasy. We need to understand that our wills come in the singular; it is not egotistical to say, “I commit myself to Christ;” it is personally committing oneself.


I disagree. Better to leave it untranslated than risk an error in translation. What good is a wrong understanding of a truth?


It’s interesting that the few times “ego” is actually used in the Vulgate, or at least I’ve found, is when it is used by Christ Himself. (“Ego sum via et vita et veritas.”) But it’s done for EMPHASIS.

It’s more than Freud; it’s the design of the English language. The ego works in business, not so much in prayer.


I suspect that they don’t truly understand what “one in being” means either. Consubstantial means more than just being. It is a totality of existence that is only hinted at with “one in being”. So we have words we recognize on one hand that does not express the fullness of the reality or having to actually learn what a new word means. Using recognizable words does not mean it communicates the fullness of what is being communicated.


These sites say the original was “we believe” in the Greek

I am no scholar and I am not arguing anything. I just wanted to know when and why the change from “We” to “I”. Was there a particular reason?

It seems to me there was a bit of a fuss made by many posters over the Latin “Credo” being replaced by “Credum” when that was the original from the Greek. If people fussed about it, there had to be a reason, or maybe they just got used to “I believe” and didn’t like the change.

Personally, I think “We believe makes more sense when reciting it at Mass” and “I believe” makes more sense if an individual is professing the Faith. But however the church wants it, is ok with me. It is really a minor thing.


Being: the state or fact of existing or living; fundamental or essential nature; essential completeness (philosophical).

Works for me. Simple words for complicated concepts.

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