Why did we change the English version of the Nicene Creed?

I am told that before Vatican 2, the Nicene Creed began with “I believe”; I know that (at least) the Spanish version of the Creed still starts that way, but in America we now say “We believe.” Why was it changed from ‘I’ to ‘we’?

Thanks and God bless!

The new revision:

Changes in the Parts of the People in the Revised Order of the Mass
in the Roman Missal, Third Edition
(approved June 15, 2006 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops;
confirmed June 23, 2008 by the Holy See)

“I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

I believe I heard this on Across the Nation on The Catholic Channel (satellite radio, I believe they were talking about the new translation).

The Creed is a personal profession of faith. So it makes sense that each person says “I believe” because they actually believe it, as opposed to it being “we believe” like a mission statement or something. It is sort-of a mission statement (it is what we believe), but when we profess it in the Mass it’s because that is what we believe. Hence why it’s called the Profession of Faith and not “this is the part where we express our mission statement”.


For the purpose of the current thread, I don’t disagree, but I would suggest caution here: the traditional mode of expression in the Syriac Churches is, and has always been, “WE believe.”

The decision to change “I” to “we” was made by the organization that oversees the translation of Latin into English for the liturgy (International Committee on English in the Liturgy, or ICEL).

The original Latin is credo, which means I believe; *we believe *would be credimus. The Spanish *creo *and other translations in other languages are correct as far as I know.

While this is strictly speaking a mistranslation, ICEL had its reasons, but judging from the suspicious trends in the other numerous departures that ICEL made in the 1970s from the original Latin text, this change is suspicious too.

That’s fine. I’m not an expert on Eastern Churches (Catholic or otherwise) and in many cases they have their own traditions that are different than the Roman Catholic Church. I’m speaking for a western point of view on this one.

Probably because they wanted to make everything about the community, they were obsessed with community to the detriment of pretty much everything else.

Call me a conspiracist but I don’t think the ICEL progressives wanted anything to do with the pre-Vatican II Mass, even with the unofficial translations in the older missals.

I have heard that the original Creed was a statement from the Council of Nicea. It was in the plural because it was a united statement by the Bishops of the Council. When people recited it to show agreement, they used the singular.

Of late the liturgists have made an effort to return to early forms [in selected cases. I haven’t seen any move to return to the penances of the early Church.] In their rush to be “liturgically correct” they ignored the original context.:rolleyes:

Thanks to the progressives in the ICEL, the Lutheran church did a better job of preserving the Nicene creed than the catholics.

What a shame that for more than forty years we have had the impoverished language of the modernists for what is supposed to be a counter-cultural spiritual and religious system.

So, now we go back to where we were before the ICEL played Gods and messed with the liturgy.

I have an idea…instead of spending 11 years re-translating the 1962 missal, let’s just use the 1962 missal. Simple? Yes.

More beautiful? Oh, yes, by far.

I am disgusted that the progressive liberals were able to hijack the liturgy, music and art of the church. Look at the horrendous damage.:mad: When will we learn???

Just FYI, this thread is a year old.

I don’t know that it’s accurate to label ICEL as full of “progressives” any more. That may have been true in the 1970’s, but I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment of the present make-up of the ICEL. After all, it is the present ICEL that is giving us the beautiful new English translation that is coming this Advent.

Instead of lamenting the past (about which there is certainly no shortage of things to lament), I think it is more productive to be hopeful and joyful about the present and future. The new translation that is coming soon is a vast improvement over the current one. I believe things are heading in a much better direction now.

ICEL had absolutely nothing to do with writing the version of the Creed currently used in Catholic churches. That version was done by an unrelated body (despite the similar acronym) called the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET), now known as the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC).

it comes under the entire topic of why the Mass, and prayers, have been re-translated from Latin to English, which is to restore the original meaning, wording and grammar as much as possible. relax, it will be back the way it should be in Advent. For a fuller discussion of how the old translation came about, revisit those threads on the new one, there are some very good explanations.

It may be true that the actual wording of the text was done by the ICEL (now the ELLC), but that’s a bit of a red herring. Keep in mind that that outfit is in the English speaking world"ecumenical liturgists. Further, the ICET )ICEL. In the end, it comes right back to the ICEL.

In 325 AD the bishops convening to the I Ecumenical council decided the verb is in first person singular form.

The question may be asked: why the ICEL 40 years ago decided to change it? They did not explained it to me, but I suppose they wanted a little social engineering toward the people’s Church concept.

The Catholic Church balances the individual faith and gathering of the community. This balance, and consequently the wording of the Creed did not changed recently.

ProVobis, you are so suspicious :smiley: . Having said that, I find that I agree with you.

I hope you don’t mean the unofficial English translations used in the handmissals. If you read the texts carefully enough, you will find that they were closer to the Cranmer/Anglican (16th century Book of Common Prayer) translations than the Latin. In fact, it appears the new translations, with the exception of “consubstantial” and a few others, are closer to the CoE, who held the original copyrights on those translations. .

At the time the current translation was done it was suggested that we would do better just to take the existing CofE translation. Of course that would have destroyed the employment opportunities for numerous translators and deprived someone of the royalties on the new translation. :frowning:

That’s about it. But then we’d be accused of plagiarizing the Anglicans, even if they had put it into the public domain.

Be that as it may, we did and still use Cranmer’s “Lift up your hearts,” “hallowed,” “trespasses” and other such translations, which today’s first year Latin student wouldn’t use. And Cranmer was burned for being a heretic.

But it’s still the Church’s Latin Mass, though most won’t see the Latin, unfortunately.

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