Reformed Churchmen

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

13 November 1565 A.D. Creed of Pope Pius IV—Professio Fidei Tridentina

13 November 1565 A.D.  Creed of Pope Pius IV—Professio Fidei Tridentina

Schaff, Philip.  “Tridentine Profession of Faith (Creed of Pius IV.”  N.d.  Accessed 27 Sept 2014.


For practical purposes the most important creed-statement of the Roman Catholic Church. The original name was Forma professionis fidei Catholicae, or orthodoxoe fidei. It was preceded by three other professions of faith issued by Pius IV.: that of 1556 in thirty-six articles; that of 1560, intended for prelates; and that of 1563. The decrees of the Council of Trent contain no profession, but in the twenty-fourth session such a form was suggested. This was prepared by a commission of cardinals under the direction of Pius IV. in 1564. It must be subscribed or sworn to by all priests and public teachers of that church, and also by Protestant converts (hence called the "Profession of converts"). It was solemnly affirmed during the Vatican Council of 1870 at its second session. It is a very clear and precise summary of the specific doctrines of the Roman Church as settled by the Council of Trent, put in the form of a binding oath of obedience to the pope, as the successor of the Prince of the apostles, and the vicar of Christ. It consists of twelve articles of which the first runs as follows:


"I, ---, with a firm faith believe and profess all and every one of the things contained in that creed which the holy Roman Church makes use of, viz.:
"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty," etc. (Here follows the Nicene Creed.)

In the following ten articles the candidate accepts (1) all the conditions and ordinances of the Roman Catholic Church; (2) the interpretation put upon the Scriptures by that church and no other; (3) the seven sacraments and the mode of their administration taught by the church; (4) every article and statement made by the Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification; (5) the doctrine of transubstantiation and the sacrificial nature of the mass; (6) the bread and the wine as each containing the whole Christ; (7) the invocation of saints, the worship of relics, and the doctrine of purgatory, and that the suffrages of the living avail for the souls there confined; (8) the worship of images and the virtue of indulgences; (9) the supremacy of the Roman Church and the authority of the bishop of Rome as the successor of St. Peter and the vicar of Jesus Christ; and (10) the condemnation, rejection, and anathematization of everything contrary to the decrees of the general councils as well as all heresies rejected by the church. The last article contains a most solemn adjuration, and runs as follows:

"I do, at this present, freely profess and truly hold this true Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved; and I promise most constantly to retain and confess the same entire and inviolate, with God's assistance, to the end of my life. And I will take care, as far as in me lies, that it shall be held, taught, and preached by my subjects, or by those the care of whom shall appertain to me in my office. This I, ---, promise, vow, and swear, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God."

Since that time the Roman Catholic Church has added two articles which enter into the profession, one on the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary, and one on the infallibility of the pope, in the following words:

"(1) That 'the blessed Virgin Mary, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of mankind, has been preserved free from all stain of original sin.'
"(2) That 'the Roman pontiff, when be speaks ex cathedra--that is, in discharge of the office of pastor, and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals--is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed; and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church."


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The papal bulls of Nov. 13 (Injunctum nobis) and Dec. 9 (In sacrosancta), 1564, are in the Bullarium magnum Romanum, 19 Vols., Luxemburg, 1727-1758, the former also in Mirbt, Quellen, pp. 256-258. The text of the profession is in F. G. Streitwolf and R. E. Klener, Libri symbolici ecclesiae catholiace, ii. 315-321, cf. i. pp. xlv.-li., 98-100, Göttingen, 1838, and in Schaff, Creeds, ii. 207-210, cf. i. 96-99. Consult besides the above: G. C. F. Mohnike, Urkundliche Geschichte der sogenannten Professei fidei Tridentinoe und . . . andern romisch-catholischen Glaubensbekenntnisse, Greifswald, 1822; E. Kö11ner, Symbolik der römisch-katholischen Kirche, p. 141, Hamburg, 1844; H. J. D. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum et definitionum, pp. 233-235, Würzburg, 1900; KL, v. 882-685.

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