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Those of us who have found a religious faith are inclined to believe that we have found an overarching truth, but the variety of good people in the many global faith families seems to speak of the tolerance of the mysterious source of all goodness for a variety of faith statements and ‘theologies’.

Seriously concerned for the pain I know to be associated with an inability to believe in anything – often caused by the hypocrisy and intolerance of those who claim firm faith – I now invite my own closest faith family (Irish Catholics) to address our church’s own responsibility for the faith crisis that prevails not only on our own island but throughout the West.

For us Catholics the source of all goodness is the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but our church also teaches that the spirit of truth resides to some degree in everyone – and wishes to draw all of the human family into amity and kindness.  Can we be welcoming as a people if we do not listen as well as speak – if we do not seek a language in which to converse with anyone we meet of that source of all goodness and truth that draws all of us to itself?

Believing as I do that the source of goodness is also the source of freedom, I believe that source can only be approached in freedom and in mutual respect.  It must transcend all complex theologies, and convey itself by virtue of its own truth  (Vatican Council II – Declaration on Religious Freedom, 1).

Does the Apostles Creed do that?  What do you think?

My own conclusion is that no verbal faith formula is in itself a sure vehicle of truth.

To me now the Creed is centrally a reminder of the original rock of Christianity – the firm conviction that the Crucifixion of Jesus had totally failed to discredit the kindly God he believed in.

In a mysterious but very real sense Jesus had been raised from death by that Father God – above all possibility of shame or insult or obliteration from history. For those who first compiled the Creed – whose core is also in the Gospel of Matthew – that belief was central to who they now were, a transformed people.  For them the Jesus of history was also the risen Lord of the future –  and the world that despised him, and them, was passing away.

That is also my faith, yet I know that for many the Creed is a ‘stumbling block’ – because of its later association with intolerance and mere lip service – a source of dogmatism rather than a source of reassurance.

Anyone still could point a gun at someone and say:

“Repeat after me, ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty…” and, in so doing reverse the truth that God is love only.

Only unconditional love can convey the meaning of the Creed.  That must come first.  Only when the question of belief is raised – the belief that underlies this relationship – does it make sense to recite the Creed – as a story that is true in all circumstances.

Only love endures forever, so whatever is wrong and horrible now is passing away. That, for me, is the meaning of the Creed.

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3 thoughts on “About this Site 

  1. Does our Catholic creed do that? What do you think?
    The creed does, but we, in general, aren’t awake to that fact!

    delighted to have found this site tonight, Sean.
    If Sean OConaill is you I’ve been emailing you since 2002 on various issues. Would like to share my perspective sometime. Beannachtai,

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