On Sundays and other solemn feast days the Liturgy of the Word includes, just before its end, with the Profession of Faith. The Latin word credere means “to believe,” and for this reason it’s also known as the Creed. It is a formal statement of our most basic, core beliefs as members of Christ’s Church.
Creeds are not the only statements of faith, of course. In the Bible there are many brief statements of belief. For example, one is the Hebrew’s daily prayer found in Deuteronomy 6:4, the classic “The Lord, our God, the Lord, is One.” Among the many New Testament statements, Roman 1:3-4 summarizes who the Messiah is, “descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Gradually over the course of time many varied statements of faith were compiled into formal listings. The best known are the simple “Apostles’ Creed” (commonly prayed at the beginning of rosary devotions) and the longer “Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed” used at Mass. True to its name, this Creed was affirmed at the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople in A.D. 325 and 381. These gatherings of bishops felt it was important to combat the rampant Arian heresy by summarizing the Church’s true faith in standard phrasing. But in so doing they also gave a great gift to faithful Christians for all succeeding generations!