The New Translation of the Roman Missal is going to be put into use in Advent 2011 and there is a change made to the Nicene Creed.

one in Being with the Father.

is going to be

consubstantial with the Father

that's a nice new word to teach my CCD class, but what is the difference. Does this further differentiate the Latin Rite Catholic creed from other Churches (especially Eastern Orthodox) or bring it doctrinally closer?

The change is just in the translation, the original Latin is the same as ever, but there still must be some significance, other than wanting to be more concise.

  • 2
    "Consubstantial" is not a translation. It's a transliteration. That is to say that it does not tell us what the Latin term means.
    – user20317
    Mar 22, 2015 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


The aim of the retranslation, as I understand it, is to have the translated text more accurately represent the original text.

The Latin version of the creed says:

Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri

Which means "begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father". The new translation is an accurate translation of the Latin. (In the same way, "And with your spirit" is a better translation of "et cum spiritu tuo" than "And also with you".)

"One in Being with the Father" is an interpretation of the Latin -- and a fairly modern one at that. If you'd said to one of the early Church fathers that the Son was one in Being with the Father, they may well have called you a heretic.

"One in substance" is a more accurate translation of the Latin and -- who knows? -- may give an opportunity for some good sermons on Christology.

  • I much prefer "one in substance" to "consubstantial"; it is clearer and flows better. But I don't get to make those decisions. I would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall during the committee meetings and discussion about this one.
    – tomjedrz
    Oct 4, 2011 at 15:07

In the English language "One in being with the Father" is a better translation of Late Latin "consubstantialis" than is "consubstantial". It is easily understood by the laity with no problem. ""Consubstantial" is not in normal everyday use in the United States and other English speaking countries. A survey conducted by Merriam Dictionary placed it in the lowest (30%) used class. Just because it looks and sounds more like the Latin, does not make it more understood.

Moreover, "One in being with the Father" is poetic, euphonious and a better way of referring to the Son of God and giving glory to God in the English language. From the day the new change in the Creed was established, I personally spoke to several priest friends and some bishops. It should be no surprise that most agreed with me.

  • 2
    Having been somewhat perplexed by the 2011 change to the Roman Missal, I discovered that the difference between a terrorist and a liturgist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist. In other words, the Latin based Church in Rome. doesn't give a hoot that the English usage of the previous rendering was correct. Jun 19, 2019 at 18:52

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