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I know that the stock answer concerning the identity of "the holy catholic church" is to say that it refers to the "Church Universal". But in all honesty, weren't they talking about Constantine's circle of bishops, loyal to Rome?

Icon of Constantine triumphing over Arius at his summer home in Nicaea

Weren't they saying, in effect, that "we bishops that are signing this comprise the government of the Church Universal and we write its laws"?

Icon of Constantine and bishops or Rome holding up Nicene Creed

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    You draw attention to an important matter. It is not 'The Apostle's Creed' because the apostles did not write it.The apostles wrote twenty seven volumes and there is no indication - anywhere - that they thought there should be such a thing as 'A Creed'. – Nigel J Mar 16 at 15:48
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    Ironically, Constantine wasn't even alive when this language was introduced into the "Apostles' Creed," nor was he alive when it was introduced into the Nicene Creed in AD 381. Constantine was involved in the drafting of the first Nicene Creed (AD 325), but the development of the Apostles' Creed was much more decentralized and it wasn't "finalized" until centuries after Constantine was dead. – Nathaniel is protesting Mar 17 at 0:17
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    @NigelJ If the Apostles did write it, it would be the evidence they wrote a creed lol. They didn't write, 'I'm going to write this Gospel, OK? So when you see it, you know an apostle wrote it, OK?' They passed it on and people viewed it as the apostles'. There is no reason this could not have happened with the creed. – Sola Gratia Mar 18 at 15:03
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    That's just again asserting that the Apostles only wrote the NT and not the creed lol. The question-begging fallacy. And the Davidic Kingdom, and Moses' reign, was a theocracy, but whatever. – Sola Gratia Mar 18 at 15:17
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    The apostles' creed that I learned does not contain any invections of eternal torment, does not mention "same substance as the Father", does not mention "Trinity", does not mention "magisterium" or "theocracy" or "Rome" or any "Imperator". In these respects, it seems to match the creeds that you claim to find in the NT. – Andreas Blass Mar 18 at 19:28
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Constantine Not the Father of Catholicism

Constantine has nothing to do with Catholicism whatsoever, except that he, as a pagan, was a lukewarm convert to it, and was baptized before his death. Whether or not Nicaea I was convened, the Trinity was still the Catholic faith before and afterwards—the only difference is that whereas before the Nicaean understanding of God was not dogmatically settled (but simply the lived faith, not hitherto defined officially), it was still believed in a 'more than unofficial, but not yet official' capacity.

This is a common myth spread by 'history' documentaries with zero sources: that since he convened a Council for Christians to settle their disputes about the precise nature of Christ's divinity, as the bishops discussed a salvation issue in Jerusalem a few centuries prior (Acts 15), that he 'made Trinitarianism the official religion.'

In reality, he simply legalized Christianity; it would only later be made the official religion of the Empire, an indubitable and objective improvement on the prevalent heathen religions which mocked Christianity, and hated Christ implicitly or otherwise.

The 'Constantine invented Trinitarian pagan Christianity' trope simply needed to exist in one way or the other: it amounts to a fumbling attempt at explaining the dominance of the persecuted religion begun by some obscure teacher from Jerusalem over the most mighty Empire of all time, which on a natural level is quite impossible, and which was also prophesied to make matters worse.

Catholic Just Means Universal

The Greek word καθολικος (sometimes simply transliterated due to its quasi-technical use) just means 'universal' (or 'general' as in 'the General Judgement [of all humanity on the last day]') or 'everywhere' (in the geographical sense; cf. Acts 9:31: η εκκλεσια καθ’ ολης). It's not rocket science how the true Church both would and could describe itself as the universal church, which isn't limited to certain bishops and regions, like sects, cults and heresies. It's a great adjectival or title for the Church because only the true Church, rather usefully for discernment of the true Church, can be universal in all centuries. Arianism wasn't 'catholic' because it was started by Arius, and everyone upbraided him when he started teaching this heresy because it was new, and not catholic. This took its fullest form in the Council of Nicaea, where the Catholic Church gathered to condemn this novelty, and affirm the catholic—Catholic—truth on the matter. They didn't need to assert the authority bishops in unison had to teach on Scripture, even though they had it; they didn't need to cite Scripture to prove the perennial faith to some heretic, but they did. They could have simply cited, as Athanasius would cite, the perennial faith as held by the fathers of the faith, those who passed the Scriptures on to them from the beginning, and how they all taught the Trinity as the true doctrine on God.

To be Christian before relatively recently (1500s), was just to be Catholic and vice versa, then. (I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I heard 'Are you Catholic or are you Christian.') It's a myth that there were 'secret bible believing Christians who weren't catholic and believed sola scriptura and symbolic eucharist' etc. It's just antihistory.

Authorship of the Apostles' Creed

One can't prove the Apostles' themselves penned this creed, although that is a traditional (little 't') ascription. But it is impossible to claim that it doesn't crystallize the faith of the early Church as seen from every evidence we have of it, which it manifestly is. Both of these things are subjectively indistinguishable anyway. There is no need for conspiracy here anywhere... unless you do not belong to the same Church as the fathers of the faith, in which case you have every reason to need such conspiracies to explain the absence of your church anywhere close to the beginning.

The path of least resistance is to be Catholic, accept the Apostle's Creed whether an Apostle or other men wrote it, since it summarizes the lived faith anyway, otherwise it wouldn't be considered a summary or σύμβολον of the faith.

No conspiracies.

And the condemnation by Councils of contrary positions ('let him be anathema' and such things) is not different from the Church claiming to have the true faith: indeed, if you have a false faith you indeed are going to hell. There is nothing sinister at work. Why it is seen as sinister is people who aren't of the Church have an aversion of dogmatic statements, because Scripture can be interpreted by the invidual, and after all, you could be wrong? At least, that's what's behind the aversion at least implicitly—otherwise describing those who believe in a false religion as going to hell is not bad, but charitable toward all who would believe likewise.

  • Do you believe the Roman bishop is the de facto head of the "Universal Church"? Where is the Universal Church headquartered? And when was it founded and by whom? – Ruminator Mar 21 at 18:53
  • According to the apostolic fathers, it's headquartered at Rome. And it was founded by Christ when He begot the Church on the cross, when He became our spiritual father, and Mary the mother of all the living. – Sola Gratia Jun 30 at 19:22
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In the “Apostles' Creed” were they referring to themselves when they said “holy catholic church”?

The answer is, they are referring to the Mystical Body of Christ the Church that was born in the Upper Room. That's why it's called Holy because it was born from the Anointing of the Holy Spirit it's origin is Divine. The Church was first spoken by Jesus to Peter handing him the Keys to God's Kingdom.

*"And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.”(*Matthew16:18-19)

And from the Peter the Anointed Head of the Apostles and the Church of Christ that was yet to be seen was born from the All-Holy Woman the "Panagia".

St.Louie De Montfort one the Great Marian Saints had stated, If the Head of the Church Jesus Christ was born from the pure womb of the Woman by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, where does the Mystical Body the Church be born too? The Mystical Body cannot be born outside of Mary that would be a mongoloid pardon me from the term. The Mystical Body was born from the Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary.

721 *Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary.101 Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom.*"

The Logos and the Holy Spirit are both destined to use the flesh of the Woman to dwell among us and to indwelt in us.

The Head of the Church was born from the pure womb of the "All-holy" Theotokos and the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ the Church was born in the Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary and it happen in the Upper Room. This time not by Overshadowing anymore as Mary the Mother of the Church had teach all the Apostles and Disciples how to receive the Holy Spirit thru prayer and conversion. Please Book of Acts where Mary lead all the Apostles & Disciples in the spirit of prayer as one imploring the Holy Spirit to come.

750 To believe that the Church is "holy" and "catholic," and that she is "one" and "apostolic" (as the Nicene Creed adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles' Creed we profess "one Holy Church" (Credo . . . Ecclesiam), and not to believe in the Church, so as not to confuse God with his works and to attribute clearly to God's goodness all the gifts he has bestowed on his Church.

If you belong outside of the Catholic Church don't worry as the Vatican II teaching defined all the Redeemed having goodwill belong to the People of God. So,really you are also part of the Mystical Body of Christ the Church. There is an element of Truth in some of the faith & religion outside the Catholic Church and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit mercifully they will be drawn to the Fullness of Truth which only the One,Holy,Catholic, Apostolic Church possessed.As St.Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles had said;

"If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1Timothy3:15)

THE CHURCH - PEOPLE OF GOD

781 "At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people. . . . All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit."201

Important note:

To be acknowledge part of the People of God a follower of Christ must acknowledge Mary's role as the Mother of the Church. As Pope Francis had said, a christian cannot be orphan, Jesus gave us as the greatest gift At the Foot of the Cross. Jesus gave us Her own Mother to be our Mother in our christian journey.

"When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home."(John19:26-27)

The key word here is "Behold", why?

The Hebrew word YHWH is not a name but a description commanding Moses to "Behold" meaning to gaze the crucified man on the Cross, the image that seen by Moses. But, this profound mystery of God-Man Jesus Christ crucified on the Cross cannot be fathom alone. A true christian need the Wisdom of the Mother when gazing At the Foot of the Cross.

I repeat, Apostles refers to the "Holy Catholic Church" because it was born of the same Woman which is acknowledge by the 2000 years Tradition both East & West as the "All-Holy or Panagia". The Upper Room is where the Mystical Body of Christ was born from the Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary not by "overshadowing but by the outpouring" of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The question is, where in the bible that all the Redeemed was conceived by Mary in Her Immaculate Heart?

The answer is by meditating Genesis3:16 & Revelation12:2; a mother bear a son in sorrows...How much sorrows did the Theotokos bear in cooperating with Jesus redemptive mission in Her Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart?

Jesus commanded Mary to behold your son, the "son" pertains to all the redeemed. Mary is the Mother of All the Redeemed by Her Second Fiat.

  • If they meant the body why didn't they say the body? "I believe in the body of Christ". They didn't because Jesus is the head of the body and they wanted to be the head so they called it the "Holy Catholic Church". The "Apostles' Creed is the birth certificate. It is a fraud from day one. – Ruminator Mar 19 at 11:36
  • @Ruminator The words "Holy Catholic Church" is biblically rooted,it is "holy" because God-Man Jesus founded it. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that gave birth to "Holy Catholic Church" in the Upper Room by the intercession of the "All-Holy or Panagia". The wordings of the Apostles Creed had the Authority of God as Jesus gave Peter & Apostles authority to bind. (Matthew18:18). How can you say the Council united to a Pope is a fraud when Peter was bestowed with charisma of the HS and protection of Jesus. Luke22:32? Are you saying your Authority is above the Pope? – marian agustin Mar 19 at 17:23

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