From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Need for Creeds (185-186)
A communion in faith requires a common language. Therefore, whoever says "I believe" pledges himself to what others believe.
Especially for baptismal candidates, the Church wanted summaries which expressed all the essential elements. "This summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and New Testaments" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem).
Various Names (187-190)
These syntheses have various names:
- Profession of faith - What the believer must profess
- Creed - From "credo" meaning I believe
- Symbol of faith
The Greek word "symbol" means the broken half of an object which, when pieced together with the other half, verifies the communion of the believers.
This creed has three parts - of the Father and creation, of the Son and redemption, and of the Spirit and sanctification. "These are the three chapters of our baptismal seal" (St. Irenaeus).
Articles of Faith (191)
Church Fathers called these truths the "articles of faith" joined together as members of a body. An early tradition speaks of the Creed containing twelve articles, symbolizing the number of the apostles.
Numerous Creeds (192-193)
There have been numerous Church Creeds which respond to special needs, such as the Athenasian Creed, the symbol of the Council of Trent, and the Credo of the People of God (Pope Paul VI).
Although no creed is ever superseded or irrelevant, two creeds have a special place in the Church.
The Two Special Creeds (194-197)
The Apostles Creed is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome.
The Nicene Creed has its authority from the first two ecumenical councils (Nicea and Constantinople).
This catechism will follow the Apostles Creed, but will refer frequently to the often more explicit Nicene Creed. "
"This Creed is the treasure of our soul" (St. Ambrose).