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Fr. Joe Answers:
Thank you for your question about the Creed.
Basically the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed came into being around the same time though the earliest forms of the Apostles Creed are in evidence around the year 100 with the final version that we now have being dated in the year 700. The difference is that the Nicene Creed was written in response to various heresies about the nature of Jesus Christ that were debated at the Church Council of Nicea in the year 325. The creed was principally written in opposition to the heretic, Arius, who taught that Jesus was a creature made by God not wholly equal to the Father. Such that the lines saying, “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 ” all counteract heresies that were being debated about the nature of Jesus Christ and affirm that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, fully God and fully human. The final version of the Nicene Creed was adopted by the Church at the Council of Constantinople in the year 381.
The presider of the liturgy has the option of choosing which creed will be said. The instructions in the Sacramentary suggest that the Apostle’s Creed could be used with Masses with Children as this is the creed that they generally learn. I believe that the local bishop can suggest the use of either one as the norm and I believe in most dioceses in the United States the Nicene Creed is the one normally recited at Mass. I am not certain, but I suspect that the Apostle’s Creed is the one normally suggested by the Bishops of Canada to use.
Now if your were saying the rosary in the United States or Canada…the apostle’s creed is the one usually said as part of that prayer form.
The Apostle’s creed is the basic statement of our faith. It is what we proclaim at our Baptism in a series of questions. At Masses where we renew our Baptismal vows it becomes redundant to restate the creed so it is often omitted at those times.
I hope this answers your question.
Blessings and Prayers,
Fr. Ed Nowak, CSP
[Fr. Ed Nowak answered this question for Fr. Joe]