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30 JUNE 1968. THE CREED OF...
from issue no. 04 - 2008

A comparison of the Creed of the People of God and the “Maritain draft”

Small Roman adjustments

by Gianni Valente

Paul VI pronounced the <I>Creed of the People of God</I> in Saint Peter’s Square, on Sunday 30 June 1968

Paul VI pronounced the Creed of the People of God in Saint Peter’s Square, on Sunday 30 June 1968

Volume VI of the Correspondance between Charles Journet and Jacques Maritain will also contain a comparison of the definitive text of the Creed of the People of God proclaimed by Paul VI and its initial draft, prepared by Jacques Maritain, spoken of in these pages. Comparison of the two texts will make it possible to assess the substantial continuity between the professio fidei and the document drafted in January 1968 by the French philosopher in all its aspects. But the Benedictine scholar Michel Cagin, editor of the comparison, listed already the main differences between the two texts in an interesting paper given at the conference on the relations between Montini, Journet and Maritain organized in June 1999 in Molsheim by the Paul VI Institute, in collaboration with the Cercle d’études “Jacques et Raïssa Maritain” and the Fondation du Cardinal Journet.
Scrutiny of the differences between the definitive text and the “Maritain draft” shows that what sprang out of the “Roman” revision were opportune adjustments and modifications congruent with the aim of setting out a sober and terse Symbolum fidei.
First of all some structural shifts have been made. The article on the Holy Spirit has been moved to after that on Jesus Christ, and the one dealing with Baptism (which in Maritain’s scheme followed the section on the Church) is inserted after the paragraph defining original sin.
Among the omitted parts, present in the text prepared by Maritain and not found in the Creed of the People of God, are a paragraph on the angels and another on the origins of mankind and monogenism, which – the Parisian philosopher specified in his draft – “are not within the jurisdiction of positive science”. In the passage from Maritain’s text to the professio fidei proclaimed by Pope Montini the section in which Maritain expanded on the new season on which the Church had entered with Vatican II, its characteristics and its new “style”, also disappeared. Maritain had explicitly cited the common witness that Jews and Muslims render along with Christians to the unity of God, and had referred to the devotion of Islam also in the paragraph on the Virgin Mary. In paragraph 9 of the Creed of the People of God thanks are paid to the divine goodness for the “many believers” who share with Christians faith in the One God, but explicit references to Islam and Judaism do not appear.
When considering the additions, one notes that the article on Jesus Christ introduces phrases dealing with the human life and the earthly vicissitudes of Jesus, in the light of the Gospels, up to the mention of His “persecution suffered for justice”. In the article on Baptism, the text prepared by Maritain simply repeated the formula of the Creed that is recited during Mass. The Creed of the People of God, harking back to the Council of Trent, emphasizes in addition that Baptism “must also be administered to children who have yet not been capable of being guilty of any personal sin”. As to the Church, the professio fidei proclaimed by Paul VI confesses that it, founded by Christ, is “unfailingly one in faith, worship and bond of hierarchical communion”, explications not present in the project drafted by Maritain. In the paragraph on the salvation possible to those who do not know of the Gospel and do not visibly belong to the Church of Christ, the Creed of the People of God restricts itself to taking formulas from the antecedent Magisterium, where Maritain, in his text, devoted a passage of his own composition to those who “are not within the normal regime of salvation, but respond to the appeal that the One Savior, Whom they do not know, makes felt in the depths of their soul”.
To the main changes should be added a series of small variants that always have the effect of setting out in clear and simple fashion, down to the nuances, the data expressed by the formulas of faith. One example to stand for all: Maritain’s text on Holy Mass speaks of “Sacrifice of Calvary made present on our altars”; “made sacramentally present on our altars” is added in clarification by the professio fidei proclaimed on 30 June of forty years ago by Paul VI.

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