THE CREEDS, SACRED SCRIPTURE AND SACRED TRADITION
The faith of the Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom conforms to that of the undivided Catholic Church of the first millennium of its existence. It is expressed in the ancient Symbol of Faith of the Nicene Creed, promulgated by the Council of Nicaea in AD.325 and enlarged by the Council of Constantinople in AD.381:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages; God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father, by Whom all things were made. Who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from Heaven and became incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary; AND WAS MADE MAN. He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He is to come again with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father; Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets. And in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.
The source of the Catholic Faith expressed in the Nicene Creed is Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom believes that Sacred Scripture (the Bible), which comprises the Old Testament (including the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books) and the New Testament, contains God’s revelation to us, particularly that concerning His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that in matters essential to our salvation it is inerrant.
Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom does not consider the Bible to be a source of information concerning science or any other human discipline. Its purpose is to teach us about God and about His Son Jesus Christ. It does that within the cultural environment of its time and place, hence the need for careful study to understand its message correctly.
Sacred Scripture itself is part of Sacred Tradition, that process by which God’s revelation is passed on to us from the Apostles, and unto the Church Fathers and to the unbroken succession of Bishops through the centuries. This handing on occurs through the prayers and liturgy of the Church, through preaching, teaching, catechesis, devotions, doctrines, and the Bible itself. Church Tradition is a collection of orthodox practices and beliefs, from the earliest of days, which makes Sacred Tradition an inerrant source of God’s revelation in matters essential to our faith and our Christian life. A very important part of Sacred Tradition is the teaching of the Ecumenical Councils. The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom believes that the doctrinal definitions of the first seven Ecumenical Councils, that is those which took place within the undivided Catholic Church, were guided by the Holy Spirit and it accepts them as part of its faith. Those seven Ecumenical Councils are the Councils of Nicaea in 325AD, Constantinople in 381AD, Ephesus in 431AD, Chalcedon in 451AD, Constantinople II in 533AD, Constantinople III in 680AD, and Nicaea II in 787AD. These Councils were concerned essentially with defining the true Catholic faith, in the Holy Trinity and in Jesus Christ the Son of God made man: God is triune, a single God in three Persons, Whom the Saviour Himself named as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, uniting in His single Person both the divine and the human natures.
Equally important in Sacred Tradition are the seven Sacraments. The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom believes that these Sacraments, or Mysteries, which are Baptism and Eucharist, both of which are particularly attested to in Sacred Scripture; and Confirmation (or Chrismation), Penance (or Reconciliation), Matrimony, Holy Orders and Unction (or Anointing of the Sick and dying), are effective signs of the Lord’s continuing presence and action within His Church and efficacious channels of his Grace. Among the Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist holds prominence of place. The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom believes that the Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly present, in His humanity and in His Divinity, in the species of bread and wine that have been consecrated in the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Holy Mass, and that in Holy Communion we receive Him into ourselves to nourish the very life of the soul: ‘Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day’ , (John 6:54).
In the Lord Jesus’ plan for his Church, the Apostles and the Bishops hold a special place. The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom believes that the Bishops, duly consecrated in the unbroken line of Apostolic Succession, which the Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom possesses, are the successors of the Apostles and that they are responsible, as were the Apostles, for the ministry of service to the Church, consisting of preaching and teaching, of sanctifying and of governing, but most of all, for the safeguarding and the handing-on intact, of the Deposit of Faith and Sacred Tradition of the Church under the divine command. Under the leadership and direction of the College Bishops, priests and deacons, empowered by the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and with the assistance and prayers of the two Religious Congregations, minister to all those who approach the Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom for Sacramental ministry.