The Oath of Fidelity on Assuming an Office to be Exercised in the Name of the Church
NOTE OF PRESENTATION
The faithful who are called to exercise an office in the name of the church are required to make the profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See (cf. Canon 833). In addition, the obligation of a special oath of fidelity with regard to the particular duties inherent in the office that is to be exercised--previously prescribed solely for bishops--has been extended to the categories named in Canon 833, Nos. 5-8. As a result, it has become necessary to provide for the advance preparation of texts suitable for this purpose-updating them with a style and content more in conformity with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and of documents that followed.
The formula of the profession of faith repeats in its entirety the first part of the text that has been in effect since 1967 and that contains the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (cf. ACTA APOSTOLICAE SEDIS, 59, 1967, p. 1058). The second part has been modified and subdivided into three paragraphs so as to distinguish better the type of truth and the corresponding assent that is sought.
The formula of the oath of fidelity on assuming an office to be exercised in the name of the church--understood as being complementary to the profession of faith- -is enacted for those categories of the faith listed in Canon 833, Nos. 5-8. It is a new composition; in it provision is made for some variants in Paragraphs 4 and 5 for use by major superiors of institutes of the consecrated life and societies of apostolic life (cf. Canon 833, No. 8).
The texts of the new formulas of the profession of faith and of the oath of fidelity will take effect starting March 1, 1989.
I. PROFESSION OF FAITH
(Formula to be employed henceforth in cases in which the profession of faith is required by law.)
I, N., with firm faith believe and profess everything that is contained in the symbol of faith: namely,
I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I 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. I 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 worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
With firm faith I believe as well everything contained in God's word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the church--whether in solemn judgment or in the ordinary and universal magisterium--as divinely revealed and called for faith.
I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by that same church definitively with regard to teaching concerning faith or morals.
What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.
II. OATH OF FIDELITY ON ASSUMING AN OFFICE TO BE EXERCISED IN THE NAME OF THE CHURCH
(Formula to be used by the Christian faithful referred to in Canon 833, Nos. 5-8)
I, N., on assuming the office __________ promise that I shall always preserve communion with the Catholic Church whether in the words I speak or in the way I act.
With great care and fidelity I shall carry out the responsibilities by which I am bound in relation both to the universal church and to the particular church in which I am called to exercise my service according to the requirements of the law.
In carrying out my charge, which is committed to me in the name of the church, I shall preserve the deposit of faith in its entirety, hand it on faithfully and make it shine forth. As a result, whatsoever teachings are contrary I shall shun.
I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the whole church and shall look after the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those which are contained in the Code of Canon Law.
With Christian obedience I shall associate myself with what is expressed by the holy shepherds as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith or established by them as the church's rulers. And I shall faithfully assist diocesan bishops so that apostolic activity, to be exercised by the mandate and in the name of the church, is carried out in the communion of the same church.
May God help me in this way and the holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hands.
(Variations of the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the formula of the oath, to be used by the Christian faithful referred to in Canon 7833, No. 8).
I shall foster the common discipline of the whole church and urge the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those which are contained in the Code of Canon Law.
With Christian obedience I shall associate myself with what is expressed by the holy shepherds as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith or established by them as rulers of the church. And with diocesan bishops I shall gladly devote my energy so that apostolic activity, to be exercised by the mandate and in the name of the church, is--with provision made for the character and goal of my institute-- carried out in the communion of the church.
NOTE: Canon 833, Nos. 5-8 obliges the following to make the profession of faith: vicars general, episcopal vicars and judicial vicars; "at the beginning of their term of office, pastors, the rector of a seminary and the professors of theology and philosophy in seminaries; those to be promoted to the diaconate"; "the rectors of an ecclesiastical or Catholic university at the beginning of the rector's term of office"; and, "at the beginning of their term of office, teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines which deal with faith or morals"; and "superiors in clerical religious institutes and societies of apostolic life in accord with the norm of the constitutions."
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