chapter
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Introduction

A book with the title Roman Catholicism: The Basics might quite properly be expected to begin with a chapter on what Catholics believe. And in a sense it is an easy question to answer. What Catholics believe is summed up in a series of short, formal statements called ‘creeds’ (from the Latin credere meaning ‘to believe’). There are a number of these creeds, mainly dating from the earliest centuries of Christianity when they were used as statements of faith for people being initiated into the religion. The best-known creed, the Nicene creed, comes from the fourth century and takes its name from a gathering of bishops of the Church which took place in AD 325 at Nicaea, the modern Iznik in Turkey. The formulation that is now in use (see box) is a development of the AD 325 version, and is accepted by most, if not all, Christian Churches – though one important group object to the phrase ‘and from the Son’, not because they do not believe it so much as because it was added to the Nicene creed much later.