(Australia; July 2013 website):
The new Roman Missal states that the Apostles’ Creed may be recited
instead of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan (Nicene) Creed, and especially
during Lent and Easter time. We use the Apostles’ Creed as a general
practice in our archdiocese because the latest translation of the Nicene
Creed still uses exclusive language (“for us men”) to refer to the
whole community, even though in the Gloria the same Latin word is used
inclusively (“..and peace to people of good will”). For the sake of inclusivity, our archdiocese has therefore been
directed to use the Apostles’ Creed instead of the Nicene Creed as a
I pass this on only because of the recent interest in the language of the creed -- some of which was occasioned by this blog and comments thereafter. Let me express a few comments on the announcement of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
The use of the Apostles' Creed is ancient, ecumenical, and good. It should not grow out of the memory of the people and the surest way to keep this memory a living one is to confess it regularly. Luther, it should be said, recommended praying (the devotional use of the creed) the Apostles' Creed no less than 8 times a day! I don't think we are in any danger of over use so I applaud the occasional use of the Apostles' Creed. We use it here mostly during Advent and Lent (penitential seasons) and for a month or so during the summer.
That said, the use of the Apostles' Creed should not be determined by our embarrassment or discomfort with the lack of "inclusive" language in the creed. Frankly, I find this just as trite and silly as when Lutherans complain that they cannot swallow the word "catholic" without getting the taste of Roman bile in the back of their throats. Inclusivity is hardly injured nor is it fostered by the use of man or the lack of it. Grow up.
Furthermore, the exclusive use of the Apostles' Creed represents its own monumental hurdle for the faith. The Nicene is the ordinary creed of the Mass. It has been that way for generation upon generation. There is grave danger to the erosion of the corporate memory so that the words of the Nicene Creed become unfamiliar to the people of God. As much as I am concerned about the living memory of the Apostles' Creed through its regular recitation (inside and outside of a setting of corporate worship), I am greatly concerned that the Nicene Creed will suffer the same fate, destined to obscurity within a generation of such a practice and its only offense being that some folks find it hard to say man or men for all mankind. Such silliness diminishes the faith and trivializes the whole nature of words and conversation -- something in enough trouble even without this decision.
Personally, I hate it when the words to hymns are changed for the same silliness. If a translation errs with respect to the original or uses an obscure word that has passed from usage, update. All in all I favor using hymns as they were, with all their foibles and idiosyncrasies. We live in an age of education in which such simplistic sins should be easily handled by reading good literature and improved vocabulary. That could not hurt anyone.