|"Consubstantial": At the root of our Faith - Why it is in the Creed|
Why the word "Consubstantial"?
The New Roman Missal for the Catholic English-speaking world has changed some of the language used during our prayers at
“Consubstantial” replaced the phrase “One in being with the Father” and if you examine carefully the reason for this change, it goes to the root of our Catholic belief.
“Consubstantial with the Father” is the direct translation from the Latin text, which was a direct translation from the original Greek text, which accurately expresses that “the Son is one with the Father.” He is not “just like” the Father, “not practically the same as the Father” or “probably the same”---He is the same substance as the Father and Holy Spirit…all one in the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
When the Creed was written in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea there were various heresies afoot questioning the divinity of Jesus Christ, often opting to revere him as a creation of God. The Council spoke definitively in our Catholic belief that Jesus is God.
As Father Romanus Cessari, O.P. points out in his preparatory text on the New Roman Missal, the wording of the past 40 years “One in being with the Father” does not translate to “consubstantiation.” It is considered too vague since God creates and sustains all that exists; everything in some sense can be said to one in being with God. The sameness that the Eternal Son enjoys with the Father arises from the specific substance or nature of the Godhead. The Catholic faith holds each of the three Divine Persons share one and the same divine nature of substance. Just as the mystery of the Blessed Trinity stands at the heart of our belief, so also it grounds our salvation.