INNOCENT III 1198-1216

Profession of Faith Prescribed for Durand of Osca and His Waldensian Companions*


[From the letter “Fitts exemplo” to the Archbishop of Terraco, Dec. 18, 1208]


420 By the heart we believe, by faith we understand, by the mouth we confess, and by simple words we affirm that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three Persons, one God, and entire Trinity, co-essential and consubstantial and co-eternal and omnipotent, and each single Person in the Trinity complete God as is contained in “Credo in Deum, ” [see n. 2] in “Credo in unum Deum” [see n. 86], and in “Quicumque vult” [see n. 39 ].


421 By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess that the Father also and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, concerning whom we are speaking, is the creator, the maker, the ruler, and the dispenser of all things corporal and spiritual, visible and invisible. We believe that God is the one and same author of the Old and the New Testament, who existing in the Trinity, as it is said, created all things from nothing; and that John the Baptist, sent by Him, was holy and just, and in the womb of his mother was filled with the Holy Spirit.


422 By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess that the Incarnation of the Divinity took place neither in the Father, nor in the Holy Spirit, but in the Son only; so that He who was in the Divinity the Son of God the Father, true God from the Father, was in the humanity the son of man, true man from a mother, having true flesh from the womb of his mother and a human rational soul; at the same time of each nature, that is God and man, one Person, one Son, one Christ, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the author and ruler of all, born from the Virgin Mary in a true birth of the flesh; He ate and drank, He slept and, tired out from a journey, He rested, He suffered in the true passion of His flesh; He died in the true death of His body, and He arose again in the true resurrection of His flesh and in the true restoration of His soul to the body in which, after He ate and drank, He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and in the same will come to judge the living and the dead.


423 By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic (Church) outside which we believe that no one is saved.


424 The sacraments also which are celebrated in it with the inestimable and invisible power of the Holy Spirit cooperating, although they may be administered by a priest who is a sinner, as long as the Church accepts him, in no way do we reprove nor from ecclesiastical offices or blessings celebrated by him do we withdraw; but we receive with a kind mind as from the most just, because the wickedness of a bishop or priest does no harm to the baptism of an infant, nor to consecrating the Eucharist, nor to the other ecclesiastical duties celebrated for subjects. We approve, therefore, the baptism of infants, who, if they died after baptism, before they commit sins, we confess and believe are saved; and in baptism all sins, that original sin which was contracted as well as those which voluntarily have been committed, we believe are forgiven. We decree that confirmation performed by a bishop, that is, by the imposition of hands, is holy and must be received reverently. Firmly and without doubt with a pure heart we believe and simply in faithful words we affirm that the sacrifice, that is, the bread and wine [Other texts: in the sacrifice of the Eucharist those things which before consecration were bread and wine] after the consecration is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we believe nothing more by a good nor less by a bad priest is accomplished because it is accomplished not in the merits of the one who consecrates but in the word of the Creator and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we firmly believe and we confess that however honest, religious, holy, and prudent anyone may be, he cannot nor ought he to consecrate the Eucharist nor to perform the sacrifice of the altar unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop. And to this office three things are necessary, as we believe: namely, a certain person, that is a priest as we said above, properly established by a bishop for that office; and those solemn words which have been expressed by the holy Fathers in the canon; and the faithful intention of the one who offers himself; and so we firmly believe and declare that whosoever without the preceding episcopal ordination, as we said above, believes and contends that he can offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist is a heretic and is a participant and companion of the perdition of Core and his followers, and he must be segregated from the entire holy Roman Church. To sinners truly penitent, we believe that forgiveness is granted by God, and with them we communicate most gladly. We venerate the anointing of the sick with the consecrated oil. According to the Apostle [cf.1 Cor. 7 ] we do not deny that carnal unions should be formed, but ordinarily we forbid absolutely the breaking of the contracts. Man also with his wife we believe and confess are saved, and we do not even condemn second or later marriages.




425 We do not at all censure the receiving of the flesh. Nor do we condemn an oath; on the contrary, we believe with a pure heart that with truth and judgment and justice it is permissible to swear. [In the year 1210, the following sentence was added:] Concerning secular power we declare that without mortal sin it is possible to exercise a judgment of blood as long as one proceeds to bring punishment not in hatred but in judgment, not incautiously but advisedly.


426 We believe that preaching is exceedingly necessary and praiseworthy, yet that it must be exercised by the authority or license of the Supreme Pontiff or by the permission of prelates. But in all places where manifest heretics remain and renounce and blaspheme God and the faith of the holy Roman Church, we believe that, by disputing and exhorting in all ways according to God, we should confound them, and even unto death oppose them openly with the word of God as adversaries of Christ and the Church. But ecclesiastical orders and everything which in the holy Roman Church is read or sung as holy, we humbly praise and faithfully venerate.


427 We believe that the devil was made evil not through creation but through will. We sincerely believe and with our mouth we confess the resurrection of this flesh which we bear and not of another. We firmly believe and affirm also that judgment by Jesus Christ will be individually for those who have lived in this flesh, and that they will receive either punishment or rewards. We believe that alms, sacrifice, and other benefits can be of help to the dead. We believe and confess that those who remain in the world and possess their own wealth, by practicing alms, and other benefits from their possessions, and by keeping the commands of the Lord are saved. We believe that tithes and first fruits and oblations should be paid to the clergy according to the Lord’s command.