Section Two, The Profession Of The Christian Faith. Chapter One: I Believe In God The Father. Article I:


“I believe in
CREATOR of Heaven and Earth”
Credo In Deum Patrem Omnipotentem,
Creatorem Caeli et Terrae







Paragraph 5. HEAVEN and EARTH

Paragraphus 5





325 The Apostles’ Creed professes that God is “creator of heaven and earth”. The Nicene Creed makes it explicit that this profession includes “all that is, seen and unseen”.

325 Symbolum Apostolicum Deum « Creatorem caeli et terrae » 178 profitetur esse, et Symbolum Nicaenum-Constantinopolitanum explicat: « ...visibilium omnium et invisibilium ». 179

326 The Scriptural expression “heaven and earth” means all that exists, creation in its entirety. It also indicates the bond, deep within creation, that both unites heaven and earth and distinguishes the one from the other: “the earth” is the world of men, while “heaven” or “the heavens” can designate both the firmament and God’s own “place” - “our Father in heaven” and consequently the “heaven” too which is eschatological glory. Finally, “heaven” refers to the saints and the “place” of the spiritual creatures, the angels, who surround God.186

326 In sacra Scriptura, locutio « caelum et terra » significat: totum quod exsistit, universam creationem. Etiam indicat vinculum, quod, intra creationem, simul caelum et terram unit et distinguit: « Terra » est mundus hominum. 180 « Caelum » vel « caeli » firmamentum potest denotare, 181 sed etiam « locum » proprium Dei: Patris nostri, « qui in caelis est » (Mt 5,16); 182 et consequenter etiam « caelum » quod gloria est eschatologica. Verbum « caelum » denique indicat « locum » creaturarum spiritualium — angelorum — qui Deum circumstant.

327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God “from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body.”187

327 Professio fidei Concilii Lateranensis quarti affirmat: Deus « simul ab initio temporis utramque de nihilo condidit creaturam, spiritualem et corporalem, angelicam videlicet et mundanam: ac denique humanam, quasi communem ex spiritu et corpore constitutam ». 183








I. AngeliI.







   The existence of angels - a truth of faith    Exsistentia angelorum – fidei veritas

328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.

328 Exsistentia entium spiritualium, non corporalium, quae sacra Scriptura generatim angelos appellat, fidei est veritas. Tam dilucidum est Scripturae testimonium quam dilucida est Traditionis unanimitas.

Who are they?

Qui sunt?

329 St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.’“188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”.189

329 Sanctus Augustinus dicit relate ad illos: « “Angelus” [...] officii nomen est, non naturae. Quaeris nomen huius naturae, spiritus est; quaeris officium, angelus est: ex eo quod est, spiritus est, ex eo quod agit, angelus est ». 184 Angeli, ex toto esse suo, sunt Dei ministri et nuntii. Quoniam « semper vident faciem Patris mei, qui in caelis est » (Mt 18,10), sunt « facientes verbum Illius in audiendo vocem sermonum Eius » (Ps 103,20).

330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190

330 Quatenus creaturae pure spirituales, intelligentiam habent et voluntatem: creaturae sunt personales 185 et immortales. 186 Perfectione creaturas omnes visibiles superant. Splendor gloriae eorum id testatur. 187



   Christ “with all his angels”    Christus « cum omnibus angelis Suis »

331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . “191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him.”192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?”193

331 Christus mundi angelici centrum est. Illi sunt angeli Eius: « Cum autem venerit Filius hominis in gloria Sua, et omnes angeli cum Eo... » (Mt 25,31). Eius sunt, quia per Eum et in Eum sunt creati: « Quia in Ipso condita sunt universa in caelis et in terra, visibilia et invisibilia, sive throni sive dominationes sive principatus sive potestates. Omnia per Ipsum et in Ipsum creata sunt » (Col1,16). Eius sunt adhuc magis, quia illos fecit nuntios Sui consilii salutis: « Nonne omnes sunt administratorii spiritus, qui in ministerium mittuntur propter eos, qui hereditatem capient salutis? » (Heb 1,14).

332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham’s hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195

332 Illi, inde a creatione 188 et per totum historiae salutis decursum, adsunt, salutem sive procul sive prope annuntiantes atque eius effectionis divino servientes consilio: illi paradisum claudunt terrestrem,189 Lot protegunt, 190 Agar eiusque filium salvant, 191 Abrahae detinent manum, 192 Lex per illorum communicatur ministerium, 193 populum Dei ducunt, 194 nativitates annuntiant 195 et vocationes, 196Prophetis assistunt, 197 ut tantum quaedam afferamus exempla. Denique, Angelus Gabriel nativitatem Praecursoris et illam Ipsius Iesu annuntiat. 198

333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God “brings the firstborn into the world, he says: ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’“196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church’s praise: “Glory to God in the highest!”197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.198 Again, it is the angels who “evangelize” by proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ’s return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.200

333 Ab Incarnatione ad Ascensionem, vita Verbi incarnati adoratione et servitio circumdatur angelorum. Cum Deus « introducit primogenitum in orbem terrae dicit: Et adorent Eum omnes angeli Dei » (Heb 1,6). Eorum canticum laudis in Christi Nativitate resonare non desiit in Ecclesiae laude: « Gloria [...] Deo... » (Lc 2,14). Illi Iesu protegunt infantiam, 199 Ei serviunt in deserto, 200 Eum in agonia confortant, 201 cum Ipse per illos de inimicorum manu salvari potuisset 202 sicut olim Israel.203 Angeli etiam evangelizant 204 Bonum Nuntium Incarnationis 205 et Resurrectionis annuntiantes Christi. 206 In Christi aderunt reditu, quem annuntiant, 207 pro Eius iudicii servitio. 208



   The angels in the life of the Church    Angeli in vita Ecclesiae

334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.201

334 Exinde tota Ecclesiae vita adiutorium arcanum et potens lucrifacit angelorum. 209

335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy’s In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .[“May the angels lead you into Paradise. . .”]). Moreover, in the “Cherubic Hymn” of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).

335 Ecclesia in sua liturgia se angelis coniungit ad Deum ter sanctum adorandum; 210 eorum invocat assistentiam (sic in oratione In paradisum deducant te angeli... liturgiae defunctorum, 211 vel etiam in « Hymno cherubico » liturgiae Byzantinae 212); peculiarius memoriam celebrat quorumdam angelorum (sancti Michaelis, sancti Gabrielis, sancti Raphaelis, Angelorum Custodum).

336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 ”Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

336 Vita humana, inde a suo initio 213 ad obitum, 214 est eorum custodia 215 et eorum circumdata intercessione. 216 « Quod autem unicuique fidelium adsit angelus velut paedagogus quidam et pastor vitam dirigens nemo contradicet ». 217 Vita christiana, iam hic in terris, societatem beatam angelorum et hominum in Deo unitorum participat in fide.








II. Mundus visibilis





337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day.204 On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation,205 permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.”206

337 Deus Ipse mundum creavit visibilem in tota eius magnificentia, diversitate et ordine. Scriptura symbolice opus praesentat Creatoris tamquam successionem sex dierum « laboris » divini quae in « quiete » diei septimi terminatur. 218 Relate ad creationem, textus sacer veritates docet a Deo revelatas nostrae salutis causa, 219 quae permittunt « totius creaturae intimam naturam, valorem et ordinationem in laudem Dei agnoscere ». 220

338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.207

338 Nihil exsistit quod suam exsistentiam Deo Creatori non debeat. Mundus incepit, cum ex nihilo per Verbum Dei est factus; omnia entia exsistentia, omnis natura, tota historia humana in hoc primordiali radicantur eventu: est enim genesis per quam mundus constitutus est tempusque incepit.221

339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the “six days” it is said: “And God saw that it was good.” “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws.”208 Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

339 Unaquaeque natura suam bonitatem et suam perfectionem possidet proprias. De singulis operibus « sex dierum » dicitur: « Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum ». « Ex ipsa enim creationis condicione res universae propria firmitate, veritate, bonitate propriisque legibus ac ordine instruuntur ». 222 Diversae creaturae, in suo esse proprio volitae, radium reverberant, unaquaeque suo modo, infinitae sapientiae et infinitae bonitatis Dei. Hac de causa, homo bonitatem propriam uniuscuiusque creaturae revereri debet, ut usus rerum vitetur inordinatus, qui Creatorem contemnit et consequentias nefastas pro hominibus et pro eorum ambitu secum fert.

340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.

340 Creaturarum interdependentia a Deo est volita. Sol et luna, cedrus et flosculus, aquila et passer: spectaculum earum diversitatum et inaequalitatum innumerarum significat, nullam e creaturis sibi ipsi sufficere. Illae non exsistunt nisi in dependentia aliarum ab aliis, ut se mutuo compleant in servitio aliarum ad alias.

341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.

341 Universi pulchritudo. Ordo et harmonia mundi creati ex diversitate resultat entium et relationum inter ea exsistentium. Homo ea progressive detegit tamquam naturae leges. Scientiarum cultorum suscitant admirationem. Creationis pulchritudo reverberat infinitam Creatoris pulchritudinem. Illa reverentiam et submissionem intelligentiae hominis et voluntatis eius inspirare debet.

342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the “six days”, from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures209 and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: “You are of more value than many sparrows”, or again: “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!”210

342 Creaturarum hierarchia ordine « sex dierum » exprimitur qui a minus perfecto ad perfectiorem procedit. Deus omnes Suas amat creaturas, 223 et eas, etiam passeres, habet curae. Tamen Iesus dicit: « Multis passeribus pluris estis » (Lc 12,7), vel etiam: « Quanto igitur melior est homo ove! » (Mt 12,12).

343 Man is the summit of the Creator’s work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.211

343 Homo culmen est operis creationis. Narratio inspirata id exprimit, creationem hominis nitide ab illa aliarum distinguens creaturarum. 224

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory:

344 Inter omnes creaturas mutua habetur necessitudo eo quod omnes Eumdem habeant Creatorem, et omnes ad Eius ordinentur gloriam:

May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. . . 
May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . . 
Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.212

« Laudatus sis, mi Domine, cum universa creatura Tua,
principaliter cum domino fratre Sole,
qui est dies, et illuminas nos per ipsum.
Et ipse est pulcher et irradians magno splendore;
de Te, Altissime, profert significationem...

Laudatus sis, mi Domine, propter sororem Aquam,
quae est perutilis et humilis 
et pretiosa et casta...

Laudatus sis, mi Domine, propter sororem nostram matrem Terram,
quae nos sustentat et gubernat,
et producit diversos fructus 
cum coloratis floribus et herba...

Laudate et benedicite Dominum meum,
gratias agite et servite Illi 
magna humilitate ». 225

345 The sabbath - the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that “on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done”, that the “heavens and the earth were finished”, and that God “rested” on this day and sanctified and blessed it.213 These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:

345 Sabbatum — finis operis « sex dierum ». Textus sacer dicit: « Complevitque Deus die septimo opus Suum, quod fecerat » et sic « perfecti sunt caeli et terra »; atque Deus die septimo « requievit », huic « benedixit » diei et illum « sanctificavit » (Gn 2,1-3). Haec inspirata verba doctrinis salutaribus sunt abundantia.

346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God’s covenant.214 For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.

346 Deus in creatione fundamentum posuit et leges quae stabilia permanent, 226 super quae credens fidenter potest inniti et quae illi signum erunt et pignus inconcussae fidelitatis Foederis Dei. 227 Ex parte sua, homo fidelis huic fundamento manere debebit et leges vereri in illo a Creatore inscriptas.

347 Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation.215 As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God”, that is, solemn worship.216 This indicates the right order of human concerns.

347 Creatio intuitu sabbati effecta est et propterea intuitu cultus et adorationis Dei. Cultus est in creationis ordine inscriptus. 228 « Nihil operi Dei praeponatur », dicit sancti Benedicti Regula, 229 ita rectum sollicitudinum humanarum denotans ordinem.

348 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel’s law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.

348 Sabbatum in corde est Legis Israel. Servare mandata est sapientiae et voluntati Dei consonare in opere creationis Eius expressis.

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.217

349 Dies octavus. Sed pro nobis, novus dies est ortus: dies resurrectionis Christi. Septimus dies primam concludit creationem. Octavus dies creationem incipit novam. Sic opus creationis culminat in maximo Redemptionis opere. Prima creatio sensum suum et culmen invenit in nova creatione in Christo, cuius splendor superat illum primae. 230








I. « Ad imaginem Dei » 





350 Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: “The angels work together for the benefit of us all” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 114, 3, ad 3).

350 Angeli creaturae sunt spirituales, quae Deum incessanter glorificant et qui Eius consiliis erga alias creaturas serviunt salvificis: « Ad omnia bona nostra cooperantur angeli ». 231

351 The angels surround Christ their Lord. They serve him especially in the accomplishment of his saving mission to men.

351 Angeli Christum, Dominum circumstant suum. Illi serviunt peculiariter in effectione Eius missionis salvificae erga homines.

352 The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being.

352 Ecclesia angelos veneratur qui eam in eius peregrinatione adiuvant terrestri et qui omne ens protegunt humanum.

353 God willed the diversity of his creatures and their own particular goodness, their interdependence and their order. He destined all material creatures for the good of the human race. Man, and through him all creation, is destined for the glory of God.

353 Deus creaturarum Suarum diversitatem et earum propriam voluit bonitatem, earum interdependentiam et earum ordinem. Omnes creaturas materiales ad bonum generis destinavit humani. Homo, et per eum tota creatio, ad gloriam destinatur Dei.

354 Respect for laws inscribed in creation and the relations which derive from the nature of things is a principle of wisdom and a foundation for morality.

354 Leges in creatione inscriptas observare atque relationes quae e rerum natura derivantur, principium est sapientiae et fundamentum moralitatis.



186 Ps 115:16; 19:2; Mt 5:16.
187 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800; cf. DS 3002 and Paul VI, CPG § 8.
188 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103,1,15: PL 37,1348.
189 Mt 18:10; Ps 103:20.
190 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3891; Lk 20:36; Dan 10:9-12.
191 Mt 25:31.
192 Col 1:16.
193 Heb 1:14.
194 Cf. Job 38:7 (where angels are called “sons of God”); Gen 3:24; 19; 21:17; 22:11; Acts 7:53; Ex 23:20-23; Judg 13; 6:11-24; Isa 6:6; 1 Kings 19:5.
195 Cf. Lk 1:11,26.
196 Heb 1:6.
197 Lk 2:14.
198 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13,19; 4:11; 26:53; Mk 1:13; Lk 22:43; 2 Macc 10:29-30; 11:8.
199 Cf. Lk 2:8-14; Mk 16:5-7.
200 Cf. Acts 1:10-11; Mt 13:41; 24:31; Lk 12:8-9.
201 Cf. Acts 5:18-20; 8:26-29; 10:3-8; 12:6-11; 27:23-25.
202 Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Ps 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12.
203 St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29,656B.
204 Gen 1:l-2:4.
205 Cf. DV 11.
206 LG 36 § 2.
207 Cf. St. Augustine, De Genesi adv. Man. 1,2,4: PL 34,175.
208 GS 36 § 1.
209 Cf. Ps 145:9.
210 Lk 12:6-7; Mt 12:12.
211 Cf. Gen 1-26.
212 St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Creatures.
213 Gen 2:1-3.
214 Cf. Heb 4:3-4; Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26.
215 Cf. Gen 1:14.
216 St. Benedict, Regula 43,3: PL 66,675-676.
217 Cf. Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 24, prayer after the first reading.