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The AskACatholic Repository of recent and previous Conciliary and Papal documents.
  • Documents from Vatican II and bio's on Previous Councils
  • Documents from Previous Popes
  • Documents by Subject

Documents of Vatican II ordered by the type of document.

Constitutions

Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 1965.

Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, Lumen Gentium, 1964.

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1963.

Pastoral Constitution On the Church In the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes 1965.

Declarations

Declaration On Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis 1965.

Declaration On the Relation Of the Church to Non-Christian Religions
Nostra Aetate, 1965.

Declaration On Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae, 1965.

Decrees

Decree On the Mission Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 1965.

Decree On the Ministry and Life of Priests, 1965.
Presbyterorum Ordinis

Decree On the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem, 1965.

Decree On Priestly Training, 1965.
Optatam Totius

Decree On Renewal of Religious Life Perfectae Caritatis, 1965.

Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops In the Church Christus Dominus, 1965.

Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 1964.

Decree On the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 1964.

Decree On the Means of Social Communication Inter Mirifica, 1963.

Previous Catholic Councils:

First Vatican Council — Years: 1869-1870

Summary: The Vatican Council was summoned by Pius IX. It met 8 December, 1869, and lasted till 18 July, 1870, when it was adjourned; it is still (1908) unfinished. There were present 6 archbishop-princes, 49 cardinals, 11 patriarchs, 680 archbishops and bishops, 28 abbots, 29 generals of orders, in all 803. Besides important canons relating to the Faith and the constitution of the Church, the council decreed the infallibility of the pope when speaking ex cathedra, i.e. when as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. Further Reading.

Council Of Trent — Years: 1545-1563

Summary: The Council of Trent lasted eighteen years (1545-1563) under five popes: Paul III, Julius III, Marcellus II, Paul IV and Pius IV, and under the Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand. There were present 5 cardinal legates of the Holy See, 3 patriarchs, 33 archbishops, 235 bishops, 7 abbots, 7 generals of monastic orders, and 160 doctors of divinity. It was convoked to examine and condemn the errors promulgated by Luther and other Reformers, and to reform the discipline of the Church. Of all councils it lasted longest, issued the largest number of dogmatic and reformatory decrees, and produced the most beneficial results. Further Reading.

Fifth Lateran Council — Years: 1512-1517

Summary: The Fifth Lateran Council sat from 1512 to 1517 under Popes Julius II and Leo X, the emperor being Maximilian I. Fifteen cardinals and about eighty archbishops and bishops took part in it. Its decrees are chiefly disciplinary. A new crusade against the Turks was also planned, but came to naught, owing to the religious upheaval in Germany caused by Luther. Further Reading.

Council Of Basle/Ferrara/Florence — Years: 1431-1439

Summary: The Council of Basle met first in that town, Eugene IV being pope, and Sigismund Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Its object was the religious pacification of Bohemia. Quarrels with the pope having arisen, the council was transferred first to Ferrara (1438), then to Florence (1439), where a short-lived union with the Greek Church was effected, the Greeks accepting the council's definition of controverted points. The Council of Basle is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See. Further Reading.
 

Council Of Constance — Years: 1414-1418

The Council of Constance was held during the great Schism of the West, with the object of ending the divisions in the Church. It became legitimate only when Gregory XI had formally convoked it. Owing to this circumstance it succeeded in putting an end to the schism by the election of Pope Martin V, which the Council of Pisa (1403) had failed to accomplish on account of its illegality. The rightful pope confirmed the former decrees of the synod against Wyclif and Hus. This council is thus ecumenical only in its last sessions (42-45 inclusive) and with respect to the decrees of earlier sessions approved by Martin V. Further Reading.

Council Of Vienne — Years: 1311-1313 

Summary: The Council of Vienne was held in that town in France by order of Clement V, the first of the Avignon popes. The Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria, 300 bishops (114 according to some authorities), and 3 kings -- Philip IV of France, Edward II of England, and James II of Aragon -- were present. The synod dealt with the crimes and errors imputed to the Knights Templars, the Fraticelli, the Beghards, and the Beguines, with projects of a new crusade, the reformation of the clergy, and the teaching of Oriental languages in the universities. Further Reading.

Second Council Of Lyons — Year: 1274

Summary: The Second General Council of Lyons was held by Pope Gregory X, the Patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople, 15 cardinals, 500 bishops, and more than 1000 other dignitaries. It effected a temporary reunion of the Greek Church with Rome. The word filioque was added to the symbol of Constantinople and means were sought for recovering Palestine from the Turks. It also laid down the rules for papal elections. Further Reading.
 

First Council Of Lyons — Year: 1245

Summary: The First General Council of Lyons was presided over by Innocent IV; the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Aquileia (Venice), 140 bishops, Baldwin II, Emperor of the East, and St. Louis, King of France, assisted. It excommunicated and deposed Emperor Frederick II and directed a new crusade, under the command of St. Louis, against the Saracens and Mongols.
Further Reading.

Fourth Lateran Council — Year: 1215

Summary: The Fourth Lateran Council was held under Innocent III. There were present the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, 71 archbishops, 412 bishops, and 800 abbots the Primate of the Maronites, and St. Dominic. It issued an enlarged creed (symbol) against the Albigenses (Firmiter credimus), condemned the Trinitarian errors of Abbot Joachim, and published 70 important reformatory decrees. This is the most important council of the Middle Ages, and it marks the culminating point of ecclesiastical life and papal power. Further Reading.
 

Third Lateran Council — Year: 1179

Summary: The Third Lateran Council took place under Pope Alexander III, Frederick I being emperor. There were 302 bishops present. It condemned the Albigenses and Waldenses and issued numerous decrees for the reformation of morals. Further Reading.
 

Second Lateran Council — Year: 1139

Summary: The Second Lateran Council was held at Rome under Pope Innocent II, with an attendance of about 1000 prelates and the Emperor Conrad. Its object was to put an end to the errors of Arnold of Brescia. Further Reading.
 

First Lateran Council — Year: 1123

Summary: The First Lateran Council, the first held at Rome, met under Pope Callistus II. About 900 bishops and abbots assisted. It abolished the right claimed by lay princes, of investiture with ring and crosier to ecclesiastical benefices and dealt with church discipline and the recovery of the Holy Land from the infidels. Further Reading.

Fourth Council Of Constantinople — Year: 869

Summary: The Fourth General Council of Constantinople, under Pope Adrian II and Emperor Basil numbering 102 bishops, 3 papal legates, and 4 patriarchs, consigned to the flames the Acts of an irregular council (conciliabulum) brought together by Photius against Pope Nicholas and Ignatius the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople; it condemned Photius who had unlawfully seized the patriarchal dignity. The Photian Schism, however, triumphed in the Greek Church, and no other general council took place in the East. Further Reading.

Second Council Of Nicaea — Year: 787

Summary: The Second Council of Nicaea was convoked by Emperor Constantine VI and his mother Irene, under Pope Adrian I, and was presided over by the legates of Pope Adrian; it regulated the veneration of holy images. Between 300 and 367 bishops assisted. Further Reading.
 

Third Council Of Constantinople — Years: 680-681

Summary: The Third General Council of Constantinople, under Pope Agatho and the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, was attended by the Patriarchs of Constantinople and of Antioch, 174 bishops, and the emperor. It put an end to Monothelitism by defining two wills in Christ, the Divine and the human, as two distinct principles of operation. It anathematized Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, Macarius, and all their followers. Further Reading.
 

Second Council Of Constantinople — Year: 553

Summary: The Second General Council of Constantinople, of 165 bishops under Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian I, condemned the errors of Origen and certain writings (The Three Chapters) of Theodoret, of Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia and of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa; it further confirmed the first four general councils, especially that of Chalcedon whose authority was contested by some heretics. Further Reading.
 

Council Of Chalcedon — Year: 451

Summary: The Council of Chalcedon -- 150 bishops under Pope Leo the Great and the Emperor Marcian -- defined the two natures (Divine and human) in Christ against Eutyches, who was excommunicated. Further Reading.

Council Of Ephesus — Year: 431

Summary: The Council of Ephesus, of more than 200 bishops, presided over by St. Cyril of Alexandria representing Pope Celestine I, defined the true personal unity of Christ, declared Mary the Mother of God (theotokos) against Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, and renewed the condemnation of Pelagius. Further Reading.
 

First Council Of Constantinople — Year: 381

Summary: The First General Council of Constantinople, under Pope Damasus and the Emperor Theodosius I, was attended by 150 bishops. It was directed against the followers of Macedonius, who impugned the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. To the above-mentioned Nicene Creed it added the clauses referring to the Holy Ghost (qui simul adoratur) and all that follows to the end.
Further Reading.
 

First Council Of Nicaea — Year: 325

Summary: The Council of Nicaea lasted two months and twelve days. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, assisted as legate of Pope Sylvester. The Emperor Constantine was also present. To this council we owe the Nicene Creed, defining against Arius the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios), and the fixing of the date for keeping Easter (against the Quartodecimans). Further Reading.

Because our Document Library have writings going back over 85 years, please keep in context the year each writing was delivered to the faithful so you can ponder it within the proper context. (92)


Pope Francis [2013 to today]

Encyclicals

Apostolic Constitutions

Apostolic Exhortations:

Apostolic Letters:

Apostolic Bulls:

Pope Benedict XVI [2005 to 2013]

Encyclicals


Other writings


Pope St. John Paul II [1978 to 2005]

Encyclicals


Apostolic Letters



Apostolic Exhortations



General Audiences


 
(CDF) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

Venerable Pope John Paul I [August 26, 1978 to September 28, 1978]

Radio Messages

 

Homilies

Speeches

Pope St. Paul VI [1963 to 1978]

Encyclicals


Apostolic Exhortation



Audiences


(CDF) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:


Pope St. John XXIII [1958 to 1963]

Encyclicals


Apostolic Letters



General Audiences


Venerable Pope Pius XII [1939 to 1958]

Encyclicals


Apostolic [Constitution|Exhortation]



Addresses


Pope Pius XI [1922 to 1939]

Encyclicals

and special Encyclicals by Pope Leo XIII [1878 to 1903]

Encyclicals

Because our Document Library have writings going back over 85 years, please keep in context the year each writing was delivered to the faithful so you can ponder it within the proper context. (92)


On God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
The Angels
Art, Music and Motion Pictures
The Church and Salvation
The Church's View Toward Homosexuals
The Church's View Toward Capitalism, Work and Society
The Devil
Devotions
Education
On Faith
The Mass and the Eucharist
Evangelization
Family and Life Issues
Christian Marriage
Mary
Memories of John Paul I
Morals
Penance and Reconciliation
Prayer
The Priesthood - Holy Orders
Process for Anglican Parishes to Become Catholic
On the Rosary
On Sacred Scripture
Social Issues
Special Saints
Sex Abuse Issues
Science
Sunday Mass Obligation
Virtues
Vocations
Women in the Church


On God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit

The Angels

Art, Music and Motion Pictures

The Church and Salvation


The Church's View Toward Homosexuals


The Church's View TowardCapitalism, Work, and Society

The Devil

      • (On the Devil)
        — In his discourse, the Holy Father commented at great length on the fall of the angels. General Audience —August 13, 1986.
      • (Confronting The Devil's Power) [EWTN][Papal Encyclicals Online]
        General Audience — November 15, 1972.

Devotions

Education

On Faith:

      • (On FaithLumen Fidei, June 29, 2013, the first of my pontificate — Pope Francis

The Mass and the Eucharist

Evangelization

Family and Life Issues

Christian Marriage

Mary

Memories of Pope John Paul I and his brief Pontificate

Morals

      • (The Splendor of Truth) - Regarding Certain Fundamental Questions of the Church's Moral Teaching, Veritatis Splendor, August 6, 1993 — Pope John Paul II
      • (On Human Origin) - subtitled: Concerning Some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine, Humani Generis August 12, 1950 — Pope Pius XII

Penance and Reconciliation

Prayer

The Priesthood - Holy Orders

Process for Anglican Parishes to Become Catholic

On the Rosary

Sacred Scripture

Social Issues

Special Saints

Sex Abuse Issues

Science

Sunday Mass Obligation

Virtues

Vocations

Bishops

Priests

Religious

Lay Faithful

Women in the Church

 

 

 

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