Catholic Library

How are Catholic documents related to the spiritual war? On the surface they look as if they belong in a dusty library archive. Look more deeply to see Holy Mother Church as she takes us inside the questions and answers that will lead us to eternal life!

The Vatican has a complete list of papal documents going back to Pope Leo XIII starting around 1875.

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary has a detailed discussion of papal document types. Helen Hull Hitchcock has an explanation of the authority of Church documents.

For a faster explanation: Encyclical letters are not divinely inspired and do not contain new revelation. That is reserved for apostolic constitutions. But they are authoritative teaching instruments from the Vicar of Christ. In descending order of formal authority, the papal documents are: apostolic constitutions, encyclical letters, encyclical epistles, apostolic exhortations, apostolic letters, letters, and messages. An encyclical letter is written for the whole Church, while an encyclical epistle is directed toward part of the Church, e.g., bishops or laity in a particular country, leaders of religious orders, priests, etc.

Rabbi Yeshua ‘s shlikhim, particularly Rabbi Paul, used letters to keep in touch with far distant church communities. Twenty-one of these letters were included as part of the New Testament. After the shlikhim passed into eternity, bishops often sent letters to one another, and sometimes to the faithful, to promote consistency in faith and discipline, especially about doctrines, feast-day celebrations, and liturgical calendars. The Bishop of Rome wrote epistles to bishops all over the world. He also received a great many letters from bishops all over the world and circulated them to other bishops.

The practice of circular letters fell into disuse during the Middle Ages, when the collegial bonds among bishops began to fray. The Holy See began to write letters to one bishop at a time concerning the affairs of his local diocese, and each diocesan bishop would in turn write only to the Holy See.

Since 1740 the popes have produced nearly three hundred encyclicals, most of no continuing pastoral or theological interest. Pope Benedict XIV’s Quod Provinciale (1754) to the Bishops of Albania on the use of Islamic names by Christians, and Pope Leo XIII’s In Amplissimo (1902) thanking the American bishops for their good wishes on his anniversary, address no pressing needs for the Church Militant of our day. Indeed, among the encyclicals written before St. John Paul II, perhaps ten percent are currently studied by faithful theologians.

Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758), helped by widespread use of the printing press, revived the ancient tradition of the pope writing a common letter to all the bishops of the world; modern collections of papal letters usually begin with his papacy. Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) called these letters encyclicals, from the Latin encyclicus, circular, because they were intended for wide circulation. However, for papal letters published between 1740 and 1870, there was no agreement among scholars as to which were encyclicals. After Vatican I (1870) encyclical letters were clearly marked as such.

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) restored an important characteristic of the early Christian circular letters. Encyclicals since 1740 had been primarily admonitions and exhortations regarding traditional issues; Leo XIII addressed new substantive issues, such as Catholic social teaching. He wrote some seventy-five encyclicals, including such classics as Humanum Genus (1884) on Freemasonry, Rerum Novarum (1891) on Catholic social teachingProvidentissimus Deus (1893) on Holy Scripture, and Annum Sacrum (1899) on devotion to the Sacred Heart.

During the twentieth century, Pope Pius X (1903-1914) wrote sixteen encyclicals, Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) wrote twelvePope Pius XI (1922-1939) wrote thirtyPope Pius XII (1939-1958) wrote forty-oneSt. John XXIII (1958-1963) wrote eightPope Paul VI (1963-1978) wrote sevenSt. John Paul II wrote fourteenPope Benedict XVI wrote three, and Pope Francis has written two so far.

Many Catholics have heard a priest or teacher observe that St. John Paul II is one of the greatest popes during the two thousand year history of the Church and wondered why. His nine days that changed the world alone would suffice. His remarkable influence on religious freedom, the culture of life, interreligious dialogue, and worldwide evangelization would suffice as well. His encyclicals have been extraordinary in their importance. Pope Paul VI set the stage with Humanae Vitae (1968), a bold stand against contraception, but St. John Paul II has written a remarkable number of encyclicals that have had a powerful impact on the Church, and also on non-Catholics via the public media, such as Laborem Exercens (1981) and Centesimus Annus (1991) on Catholic social teachingVeritatis Splendor (1993) on the splendor of the truth, Evangelium Vitae (1995) on the value of human life, Ut Unum Sint (1995) on ecumenism, and Fides et Ratio (1998) on the unity of faith and reason. St. John Paul II has written encyclicals that have attracted only minor attention, such as Slavorum Apostoli (1985) on evangelization of the Slavic peoples, but his overall impact is astonishingly high.

St. John Paul II’s encyclicals deserve special explanation. He does not simply make a statement supported by persuasive arguments. Instead, using phenomenological analysis, which emphasizes careful description, John Paul II often approached the same question from several different angles within a single document. He describes, thinks, judges, and then repeats the cycle often with only a slight variation. He also freely integrates insights from philosophy, theology, anthropology, and other disciplines. All this can be hard to follow for the reader who has not had seminary training. Most lay readers recognize his brilliant insights but find it hard to follow their logical development.

The phenomenological approach is a clue to St. John Paul II‘s personal authorship of many of his encyclicals. Every pope is assisted by the responsible dicastery in producing his encyclicals. In most cases the dicastery writes the encyclical according to the Holy Father’s instructions and submits it for his approval. The Holy Father makes changes as necessary and signs the final version. This is all highly confidential; the pope’s signature makes it his encyclical. However, in St. John Paul II‘s case, his phenomenological approach and distinctive writing style make it possible to conclude that he pretty much wrote his own encyclicals.

St. John Paul II had said in his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis (1979), that Vatican II was a providential event and that he was committed to implementing it. His encyclicals put great emphasis on the Vatican II documents, especially Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, and Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. In addition, John Paul II often quoted or cited Scripture in his encyclicals, overwhelmingly from the New Testament, especially The Gospel According to St. John and the Letter to the Romans. In the Old Testament, he most often quoted Genesis chapters 1 through 4. John Paul II generally let Scripture speak for itself, without reference to historical or critical exegesis. He also referred often to the Church Fathers, especially St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, and also to the Doctors of the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI was particularly focused on the three theological virtuesRabbi Paul summarized them, “So faith, hope, love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love” 1 Cor 13:13. Some Scripture publications translate the Greek agape as love, others as charity. We sometimes use them in different contexts, but in essence both are the perfect love we give to God entirely for his happiness. Benedict wrote Spe Salvi, “In hope we are saved,” and two on love: Deus Caritas Est, “God is love,” and Caritas in Veritate, “Charity in truth.”

Pope Francis added Lumen Fidei, “The light of Faith,” to complete the Church’s recent emphasis on these three great theological virtues, and Laudato Si on care for our common home.

Vatican II

Documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (its formal name). We can get an overview of Vatican II (its familiar name) by looking at the introductory paragraph of each document.

The Four Constitutions

Dei Verbum

Dei Verbum The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

“Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith, the sacred synod takes its direction from these words of St. John: “We announce to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you, so that you may have fellowship with us and our common fellowship be with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:23). Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love.” (Also see Verbum Domini)

Lumen Gentium

Lumen Gentium The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church

“Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature,(1) to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church. Since the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission. This it intends to do following faithfully the teaching of previous councils. The present-day conditions of the world add greater urgency to this work of the Church so that all men, joined more closely today by various social, technical and cultural ties, might also attain fuller unity in Christ.” (Also see Ecclesia in AmericaDominus Iesus)

EWTN Theology Roundtable: Lumen Gentium 53:52

Sacrosanctum Concilium

Sacrosanctum Concilium The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

“This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.” (Also see Ecclesia in EucharistiaSpiritus et SponsaRedemptionis SacramentumMane Nobiscum DomineSacramentum Caritatis)

Gaudium et Spes

Gaudium et Spes The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World

“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.”

The Three Declarations

Gravissimum Educationis

Gravissimum Educationis Declaration on Christian Education

“The Sacred Ecumenical Council has considered with care how extremely important education is in the life of man and how its influence ever grows in the social progress of this age.

Indeed, the circumstances of our time have made it easier and at once more urgent to educate young people and, what is more, to continue the education of adults. Men are more aware of their own dignity and position; more and more they want to take an active part in social and especially in economic and political life. Enjoying more leisure, as they sometimes do, men find that the remarkable development of technology and scientific investigation and the new means of communication offer them an opportunity of attaining more easily their cultural and spiritual inheritance and of fulfilling one another in the closer ties between groups and even between peoples. (Also see Catechesi TradendaeApostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities)

Nostra Aetate

Nostra Aetate Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions

“In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.”

4. “Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God’s saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham’s sons according to faith-are included in the same Patriarch’s call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people’s exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles. Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles, making both one in Himself.” (Also see The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable, Guidelines and SuggestionsNotes on the Correct WayAnti-Semitism A Wound to be HealedOn the 60th AnniversaryRabbi RosenVisit to the Synagogue of Rome)

Dignitatis Humanae

Dignitatis Humanae The Declaration on Religious Freedom

A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary man, and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty. The demand is likewise made that constitutional limits should be set to the powers of government, in order that there may be no encroachment on the rightful freedom of the person and of associations. This demand for freedom in human society chiefly regards the quest for the values proper to the human spirit. It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society. This Vatican Council takes careful note of these desires in the minds of men. It proposes to declare them to be greatly in accord with truth and justice. To this end, it searches into the sacred tradition and doctrine of the Church-the treasury out of which the Church continually brings forth new things that are in harmony with the things that are old.

The Nine Decrees

Ad Gentes

Ad Gentes Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church

“Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them a universal sacrament of salvation, the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying the mandate of her Founder (cf. Mark 16:16), strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men. The Apostles themselves, on whom the Church was founded, following in the footsteps of Christ, preached the word of truth and begot churches. It is the duty of their successors to make this task endure “so that the word of God may run and be glorified (2 Thess. 3:1) and the kingdom of God be proclaimed and established throughout the world.” (Also see Redemptoris Missio)

Presbyterorum Ordinis

Presbyterorum Ordinis Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests

“The excellence of the order of priests in the Church has already been recalled to the minds of all by this sacred synod. Since, however, in the renewal of Christ’s Church tasks of the greatest importance and of ever increasing difficulty are being given to this order, it was deemed most useful to treat of the subject of priests at greater length and with more depth. What is said here applies to all priests, especially those devoted to the care of souls, with suitable adaptations being made for priests who are religious. Priests by sacred ordination and mission which they receive from the bishops are promoted to the service of Christ the Teacher, Priest and King. They share in his ministry, a ministry whereby the Church here on earth is unceasingly built up into the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in order that their ministry be carried on more effectively and their lives be better provided for, in pastoral and human circumstances which very often change so profoundly, this sacred synod declares and decrees as follows.” (Also see {Pastores Dabo VobisOrdinatio SacerdotalisThe Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community)

Apostolicam Actuositatem

Apostolicam Actuositatem Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity

“To intensify the apostolic activity of the people of God, the most holy synod earnestly addresses itself to the laity, whose proper and indispensable role in the mission of the Church has already been dealt with in other documents. The apostolate of the laity derives from their Christian vocation and the Church can never be without it. Sacred Scripture clearly shows how spontaneous and fruitful such activity was at the very beginning of the Church (cf. Acts 11:192118:26Rom. 16:116Phil. 4:3).”

“Our own times require of the laity no less zeal: in fact, modern conditions demand that their apostolate be broadened and intensified. With a constantly increasing population, continual progress in science and technology, and closer interpersonal relationships, the areas for the lay apostolate have been immensely widened particularly in fields that have been for the most part open to the laity alone. These factors have also occasioned new problems which demand their expert attention and study. This apostolate becomes more imperative in view of the fact that many areas of human life have become increasingly autonomous. This is as it should be, but it sometimes involves a degree of departure from the ethical and religious order and a serious danger to Christian life. Besides, in many places where priests are very few or, in some instances, deprived of due freedom for priestly work, the Church could scarcely exist and function without the activity of the laity.”

Optatam Totius

Optatam Totius Decree on Priestly Training

“Animated by the spirit of Christ, this sacred synod is fully aware that the desired renewal of the whole Church depends to a great extent on the ministry of its priests. It proclaims the extreme importance of priestly training and lays down certain basic principles by which those regulations may be strengthened which long use has shown to be sound and by which those new elements can be added which correspond to the constitutions and decrees of this sacred council and to the changed conditions of our times. Because of the very unity of the Catholic priesthood this priestly formation is necessary for all priests, diocesan and religious and of every rite. Wherefore, while these prescriptions directly concern the diocesan clergy, they are to be appropriately adapted to all.”

Perfectae Caritatis

Perfectae Caritatis Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life

“The sacred synod has already shown in the constitution on the Church that the pursuit of perfect charity through the evangelical counsels draws its origin from the doctrine and example of the Divine Master and reveals itself as a splendid sign of the heavenly kingdom. Now it intends to treat of the life and discipline of those institutes whose members make profession of chastity, poverty and obedience and to provide for their needs in our time.”

“Indeed from the very beginning of the Church men and women have set about following Christ with greater freedom and imitating Him more closely through the practice of the evangelical counsels, each in his own way leading a life dedicated to God. Many of them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, lived as hermits or founded religious families, which the Church gladly welcomed and approved by her authority. So it is that in accordance with the Divine Plan a wonderful variety of religious communities has grown up which has made it easier for the Church not only to be equipped for every good work (cf. 2 Tim 3:17) and ready for the work of the ministry-the building up of the Body of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:12)-but also to appear adorned with the various gifts of her children like a spouse adorned for her husband (cf. Apoc. 21:2) and for the manifold Wisdom of God to be revealed through her (cf. Eph. 3:10).” (Also see Evangelium Vitae)

Christus Dominus

Christus Dominus Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops

“Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, came that He might save His people from their sins(1) and that all men might be sanctified. Just as He Himself was sent by the Father, so He also sent His Apostles.(2) Therefore, He sanctified them, conferring on them the Holy Spirit, so that they also might glorify the Father upon earth and save men, “to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12), which is the Church.”

Unitatis Redintegratio

Unitatis Redintegratio Decree on Ecumenism

“The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but differ in mind and go their different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided. Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.” (Also see Ut Unum SintAngelorum CoetibusComplementary Norms)

Orientalium Ecclesiarum

Orientalium Ecclesiarum Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite

The Catholic Church holds in high esteem the institutions, liturgical rites, ecclesiastical traditions and the established standards of the Christian life of the Eastern Churches, for in them, distinguished as they are for their venerable antiquity, there remains conspicuous the tradition that has been handed down from the Apostles through the Fathers (1) and that forms part of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church. This Sacred Ecumenical Council, therefore, in its care for the Eastern Churches which bear living witness to this tradition, in order that they may flourish and with new apostolic vigor execute the task entrusted to them, has determined to lay down a number of principles, in addition to those which refer to the universal Church; all else is remitted to the care of the Eastern synods and of the Holy See.

Inter Mirifica

Inter Mirifica Decree on the Media of Social Communications

Among the wonderful technological discoveries which men of talent, especially in the present era, have made with God’s help, the Church welcomes and promotes with special interest those which have a most direct relation to men’s minds and which have uncovered new avenues of communicating most readily news, views and teachings of every sort. The most important of these inventions are those media which, such as the press, movies, radio, television and the like, can, of their very nature, reach and influence, not only individuals, but the very masses and the whole of human society, and thus can rightly be called the media of social communication.

The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God. The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss. Indeed, the Church experiences maternal grief at the harm all too often done to society by their evil use. Hence, this sacred Synod, attentive to the watchful concern manifested by the Supreme Pontiffs and Bishops in a matter of such great importance, judges it to be its duty to treat of the principal questions linked with the media of social communication. It trusts, moreover, that the teaching and regulations it thus sets forth will serve to promote, not only the eternal welfare of Christians, but also the progress of all mankind.

Also see The Rapid Development

Jewish Issues

Mit Brennender Sorge Catholic response to Nazism Pius XI 1937

Nostra Aetate declaration on the Church & non-Christian religions P6 1965 V2

Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing Nostra Aetate 4 CRRJ 1974

Relations with the Jews setting up a commission  CRRJ 1975

Notes on the correct way to present the Jews and Judaism CRRJ 1985

Statement of the Joint Commission for the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue CRRJ 1985

We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah CRRJ 1998

Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and Faults of the Past ITC 2000

The Jewish People & Their Sacred Scriptures PBC 2001

Joint Declaration on the Program of Jewish Studies at PGU CCE 2002

Anti-Semitism: A Wound to be Healed CRRJ 2003

The 18th International Catholic Jewish Liaison Committee Meeting CRRJ 2004

Meeting of the Holy See’s CRRJ with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel CRRJ 2004

60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau John Paul II 2005

Mass for the Inauguration of Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI Benedict XVI 2005

Address to Int’l Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations B16 2005

Visit to the Synagogue of Cologne on the 20th World Youth Day B16 2005

Letter of Benedict XVI on 40th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate Benedict XVI 2005

Nostra Aetate 40 Years after Vatican II Present & Future Perspectives CRRJ 2005

Bilateral Commission Meeting of CRRJ & Chief Rabbinate of Israel CRRJ 2006

Bilateral Commission Meeting of CRRJ & Chief Rabbinate of Israel CRRJ 2007

Bilateral Commission Meeting of CRRJ & Chief Rabbinate of Israel CRRJ 2012

Visit to the Synagogue of Rome Pope Benedict XVI 2010

Bilateral Meeting CRRJ & Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Delegation CRRJ 2012

The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable CRRJ 2015

Faith, Revelation and the Bible

Providentissimus Deus on Holy Scripture Leo XIII 1893

Spiritus Paraclitus on St. Jerome Benedict XV 1920

Divino Afflante Spiritu on Biblical studies Pius XII 1943

Humani Generis (on some false opinions Pius XII 1950

Dei Verbum constitution on divine revelation Paul VI 1965 V2

Fides et Ratio on faith and reason John Paul II 1998

The Jewish People & Their Sacred Scriptures PBC 2001

Mass of the Lord’s Supper date of Last Supper Benedict XVI 2007

Verbum Domini Word of God in the Mission of the Church Benedict XVI 2010

Evangelii Gaudium proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world Francis 2013

Christ our Lord, True God and True Man

Annum Sacrum, consecration to Sacred Heart  Leo XIII 1899

Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus on Jesus as Redeemer Leo XIII 1900

E Supremi on the restoration of all things in Christ Pius X 1903

Quas Primas on the Feast of Christ the King Pius XI 1925

Miserentissimus Redemptor reparation to the Sacred Heart Pius XI 1928

Sempiternus Rex Christus on the Council of Chalcedon Pius XII 1951

Aeterna Dei Sapientia the see of Peter as Christian unity John XXIII 1961

Redemptor Hominis on the Redeemer of Man John Paul II 1979

Deus Caritas Est on Christian love Benedict XVI 2005

Sacramentum Caritatis Eucharist as source and summit Benedict XVI 2007

Spe Salvi on Christian hope Benedict XVI 2007

Caritas in Veritate on integral human development Benedict XVI 2009

Evangelii Gaudium proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world Francis 2013

Marriage, Family and Sexuality

Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae on Christian marriage Leo XIII 1880

Castii Connubii on Christian marriage Pius XI 1930

Gaudium et Spes constitution Church in the modern world P6 1965 V2

Humanae Vitae on the regulation of birth Paul VI 1968

Matrimonia Mixta on mixed marriages Paul VI 1970

Theology of the Body John Paul II 1979-1984

Familiaris Consortio Christian family in modern world John Paul II 1981

Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons CDF 1986

Mulieris Dignitatem dignity and vocation of women  John Paul II 1988

Letter on Uterine Isolation and Other Questions CDF 1993

Reception of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried CDF 1994

Reception of Holy Communion Objections by divorced and remarried CDF 1998

Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage PCF 1996

Vademecum for Confessors on conjugal morality PCF 1997

The Family and Human Rights PCF 1999

Integration of the Disabled PCF 2000

Declaration Holy Communion for divorced and remarried PCLT 2000

Family, Marriage, and “De Facto” Unions PCF 2000

Proposals Legal Recognition Unions Homosexual Persons CDF 2003

Collaboration of Men and Women in Church and World CDF 2004

Hope of Salvation for Infants Who DIe Without Being Baptized ITC 2007

Lumen Fidei Francis 2013

Amoris Laetitia Francis 2016 CDF CommentNCR Comment

The Sanctity of Human Life

Declaration on Procured Abortion human life to be protected CDF 1974

Declaration on Euthanasia rights and values of human person CDF 1980

Donum Vitae respect for human life & dignity of procreation CDF 1987

Evangelium Vitae on the inviolability of human life John Paul II 1995

Reflections on Human Cloning ethical problems with cloning PAL 1997

The Dignity of Older People and their Mission in Church & World PCL 1998

Life Sustaining Treatments and the Vegetative State John Paul II 2004

Dignitas Personae on certain bioethical questions CDF 2008

Regarding the Instruction Dignitas Personae CDF 2008

The Ordained Priesthood

Ad Catholici Sacerdotii on dignity of the Catholic priesthood Pius XI 1935

Sacra Virginitas value of holy virginity and celibacy Pius XII 1954

Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia on St. John Vianney John XXIII 1959

Optatam Totius decree on priestly training Paul VI V2 1965

Presbyterorum Ordinis decree ministry & life of priests Paul VI V2 1965

Sacerdotalis Caelibatus on priestly celibacy Paul VI 1967

Pastores Dabo Vobis formation of priests present day John Paul II 1992 EWTN PDV

Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests new evangelization CC 1994

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis priestly ordination reserved to men JP2 1994

Collaboration of Non-Ordained Faithful in Priest’s Ministry CC 1997

The Role of Priests in Catechesis formation of catechists CC 1998

The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community CC 2002

Worship and the Sacraments

Mediator Dei on the sacred liturgy Pius XII 1947

Sacrosanctum Concilium constitution on sacred liturgy Paul VI 1963 V2

Mysterium Fidei on the Holy Eucharist  Paul VI 1965

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis reserving priestly ordination to men JP2 1994

Reception of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried CDF 1994

Dies Domini on keeping the Lord’s Day holy John Paul II 1998

The Integrity of the Sacrament of Penance CDW&DS 2000

Declaration Holy Communion for divorced and remarried PCLT 2000

Liturgiam Authenticam vernacular languages in liturgy CDW&DS 2001

Popular Piety and the Liturgy principles and guidelines CDW&DS 2001

Misericordia Dei on the sacrament of penance John Paul II 2002

Ecclesia de Eucharistia Eucharist in relation to Church John Paul II 2003

Spiritus et Sponsa 40th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium JP2 2003

Redemptionis Sacramentum on the Holy Eucharist CDW&DS 2004

Mane Nobiscum Domine for the Year of the Eucharist John Paul II 2004

Sacramentum Caritatis Eucharist source and summit Benedict XVI 2007

The Christian Call to Personal Sanctification

Exeunte Iam Anno on the right ordering of Christian life Leo XIII 1888

Sapientiae Christianae on Christians as citizens Leo XIII 1890

E Supremi on the restoration of all things in Christ Pius X 1903

Mens Nostra on the promotion of the spiritual exercises Pius XI 1929

Paenitentiam Agere on interior and exterior penance John XXIII 1962

Dives in Misericordia on divine mercy John Paul II 1980

Salvifici Doloris on the saving mystery of suffering John Paul II 1984

Reconciliatio et Poenitentia reconciliation and penance John Paul II 1984

Dominum et Vivificantem Holy Spirit in the life of the Church JP2 1986

Christifideles Laici on lay faithful in the Church and the world JP2 1988

Veritatis Splendor on the Church’s moral teaching John Paul II 1993

Gratissimam Sane letter to families John Paul II 1994

Vultum Dei Quaerere on women’s contemplative life Francis 2016

Catholic Education

Acerbo Nimis teaching Christian doctrine Pius X 1905

Divini Illius Magistri the Christian education of youth Pius XI 1929

Gravissimum Educationis decl on Christian education Paul VI 1965 V2

Ad Normam Decreti General Catechetical Directory CC 1971

The Catholic School guidelines Catholic identity and heritage CCE 1977

Catechesi Tradendae catechesis in our times John Paul II 1977

Sapientia Christiana on Church universities and faculties JP2 1979

Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith CCE 1982

Education Guidance in Human Love outlines for sex education CCE 1983

The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School CCE 1988

Ex Corde Ecclesia the mission of a Catholic university John Paul II 1990

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality family education PCF 1995

General Directory for Catechesis CC 1997

The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium CCE 1997

Decree Faculty of Canon Law updating Sapientia Christiana CCE 2002

Consecrated Persons and their Mission in Schools guidelines  CCE 2002

Joint Declaration on the Program of Jewish Studies at PGU CCE 2002

Persons with Homosexual Tendencies Seminary & Holy Orders CCE 2005

Educating Together in Catholic Schools consecrated & lay CCE 2007

Reform of the Higher Institutes of Religious Sciences CCE 2008

Guidelines for Psychology for Candidates to the Priesthood CCE 2008

To Bishops’ Conferences on Religious Education in Schools CCE 2009

Decree on Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy CCE 2011

Evangelii Gaudium proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world Francis 2013

Catholic Identity must be clear, uncompromising Francis 2014

Veritatis Gaudium ecclesiastical universities and faculties Francis 2017

Marian Devotions

Ineffabilis Deus dogma of the Immaculate Conception Pius IX 1854

Magnae Dei Matris on the Rosary Leo XIII 1892

Adiutricem Rosary and close relation Mary and the Church Leo XIII 1895

Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum on Immaculate Conception Pius X 1904

Ingravescentibus Malis on the Rosary Pius XI 1937

Deiparae Virginis Mariae possibility of defining assumption Pius XII 1946

Munificentissimus Deus defining dogma of the Assumption Pius XII 1950

Ingruentium Malorum on reciting the Rosary Pius XII 1951

Fulgens Corona proclaiming a Marian year Pius XII 1953

Ad Caeli Reginam proclaiming the Queenship of Mary Pius XII 1953

Grata Recordatio Rosary, prayer for Church, missions John XXIII 1959

Lumen Gentium Mary included in conciliar constitution Paul VI 1964 V2

Christi Matri the Rosary as a prayer for peace Paul VI 1966

Redemptoris Mater on the Mother of the Redeemer John Paul II 1987

Redemptoris Custos on the person and mission of St. Joseph JP2 1989

Rosarium Virginis Mariae on the most holy Rosary John Paul II 2002


Ut Unum Sint on commitment to ecumenism John Paul II 1995

The Gift of Authority on recognition of papal authority PCPCU 1999

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification Lutheran & Catholic 1999

Annex to the Official Common Statement Lutheran & Catholic 1999

Official Common Statement by Lutheran and Catholic Lutheran & Catholic 1999

Notes on the Expression “Sister Churches”  CDF 2000

Anglicanorum Coetibus personal ordinariates Anglicans  Benedict XVI 2009 EWTN 1

Complementary Norms for Anglicanorum Coetibus CDF 2009

Evangelii Gaudium proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world Francis 2013

Catholic Social Teaching

Rerum Novarum on the condition of labor Leo XIII 1891

Quadragesimo Anno on reconstruction of the social order Pius XI 1931

Mater et Magistra on Christianity and social progress John XXIII 1961

Pacem in Terris on peace on earth John XXIII 1963

Dignitatis Humanae declaration on religious liberty Paul VI V2 1965

Gaudium et Spes constitution Church in modern world Paul VI V2 1965

Populorum Progressio on the development of peoples Paul VI 1967

Laborem Exercens on the dignity of work John Paul II 1981

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 20th anniversary of Populorum Progressio JP2 1987

Centesimus Annus on 100th anniversary of Rerum Novarum JP2 1991

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church PCJP 2004

Deus Caritas Est on Christian love Benedict XVI 2005

Caritas in Veritate on integral human development Benedict XVI 2009

Laudato Si on care for our common home Francis 2015 FRdS RRR WLP  BRB


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