Papal Encyclicals

Pope Benedict XVI signing the encyclical "Caritas in Veritate"

Papal letters to the Universal Church or, in many cases, especially before Vatican II, to the Bishops in communion with the Holy See. Worthy of special attention besides Rerum Novarum (see previous post) are Quadragesimo Anno, Mater et Magistra, Pacem in Terris, Populorum Progressio, Laborum Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Centesimus Annus, Caritas in Veritate, Fides et Ratio, and Spe Salvi. As of this post, the Vatican has online the encyclicals of Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul IIBenedict XVI, and Francis. ISBN recommendation: 0-87650-259-1

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople: Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I embrace

A joint Catholic-Orthodox declaration, proclaimed 7 December 1965, committing the excommunications, related to Papal embassy to Constantinople in 1054, to oblivion. The declaration marks a first step toward reconciliation between the Catholic and Orthodox communions. Image links to Vatican translation.

Vatican II

Dispersion of the Fathers, Second Vatican Council, by Lothar Wolleh

Considered by the Holy See an ecumenical council, Vatican II (A.D. 1962-65), was summoned by Pope John XXIII and begins a new phase in the development of the Church. The Council sought to initiate the adaptation of the Church to the modern world – presenting Christ as the relevant Truth even in the present age. Image above links to the Vatican translations of the Council decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2

Rev. Fernand Mourret, S.S.: A History of the Catholic Church

Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library

History, in eight volumes, of the Catholic Church from the public manifestation of Jesus Christ to Pope Pius IX (A.D. c.27 – 1878). Translated into English by Rev. Newton Thompson, S.T.D.  Published by B. Herder Book Co., 1931-57. Image links to .pdf files of the complete set.

First Vatican Council

The Vatican, Rome, Italy; ca. 1890 - 1900

Summoned by Pope Pius IX, Vatican I (A.D. 1869-70) condemned, as erroneous, philosophical naturalism, pantheism, materialism, and atheism. It also affirmed each successor to the chair of the St. Peter obtains the primacy of Peter: as Vicar of Christ and sovereign head of the Church militant. Image above links to Tanner translation of the decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2

Pope Pius IX: Ineffabilis Deus

Mother of GOD, A. Rublev (?), c. 1400, Vladimir-Suzdal Museum, Russia

Apostolic Constitution, promulgated December 8, 1854, establishing the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.” Image links to English translation.

Council of Trent

The Council of Trent, Pasquale Cati Da Iesi, 1588

Events in Western Christendom, beginning on 31 October 1517, led to widespread revolt against and abandonment of the Roman Catholic Church. Finally in 1545, Pope Paul III was able to convoke a council in Trent (A.D. 1545-63) in order to form a definitive response to the assertions of the Protestants and to effect a general reform of the Church. The Council of Trent is regarded as ecumenical by the Holy See and the initiation of the Counter-Reformation. Image above links to Buckley translation of the Council’s canons and decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2

Fifth Lateran Council

Pope Julius II, Raphael, 1511-12

Summoned by Pope Julius II in opposition to a quasi-council assembled in Pisa under the support and protection of King Louis XII of France and the Emperor Maximilian, the general council, Lateran V (A.D. 1512-17), succeeded in quashing the Pisan assembly and attaining the revocation and annulment of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. Image above links to Tanner translation of the decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2