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Vatican II (1962-1965) : Four Major Constitutions

Surveys the history of the Second Vatican Council and the sixteen documents it promulgated. Highlights materials that reveal the vision of Catholic faith presented by the Council from a theological perspective.

Getting Started - Some Key Resources

Schemas / Style

All four of the works listed below follow a similar format which presents successive drafts of the document arranged in 4 parallel columns accompanied by the responses of various participating bishops.

Four Major Constitutions - Online Versions

 

The Second Vatican Council met from 1962 to 1965 in four sessions (October-December 1962, September-December 1963, September-November 1964, and September-December 1965). Sixteen major documents were produced: two dogmatic and pastoral constitutions, nine decrees and three declarations. The authoritative Latin text of each of these documents can be found in Tanner's Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils or on the Vatican website (listed on your left).

There are at least five English translations of the sixteen documents; in addition there are other English translations of individual documents. The variety of ways in which the documents have been dealt with by translators shows the necessity of referring to the authoritative Latin text.

 

The four major constitutions by date promulgated:

  • Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, November 21, 1964.
  • Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, November 15, 1965.
  • Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, December 7, 1965.

Subject Guide

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Curt LeMay
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