Church Documents

This is a list of documents issued by the Popes and the Papal Curia, Ecumenical and Local Councils and Synods, including official Catechisms.

  • Ad Tuendam Fidem: Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio, by which certain norms are inserted into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, by Pope John Paul II, May 28, 1998. From L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 15 July 1998, 1. May be read online at the EWTN Library. [N.B. The Letter promulgates “new norms which expressly impose the obligation of upholding truths proposed in a definitive way by the Magisterium of the Church, and which also establish related canonical sanctions.”]
  • Aeterni Patris, Encyclical, On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy, by Pope Leo XIII (promulgated on 4 August 1879). Available at EWTN Library and The Summa.info.
  • Augustinum Hipponensem, Apostolic Letter to the Bishops, Priests, Religious Families and Faithful of the Whole Catholic Church on the Occasion of the 16th Centenary of the Conversion of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor, by Pope John Paul II, 28 August 1986. Available at Catholic Treasury (Electronic Copyright, 1999, by EWTN. All Rights Reserved).
  • Baltimore Catechism, No. 1: or A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore Questions Numbered to Agree with “Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism” with Prayers and Hymns, No. 1 {For First Communion Classes}. With Imprimatur (1885). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. [This version of the Baltimore Catechism is abridged for younger students, according to Wikipedia.] Dogma, Morals.
  • Baltimore Catechism, No. 2: or A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, Questions Numbered to Agree with “Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism” with Prayers and Hymns, No. 2 {For Confirmation Classes}. With Imprimatur (1885). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. [NB: This is the main version of the Baltimore Catechism, according to Wikipedia .]Dogma, Morals.
  • Baltimore Catechism, No. 3: or A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (In Accordance with the New Canon Law), No. 3 (For Two Years’ Course for Post-Confirmation Classes), supplemented by Rev. Thomas L. Kinkead (New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco: Benziger Brothers). With Imprimatur (1885). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. [NB: This is the version of the Baltimore Catechism that is expanded for older students, according to Wikipedia]. Dogma, Morals.
  • Baltimore Catechism, Nos. 1 to 3 may be downloaded as a single file here on Catholic Primer (e-text copyright 2005 by Catholic Primer).
  • Baltimore Catechism, No. 4: or An Explanation Of The Baltimore Catechism of Christian Doctrine For The Use of Sunday-School Teachers and Advanced Classes, by Thomas L. Kinkead (1891). With Imprimatur (1891 and 1921). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. May also be read on Catholic Information Network. Dogma, Morals.
  • The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Oecumenical Council of Trent, celebrated under the Sovereign Pontiffs Paul III, Julius III and Pius IV, translated by Rev.  James Waterworth; to which are prefixed essays on the external and internal history of the Council (London : Burns and Oates; New York: Catholic Publication Society Company) Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto) [N.B. The index page says copyright year 1888, while the preface states that it was written in 1848.]. Another edition (London: Dolman, 1848) may be read online at the Hanover Historical Texts Project (Scanned by Hanover College students in 1995).
  • Catechism of St. Pope Pius X (ca. 1880). May be downloaded here on Catholic Primer
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the 1997 editio typica. May be read on the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church website, with desktop and mobile formats and search engine; the Knights of Columbus website, with search engine; website of the Holy See; and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified. May be read on CatholiCity (1996-2011, the Mary Foundation).
  • Catechism of the Council of Trent, or the Catechism for Parish Priests. May be downloaded here on Catholic Primer (e-text copyright 2005 by Catholic Primer); and may be read at Catechetics Online.
  • Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II through the Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, January 25, 1983. Available at the Holy See (which text incorporates the 1998 amendments, according to Wikipedia), Our Lady’s Warriors, and JGray.org. According to Wikipedia, the English translation by the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, assisted by the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Canadian Canon Law Society is available at IntraText.
  • Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (or the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), promulgated by Pope John Paul II on October 18, 1990. Available in English at JGray.org and at IntraText. [N.B., Wikipedia states that the translation at IntraText is defective.]
  • Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on October 18, 1990. Latin text available at the Holy See and at IntraText.
  • Codex Iuris Canonici (Latin), promulgated by Pope John Paul II through the Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, January 25, 1983. Available at the Holy See.
  • Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Available at the Holy See.
  • Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner. Available, with summaries of each council, at Catechetics Online.
  • Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy, by Congregation for Catholic Education (2011). Available at the website of the Holy See, with excerpt and link on Rorate Coeli.
  • Decrees and canons of the [First] Vatican Council (1875). Available at Internet Archive.
  • Dignitas Connubii: Instruction to be Observed by Diocesan and Interdiocesan Tribunals in Handling Causes of the Nullity of Marriage, by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, January 25, 2005. Available at the Holy See and JGray.org.
  • Doctoris Angelici: Motu Proprio for Italy and the adjacent islands, to encourage the study of the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas in Catholic Schools, by Pope St. Pius X (1914). Available at The Summa.info
  • Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. May be read online at EWTN Library, which states “This commentary was issued coincident with the promulgation of “Ad tuendam fidem” by Pope John Paul II, modifying the Oriental and Latin codes of canon law.”
  • Documents of the Council of Trent. Available at the Catholic Community Forum.
  • Dogmatic Canons and Decrees: Authorized Translations of the Dogmatic Decrees of the Council of Trent, the Decree on the Immaculate Conception, the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX, and the Decrees of the Vatican Council (New York: Devin-Adair Co., 1912). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive [N.B., According to the Preface, it includes Canon Waterworth’s translation for the Council of Trent, Cardinal Manning’s for the First Vatican Council, and the translation of the Syllabus authorized by Cardinal McCabe, Archbishop of Dublin.]
  • Dominus Iesus: Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope Blessed John Paul II June 16, 2000, issued  August 6, 2000. May be downloaded in PDF format from Catholic Primer Library and read online at the Holy See. [NB, This is one of the most important doctrinal texts issued by the Holy See in contemporary times. It should be read together with Answers to Main Objections Against Dominus Iesus, the text of then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, published 22 September 2000, which may be read online at EWTN Library.]
  • Ecclesiam Suam: Encyclical on the Church, by Pope Paul VI, August 6, 1964. Available at the Holy See.
  • General Instruction of the Roman Missal (U.S. Adaptation), by the Congregation for Divine Worship. Available on EWTN Library.
  • Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, July 20, 2001. Available at the Holy See.
  • Humani Generis: Encyclical Concerning some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine, Pope Pius XII, August 12, 1950. May be read online at the Holy See.
  • Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, March 22, 1986. May be read online at the Catholic Information Network and the EWTN Library.
  • Instruction on Infant Baptism, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope Blessed John Paul II, October 20, 1980. May be read online at the EWTN Library and the Catholic Information Network.
  • Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water Of Life: A Christian reflection on the “New Age”, by Pontifical Council for Culture, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Available on website of the Holy See and on Catholic Primer as indexed here.
  • Lamentabili Sane: Syllabus Condemning The Errors Of The Modernists, by the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, July 3, 1907. May be read online at EWTN Library. A list of errors held by Modernists.
  • Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 28, 1992. May be read online at the Holy See, EWTN Library, and Catholic Information Network.
  • Mysterium Ecclesiae: Declaration in Defense of the Catholic Doctrine on the Church Against Certain Errors of the Present Day, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 1973. May be read online at St. Michael’s Cyberspace Scriptorium and Library and the Holy See.
  • The New Raccolta: Or, Collection of Prayers and Good Works, to which the Sovereign Pontiffs Have Attached Holy Indulgences. Published in 1898 by Order of His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII. From the Third Italian Edition, Authorized and Approved by the Sacred Congregation of Holy Indulgences, To Which is Added an Appendix Containing Prayers for Mass, and Vespers for Sunday (Philadelphia: Peter F. Cunningham & Son, 1903) With Imprimatur and with approbation from the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences and Holy Relics. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  • Omnium in Mentem: Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio” on Several Amendments to the Code of Canon Law, by Pope Benedict XVI, October 26, 2009. Available at the Holy See.
  • Orientale Lumen: Apostolic Letter to Mark the Centenary of Orientalium Dignitas of Pope Leo XIII, by Pope John Paul II, May 2, 1995. Available at the Holy See.
  • Pascendi Dominici Gregis: Encyclical on the Doctrines of the Modernists, of Pope St. Pius X, September 8, 1907. May be read at the Holy See and Papal Encyclicals Online.
  • Pastoral letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of the United States Assembled in Conference at the Catholic University of America, September, 1919 (Washington, D.C., The National Catholic Welfare Council, 1920). Available at Open Library and  Internet Archive, with a 2nd copy here. [This is a restatement of doctrine and an exhortation on all aspects of the Catholic life in the United States.]
  • Pastoral Letter to Priests, Seventh Pastoral Letter by the Council of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, August 15, 2004. Concerning the formation and ministry of priests. Available at Melkite Eparchy of Newton.
  • The Pope and the People; select letters and addresses on social questions, by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, edited by the Rev.  William H Eyre (London and Leamington: Art and Book Company; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1895). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library. [Contains the Encyclical “Rerum Novarum” on the Condition of the Working Class; the Encyclical “Immortale Dei” on the Christian Constitution of States; the Encyclical “Inscrutabili Dei Consilio” on the Evils of Society; the Encyclical “Sapientiae Christianae” on Christians as Citizens, etc.]
  • Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. A tract that summarizes the theology of the body with representative excerpts of the Pope’s lectures/addresses. Indexed on JP2Info.
  • The Primacy of the Successor of Peter in the Mystery of the Church: Reflections of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (from L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 18 November 1998, page 5-6). May be read online at EWTN Library and Catholic Information Network.
  • Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity on Assuming an Office to be Exercised in the Name of the Church, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  May be read online at the EWTN Library. Taken from L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 15 July 1998, page. “As conforming to Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem, this Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity supersedes Profession and Oath of 1989”
  • The Raccolta or Collection of Indulgenced Prayers & Good Works, translated by Ambrose St John of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Birmingham (London: Burns & Oates; New York, Chicago, Cincinnati Benziger Bros, 1910). With Imprimatur. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index. May also be read online or downloaded in various formats (PDF, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy, Full Text DjVu) at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  • Redemptionis Sacramentum, Instruction, On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (2004). Available at EWTN Library.
  • Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007. May be read online at the Holy See and at Catholic Eternal Truth.
  • Rich in Mercy: A Retranslation of Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia), by Rev. George W. Kosicki, C.S.B. (2002). May be read online at Christendom Awake: Part 1 and Part 2 here.
  • Sacri Canones: Apostolic Constitution, by Pope John Paul II, October 18, 1990. Available at Internet Archive (Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0), which states: “The Apostolic Constitution “Sacri Canones”, issued October 18, 1990 by Pope John Paul II as he promulgated the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO), the canon law in force for Eastern Catholics… Also included is an English translation of the Latin preface to the Eastern Code of Canons”.
  • Sapientia Christiana, Apostolic Constitution on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, by Pope John Paul II (April 15, 1979). Available at New Advent.
  • Sources of Catholic Dogma, translated from the Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum, first edited by Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger. Available on Catechetics Online and Catholic Fidelity. [N.B. According to Wikipedia, it incorporates documents to 1950 and uses old numbering only.] The Latin text is available on Bibliotheque Catholicque en ligne (Catholic Library Online).
  • Studiorem Ducem: Encyclical on St Thomas Aquinas, by Pope Pius XI, June 29, 1923. Available at The Summa.info
  • Theology of the Body, by Pope John Paul II. Weekly Audiences on the subject of the Redemption of the Body and the Sacramentality of Marriage, September 5, 1979 – November 28, 1984. May be read on Catechetics Online and on EWTN. May be downloaded in PDF format from this webpage of Catholic Primer.
  • Veterum Sapientia, Apostolic Constitution on the Promotion of the Study of Latin, by Pope John XXIII (February 22, 1962). Available at Adoremus.

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