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Dr. Edward Peters 

To work for the proper implementation of canon law is to play an extraordinarily

constructive role in continuing the redemptive mission of Christ. Pope John Paul II

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1983 Code

 

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1152 x 864

Updated

14 may 2017

Resources on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)


Overview

 

This page under development. Your patience is appreciated.

From the first papal indication in 1959 that codified canon law was going to experience a thorough reform—known today as the 1983 Code—canon law has been intimately bound to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

 


Announcement

John XXIII (reg. 1958-1963), alloc. Questa festiva (25 ian 1959), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 51 (1959) 65-69. See also John XXIII enc. Ad Petri cathedram (29 iun 1959), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 51 (1959) 497-531, Eng. trans., To the Chair of Peter”, The Pope Speaks 5 (1959) 359-383.

 


 

 

Second Vatican Council in plenary assembly

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)

 

Period 1

  • Session 1, 11 October 1962 to under John XXIII

  • Session 2, 29 September 1963 to

  • Session 3, 4 December 1963 to

  • Session 4, 14 September 1964 to

  • Session 5, 21 November 1964 to

  • Session 6, 14 September 1965 to

  • Session 7, 28 October 1965 to

  • Session 8, 18 November 1965 to

  • Session 9, 7 December 1965 to

  • Session 10, 8 December 1965 to

Period 2

 

Period 3

 

Period 4

 


Citations to

official documents

 

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Constitutio de Sacra Liturgia Sacrosanctum Concilium (4 dec 1963), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 56 (1964) 97-138, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 3-69; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 1-37; Early prominent commentary: Josef Jungmann, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) I: 1-87. The five major instructions issued for the proper implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium are:

  • Sacra Congregatio Rituum, Instructio ad Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia recte exsequendam Inter Oecumenici (26 sep1964), AAS 56 (1964) 877-900;

  • Sacra Congregatio Rituum, Instructio altera…Tres abhinc annos (4 mai 1967), AAS 59 (1967) 442-448;

  • Sacra Congregatio pro Cultu Divino, Instructio tertia…Liturgicae instaurationes (5 sep 1970), AAS 62 (1970) 692-704;

  • Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, Instructio quarta…Variaetates legitimae (24 ian1994), AAS 87 (1995) 288-314; and,

  • Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, Instructio quinta…Liturgiam authenticam (28 mar 1991), AAS 93 (2001) 685-726.

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Instrumentis Communicationis Socialis Inter mirifica (4 dec 1963), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 56 (1964) 145-157, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 73-89; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 283-292; Early prominent commentary: Karlheinz Schmidthüs, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) I: 89-104.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Constitutio Dogmatica de Ecclesia Lumen gentium (21 nov 1964), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 57 (1965) 5-75, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 93-219; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 350-426; Early prominent commentary: aa.vv., H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) I: 105-305.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Ecclesiis Orientalibus Catholicis Orientalium Ecclesiarum (21 nov 1964), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 57 (1965) 76-89, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 223-240; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 441-451; Early prominent commentary: Johannes Hoeck, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) I: 307-331.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Oecumenismo Unitatis redintegratio (21 nov 1964), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 57 (1965) 90-112, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 243-274; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 452-473; Early prominent commentary: Werner Becker and Johannes Feiner, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) II: 1-164.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Pastorali Episcoporum Munere in Ecclesia Christus Dominus (28 oct 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 673-701, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 277-330; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 564-590; Early prominent commentary: Klaus Mörsdorf, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) II: 165-300.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Accommodata Renovatione Vitae Religiosae Perfectae caritatis (28 oct 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 702-712, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 333-353; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 611-623; Early prominent commentary: Friedrich Wulf, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) II: 301-370.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Institutione Sacerdotali Optatam totius (28 oct 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 713-727, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 357-384; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 707-724; Early prominent commentary: Josef Neuner, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) II: 371-404.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Declaratio de Educatione Christiana Gravissimum educationis (28 oct 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 728-739, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 387-408; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 725-737; Early prominent commentary: Johannes Pohlschneider, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) IV: 1-48.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Declaratio de Ecclesiae Habitudine ad Religiones Non-Christianas Nostra aetate (28 oct 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 740-744, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 411-418; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 738-742; Early prominent commentary: aa.vv., in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) III: 1-154.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Constitutio Dogmatica de Divina Revelatione Dei verbum (18 nov 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 817-836, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 423-456; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 750-765; Early prominent commentary: aa.vv., in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) III: 155-272.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Apostolatu Laicorum Apostolicam actuositatem (18 nov 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 837-864, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 459-508; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 766-798; Early prominent commentary: Ferdinand Klostermann, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) III: 273-404.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Declaratio de Libertate Religiosa Dignitatis humanae (7 dec 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 929-946, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 511-540; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 799-812; Early prominent commentary: Pietro Pavan, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) IV: 49-86.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Activitate Missionali Ecclesiae Ad gentes divinitus (7 dec 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 947-990, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 543-615; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 813-856; Early prominent commentary: Suso Brechter, in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) IV: 87-181.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Decretum de Presbyterorum Ministerio et Vita Prebyterorum ordinis (7 dec 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 991-1024, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 619-678; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 863-902; Early prominent commentary: aa.v.., in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) IV: 183-297.

 

Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, Constitutio Pastoralis de Ecclesia in Mundo Huius Temporis Gaudium et spes (7 dec 1965), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 1025-1120, or id., Constitutiones, Decreta, Declarationes (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966) 681-835; Eng. trans. A. Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents (Catholic Book Publishing, 1975) 903-1001; Early prominent commentary: aa.vv., in H. Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, in 5 vols., (Herder and Herder, 1967-1969) V: 1-379.

 


Jerome Cdl. Hamer (Belgian Dominican, 1916-1996), "Le Code et le Concile", L’Osservatore Romano, 15 February 1983, =.

enp trans, feb 2004.

 

Hamer

 

 

 

The 1983 Code and the Second Vatican Council

 

1. In the eyes of Pope John XXIII, the revision of the Code of canon law was inseparable from the work of the Ecumenical Council. The pair constituted two points of the same program announced on the same day at St. Paul’s outside the Walls on January 25th 1959. Naturally this revision could not commence until after the Council, for it was concerned basically with translating into legislation the principles, decisions, and orientations adopted in the course of the four Conciliar sessions, that is to say, giving juridic form to the content of the Council.

 

For the first time in history a reform of ecclesiastical legislation would be directly developed from Church teaching long maturing. Practically speaking, the principle text of Vatican II is the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium. It crowns a whole series of documents on internal renewal and on various lines of conduct for post-Conciliar dialogue, and constitutes an ecclesiological given that has no comparison with what we have encountered in the past. Certainly the whole heritage of the Church is present therein, but one finds within this work an organic synthesis of enhanced value that augments this teaching and enables it to address new situations.

 

Open the new Code, and you will find the teaching of Lumen gentium and the other Conciliar texts. The Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code has faithfully carried out the work that John XXIII entrusted to it and that has been confirmed by his successors.

 

2. Obviously one does not find the entire Council in the Code. The doctrinal and pastoral teaching of Vatican II gives specific directions that law must take into account and issues therefrom a complex of norms already well formulated; but Church teaching does not stop with considerations that are directly or indirectly juridic. The doctrine of the Church will always be richer than canon law because one cannot express everything in law.

 

On the other hand, the Code contains norms that are not found in the Council. One notes that after the first session [of the Council] it was necessary to reduce considerably the proposed schemata, and to see that a large part of the preliminary questions would be entrusted to the Code Commission instituted for this purpose at precisely that moment (29 March 1963), between the first and second session. Still, the Code must legislate on subjects that are indispensable for the life of the Church but were not treated by the Council in depth or weren’t treated at all. Finally, one will not find at all times the language of the Council in the Code. Juridic style has its own requirements and vocabulary. What is essential is that the Code conform to the Council’s ideas.

 

3. Vatican II presents an ecclesiology of communion that one easily finds in the Code. In this vein, Canon 204 § 1 of Book II (De Populo Dei) is typical. It defines the faithful (members of the Church) in relation to the vocation that they have to exercise, each one in the situation where he finds himself, within the mission that God has entrusted to his Church on earth. This vocation is founded on their incorporation in Christ by baptism, on the fact that they constitute the People of God, and on their participation in the priestly, prophetic, and royal missions of Christ. The definition of the faithful precedes the canon that distinguishes clergy from laity in so far as they have been constituted, or not, sacred ministers by the sacrament of orders (1983 CIC 207 § 1). All are called to take part in the mission of the Church because all are baptized and form part of the unique People of God. This universal call, that excludes no one, establishes among the faithful a true equality that the Code underscores in Canon 208. Of course, baptism does not confer by itself a sort of generic qualification to assume just any role in the Christian community. In the realization of the mission of the Church, each person works according to his own condition and his own function (secundum propriam cujusque conditionem et munus, Canon 208). One might also consider the action of sacraments received (confirmation, marriage, and above all orders), other spiritual gifts, duties assigned by the hierarchy, the religious state, talents placed at the service of the Church, and so on. The Church is thus a differentiated community in which pastors are constituted as such by the sacrament of orders.

 

4. It is thus a matter of an application of communion in the Church that is founded on the fact that each faithful takes part in a unique living reality, one in which each carries out his part and to which each brings a share of all he is and all that he has received. At the heart of this special unity, the bonds of reciprocity and interdependence are formed between each member of the Church and all the others. In the Code as in the Council, one sees a concern to appreciate the place that each person occupies in the Church, the role assigned to each, and the means by which one is enabled to contribute to the growth of the Body of Christ. As the faithful are called to collaborate with others, so the Code points out those instruments of communion by which one’s vocation can be concretely realized.

 

5. It follows that one cannot oppose an ecclesiology of communion to a juridic ecclesiology. This would lead to doing an injustice to the notion of communion that, far from being a recent creation of theology, is to the contrary a living reality expressed all through the history of the church, sending its roots deep into biblical witness. This reality reclaims a juridic form that demands that one be animated by charity. For my part I would define the Church just as understood by the Council and the Code, that is to say, as a communion at once interior and exterior, with the interior communion of the spiritual life (of faith, hope, and charity) being signified and produced by an exterior communion of faith, discipline, and sacramental life. As a consequence, the hierarchic constitution of the Church must be considered as a form of service proper to certain of its members and making up an essential part of ecclesial communion.

 

6. After having studied and reviewed the work of the commission, John Paul II has approved and promulgated the new Code that henceforth will be the law of the Church. This promulgation solemnly expresses before the eyes of the whole world the will of the Church to conform her institutions to the model set forth by Vatican II. Certainly this will does not date from today, for since the day after the Council various partial legislations, provisory and sometimes ad experimentum, have given a concrete form to Conciliar directives. But today, the Church takes a new step forward in promulgating a universal and definitive legislation that engages the future with a view toward considerable duration.

 

The realization of the Council has certainly been the principle objective pursued by the revision of the Code. This has also been the formal commitment taken up by John Paul II on the day after his election (Message to the World, 17 October 1978) it treats without any doubt a work of wide scope and common commitment; and that is why the legislator must be able to count on the goodwill and perseverance of all. As with the 1917 Code, the new Code will have its imperfections. This is inevitable. But this is why the Code itself (1983 CIC 16) has foreseen the possibility of the authentic interpretation of norms which might be in need of such. There will, to be sure, be other difficulties to face, but they will be easily overcome by those who strive to recognize in the 1983 Code the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council.

 

 


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