Reading Councils

I would like to read up on the Catholic Churchs Councils (Both Ecumenical and General) as to better understand how the Catholic Church came to certain decisions. Does anyone here know where I can find the documents, books, disertations or other on them?

For an overview on the councils, I suggest reading the articles in the Catholic encylcopedia:

All the decress of the Councils are here except both Vatican Councils (V1 is in outline form only).

Here is Vatican I:

Here is Vatican II:


As an aside, the term “General Council” is very often used to mean the same as the term “Ecumenical Council.”

Ohh. I see. I apologize. What is the term proper for local non-ecumenical councils?

And where can if read up on their decrees?

They’re usually called “local” councils or synods. If you scroll down to “councils” on this page under OTHER WORKS, there is a bunch:

Of course, that’s a great place to read the Early Church Fathers as well.

A great investment if you are really interested in studying Magisterial texts is “Sources of Catholic Dogma” edited by Denzinger (it’s often referred to in common parlance as just “Denzinger.”). It’s filled with all the ecumenical councils, tons of local councils, tons of papal documents, and even documents from the Holy Office. :thumbsup: Many more recent Church documents simply cite to Denzinger when they are citing previous teaching (the Catechism does it a lot).

Also, here is a great online source for papal documents:

Enjoy! :smiley:

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