Recommend a Book on Ecclesiastical Documents

I’m looking for a book which lists the more prominent and recent ecclesiastical documents (including Apostolic Constitutions & Exhortations, Papal Bulls & Encyclicals, etc.) and which provides an analysis/overview of each one and topics it covers. Basically, I want a reference guide so I know which documents I should look in for specific issues.

Any suggestions would be appreciated! :slight_smile:

I don’t know of one resource that would fit that description.

Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma might help. The problem is, though, that most of the English versions available only go up to the 1950s. It does not include commentary, though. It just takes excerpts from some of the more important Church documents as they relate to Church teaching. has texts (and links to texts) from a whole bunch of Church documents. Again, there is not really any commentary, but you can search the site.

I always imagined completing such a project myself, but have never followed through. :o

Ah, you want a Doctrinal Index of the modern Church. That would be a really cool thing to have.

Such an index exists for the documents of the Early Church, thanks to the heroic work of William Jurgens in his three-volume set, The Faith of the Early Fathers.

Alas, Jurgens has not released a “Faith of the Recent Fathers” set. And I know of nothing like it, in English or any other language.

Let’s hope that Joe’s imagination becomes reality - it would be an invaluable resource. Hey, Joe - if you write it, I will be your first customer!

For Vatican II, I highly recommend A Concise Guide to the Documents of Vatican II by Edward P. Hahnenberg. I own a copy of this book and it is excellent.

***In this indispensable guide, Edward P. Hahnenberg outlines each of the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council. Offering the background for each work, its language and context, this book provides a clear and concise overview of the Council’s work and its significance in the life of the church. Each document’s history, content, major concerns and effects are considered. ***


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