Vatican Documents

As a candidate looking forward to coming into the Church, what Vatican documents are important to read?


Well, the Catechism. Haha.

This is a good question though. Sort of an essential encyclical list?
I hear the tract on the Theology of the Body is a good read, as is Lumen Gentium.

I should have stated what was already in my library. Catechism✔️ and Lumen Gentium✔️I also have the Baltimore Catechism, too.

It would be wise to study the two dogmatic constitutions, *Lumen Gentium *and Dei Verbum, and *Presbyterorum ordinis *(on the ministry and life of priests), but all the documents should be read.

The Austin Flannery, O.P., edition is the one to study, if using a book. There is an error in the translation of *Dei Verbum *shown in the Vatican website.

Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae “Of Human Life” is remarkably prophetic.

Important” is not a word that I usually associate with laypeople and Vatican documents. Most Catholic laypeople have never read any Vatican documents. And the Church doesn’t particularly encourage them to.

The Church does, however, entreat the Faithful to read Scripture (and even offers an indulgence for doing so, which I don’t believe is the case with any Vatican documents). If you feel you are already well-grounded in Scripture then it would be good to “move on” to Vatican teaching (starting, obviously, with the Catechism), but if you feel otherwise then I would encourage you to make a study of Scripture first (especially the Gospels and the New Testament).

Furthermore, if someone were to ask me to name the most recommended Church documents, writings of Saints would outnumber Vatican documents. There is great inspiration and wisdom to be learned from the Saints, and that may be a better place for you to begin.

Scripture and the Catechism. After those two, I second:
PaulfromIowa – Humanae Vitae
David Filmer – lives and/or writings of the saints.

This might help you a bit:
7 Papal Encyclicals That Changed the World

It’s a good list of encyclicals that you are likely to read and hear frequently mentioned.
I would suggest just slowly reading the ones that spark your interest for whatever reason.

This is a good site, if you haven’t discovered it already:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit