The Council finished in December 1965. Those who celebrate their 56th birthday this year were born after it had finished and didn’t hear very much about its contents as they grew up. Last week the topics that the 16 documents dealt with were given. Two of the sixteen were named.
Of the sixteen, four are ‘constitutions’, 3 are ‘declarations’ and 9 are ‘decrees’. The Constitutions are: ‘Dei Verbum’ (Divine Revelation); ‘Lumen Gentium’ (On the Church); ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium (On the Sacred Liturgy) and ‘Gaudium et Spes’ (The Church in the Modern World).
The Constitution on Divine Revelation is often seen as the highpoint of the Church because it begins discussion of revelation on Sacred Scripture and then moves to Tradition and Magisterium. Before Vatican II a lot of Catholics never opened Scripture to read it. It was seen by some as a ‘protestant’ book due to the fact that it is the only source of teaching in the other Christian faiths. By bringing it to the fore, the Council gave Sacred Scripture its rightful place —- we hear about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, in the words of Scripture. Tradition and the Magisterium are rooted in scripture and help to ensure the continuity of the Faith and the development of how we approach those things that may need to be addressed in the context of our reality.
To find the documents online, I found that the easiest way was to enter ‘documents of the second Vatican council in either the Microsoft or Google search engines and the direct link in the Vatican website comes up.