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Daily Archives: February 12, 2011


Definition of Councils

Councils are legally convoked meetings or assemblies of bishops and those they have specially invited for the purpose of discussing and regulating matters of church doctrine, discipline and other pastoral concerns. Councils are a common effort of the Church for self-preservation and self-defense. They appear whenever faith or morals or discipline are seriously threatened.


Purposes of Councils

1.       To clarify doctrine

2.       To impose discipline

3.       To establish structures

4.       To set-up pastoral guidelines

Classification of Councils

1.       Ecumenical or General Council – Universal (for the whole world – oikoumene)

2.       Plenary Council – National (for a nation)

3.       Provincial Council – Metropolitan (for a sub-region)

4.       Diocesan Council – Diocesan Synod (for a diocese)

List of Church’s Ecumenical Councils:

1.       Council of Nicaea I (325), 318 bishops, Nicene Creed, divinity of Christ (homoousius), against Arius

2.       Council of Constantinople I (381), 150 bishops, divinity of the Holy Spirit, against Macedonius.

3.       Council of Ephesus (431), 200 bishops, personal unity of Christ, Mary as Theotokos, against Nestorius and Pelagius,

4.       Council of Chalcedon (451), 150 bishops, two natures in Christ, against Eutyches

5.       Council of Constantinople II (553), 165 bishops, confirmed first 4 councils, against Origen, Theodoret, Theodore,
and Ibas.

6.       Council of Constantinople III (680-681). 174 bishops, two wills in Christ, against Monothelitism.

7.       Council of Nicaea II (787). 300-367 bishops, regulated veneration of holy images.

8.       Council of Constantinople IV (869). 102 bishops, condemned irregular council called by  Photius.  Last of Eastern

9.       Council of Lateran I (1123). 900 bishops, abolished lay investiture, church discipline, recovery of Holy Land from
the infidels.

10.   Council of Lateran II (1139), 1000 prelates, put an end to errors of Arnold of Brescia.

11.   Council of Lateran III (1179). 302 bishops, reformation of morals, condemned Albigenses and Waldenses.

12.   Council of Lateran IV (1215). 483 bishops, 800 abbots. 70 reformatory decrees, Most important council of the
Middle Ages.

13.   Council of Lyons I (1245), 140 bishops, deposed Emperor Frederick II, called for new crusade under St. Louis
of France.

14.   Council of Lyons II (1274). 515 bishops, 1000 dignitaries. temporary reunion of Greek church with Rome, term Filioque
was added,  rules for papal elections.

15.   Council of Vienne (1311-1313). 300 bishops, crimes and errors of Knights Templars, Fratecelli, Beghards and
Beguines, new crusade, reformation of clergy.

16.   Council of Constance (1414-1418). ended great Schism of the West with election of Pope Martin V, confirmed decrees
of synod against  Wycliff and Hus.

17.   Council of Basle/Ferrara/Florence (1431-1439). Council held in various places, dealt with extirpation of heresy, peace in
Christendom,  reform of the Church.

18.   Council of Lateran V (1512-1517). 15 cardinals, 80 bishops, decrees chiefly disciplinary, religious upheaval in Germany
caused by Luther.

19.   Council of Trent (1545-1563). 276 bishops, 7 abbots, 7 generals of monastic orders, 160 doctors of divinity. Longest
council under 5 popes, condemned errors of Luther, reformed discipline of the Church, largest number of dogmatic and
reformatory decrees. Produced most beneficiary results.

20.   Council of Vatican I (1869-1870). 746 bishops, 28 abbots, 29 generals of orders, all in all 803. Adjourned unfinished,
canons relating to faith and constitution of the Church, decreed the infallibility of the pope when speaking ex cathedra.

21.   Council of Vatican II (1962-1965). 2540 bishops (out of 2,908), plus others = 3,000.

Significance of Vatican II

1.       The most important religious event of the 20th century.

2.       Council with the biggest number of attendance than any other previous councils.

3.       Council with most representatives in terms of nations and cultures.

4.       Council with more non-Catholic (18) and lay observers (52).

5.       First Council to use mass media (electricity, telephones, typewriters, news, TV.

6.       Approach was pastoral, to promote peace and unity, using research and modern thought.

Pre-Counciliar Preparation

1.       Announced by Pope John XXIII on Jan. 25, 1959 for the renewal of the Church and for unity.

2.       Preparation began in May 1959 with consultation of world’s bishops, theological faculties, and universities to make recommendations for the agenda. 13 preparatory commissions (with more than 1000 members) were appointed to write draft proposal. They prepared 67 documents called schemata, later educed to 17.

Council Celebration

1.       Council opened on Oct 11, 1962, by Pope John XXIII advising council fathers to meet the pastoral needs of
the Church.

2.       Summoned to the council as voting members were all Catholic bishops, heads of male major religious orders.

3.       Invited but without right to vote were some observers from the Orthodox and Protestant churches, some lay auditors,
male and female.

4.       Preparatory commissions originally from the Curia (the papal bureaucracy); but once the council had been opened,
others council fathers were added.

5.       Council closed on Dec. 8, 1965 by Pope Paul VI. The Council released 16 documents:  4 Constitutions,  9 Decrees,
and 3 Declarations.

My source:


Sacrosanctum Concilium


I – General Principles

II – The Eucharist

III – Other Sacraments and Sacramentals

IV – Divine Office

V – The Liturgical Year

VI – Sacred Music

VII – Sacred Art

SC reflects on the nature and laws of the Liturgy, on its place in pastoral life. It aims at rendering the participation of the faithful more authentic by actualizing a living liturgy, one in faith but diverse in the expression of that faith.

The constitution on liturgy promoted more active communal participation in the Mass as the central act of Roman Catholic public worship. Among the initial steps undertaken in the liturgy included the replacement of Latin, the ancient language of the service, by vernacular languages.

The Council has authorized the use of the vernacular, or mother tongue, not only for parts of the Mass but also for the administration of every sacrament and sacramental. It has directed national councils of bishops to establish liturgical commissions whose task is to produce suitable translations of liturgical texts, and to promote knowledge and love of the sacred liturgy.

Liturgy is at the center of Christian life and worship. It is through the active sharing in these sacred rites that the faithful, the People of God, “will drink deeply from the source of divine life. They will become the leaven of Christ, the salt of the earth. They will bear witness to that divine life; the will be instrumental in passing it on to others.”

The liturgical books are being revised and the rites simplified. The first book to appear, following the Council’s decree, is known as the Ordo Missae. Issued in January 1971, this book sets forth the rite which is to be followed, in keeping with the changes introduced by the Council and by the Liturgical Commission.

The Altar:

The sacrifice of the Mass:

Celebrant does not say privately those parts which are sung by the choir.

The prayer before the preface is to be said or sung aloud.

The prayer “Through him, and with him . . . “) is to be said or sung in a loud voice.

The “Our Father” is said or sung in the vernacular by the people together with the priest.

The words when giving Holy Communion have been shortened to “Corpus Christ” — “The Body of Christ;” the person communicating says “Amen”

The Epistle may be read by a lector or by one of the servers; the Gospel must be proclaimed by the celebrant or by a deacon.

On Sundays and Holy Days, the Gospel is to be followed by a homily.

This homily may be based upon some other text of the Mass, taking account of the feast or mystery which is being celebrated.

After the Creed follows the “prayer of the faithful.”

The Eucharistic Fast is one hour to be reckoned from the time when Holy Communion is to be received, and not from the time Mass starts.

Those who receive Communion in the Mass of the Easter Vigil, or at the Midnight mass of Christmas, may also receive Communion on the following morning

The Sacraments and Sacramentals:

The vernacular may be used throughout the rites of Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony; and in the distribution of Holy Communion; in conferring Holy Orders, in funeral ceremonies, and in all blessings.

Catechumenate to be revived.

To be revised: baptism, confirmation, penance, anointing of the sick, matrimony.

Blessings may now be give by any priest. Exceptions: blessing of Stations of the Cross, blessing of church bell, foundation stone of a church; new church or public oratory, or of a new cemetery.

Concelebration of Mass and reception of Holy Communion in both species:

The Divine Office:

The Liturgical Year:

Sacred Music – worship becomes more noble when it is carried out with solemn singing, especially when the celebrant, ministers and people take an active part.

Sacred Art –should have dignity and beauty, because they serve as symbols and signs of the supernatural world. Number if statues and pictures should be moderate, with true sense of proportion observed.

My source:


Promulgated, Paul VI, Nov. 21, 1964


Individual Churches or Rites

Preservation of the Spiritual Heritage of the Eastern Churches

Eastern Rite Patriarchs

The Discipline of the Sacraments

Relations with the Brethren of Separated Churches

OE acknowledges as legitimate the diversity of local Churches within the Church universal while accepting certain autonomy.


The Catholic Church values the institutions, liturgy and traditions of the Eastern Churches as part of the heritage of the universal Church. So, the following principles:

The Individual Churches or Rites

·         The Catholic Church is made up of the faithful united by same faith, sacraments and governance, and by separate
Churches or Rites.

·         This diversity within the Church manifests its unity.

·         These individual Churches are of equal dignity.

·         Clerics and laity should be educated about different rites.

·         Each Catholic must hold and cherish his own rite.

Preservation of the Spiritual Heritage of the Eastern Churches

Members of the Eastern Rite should improve and know better their liturgy and way of life.

Eastern Rite Patriarchs

1.      The patriarchate has existed in the Church from the earliest times.

2.      The Eastern patriarch is the bishop with jurisdiction over all bishops, metropolitans, clergy and people of his own
territory or rite, without prejudice to the primacy of the Pope.

3.      All the Eastern patriarchates are of equal dignity. The rights and privileges of patriarchs should be re-established.

4.      The patriarchs with their synods are the highest authority for all business of the patriarchates.

The Discipline of the Sacraments.

The Council confirms the ancient discipline of the sacraments existing in the Oriental Churches.

·         Confirmation may be conferred by priests either with baptism or separately.

·         The faithful may take part in the liturgy according to their own rite, observe Sunday and feast day, and may
receive communion even daily.

·         Confession of people of any rite may be heard by priests in the same area.

·         Permanent diaconate should be restored.

·         Marriages between Eastern Catholics and baptized Eastern non-Catholics are valid provided a minister is
present, and proper canonical form is observed.

Divine Worship

1.      Common feast days can be changed by an ecumenical council or the Apostolic See.

2.      Individual feast days are within the competence of the patriarchal synod.

3.      Until agreed on, the celebration of Easter is left to the patriarchs for their areas.

4.      Faithful living outside the area of their rite may follow the customs of the place where they live.

5.      Families of mixed rite may observe the law according to one and the same rite.

6.      Clerics and religious should celebrate Divine Office according to their traditions.

Relations with the Brethren of Separated Churches

1.      Eastern Churches should promote the unity of all Christians: by prayer, by example, by religious fidelity to traditions,
by mutual knowledge, by collaborations, and by brotherly regard for facts and feelings.

2.      Any Eastern Christians who join the Catholic Church should have no more required of them than a mere profession of
the Catholic faith.

3.      Eastern clerics may use the Orders that they have on joining the Catholic Church.

4.      Common participation in worship which harms Church unity or causes error is forbidden. However, where unity is not
hurt, a mild policy may be adopted.

5.      Eastern Christians, if they ask of their own accord and have the right disposition, may be granted the sacraments of
penance, the Eucharist, and the anointing of the sick. Catholics may do likewise when access to a Catholic priest is
physically or morally impossible.

6.      Common participation by Catholics with their Eastern separated brethren in sacred functions is allowed for a just


All these directives are temporary in anticipation of complete unity. Meanwhile, all must pray for unity.


My source:


Promulgated, Paul VI, Dec. 8, 1965

I – Doctrinal Principles

II – Mission Work Itself

III – Particular Churches

IV – Missionaries

V – The Organization of Mission Activity

VI – Cooperation

AG underlines the essential missionary character of the Church.


1.      The Church exercises its mission as sacrament of salvation by striving to proclaim the Gospel message to all men.

Doctrinal Principles

2.      The Church by its nature is missionary. This mission comes:

·         From the Father for the salvation of mankind.

·         From the Son who was sent into the world as the true mediator between God and mankind. Everything the Lord said or did for man’s salvation is to be proclaimed and disseminated to the ends of the earth.

·         From the Holy Spirit who was sent by Christ from the Father to continue the work of salvation in the hearts of men, and to animate the Church’s growth.

3.      Christ founded the Church as the sacrament of salvation. He gave them this command: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

4.      The duty of spreading the faith and doctrine of salvation is imposed on the Church by Christ’s explicit command and by reason of the life Christ bestowed on its members.

5.      The Church fulfills its mission when it becomes actively present to all men and all peoples to bring them to the faith, liberty and peace of Christ: living example, preaching, the sacraments.

6.      The Church must use the same means that Christ used: poverty, obedience, service and self-immolation even to death.

7.      This missionary duty is to be exercised: by the order of bishops governed by the successor of Peter, with the prayers and cooperation of the whole Church.

8.      The particular efforts of the Gospel preachers sent by the Church to announce the Gospel message and plant the Church among peoples and groups which do not yet believe in Christ, are commonly called “Missions.”

Missionary Activity

1.      The reason for missionary activity is found in God’s will that all men be saved and know the truth. Everyone must be converted, and incorporated by baptism with Him and the Church which is His Body.

2.      Missionary activity is assigned in geographic units as determined by the Holy See. Its aim is to plant the Church where it has not yet been established, as a seed.

3.      The principal means of missionary activity is the preaching of the Gospel.

4.      The Church’s mission work has various stages: the initial stage which is the planting of the Church, and the duty of continuing this work.

5.      Where the preaching of the Gospel is impossible, missionaries bear witness as a preparation.

6.      Missionary activity among non-Christians differs from pastoral activity among the faithful.

7.      Missionary activity is connected with human nature: the Church reveals to men their true condition and complete vocation; their need of Christ the exemplar, teacher, liberator, savior, vivifier.

8.      The Time for Mission Work is between the first and second coming of the Lord. Missionary activity is a manifestation of epiphany of God’s will, and the fulfillment of that will in the world and in world history.

9.      Thus, mission work tends to an eschatological fulness: the Mystical Body is increased to the measure of the fulness of Christ.

Christian Witness

1.      The Church must be present to these groups of persons who do not know Christ through her sons who live among them or are sent to them: by acknowledging themselves as members of the groups in which they live, by participating in their cultural and social life, by being familiar with their national and religious traditions, uncovering the seeds of the Word in these traditions, while trying to transform them profoundly.

2.      Preaching the Gospel and Assembling the People of God.

3.      The Church forbids anyone to be forced.

4.      Those who accept the faith are to be admitted to the catechumenate in liturgical ceremonies. Christian initiation is the work not only of the priests, but of the whole community, especially sponsors.

Forming the Christian Community

1.      Missionaries must establish congregations of the faithful in which they exercise the threefold role: priestly, prophetic, kingly, being signs of the presence of God in the world.

2.      The Christian community should supply its own necessities. New Christians should have the ecumenical spirit.

3.      The Christian community is established and is present in order to announce Christ to its fellow Christians by word and action.

4.      Priests, deacons, catechists, religious and apostolic laity are to be drawn from the congregation of the faithful itself.

5.      The work of the catechist is of the greatest importance. Diocesan and regional schools are to be set up to train future catechists, with their sustenance sufficiently provided for.

Particular Churches

1.      The work of planting the Church in a given community reaches its milestone when the congregation of the faithful already enjoys a certain stability and firmness.

2.      In the young Churches, the People of God must mature in all phases of their lives, live and feel with the entire Church.

3.      The local Church is also sent to the non-Christians of its area. Local priests must close rank with the foreign priests.

4.      The Church is not truly established unless there is a working laity bearing witness to Christ, in their society and culture, in a spirit of charity.


1.      It is the duty of every Christian to spread the faith. But Christ also inspires the missionary vocation in individuals and brings missionary institutes into being.

2.      The missionary is to be given special spiritual and moral training in order to become a man of prayer, with zeal to spend himself for souls.

3.      The training shall also be pastoral. As many Brothers and Sisters are to be trained in catechetics.

4.      Mission work cannot be done by individuals alone but also by institutes, pooling resources, providing adequate training.

The Organization of Mission Activity

1.      All the Christian faithful should work together for the Gospel, each according to ability, charism and appointed task.

2.      The bishops are primarily responsible for preaching everywhere, for all missions and missionary activity.

3.      The bishop must foster, govern and coordinate mission activity: all missionaries are subject to his authority. He should establish a pastoral council of elected clerics, religious and laity

Decision-Making Body

1.      Propagation of the Faith, Secretariate for the Promotion of Unity

2.      Special bodies with representatives from bishops around the world, religious superiors and head of pontifical mission societies, religious women.

3.      Episcopal conferences may establish missionary institutes.

4.      Mission workers require scientific preparation.


1.      The work of mission requires the cooperation:

·         Of all Church’s children through Christian witnessing, sharing of mission news through modern means of communication, coordination with national and international agencies.

·         Of the people of God in communities.

·         Of bishops who are consecrated, not only for a certain diocese, but also for the salvation of the entire world. Thus, the bishop should rouse his people to work for the spread of the Gospel in the world, and assign some of their better priests to dioceses in need of clergy.

·         Of priests whose life has also been consecrated for the service of missions.

·         Of Religious institutes that should continue this work. Of contemplative life that plays an important role in the conversion of souls. Of institutes of the active life, of secular institutes under the direction of the bishops.

·         Of the laity by increasing their knowledge and love of missions, teaching and other activities in the missions, offering economic-social cooperations to developing peoples, and advancing of peoples and religions.

The laity require technical and spiritual training in specialized institutes.

My source:


Vatican II, Nostra Aetate 28 October 1965


The Document On The Relation of the Church To Non-Christian Religions is very brief and concise. It has only five principles or points of renewal stipulated in the document.


1.   Considering the developments which strengthens the friendship and bonds among countries, among regions and among peoples, the Church examines/reviews its relations with other non-christian religions. She reflects that which is common to all and that which promotes fellowship among them.

2.   Throughout history, all accept the awareness and the reality of the hidden power, which lies behind the course of nature and the events of human life.  There is a recognition of a supreme being, of a Father.  This recognition results in a way of life that is imbued with a deep religious sense.  The religions which are found in most advanced civilizations endeavor  by way of well defined concepts and exact language  to answer these questions.

3.   The Church has high regards to the Muslims.  They worship God who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to people.  They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link to their own.

For many centuries, many quarrels and dissension arose between Christians and Muslims.  The sacred Council now
pleads with all to forget the past, and urges that a sincere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding; for the
benefit of all.  Let them preserve and promote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values.

4.   Sounding the depths of the mystery which is the Church, the sacred Council remembers the spiritual ties which link the People of the New Covenant to the stock of Abraham.  The Church acknowledges that in God’s plan of salvation, the beginning of her faith and election is to be found in the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets.  She professes that all Christ’s faithful are included in the same patriarch’s call and that the salvation of the church is mystically prefigured  in the exodus of God’s chosen [people from the land of bondage.

5.   There is no basis either in theory or in practice for any discrimination between individuals or between peoples arising from human dignity or from the rights which flow from it.  The Church reproves any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, color, condition in life or religion.

My source:


Promulgated, Paul VI, Oct. 28, 1965

GE on Christian education after noting that the right to education is universal, it goes on to review the various means at its service.


1.      The Church’s right to education flows from her mission to proclaim salvation and restore all things in Christ.

Universal Right to an Education

1.      The Church recognizes the inalienable right of every human being to an education.

Aims of Education

1.   In general, true education aims at: the formation of the human person (his ultimate goal), and respect for the good of societies.

2.   In particular, the principal aims of education are: to help individuals to grow in the faith; to adore God in spirit and truth; to conduct his life in righteousness and sanctity of truth, to strive for the growth of the Church, witness to their hope, help in Christian formation of the world.

Duties and Obligations

1.    For Pastors – to see to it that the faithful have this Christian education.

2.    For Parents – (1) to educate their offspring because they are the first and foremost educators of their children, (2) to create an atmosphere of love and respect for God and man. The family is the first school.

3.    For the Community – to help the parents and the family to fulfill their duties.

Aids to Christian Education

1.   Catechetical instruction – for the enlightening and strengthening of the faith, for intelligent and active participation in the liturgy, and for motivating apostolic activity.

2.   Also media communication, groups for mental and physical development, youth associations, schools

Importance of Schools

1.   The School is an important instrument of education, designed to develop intellect, the ability to judge rightly, hand on cultural legacy, foster sense of values, and prepare for professional life.


2.   The teaching vocation is beautiful, and demands special qualities of mind and heart, careful preparation continuing readiness to renew and adapt.

Rights of Parents

1.   Parents must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools, according to their conscience.

·     The public power must see to it that public subsidies are paid out to such schools.

·     The faithful must aid the parents in finding suitable methods of education, programs of study, and in forming of teachers.

·     Parents associations, too, should help the work of the school, especially its moral education.

·     The Church must also be present in schools that are not Catholic by witness of lives of teachers and directors, the apostolic action of fellow teachers, esp. ministry of priests and laymen who provide doctrinal and spiritual aid.

2.    It is up to the parents to arrange and demand that their children have these aids.

Catholic Schools

1.    The Church has the right to conduct schools of every type and level.

2.    Parents have the duty to entrust their children to Catholic schools, when and where this is possible, to support such schools, and to work with them for the welfare of their children.

3.    Proper function of the Catholic school is to create a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity.

4.    Let teachers recognize that the Catholic school depends on them to fulfill its goals.

5.    There is need for cooperation between Catholic schools, between Catholic and other schools.

Catholic Collages and Universities

Faculties of Sacred Sciences


1.    The Council asks young people to become aware of the importance of education, and consider being teachers.

2.    The Council thanks priests, religious men and women, and the laity for their work of education and asks them to advance the renewal of the Church and enhance its influence especially in the intellectual world. (END)

My source:


Prepared by: Rev. Fr. Jerome M. Millan                        .

1.   Every  human person has a right to religious freedom

·     Everyone should be immune from coercion on the part of the individuals, social groups and every human power so that, within due limits nobody is force to act  against his convictions nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions in religious matter in private or in public, alone or in association with others.

2.   Every religious community has the right to immu7nity so that they may organize themselves according to  their own principles.

·     They have the right to honor the supreme Godhead with public worship, help their members to practice their religion and strengthen them with religious instruction, and promote institutions in which members may work together to organize their own lives according to their religious principles.

·     They have the right not to be hindered by legislation or administrative action on the part of the civil authority  in the selection, training, appointment and transfer of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities in other part of the world, in erecting  buildings for religious purposes, and  in acquisition and used of the property the need.

·     They have the right no to be prevented from publicly teaching and bearing witness to their beliefs by the spoken or written words.

·     They have the right not to be prevented from freely demonstrating the special value of their teaching for the organization of society and the inspiration of all human activity.

·     They have the right to freely hold meetings or establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations.

3.      Every family has the right to organize freely its own religious life in the home under the control of the parents.

·     They have the right to decide in accordance  with their own religious beliefs the form of religious upbringing which is to be given to their children.

·     The parents have the right to chose with genuine freedom schools or other means of education.

My source: