Vatican II

(1962–1965)

About the Author

While the documents of Vatican II were begun under the authority of one pope (John XXIII, who died in 1963) and promulgated under the authority of another (Paul VI), neither was an “author” of the conciliar documents to the extent that they were authors of such encyclicals as Pacem in Terris (On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity and Liberty, 1963) or Humanae Vitae (On the Regulation of Birth, 1968)—although Paul VI played a more active role in commenting on drafts of council documents and occasionally demanding modifications than did John XXIII. The council, acting in its corporate capacity, was the ultimate author, and thus every participating bishop could claim a share in the final documents. That said, the members of the commissions elected by the council to prepare amended drafts played a major role in shaping the form of the documents that finally emerged.

A disproportionate influence may also be said to have been exerted by several...

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Bronze medal of Pope Paul VI (Yale University Art Gallery)

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