The Bull of Indiction of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council

Papal bull Humanae Salutis for the indiction of the Second Vatican Council

Vatican Secret Archives – Instr. Misc. 7934

In the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Convocation of the Second Vatican Council, the Vatican Secret Archives reveal the key document of that memorable event. The number V of the Exemplaria Praetiosa Archivi Secreti Vaticani presents and also offers in facsimile (as is the Exemplaria series’ usual practice) Humanae Salutis, the famous Bull convening the Council.

The document was prepared with confident and fervent heart by the unforgettable Pope John XXIII, signed by him with all due solemnity on the morning of Christmas 1961, then disseminated to the whole Catholic church and the world.

Scrinium and the Vatican Archives agreed upon the importance of making available a most accurate replica of the Bull that convoked a Council whose fruits illuminated the Church and the world – the precious documents, known to all, that have played and are still playing so great a part in the life of the Church. Yet if readers look at the perspective taken by the editor of this work, H.E. Mgr. Sergio Pagano, Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, they will see that (as is the case of other documents of Pope John’s) the documentary research underlying the production of the final text of the Bull evinces the same pastoral intent,

the great soul of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who wanted to expand the richness of the Christian message, almost a new evangelization, to the most recondite corners of the consciences and intelligence of modern men – or, rather, the Pope’s own contemporaries – and their changing civilization. The precise critical apparatus that Mgr. Pagano used as the basis for his edition of the drafts of the Bull shows the labor limae performed on the document by John XXIII and his closest collaborators, of whom the outstanding figures were Mgr. Pericle Felici, Secretary of the Council, and Mgr. Loris Capovilla, the pope’s personal secretary. In this way, we enter the “backstage” of the Bull and can observe the stages it went through: outline, growth, modification, adaptation to John’s thought, up to the final clean rendition.

While I congratulate the Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives on this recent labor of his, I hope that this special edition distributed by Scrinium of Venice, like its predecessors, will be greeted with favour, especially in the Catholic world, both ecclesiastical and lay, and, thanks in good part to the facsimile document’s aesthetic beauty, will faithfully preserve the memory of the Council, helping us still today to understand and live our present in the Catholic Church.

WORLD LIMITED RUN: N. 400 Maior Edition | N. 10.000 Minor Edition

Numbered items certified by the Vatican Secret Archives
Availability: item available | Current quotation: confidential negotiation

A new chapter in the two-thousand-year-old history of the Roman Catholic Church

The Council that renewed the Church

The main documents produced by the Council

Vatican II produced sixteen documents, the most important of which were four Constitutions:

Dei Verbum, promulgated November 18, 1965, on Divine Revelation.
Lumen Gentium, promulgated November 21, 1964, on the Church.
Gaudium et Spes, promulgated December 7, 1965, on the Church in the modern world.
Sacrosanctum concilium, promulgated December 4, 1963, on the Sacred Liturgy.

Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) affirms that the Christian community must be defined by the Biblical model (that is, by the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred tradition), not the judicial one.

Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) declares that the Church is “the People of God” and all its members must tend toward holiness and to spread the Gospels in a spirit of total service.

Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) focuses on man and the fundamental cell of human society – namely the family – from the theological standpoint. It analyzes the cultural, social, economic and political life of the community, as well as war, peace and international relations.

Sacrosanctum concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) urges active participation by the faithful in liturgical celebrations, especially during the Eucharist, one of the most important moments in the life of a Christian. The way to renewal thus laid out soon brought about another important change: large portions of the Holy Mass can now be celebrated in the vernacular (i.e., the language spoken by the faithful) instead of Latin.

Other key documents:
Unitatis redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism) was promulgated on November 21, 1964. It establishes guidelines for ecumenical dialog with the Protestant and Orthodox Churches.
Nostra aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions) was promulgated on October 28, 1965. It acknowledges the need for dialog with non-Christian religions, and officially condemns antisemitism and all other kinds of discrimination.

Technical features

Project: Exemplaria Praetiosa Archivi Secreti Vaticani.
Archival Record: ASV, Instr. Misc. 7934

Faithful fac-simile replica in original size (mm 285 x 400) of the parchment manuscript (Bull of Indiction) conserved inside the Secret Archives of the Vatican.

Lead seal of pope John XXIII (diam. mm 35) pending from white-yellow silk string.

Commentary volume by H.E. Msgr. Sergio Pagano. Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives. Luxury edition. Seize mm 280 x 435. Printed on watermarked cotton paper and bound in natural goat parchment. Available in Italian - English - Spanish editions.

World limited print run of 410 numbered items, certified by H.E. Most Rev. Msgr. Pagano, Prefect.

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