Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Historic Vatican Documents Now Online

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Mar 26, 2010

The Vatican has announced that the contents of the Acta Sanctae Sedis (Acts of the Holy See), which covers the years 1865 – 1908, and the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Acts of the Apostolic See), which covers the years since 1909 have been made available through 2007 in PDF format on the Vatican website. These are the official Latin documents issued by the Holy See either by the popes directly or by the popes through the various congregations, including episcopal appointments. Any laws published in these sources are considered by that fact to have been promulgated.

In addition, the material in the Vatican Archives related to World War II, which was published in 12 volumes in French, is also available in PDF format on the website. These volumes cover the period from 1939 through 1943. When I say that they are in French, this refers to the editorial matter. The documents themselves appear in their original languages, whether French or Italian or whatever. These are documents relating specifically to the war, not every document in the archives.

Although the Vatican Information Service stated that all of these documents were located in the “Resource Library” section of the site, no such section exists. They are actually in the Acta Sanctae Sedis / Acta Apostolicae Sedis section. The official A.S.S. and A.A.S documents are grouped by year and load fairly quickly. The much more voluminous collection of war documents appear in more sizeable chunks, up to 25 MB each, and can take a long time to load into your PDF reader.

These are excellent resources for scholars, and a tribute to the Vatican’s growing transparency in a new era which, for better or worse, values freedom of information.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($16,162 to go):
$35,000.00 $18,838.29
46% 54%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Renewal with God Behind Us: Man Determines All 11 hours ago
Introducing the Church Fathers July 27
Straws in the Wind July 25
Hans Urs von Balthasar on Renewal that Matters July 25
Wrongheaded diocesan legal defenses in abuse cases July 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21