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Catholic Dictionary




Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, of the Second Vatican Council. Its purpose is declared to be twofold: to explain the Church's nature as "a sign and instrument of communion with God and of unity among all men," and to clarify the Church's universal mission as the sacrament of human salvation. A unique feature of the constitution is the Explanatory Note, added to the conciliar document by order of Pope Paul VI, clarifying the meaning of episcopal collegiality, that the community of bishops have no authority without dependence on and communion with the Bishop of Rome (November 21, 1964).