Word on Fire Vatican II Collection (Volume 2: Decrees and Declarations)

(Park Ridge: Word on Fire, 2023), 504

Word on Fire Vatican II Collection Volume 1


by Bishop Barron

  • "With the book you are reading, I am nailing my colors to the mast. I and Word on Fire stand firmly with Vatican II and hence against the radical traditionalists. And we stand firmly with the Wojtyła-Ratzinger interpretation of the council, and hence against the progressives." (xi)
  • We need a "robust and enthusiastic reappropriation of the texts of Vatican II"

Gravissimum educationis

Declaration on Christian Education
Summary: Parents are the primary and principal educators. Education aims to form the whole person to pursue true freedom in the spirit of Christ.

  • John Paul II: "Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ." (32)

Nostra aetate

Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions
Summary: All men are our brothers being made in the image of God, who is our origin and goal. All religions address the universal restlessness of the human heart and the Church rejects nothing true in other religions; she especially recognizes that God holds the Jews most dear.

Dignitatis humanae

Declaration on Religious Freedom
Summary: All men are bound to seek the truth and conform their lives to it through developing their consciences. The state may not infringe upon the reasonable public or private religious practice of its citizens or compel them to act in a manner contrary to their conscience. Man's response to God must be free, and the Church is free to care for the salvation of men.

Inter mirifica

Decree on the Media of Social Communication
Summary: We should use new media to spread the Gospel and bring a proper moral outlook. We should consume good media and guard our homes and children against evil.

Orientalum ecclesiarum

Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite
Summary: The Church esteems the Easter rites, and the variety builds its unity. Eastern Churches can and should maintain their rites and even return to ancient traditions. All are called to promote the unity of east and west—especially through prayer—that the Church can breathe with both lungs.

Unitatis Redintegratio

Decree on Ecumenism
Summary: The Holy Spirit is the principle of the Church's unity. There is shared culpability for our disunity. Our first duty is to tidy up our own Catholic household and aim for perfection in our continual reformation. And we must pray for unity.

Christus Dominus

Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church
Summary: Bishops are the successors of the apostles and perform the office of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.

Perfectae caritatis

Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life
Summary: Religous—those who profess the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience—are called to adaptation and renewal, to live the Gospels as their highest rule, live our their charism in the life of the Church, and seek Christ while adapting to modern circumstances.

Optatum totius

Decree on Priestly Training
Summary: We must all foster vocations, especially the family as the "first seminary". Training should be focused first on Sacred Scripture and second on the mysteries of the Church. Seminarians are to be formed with discipline and self denial, with an emphasis on liturgy and languages (Latin, Hebrew, Greek) and philosophy.

It is important to have a thorough knowledge of sacred Scripture as a whole, in its unity as the Old and the New Testaments: the shaping of texts, their literary characteristics, the process by which they came to form the canon of sacred books, their dynamic inner unity, a unity which may not be immediately apparent but which in fact gives the individual texts their full meaning. It is important to be familiar wiht the Fathers and the great Councils in which the Church appropriated, through faith-filled reflection, the essential statements of Scripture.
Pope Benedict XVI, Letter to Seminarians, 251 cf. OT 8

The seminary should be construed as a distiplined "staying" with Jesus so as to cultivate friendship with him.
–Bishop Barron, 253 cf. OT 8

Apostolicam actuositatem

Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity
Summary: The laity have an indispensable role in the mission of the Church for the sanctification of men and the perfection of the temporal order, to be leaven in the world. The laity are called to evangelize through both the testimony of their Christian life and by their words. They have an obligation to engage in works of charity and to work for justice and the common good. Families are especially called to build the domestic sanctuary and give testimony through their faithfulness to the Gospel and example of Christian marriage.

Ad gentes

Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church
Summary: The Church is missionary by her nature, and evangelization is the basic duty of all Christians. We evangelize first by the witness and example of our Christian lives, but also by announcing the word of God and performing works of Christian charity.

Presbyterorum ordinis

Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests
Summary: Priests, conformed to Christ and acting in his name, preach the Gospel and act as mediators in the Eucharist for the glory of God and man's progress in the divine life. Their primary duty is proclaiming the Gospel to all, the source and apex of which is found in the most Blessed Eucharist.

Outstanding among all these spiritual aids are those acts by which the faithful are nourished in the Word of God at the double table of the Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist. (18)

The preacher must be, first, a biblical person, for homilies come forth from, are conditioned by, and return to the Bible. He must be someone who habitually immerses himself in the language, stories, rhythms, speech patterns, and ethos of the Scriptures. He should love the Bible, reading and meditating upon it daily. By meditation, we mean some structured form of imaginative and spiritual immersion in the scriptural texts. He should have the words of the Bible readily at hand and often on his lips; he should have committed sections of the Scripture to memory and have a sure grasp of the narrative thrust of the entire Bible. He ought to have the Bible frequently on his person, carrying it with him when he travels and remaining easily linked to it by computer or iPhone. He ought to bring it with him when he prays before the Blessed Sacrament. Moreover, every preacher should regularly consult good scriptural commentaries, both of the technical and spiritual type. I would warmly recommend the homilies and biblical commentaries of the Church Fathers, especially those of Origen, Augustine, Ephrem, Chrysostom, and Jerome.
–Bishop Barron (401)

Closing Address

  • The Church finds in herself, active and alive, the Holy Spirit, the word of Christ
  • Charity has been the principal religious feature of this council
  • The modern world's values were not only respected but honored, its efforts approved, its aspirations purified and blessed.
  • All this rich teaching is channeled in one direction, the service of mankind
  • A knowledge of God is a prerequisite for a knowledge of man as he really is
  • This council can be summed up in its ultimate religious meaning, which is none other than a pressing and friendly invitation to mankind of today to rediscover in fraternal love the God (as St. Augustine describes)


by Matthew Levering

  • Decrees are a mix of strikingly relevant and dated material
  • When read from today's perspective, the Second Vatican Council sounds deeply conservative—because it is in continuity with and conserves Scripture and Tradition, even while advancing and renewing important elements of the Church's doctrine and practice.

Topic: Vatican II (read for Lent 2024 Vatican II Study)


  • Madj Birthday 2023

Created: 2023-01-24-Tue
Updated: 2024-05-07-Tue