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Church Documents

Church Documents

Church Documents

This page contains Church documents -- from the popes, other offical documents of the Holy See, and the US Bishops -- of particular relevance to women and families. Additions to this section are made regularly. The lists below begin with the most recent document first. (Copyrights belong to the original copyright holders. All papal documents are copyrighted by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

NOTE: For more documents on the Liturgy, go to Church documents section on Adoremus web site:


Papal Documents:

Pope Francis

Address to Pilgrimage of Families — Pope Francis, 2013

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Families of the World   — Pope Francis, 2013


Lumen Fidei, The Light of Faith, Encyclical, June 29, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI [related page: Benedict XVI]

Pope John Paul II

Other Popes

Documents, Statements of the Holy See:

Vatican II Documents

U.S. Bishops & Bishops' Conference Documents, Statements:

Bioethics Watch: The Distinction between Direct Abortion and Legitimate Medical Procedures — June 23, 2010 statement from US Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine

USCCB Meeting November 2009 (USCCB Site): Marriage Love and Life in the Divine Plan (USCCB Site)

Health Care Reform section of the USCCB web site:

US Bishops Roman Missal Formation site -

(Click here for chronology of statements (with links) from Committee on Women, Laity, Family and Youth.)

  • Go to Catholics and Political Responsibility section for
    This timely section includes Church documents; links to USCCB documents and statements; letters and statements of diocesan bishops; and selected articles and commentary on the subject.
  • Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions
    (Click title for link to this document on the USCCB web site)
    Issued by the USCCB on November 12, 2003, this document is intended to provide guidance to Catholics in the US confronted by a"growing movement today [that] favors making those relationships commonly called same-sex unions the legal equivalent of marriage." Following are the concluding paragraphs of this document (it is available from the USCCB in English and Spanish versions)

8. In light of the Church's teaching about the truth and beauty of marriage, what should Catholics do?
There is to be no separation between one's faith and life in either public or private realms. All Catholics should act on their beliefs with a well-formed conscience based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition. They should be a community of conscience within society. By their voice and their vote, they should contribute to society's welfare and test its public life by the standards of right reason and Gospel truth. Responsible citizenship is a virtue. Participation in the political process is a moral obligation. This is particularly urgent in light of the need to defend marriage and to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions as marriages.

Married couples themselves, by the witness of their faithful, life-giving love, are the best advocates for marriage. By their example, they are the first teachers of the next generation about the dignity of marriage and the need to uphold it. As leaders of their family-which the Second Vatican Council called a "domestic Church" (Lumen Gentium, no. 11)-couples should bring their gifts as well as their needs to the larger Church. There, with the help of other couples and their pastors and collaborators, they can strengthen their commitment and sustain their sacrament over a lifetime.

Marriage is a basic human and social institution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the Church or state, but from God. Therefore, neither Church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.

Marriage, whose nature and purposes are established by God, can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children.

The union of husband and wife becomes, over a lifetime, a great good for themselves, their family, communities, and society. Marriage is a gift to be cherished and protected.