An apostolic constitution (Latin: constitutio apostolica) is the most solemn form of legislation issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church received from Roman law.
By their nature, apostolic constitutions are addressed to the public. Generic constitutions use the title apostolic constitution and treat on solemn matters of the church, such as the promulgation of laws or definitive teachings. The forms dogmatic constitution and pastoral constitution are titles sometimes used to be more descriptive as to the document's purpose.
Generic constitutions contain the following introduction:
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven (often shortened to the Assumption) is, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.
The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory". This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950, in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by exercising papal infallibility. While the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church believe in the Dormition of the Mother of God (Dormition of the Theotokos or "the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God"), whether Mary had a physical death has not been dogmatically defined. In Munificentissimus Deus (item 39) Pope Pius XII pointed to the Book of Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for the dogma in terms of Mary's victory over sin and death through her intimate association with "the new Adam" (Christ) as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: "then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory".The New Testament contains no explicit narrative about the death or Dormition, nor of the Assumption of Mary, but several scriptural passages have been theologically interpreted to describe the ultimate fate in this and the afterworld of the Mother of Jesus (see below).In the churches that observe it, the Assumption is a major feast day, commonly celebrated on 15 August. In many countries, the feast is also marked as a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church.Code of Rubrics
The Code of Rubrics is a three-part liturgical document promulgated in 1960 under Pope John XXIII, which in the form of a legal code indicated the rules governing the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass and Divine Office.
Pope John approved the Code of Rubrics by the motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of July 25, 1960. The Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated the Code of Rubrics, a revised calendar, and changes (variationes) in the Roman Breviary and Missal and in the Roman Martyrology by the decree Novum rubricarum the next day. The official publication was in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 52 (1960), pp. 593–740.
The Code of Rubrics replaced the rules previously given in the Roman Breviary. In the Roman Missal, it replaced the sections, Rubricae generales Missalis (General Rubrics of the Missal) and Additiones et variationes in rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae "Divino afflatu" et subsequentium S.R.C. Decretorum (Additions and alterations to the Rubrics of the Missal in line with the Bull Divino afflatu and the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites that followed it). As Pope Pius X himself declared in his Apostolic Constitution Divino afflatu, by which he revised the Psalter of the Roman Breviary, the change of the Roman Breviary was intended to be followed up by a revision of the Roman Missal. Accordingly, while awaiting that revision, the first of the two sections of the Roman Missal mentioned continued to be printed as before, although the second rendered some of its provisions invalid. This anomalous situation was remedied in the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal, which printed in their place the parts of the Code of Rubrics that concerned the Missal. In its turn, the Code of Rubrics was superseded by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal of 1970, but it remains in force for celebrations of the Roman Rite Mass in accordance with the 1962 Missal, as authorized by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007.Congregation for Borders
The Congregation for Borders (Congregazione dei Confini) was a congregation of the Roman curia. It was set up by pope Urban VIII in his apostolic constitution Debitum pastoralis officii on 1 October 1627 to oversee the borders of the Papal States. It was suppressed in 1847.Congregation for Catholic Education
The Congregation for Catholic Education (Institutes of Study) (Latin: Congregatio de Institutione Catholica (Studiorum Institutis)) is the Pontifical congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for: (1) universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or non-ecclesiastical dependent on ecclesial persons; and (2) schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.
It was also in charge of regulating seminaries, which prepare those students intending to become priests (seminarians) for ordination to the presbyterate, until 16 January 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI transferred the oversight of seminaries and all other related formation programs for priests and deacons from this Dicastery to the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates deacons and priests generally, not only their education. The Congregation for Catholic Education retains responsibility for matters pertaining to the structure of seminary curricula in philosophy and theology, in consultation with the Congregation for the Clergy.Ex Corde Ecclesiae
Ex Corde Ecclesiae (English: From the Heart of the Church) is an apostolic constitution issued by Pope John Paul II regarding Catholic colleges and universities.
Promulgated on 15 August 1990 and intended to become effective in the academic year starting in 1991, its aim was to define and refine the Catholicism of Catholic institutions of higher education. Institutions newly claiming to be Catholic would require affirmation from "the Holy See, by an Episcopal Conference or another Assembly of Catholic hierarchy, or by a diocesan bishop". Institutions currently claiming to be Catholic are considered Catholic, unless declared otherwise by the same. The document cites canon 810 of the Code of Canon Law, which instructs Catholic educational facilities to respect norms established by local bishops. Ex corde underscores the authority of bishops and mentions that canon law (canon 812) requires all teachers of theology, in Catholic colleges and universities, to have the mandate of the local ecclesiastical authority (normally the local bishop).
The apostolic constitution was viewed as a rebuttal to the Land O'Lakes Statement, a 1967 position paper adopted by the participants of a seminar sponsored by University of Notre Dame on the role of Catholic universities. Attendees at this American seminar included the following university presidents: University of Notre Dame, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Boston College, Fordham, St. Louis University, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Over a dozen other educators from North American Catholic institutions of higher education were also present.Jansenism
Jansenism was a theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen, who died in 1638. It was first popularized by Jansen's friend Abbot Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, of Saint-Cyran-en-Brenne Abbey, and, after du Vergier's death in 1643, was led by Antoine Arnauld. Through the 17th and into the 18th centuries, Jansenism was a distinct movement away from the Catholic Church. The theological centre of the movement was the convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs Abbey, which was a haven for writers including du Vergier, Arnauld, Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine.
Jansenism was opposed by many in the Catholic hierarchy, especially the Jesuits. Although the Jansenists identified themselves only as rigorous followers of Augustine of Hippo's teachings, Jesuits coined the term Jansenism to identify them as having Calvinist affinities. The apostolic constitution, Cum occasione promulgated by Pope Innocent X in 1653, condemned five cardinal doctrines of Jansenism as heresy—especially the relationship between human free will and efficacious grace, wherein the teachings of Augustine, as presented by the Jansenists, contradicted the teachings of the Jesuit School. Jansenist leaders endeavored to accommodate the pope's pronouncements while retaining their uniqueness, and enjoyed a measure of peace in the late 17th century under Pope Clement IX. However, further controversy led to the apostolic constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius, promulgated by Pope Clement XI in 1713.Licentiate of Sacred Theology
Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) is the second cycle of studies of a faculty of theology offered by pontifical universities or Ecclesiastical Faculties of sacred theology. An ecclesiastical faculty offers three cycles of study: baccalaureate or fundamentals, licentiate or specialized, and the doctorate. The licentiate is a graduate degree with canonical effects in the Roman Catholic Church. STL is the abbreviation of the Latin, sacrae theologiae licentiatus, which translates as "licentiate of sacred theology". "The academic degrees conferred by an ecclesiastical faculty are: Baccalaureate, Licentiate, and Doctorate" (Cf. Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana (SapC) OF Pope John Paul II, 47.1).Pastor bonus
Pastor bonus (Latin: "The Good Shepherd") is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches. It thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world".Personal ordinariate
A personal ordinariate, sometimes called a "personal ordinariate for former Anglicans" or more informally an "Anglican ordinariate", is a canonical structure within the Catholic Church established in accordance with the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of 4 November 2009 and its complementary norms. The ordinariates were established in order to enable "groups of Anglicans" to join the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their liturgical and spiritual patrimony. They are juridically equivalent to a diocese, "a particular church in which and from which exists the one and unique Catholic Church", but may be erected in the same territory as other dioceses "by reason of the rite of the faithful or some similar reason".Three ordinariates were established between 2011 and 2012:
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (England and Wales, Scotland)
Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (United States, Canada)
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (Australia, Japan)Pontifical Council for the Family
The Pontifical Council for the Family was part of the Curia of the Roman Catholic Church from 1981 to 2016. It was established by Pope John Paul II on 9 May 1981 with his motu proprio Familia a Deo Instituta, replacing the Committee for the Family that Pope Paul VI had established in 1973. The Council fostered "the pastoral care of families, protects their rights and dignity in the Church and in civil society, so that they may ever be more able to fulfill their duties."Its functions were shifted to the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life on 1 September 2016.Pontifical university
Pontifical universities are higher education ecclesiastical schools established or approved directly by the Holy See, composed of three main ecclesiastical faculties (Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law) and at least one other faculty. These academic institutes deal specifically with the Christian revelation and related disciplines, and the Church's mission of spreading the Gospel, as proclaimed in the Apostolic Constitution both "Sapientia christiana". Many of them, on the other hand, have most of their students studying secular topics. They are governed by the apostolic constitution Veritatis gaudium issued by Pope Francis.Provida Mater Ecclesia
Provida Mater Ecclesia (February 2, 1947) was an Apostolic Constitution by Pope Pius XII. The constitution address the origins and development of the Evangelical counsels.Along with Primo Feliciter and Cum Sanctissimus the constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia provided the basis for Catholic secular institutes to receive their own legislation.Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X
The Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X was promulgated by that Pope with the Apostolic Constitution "Divino Afflatu" of 1 November 1911.
The Roman Breviary is the title of the book obligatorily used for celebrating the Roman Rite Divine Office from the revision of Pope Pius V (Apostolic Constitution Quod a nobis, 9 July 1568) to that by Pope Paul VI (Apostolic Constitution Canticum laudis, 1 November 1970).Roman Missal
The Roman Missal (Latin: Missale Romanum) is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.Romano Pontifici eligendo
Romano Pontifici eligendo was the apostolic constitution governing the election of popes that was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1 October 1975. It instituted a number of far-reaching reforms in the process of electing popes. It set the maximum number of electors at 120 and restated in a more formal context the rule he had already instituted that cardinals over the age of 80 not participate in electing a pope.Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, Rome
For the church in Turin, see Basilica di Maria Ausiliatrice.The Church of Saint Mary Help of Christians in Via Tuscolana (Italian: Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, Latin: S. Mariae Auxiliatricis in via Tusculana) is a parish and titular church, minor basilica of Rome.
The titulus S. Mariae Auxiliatricis in via Tusculana was established by Pope Paul VI on June 7, 1967, by the apostolic constitution "Ad gubernacula christianae".Secretariat of State (Holy See)
The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See. The Secretariat is divided into three sections, the Section for General Affairs, the Section for Relations with States, and, since 2017, the Section for Diplomatic Staff.Universi Dominici gregis
Universi Dominici gregis is an apostolic constitution of the Catholic Church issued by Pope John Paul II on 22 February 1996. It superseded Pope Paul VI's 1975 apostolic constitution, Romano Pontifici eligendo, and all previous apostolic constitutions and orders on the subject of the election of the Roman Pontiff.Universi Dominici gregis ("the Lord's whole flock", from the opening statement "The Shepherd of the Lord's whole flock is the Bishop of the Church of Rome, ..."), subtitled On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff, deals with the vacancy of the See of Rome, i.e., the papacy.
The constitution modified or in some cases confirmed the rules, for the conclave. It also clarified, during a sede vacante, which matters could be handled by the College of Cardinals and which matters were reserved for the future pope.Veritatis gaudium
Veritatis gaudium (Latin: The Joy of Truth) is an apostolic constitution on ecclesiastical universities and faculties. It was signed by Pope Francis on 8 December 2017 and was promulgated on 29 January 2018. It updates the 1979 apostolic constitution Sapientia christiana. The document is 87 pages in length. The new norms take legal effect on the first day of the 2018-2019 academic year or of the 2019 academic year, depending on the school year of particular institutions. Implemention is the responsibility of the Catholic Church's 289 ecclesiastical faculties and the 503 related institutions that issue Vatican-recognized degrees.
of the Catholic Church