Apostolic Letters

Of less solemn authority than an encyclical, they may be written on a doctrinal matter (e.g. Pope John Paul's Letter on the Mystery of the Eucharist). They may also announce a papal act such as declaring a person Venerable (heroic virtue) or declaring a church a basilica.

Ecclesia Dei

Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II issued on July 2, 1988. In this letter the Pope establishes a commission to facilitate the full ecclesial communion of those who have been linked to Lefebvre's society. He declares Archbishop Lefebvre and the four men that he consecrated as bishops excommunicated for their disobedience. He encourages a wide and generous application of Vatican directives for use of the Tridentine Mass.

On Combatting Abortion and Euthanasia

Letter to the world's Bishops following the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals on Dangers to Human Life and Sects. Promulgated May 19, 1991

Ad tuendam fidem

Apostolic Letter To Protect the Faith issued "Motu Proprio" and by which certain norms are inserted into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. These changes reflect the content of the "Profession of Faith" promulgated in 1989 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the obligation of Catholics to believe "definitive teachings," and not just those defined by a solemn extraordinary exercise of papal infallibility.

Apostolos Suos

Apostolic Letter His Apostles issued "Motu proprio" on the theological and juridical nature of episcopal conferences.

On the Apostleship of the Sea

Apostolic Letter issued "Motu Proprio" on the Apostleship of the Sea (i.e. to those who work on the sea).

Augustine of Hippo

Apostolic Letter Augustinum Hipponensem on the occasion of the 16th centenary of the conversion of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor, August 28, 1986.

A Concilio Constantinopolitano I

Apostolic Letter to the Bishops of the World commemorating the 1600th anniversary of the First Council of Constantinople and the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus.

Dies Domini

Apostolic letter, signed 31 May 1998, on Sunday The Day of the Lord. Bishop Marini, pointing out that this letter "has its reference point in Vatican Council II, in particular on the conciliar liturgical reform," said: "'Dies Domini' on making Sunday holy, is placed above all in the framework of the preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

Veneration of Holy Images

Apostolic Letter Duodecimum Saeculum to the Episcopate of the Catholic Church on the occasion of the 1200th Anniversary of the Second Council of Nicaea, December 4, 1987.

Laetamur magnopere

Apostolic Letter of 15 August 1997, promulgating the Latin typical edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Light of the East

Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen of Pope John Paul II promulgated on May 2, 1995 to mark the centenary of Orientalium Dignitas of Pope Leo XIII.

On the Dignity of Women

Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, issued on August 15, 1988. John Paul deals with the question of understanding the reason for and the consequences of the Creator's decision that the human being should always and only exist as a woman or a man. He speaks of the greatness of the dignity and vocation of women and her active presence in the Church and in society.

Reserving Priestly Ordination

Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone, dated 22 May 1994 and released to the public on May 29th. This is an infallible pronouncement stating that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.

On Human Suffering

Apostolic Letter "Salvifici Doloris." Issued on February 11, 1984. This reflection is a meditation
on the mystery of suffering. John Paul expresses a special respect for every form of human
suffering and builds upon the deepest need of the human heart and the imperative of faith.

Divini Amoris Scientia

This apostolic letter of 19 October, 1997, proclaimed St. Therese of Lisieux a Doctor of the Church.

As the Third Millennium Draws Near

Apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente on the Jubilee of the year 2000, the two thousandth anniversary of the Incarnation and Nativity of Oue Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It establishes a three year preparatory period for the celebration of the Jubilee Year and calls the Church to rededication to the teachings of Vatican II and to conversion of heart. Released on November 14, 1994.

Fourth Centenary of the Union of Brest

Apostolic Letter commemorating the return of the Ukranian Church to union with Rome. Issued November 12, 1995.

For the 350th Anniversary of the Union of Uzhhorod

Apostolic Letter commemorating the return to union with the Holy See of various Byzantine Orthodox. Issued April 18, 1996.

On the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution

Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus on the 25th anniversary of the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium. Given December 4, 1988.

Master In the Faith

Apostolic Letter for the Fourth Centenary of the Death of Saint John of the Cross. Pope John Paul II wrote his doctoral dissertation at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) on Faith in the Light of St. John of the Cross. Given in Rome on December 14, 1990.

Rosarium Virginis Mariae

In an Apostolic Letter marking the 24th anniversary of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II examined the history and meaning of the Rosary. He proclaimed a Year of the Rosary (October 2002- October 2003) for world peace and the family, and encouraged meditation on five additional mysteries, called "luminous" (to be prayed on Thursdays).

Misericordia Dei

Published 2 May 2002, an Apostolic Letter "In The Form Of Motu Proprio On Certain Aspects of the Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance." A primary theme of the Letter is that, since both guilt and repentance are entirely personal, the only ordinary way to receive sacramental absolution is after individual confession.

To the Catholic People of Hungary

On 25 July 2001, the Holy Father addressed the Hungarian people on the commemoration of the Baptism of their ancestors, a thousand years ago, through the work of St Stephen of Hungary, their king, whose virtues are the subject of the Pope's address.

For the 1,700th Anniversary of the Baptism of Armenia

On the occasion of the 1,700th anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian nation, the Holy Father sent the following Message to His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia, in which he recalled the venerable history of the Armenian Church, and looked forward to its eventual reunion with the Catholic Church.

Novo Millennio Ineunte

In his apostolic letter, signed at the end of the Mass of the Epiphany, 2001, at the close of the Great Jubilee, the Holy Father addressed some of the great challenges faced by Christians in the Third Millennium. These include the New Evangelization, Christian unity, growth in interreligious dialogue, defense of the family and the environment, and the ethical implications of biotechnology.

For the Third Centenary of Union of the Greek-Catholic Church if Romania with the Church of Rome

On this occasion, the Holy Father recalls that the Romanians are a Latin people. Though heirs by geography of the Byzantine tradition, they overcame the division between East and West, being restored to complete communion with the Apostolic See. And in adopting the "values promoted by the Holy See," they have communicated to the entire Catholic world the "values of the Christian East."

Spiritus Domini

Apostolic letter, issued 1 August 1987, for the bicentenary of the death of St Alphonsus de' Liguori, addressed to the Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, of which St Alphonsus was the founder.

Sescentesima Anniversaria

For the sixth century celebration of the "Baptism" of Lithuania, Pope John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter, issued 5 June 1987, summarizing the history of the Catholic Church in their country, recalling their spiritual heroes, and entrusting their "heritage of faith" to God.

Dilecti Amici

Apostolic Letter, dated 31 March 1985, to the Youth of the Word, on the occasion of the International Youth Year.

Dolentium Hominum

An Apostolic Letter, issued Motu Proprio, 11 February 1985, in which the Holy Father established the Pontifical Commission for the Apostolate of Health Care Workers.

Inde a Pontificatus

Published 25 March 1993, this Apostolic Letter, issued Motu Proprio, united the Pontifical Council for Culture with the Pontifical Council for Non-Believers in a new Pontifical Council for Culture.

Inter Munera Academiarum

In this Apostolic Letter, published 28 January 1999, the Holy Father renewed and revised the statutes of the Pontifical Roman Theological Academy and the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas.

350th Anniversary of the Union of Uzhorod

In his Apostolic Letter, the Holy Father celebrated the Union of Uzhorod (1646), which restored communion between an Orthodox Ruthenian community and the Catholic Church.






The following documents are not currently in the library, but will be made available in English as we are able:

1.  Operosam Diem
1 December 1996 - On the 16th centenary of the death of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, the Holy Father addresses the Archbishop, clergy, and faithful of Milan.

2.  Apostolic Letter for the organization of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions in Poland
25 March 1992

3.  Apostolic Letter for the Fifth Centenary of the Evangelization of the New World
29 June 1990

4.  Apostolic Letter for the Centenary of the 'Opera di San Pietro Apostolo'
1 October 1989

5.  Apostolic Letter on the Situation in Lebanon
7 September 1989

6.  Apostolic Letter on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Beginning of the II World War
27 August 1989

7.  Euntes In Mundum
25 January 1988 - Apostolic letter celebrating the millennium since the baptism of the Rus' in Kiev.

8.  Duodecim Saeculum
4 December 1987 - Apostolic letter on the veneration of images, commemorating the twelfth centenary of the Second Council of Nicea.

9.  Les Grands Mystres
1 May 1984

10.  Redemptionis Anno
20 April 1984 - Apostolic letter on a just solution to the status of Jerusalem.

11.  Egregiae Virtutis
31 December 1980 - Apostolic letter declaring Sts. Cyril and Methodiux co-patrons of Europe with St. Benedict.

13.  Sanctorum Altrix
11 July 1980 - Apostolic letter on the fifteenth centenary of the birth of St. Benedict, patron of Europe.

14.  Amantissima Providentia
29 April 1980 - Apostolic letter to the bishops, priests, and faithful of Italy on the sixth centenary of the death of St. Catharine of Siena.

15.  Patres Ecclesiae
2 January 1980 - Apostolic letter on the sixteenth centenary of the death of St. Basil.

16.  Rutilans Agmen
8 May 1979 - Apostolic letter to the Church in Poland for the ninth centenary of the martyrdom of St. Stanislaus.