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Acta of the Second Vatican Council

The Acta et Documenta and Acta Synodalia together make up the primary source material for Vatican II. Within its sixty-two volumes are contained the entire official record of the Council: the pre-conciliar vota, the preparation of the draft texts, the speeches and written submissions of the Fathers, explanations of amendments, and so on.

Although the Acta is a vital key to the mind of the Council Fathers and should be, as Archbishop Agostino Marchetto puts it, the “secure basis” for the interpretation and historiography of Vatican II, it has unfortunately been highly-neglected by many theologians and historians. To help rectify this, over the last few years there has been an ongoing project to digitise the Acta, and make it more accessible to everyone. Below are links to each individual volume of the Acta, which can be browsed and freely downloaded at

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Antepreparatory Period (1959-60)

This 'pre-preparatory' stage of Vatican II was a worldwide consultation of (1) Bishops and Religious Superiors, (2) Catholic universities and theological faculties, and (3) the Roman Curia, concerning the topics to be discussed at the council.

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Preparatory Period (1960-62)

This stage of the Council involved the preparation of the draft schemata that would be discussed at the council. Ten Preparatory Commissions and two Secretariats prepared the texts, which were then scrutinised by the Central Preparatory Commission before the start of the Council proper.


Conciliar Period (1962-65)

The Fathers of Vatican II then met over four sessions, held in the autumns of 1962 to 1965, discussing, debating and re-writing the draft schemata. The final result was the sixteen promulgated conciliar documents (four constitutions, nine decrees, three declarations). 

Acta et Documenta Concilio Oecumenico Vaticano II apparando

Series II (Praeparatoria)

June 1960 to October 1962

Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II

October 1962 to December 1965

Volume I: First Session (1962)


Volume II: Second Session (1963)


Volume III: Third Session (1964)

Volume IV: Fourth Session (1965)

Volume V: Verbal processes

Volume VI: Acts of the General Secretary


Appendix (1)

Appendix (2)

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