Citing Official Church Documents

The MLA handbook does not give specific instructions for Church documents, so follow this format for the bibliography and citations:

English title, Latin title (if applicable). Source, date.


Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis reintegratio. Vatican II, November 21, 1964.

The Church Family in the Modern World, Familiaris consortio. John Paul II, November 22, 1981.

Instruction on Certain Aspects of the "Theology of Liberation." Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), August 6, 1984.

On Dangerous Opinions and on Atheism. Ratione habita. Synod of Bishops, October 28, 1967.

Economic Justice for All. US Catholic Bishops (NCCB), 1986.

"You Have Entertained Angels without Knowing It." Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, October 9, 1993.


In the bibliography, be sure to indicate which translation of the documents that you used (from a book or website)

For example:

All Vatican II documents are taken from:

Flannery, Austin, ed. Vatican Council II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations. Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co., 1996.



When citing a document in the paper, give the Latin or English title (abbreviated, if necessary) and chapter number within the document (donít worry about page numbers):

For example:

"Ö the Church" (Lumen Gentium 27).

"Ö capitalism" ("Economic Justice" 4).


Remember to cite both direct quotations and paraphrased paragraphs.