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A Guide to...Papal Documents & Church Research

This guide is a starting point for research focused on the Catholic Church, including its history, its theology, and, most significantly, documents issued by Popes and the various sections of the Roman Curia.

The Basics

The field of Religious Studies uses the Chicago Manual of Style for most citations. Below are some common examples to get you started using Chicago style. Need more help? Use the resources listed in the Chicago Citation Help box below. 

Journal article from an online database

Zängle, Michael. "Trends in Papal Communication: A Content Analysis of Encyclicals, from Leo XIII to Pope Francis." Historical Social Research 39, no. 4 (2014): 326-364. 

Page from a website 

Papal Encyclicals Online. "First Council of Nicaea - 325 A.D." Last modified February 20, 2017. 

Papal encyclical found online 

John Paul II. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis [The Social Concern]. Vatican Website. December 30, 1987. Accessed May 5, 2017.

Citing Sources

If you need assistance with citations for legal documents or government publications (for example, Congressional proceedings), these guides will help!  The Chicago Manual of Style defers to the Blue Book style for this type of citation.