By encouraging engagement with the modern world and a refocusing of traditional teaching, the Second Vatican Council brought new life into the practice of Catholicism. The council's impact on the Church is still playing out today, and with many current church issues finding their roots in differing interpretations of Vatican II it has never lost relevance. Vatican II: The Essential Texts brings together the key documents of the council. As the council is commemorated on its 50th Anniversary, readers will be returning to these source materials to understand the Church's developing positions on its relationship with the secular world and other religions, the role of lay people, human rights and the common good, the liturgy and other still highly relevant issues. In addition to the introductions from Pope Benedict and James Carroll, the documents will also be accompanied by brief historical prefaces from Professor Edward Hahnenberg.