About This Collection
The First Vatican Council Photograph Album was most likely created sometime during the council sessions, from 1869-1870.
Vatican Council I, the 20th of the general Councils, the first to be held in St. Peter's Basilica, began on December 8, 1869 and ended on September 1, 1870. Approximately 1,050 religious men were eligible to participate, but only 700 attended the first session on December 8, 1869. The participants were primarily European, though the United States was represented by 48 archbishops and bishops, and one abbot. A total of 800 cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots, and religious superior generals participated in the sessions over the nine months.
Debates took place concerning bishops, vacant sees, the life and morals of the clergy, and the preparation of a universal primary catechism. The first phase of actual debate began December 28, 1869 and ended January 10, 1870, and concerned an 18-chapter document that "condemned materialist, rationalist, and pantheistic errors and enunciated orthodox doctrine on the subjects of revelation, faith, motives of credibility, interrelation of faith and science, the Trinity, creation, the Incarnation, original justice, original sin, eternal punishment, and grace." The second stage of the debate began January 10, 1870 and ended February 22, 1870. The debate considered schemata on "bishops, vacant sees, clerical life, and the primary catechism."
Though there were numerous discussions and disagreements as to the definition of papal infallibility, and the status of the bishops in relation to the pope, several important milestones were reached by the Council. The Council demolished the remnants of Conciliarism and Gallicanism, which were the most important results in the meetings. The Council also disseminated two doctrinal constitutions: Dei Filius (April 24, 1870), a shortened version of the schema on faith and reason, and Pastor aeternus (July 18, 1870), which replaced the schema on the church, and defined the primacy and infallibility of the pope.