In this great liturgical season of Advent as Christmas draws near, we fittingly turn our attention to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This was actually the first document from the Council to be promulgated and is one of only two Council documents (along with the Decree on Social Communications) to be promulgated at the end of the Second Session in 1963 (all the rest came at the end of the Third and Fourth Sessions in 1964 and 1965, respectively).
Though it’s hard to imagine for us today, the reason this document came about much more quickly is because there was much more agreement on the issues and much less discussion needed. Ever since, though, it seems to be the most selectively quoted and misunderstood. Thus, it is very good for us to read through for ourselves and see exactly what it contains.
Articles 1-4 serve as the introduction to the document. Article 1 succinctly articulates the Council Fathers’ goals:
“This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.”
Here are the footnotes:
 Secret of the ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
 Cf. Heb. 13:14.
 Cf. Eph. 2:21-22.
 Cf. Eph. 4:13.
 Cf. Is. 11:12.
 Cf. John 11:52.
 Cf. John 10:16.