Optatam totius

The decree Optatam Totius " on the formation of priests " of 28 October 1965, one of nine decrees of the Second Vatican Council. It is named after the opening words of the Latin original text: Optatam totius Ecclesiae renovationem [ ... ] - The planned renovation of the whole church [ ... ].

General Laws

This decree establishes general laws for priestly formation, primary objective is to " renewal of the whole Church, the priestly ministry for the most part " depends. It will emphasize the importance of priestly formation and the applicable principles, was taking into account that a priest training is necessary because of the unity of the Catholic priesthood for all priests of the secular and regular clergy and of all rites. For the regional and local events and different quirks the competent episcopal conferences were instructed to establish general laws.


The document is divided into the following sections:

  • I. The reorganization of priestly formation in the individual nations
  • II The greater promotion of priestly vocations
  • III. The order of the seminaries
  • IV Concern for the thorough spiritual formation
  • V. reorganization of ecclesiastical studies
  • VI. The promotion of pastoral training in the narrow sense
  • VII The training after graduation


It is explained that the council fathers feel connected to the work of the Council of Trent and transmit the heads of seminaries trusting this task. The seminarians admonished the council to live in the awareness that them the hope of the Church is entrusted and therefore they should accept these terms and realize conscientiously.