The Vow of the Catacombs - The Secret Pact of Vatican II

At Vatican II, 40 Bishops signed a secret pact of poverty, pointing the way to a Church that helps the poorest and stands up for them - then, suddenly, their pact disappeared and was forgotten. What happened in the Catacombs of Rome almost 50 years ago?

This documentary revives the story of the Catacomb Pact and its origins. Original documents, rare archive footage and first-hand eyewitnesses tell a lively tale of what happened behind the scenes of the Vatican Council.

A mysterious scene: On November 16th, 1965, 40 bishops, members of the Second Vatican Council, descend into the Domitilla Catacombs to celebrate mass and sign a radical pact. They vow to forgo expensive limousines, luxurious palaces and even honorific titles. Instead, they swear to live a life of poverty and fight for the rights of the poor. It is a decision that grew and matured over time, in regular meetings held by idealistic Brazilian auxiliary bishop Dom Helder in the residence of the Brazilian bishops. 500 council fathers would sign the catacomb pact in the end, presenting it to Pope Paul VI - but then it suddenly seemed to vanish. Over the years and to this day, the Church seems to have forgotten these words. The Church continues to build luxurious palaces and lavish churches. The Pope's visit to his German homeland in 2011 alone cost 35 million Euros. Has the Church forgotten its duty to stand with the poorest in society and take up their cause? This documentary revives the story of the Catacomb Pact and its origins. Original documents, rare archive footage and first-hand eyewitnesses tell a lively tale of what happened behind the scenes of the Vatican Council.