Documents published by the Holy See or by a church council are often referred to by a common title, derived from the first few words of the text. Usually this will be in Latin; e.g. the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, issued at Vatican II, is commonly called Gaudium et spes. When looking for a particular document it is helpful to know this common title, the date the document was issued, and who exactly issued it (e.g. the pope, an ecumenical council, a congregation of the Roman Curia).
English translations of current papal and curial documents can usually be found on the Vatican website (www.vatican.va). Curial documents are those published by a particular department of the Roman Curia ("the Vatican"). For English translations of other church documents, use the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index (described under Finding More Resources). It indexes the contents of many journals and magazines including Origins and L'Osservatore Romano.
Older documents can often be found in one of the works listed below: