From a reader:
I have noticed that when you cite documents you are inconsistent with how the titles are written. For example, you wrote “Lumen gentium” with a small g, but “Redemptionis Sacramentum”. What gives? Typos? You also stick superfluous apostrophes in at times, too!
Allow me to apostrophize now: “O Lord, grant me patience!”
Yes, I sometimes interpolate stray apostrophes. My bad. Sometimes I use rented fingers in my attempt to churn out entries which you can read … for free. But we can remedy that.
The issue of titles of documents is another matter.
It is a common “mistake” to capitalize all the words of the title of a Church document. You find this even on the Holy See’s website’s collection’s of Popes’ document’s’. I write “mistake”, though that word is too strong. Different publications or publishers have their own style sheets. However, conventionally we ought to capitalize all the words which are to be capitalized, and not those which don’t merit the distinction.
First, it must be remarked that documents are normally named from the first few words of the document. Therefore the orthography of the title should reflect the orthography of the text.
For example, the Council’s document on the Church is sometimes entitled Lumen Gentium. However, more properly – again according to a long-established convention – it should be Lumen gentium, for gentium is not properly capitalized in its own right and needs a minuscule rather than the majescule. The same goes for Gaudium et spes or Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae.
On the other hand we write Sacrosanctum Concilium, not Sacrosanctum concilium, because the word Concilium is capitalized in its own right.
Some other majescular examples. The encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi or Divino afflante Spiritu. We write Summorum Pontificum, not Summorum pontificum. We write Universae Ecclesiae and not Universae ecclesiae.
Chose one convention or another when writing, but be consistent within your work.
Of minuscule importance to most people, but of capital importance to others.