A Reader in Catholic Social Teaching


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Catholic Social Teaching, or CST, is a branch of moral theology, a fruit of the Church’s teaching and tradition as she fulfills her divine mission to transmit God’s revelation to His people. As such, CST transcends mere economic or social commentary; rather, it approaches the most fundamental questions of human existence and provides answers to properly shape human activity and human society. To become intimately acquainted with CST, there is simply no substitute for reading the original documents of the popes, who from Leo XIII onwards are the real masters in the subject, and whose ideas have left a permanent mark on Catholic and secular thought alike.

This collection, edited by Peter A. Kwasniewski, aims to facilitate a comprehensive introduction to CST anchored in the Church’s classic documents. Kwasniewski has corrected hundreds of typographical errors, incorrect citations, and missing phrases, and provided re-translations where needed. The result is a book excellently suited to bring its readers to an ever-greater appreciation for the nobility of man; the lofty purpose of our freedom, which finds its origin and its fulfillment in loving surrender to the truth that sets us free; and the Kingship of Christ, who took on our human nature to share with us His divinity.

Table of Contents

(† = abridged)

Pius IX (1846–1878)

Quanta Cura & Syllabus Errorum (1864)

Leo XIII (1878–1903)

Diuturnum Illud (1881) • Immortale Dei (1885) • Libertas Praestantissimum (1888) • Sapientiae Christianae (1890) • Rerum Novarum (1891) • Au Milieu des Sollicitudes (1892) • Longinqua Oceani (1895)† • Testem Benevolentiae (1899)

Pius XI (1922–1939)

Quas Primas (1925) • Casti Connubii (1930) • Quadragesimo Anno (1931)†

Pius XII (1939–1958)

Ci Riesce (1953)

Second Vatican Council (1962–1965)

Dignitatis Humanae (1965)†

John Paul II (1978–2005)

Familiaris Consortio (1981)† • Centesimus Annus (1991)† • Veritatis Splendor (1993) • Gratissimam Sane [Letter to Families] (1994) • Evangelium Vitae (1995)†

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

On the Participation of Catholics in Political Life (2002)

Benedict XVI (2005–2013)

Deus Caritas Est (2005)

Additional information

Weight 30 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1.25 in