The Guide to Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching has been called the “unexploded dynamite” of the Catholic Church, which is to say it is a thing of great power that has never really been used. It seems this is mostly because no one knows about it, and those who know do not know enough. It was Pope Pius X who said:

“A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away…How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion!…It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them.” (Acerbo Nimis, 6)

That is why, in an effort to bring the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church to a wider audience, we’ll be compiling here a series of articles explaining this body of doctrine. As these items are published on the front page of the Catholic Front website, they will also be collected here and organized through the Table of Contents you see below. Enjoy.

Part I: Introduction

  1. Toward a new synthesis of Catholic Social Teaching
  2. Rooted in the Old Testament Jubilee
  3. Remarks on the Sources

Part II: The Role of the Church

  1. Justification for the Doctrine
  2. Continuity, Renewal, and the Signs of the Times
  3. Understand the Second Vatican Council
  4. Against Systems and Ideologies
  5. The Popes and the Authority of the Doctrine

Part III: The Truth About Man

  1. The Social Nature of Man
  2. Rights and Duties
  3. The Importance of the Family

Part IV: Permanent Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

  1. The Common Good
  2. The Universal Destination of Goods and Private Property
  3. The Preferential Option for the Poor
  4. Solidarity and Subsidiarity
  5. Personal Freedom

Part V: Morality

  1. Natural Law
  2. The Human Conscience
  3. Act and Intention
  4. The Exercise of Prudence
  5. The Problem of Ignorance

Part VI: Economic Life

  1. Four Phases of Economic Activity
  2. Three Fictitious Commodities
  3. Concerning Capitalism and Socialism
  4. Human Work
  5. Competition or Cooperation?
  6. Self-Interest and the Profit Motive
  7. Market Autonomy and “Free Markets”
  8. Morality and Economic Theory
  9. Against Consumerism
  10. Labor Unions and Intermediate Organizations
  11. The Just Price
  12. The Living Wage
  13. The Example of the Guild

Part VII: Political Society

  1. Liberalism and the Problem of Ideology
  2. The True Nature and Purpose of the State
  3. The End of the State Coincides with the End of Man
  4. Relationship Between Church and State
  5. Social Peace and the Dangerous Ideal of Conflict
  6. Issues Pertaining to Rights and Duties
  7. The Proper Attitude Toward Wealth
  8. The Proper Attitude Toward Poverty
  9. Taxation
  10. Inequality and Redistribution

Part VIII: The Environment

  1. A Long-Standing Concern
  2. A Legitimate Concern
  3. The Proper Attitude Toward the Environment

Part IX: War

Part X: Other Issues

  1. Relations with Muslims