Society and Social Teaching

This is a list of Catholic Christian texts on general society, economics, and politics. It includes 2 categories: (i) Christian Social Doctrine, authoritative documents by which the teaching Church applies Divine–revealed and natural–law to social concerns; and (ii) Christian Social Thought, private writings by which various thinkers explain, interpret, and in some cases suggest norms of Christian Social Teaching.

The latter will include texts from divergent and sometimes competing schools of thought (e.g., Distributist/Solidarist, Libertarian, Corporatist, Welfare-State &c. economics; Monarchist, Christian Democratic, Latin Conservative &c. politics; Confessionalist and Non-Confessionalist positions on Church-State relations). As long as their ideas don’t contradict Divine law as interpreted by His vicars (St. Matthew 16:18-19, 18:18; 1 John 4:6), they will be indexed.

Needless to say, this list is a work in progress. May it help restore all things in Christ. Viva Cristo Rey!

I. Christian Social Doctrine
A (Very) Partial List of Ecclesiastical Documents on Social Concerns

  1. The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response: A Pastoral Letter on War and Peace, by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, May 3, 1983. Available in PDF format. Available in PDF format at the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops. [While the document deals with issues unique to its time—the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war—its recapitulation and analysis of the theory of just war remains timely and useful.]
  2. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Available at the Holy See.
  3. Deus Caritas Est: Encyclical Letter on Christian Love, by Pope Benedict XVI  (25 December 2005). May be read online at the Holy See.
  4. Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1986). Available in PDF format on this page of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  5. Ethics in Advertising, by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (June 4, 2000). May be read online at the Holy See, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Catholic Links.
  6. Formando La Conciencia Para Ser Ciudadanos Fieles: Llamado de los obispos católicos de Estados Unidos a la responsabilidad política, con Nota introductoria (Washington, DC: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos, 2011). Disponible en Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos.
  7. Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, with Introductory Note (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011). Available at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.Alpha
  8. Justitia in Mundo, by the World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971. Available at Catholic Social Services Australia.
  9. Nota Doctrinal sobre Algunas Cuestiones Relativas al Compromiso y la Conducta de los Católicos en la Vida Política, de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe (24 Noviembre 2002). Disponible en la Santa Sede.
  10. Papal Encyclicals on Social Justice and the Poor [tract], by Rev. Benjamin P. Bradshaw. 21 pages. Available in PDF format on this page of Catholic Adult Faith Formation.
  11. The Pope and the People; select letters and addresses on social questions, by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, edited by the Rev.  William H Eyre (London and Leamington: Art and Book Company; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1895). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library. [Contains the Encyclical “Rerum Novarum” on the Condition of the Working Class; the Encyclical “Immortale Dei” on the Christian Constitution of States; the Encyclical “Inscrutabili Dei Consilio” on the Evils of Society; the Encyclical “Sapientiae Christianae” on Christians as Citizens, etc.]
  12. Quas Primas: Encyclical on the Feast of Christ the King, by Pope Pius XI (December 11, 1925). May be read online at New Advent (transcribed by Paul Halsall).
  13. Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, Issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 15, 2000. Available at the  the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  14. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, al cumplirse el vigesimo anniversario de la Populorom Progressio, del Papa Beato Juan Pablo II (30 Diciembre 1987). Disponible en la Santa Sede.

II. Christian Social Theory and Practice

  1. Address of the Roman Catholics to their fellow citizens, of the City and State of New York (1840). Available at Internet Archive.
  2. Are We Doing Good? Catholic Social Teaching and the Ethics of Public Policy Outcomes in New Zealand, by Brenda Margaret Radford (2010). Doctoral Thesis, Massey University, Albany. 534 pages. Available in PDF format at Massey Research Online, Massey University. [N.B., The text states: “Copyright is owned by the Author of the thesis. Permission is given for a copy to be downloaded by an individual for the purpose of research and private study only. The thesis may not be reproduced elsewhere without the permission of the Author.”]
  3. “Bartolomé De Las Casas e Francisco De Vitoria: Filosofia Política e Moral no debate sobre o direito natural e o Direito das Gentes no Novo Mundo”, por Antonio Patativa de Sales. Construindo Direito, Vol. n.2 (Dezembro 2010). Disponível em Faculdade de Integração do Sertão.
  4. “Cardinal Manning and the Social Problem” [lecture], by D. J. McDougall, Canadian Catholic Historical Association, Report, 24 (1957), 53-61. A public lecture given at Loyola College, Montreal, September 12, 1957. Available in PDF format at this page of the University of Manitoba.
  5. Catholic loyalty, by James Gibbons (New York: Paulist Press, 1917). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive, Book contributor: University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries).
  6. Catholic Radicalism: Phrased Essays for the Green Revolution, first edition, by Peter Maurin, with introduction by Dorothy Day and foreword by David Mason. (New York: Catholic Worker Books, 1949). Available in various formats at Internet Archive. The book states: “The contents of this book are not copyrighted. The text may be reproduced by anyone in any desired form. May it be done for the greater honor and glory of God and the furtherance of the lay apostolate to which the author’s life was devoted.”
  7. Catholic Social Guild pamphlets, Second Series (Catholic Truth Society, 1914). . Available on Internet Archive.
  8. The Catholic Social Science Review, Volume XIV (2009). May be accessed through page at the accessed through this page of The Catholic Social Science Review, from which the individual articles may be downloaded in PDF format. Contains “The Implications of Catholic Social Teaching for Economic Science: An Exchange between Thomas Storck and Thomas E.Woods, Jr., with Responses”, “Catholic Response during World War II”, and other articles and texts.
  9. “Catholic Social Teaching on Restorative Justice”, by Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, C.S.B., Bishop of Las Cruces (University of Villanova Academic Symposium, September 18, 2009). Available in PDF format on this page of Priests for Life.
  10. Catholicism, History, and Culture: A Dawsonian Synthesis [Dissertation], by Michael Richard Lynch (Australian Catholic University, 2008). Available in PDF format at Australian Catholic University.
  11. Christ and Antichrist: a Sermon at the Mass of Requiem for those who fell in Defence of Rome, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Longmans, Green, 1867). Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  12. Christian Aspects of the Labour Question, by Abbot Snow (London: Catholic Truth Society). Available at Mundabor’s Blog and Lux Occulta (copyright status uncertain).
  13. Christ our king: an explanation of the new feast from an historical and dogmatic standpoint (Toronto: The Catholic Truth Society of Canada). Liturgy. Available on Internet Archive.
  14. Catholic Radicalism: Phrased Essays for the Green Revolution, by Peter Maurin, with introduction by Dorothy Day and foreword by David Mason (Catholic Worker Books, 1949). Available at Internet Archive. The book states: “The contents of this book are not copyrighted. The text may be reproduced by anyone in any desired form. May it be done for the greater honor and glory of God and the furtherance of the lay apostolate to which the author’s life was devoted.”
  15. Christian Social Reform: Program outlined by its Pioneer, William Emmanuel Baron von Ketteler, Bishop of Mainz, by George Metlake, with a Preface by William Cardinal O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston (Philadelphia, The Dolphin Press, 1912).With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.  The 1923 edition is also available at Internet Archive. [N.B. This appears to be a biography of Bishop von Ketteler. The index pages state the author to be John Joseph Laux].
  16. The Church and Labor, prepared and edited for the Department of Social Action of the National Catholic Welfare Council, by John Augustine Ryan and Joseph Husslein (New York, Macmillan, 1920). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  17. The Civilizers of the Philippines. Subtitled on the first contents page as “Statements concerning the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands”. Available in various formats as Internet Archive and Open Library. [N.B., This is a history of the religious orders in Spanish Philippines, and an explanation of their role in its evangelization, education, and socio-economic life.]
  18. “The Contribution of Thomistic Thought to Roman Catholic Social Economy”, by Stefano Solari, American Review of Political Economy, Vol. 5, No. 2 (December 2007), pp. 39-58. Available in PDF format at the American Review of Political Economy.
  19. “Corporation Christendom: The True School of Salamanca”, by Dr. Peter Chojnowski, The Angelus (January 2005): “Man, State, Economics: Does Economics Exclude Catholic Morality”. May also be read online at The Distributist Review, and (an earlier edition) in 2 parts at The Chesterbelloc Mandate: Part 1 and Part 2; with excerpts in “The Late Scholastics vs. the Austrian School on the Just Price” on The New Beginning. Prefaced by Christopher A. Ferrara’s “Opposing the Austrian Heresy”, which may also be read online at The Chesterbelloc Mandate; and Fr. Kenneth Novak’s “Man, State, Economics”, which may be read online at the Chesterbelloc Mandate and the Fish Eaters Traditional Catholic Forum. [N.B., The essays were initially published in the journal of a congregation that espouses an invalid hermeneutic of discontinuity on the Second Vatican Council. However, the essays themselves are useful summaries of Christian social teaching and economic theory, and provide an alternative to Neoliberal interpretations of the same.]
  20. ’A Cry for Justice’: Daniel A. Rudd’s Ecclesiologically-Centered Vision of Justice in the American Catholic Tribune [Dissertation], by Gary Bruce Agee (University of Dayton, August, 2008). Available in PDF format at OhioLINK.
  21. De Laicis: Saint Robert Bellarmine’s Treatise on Civil Government (Chapters 16 and 19-22 translated from the Latin by Fr. James Goodwin, S.J.) May be read at Catholicism.org, beginning with chapter 1 here (May 19, 2005). [N.B., The canonical and doctrinal status of the association behind the website remains uncertain. Please exercise caution in reading the other texts thereon.]
  22. Distributism: A Catholic System of Economics, by Donald P. Goodman. (Martinsville, VA: Goretti Publications, 2006). 149 pages. Available in PDF format on this page of The Distributist Review. [N.B., The text states: “This document may be copied and distributed freely, subject to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, available at http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/“]
  23. Distributive Justice: the Right and Wrong of our Present Distribution of Wealth, by John Augustine Ryan (New York: The Macmillan company 1919). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  24. Education: The Church and State in Reference to the Education Question: or, Schools and Scholars, from the Commencement of the Christian Era to the Present Times, by John Stewart M’Corry, D.D. (London: Burns and Oates, 1873). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  25. L’Église et l’État: ou les Deux Puissances, Leur Origine, Leurs Relations, Leurs Droit et Leurs Limites, 3e. edition, par Ferdinand J. Moulart (Louvain: Ch. Peeters; Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1887). Avec approbation. Disponible en Internet Archive. La 2e. edition est disponible en Internet Archive.
  26. An Essay on Mediaeval Economic Teaching, by George Augustine Thomas O’Brien (London, New York [etc.] Longmans, Green, and co., 1920). Available in various formats at Internet Archive, Open Library, and Project Gutenberg. Another edition (Kitchener, Ontario: Batoche Books, 2001) is available in PDF format at the University of Manitoba Undergraduate Economics Society. [N.B., I assume the latter publication to be publication at large on the web. If this is not the case and linking to it is improper, please comment immediately so I can remove the link.]
  27. Eugenics and Other Evils, by G.K. Chesterton (1922). Available at Manybooks.net and Project Gutenberg. Audiobook available at LibriVox.org.
  28. Europe‘s Social Agenda: Why is the European Union Regulating Morality? (white paper series number nine), by Maciej Golubiewski (New York: International Organizations Research Group, 2008). 68 pages. Available in PDF format, with an Executive Summary in PDF format, at C-FAM, which states: “The EU has been active in funding programs aimed at changing prevailing religious and cultural attitudes with regards to human life and sexuality…  The article points to dangers of the nascent bureaucratically imposed human rights regime…”
  29. The Fourfold Sovereignty of God, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Burns, Oates, 1871). Available at Internet Archive. [N.B., According to Cardinal Manning foreword, this is intended to complete the subject of the lectures on the Four Great Evils of the Day.]
  30. Four Great Evils of the Day, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Burns, Oates, and Co., 1871). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library. [N.B. Lectures on “The Revolt of the Intellect against God”, “The Revolt of the Will against God”, “The Revolt of Society from God”, and “Spirit of Antichrist”]
  31. “The Freedom of the Church and the Taming of Leviathan: The Christian Revolution, Dignitatis Humanae, and Western Liberty”, by Kenneth L. Grasso, The Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. 17 (2012): 221–240. Available in PDF format on this page of the The Catholic Social Science Review Online.
  32. The Fundamental Fallacy of Socialism: an Essay on the Question of Landownership, Comprising an Authentic Account of the Famous McGlynn Case, edited by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.; Freiburg (Baden): B. Herder, 1908). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  33. In Soft Garments: A Collection of Oxford Conferences, by Ronald A. Knox (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1953). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive. Includes the essays “If God exists”, “The Living Witness”, “The Unholiness of the Church”, “Verbum baro factum est”, “The Church and Human Progress”, and “Unselfishness in Marriage”.
  34. Ireland: a letter to Earl Grey, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Longmans, Green, 1868). Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  35. [Lectures on the Indians, and on the Law of War, of Franciscus de Victoria] Francisci De Victoria De Indis et De Ivre Belli Relectiones, by Francisco de Vitoria, edited by Ernest Nys (reprinted 1964), of the multi-volume series The Classics of International Law, edited by James Brown Scott. Based on notes of lectures delivered 1532. May be read online at Constitution Society and at the webpage of Professor Ken Pennington. [NB: This is one of the leading early texts of international law and human rights theory, and has led some jurists to declare that Vitoria was the true founder of international law. Vitoria was among the first representatives of Spanish Scholasticism, which used Christian Faith and Thomist analysis to analyze emerging problems and thus laid the bases for modern jurisprudence, economics, political theory, and philosophy.]
  36. Leisure The Basis Of Culture, by Joseph Pieper (1952). Available in Daisy format at Internet Archive.
  37. Liberalism is a Sin, by Felix Sarda y Salvany, translated and adapted by Conde B. Pallen, Ph.D. (St Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1899). May be read online at Liberalism is a Sin, at EWTN Library, and at St. Michael Cyberspace Scriptorium. [N.B., The original Spanish text by Don Felix, El Liberalismo es Pecado, bears the approbation of the Holy See (through the Sacred Congregation of the Index) and of various bishops.]
  38. “Liberty and the Virtue of Prudence: A Catholic Perspective” [article], by Todd R. Flanders, Journal of Markets & Morality 2, no. 1 (Center for Economic Personalism, Spring 1999), 102-113. Available in PDF format at the Acton Institute. [N.B., While I disagree with the author’s defense of the capitalist economy, the one true Church is not bound to any system but regards all that is good in them (Gaudium et Spes, 42).]
  39. A Living Wage; Its Ethical and Economic Aspects, by John A. Ryan, with an Introduction by Richard T. Ely, Ph.D. (New York, The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., 1912). Available in multiple formats at  Internet Archive and Open Library. A revised and abridged edition (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1920) is available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  40. The Millennium Development Goals: In Light of Catholic Social Teaching (White Paper, Number Ten), by Terrence McKeegan, J.D. and D. Brian Scarnecchia, JD. (New York: International Organizations Research Group, 2009). 108 pages. Available in PDF format at C-FAM, which states: “without genuine solidarity with the poor… wealthy countries are tempted to… promote the national interests of donor nations over the genuine needs and human aspirations of the people in developing countries.”
  41. Monasticism and Civilization, by John Bonaventure O’Connor (New York, P. J. Kenedy, 1921). With Nihil Obstat [from the ubiquitous Arthur Scanlan] and Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: Google, Book from the collections of: New York Public Library).
  42. “Mondragon: A For-Profit Organization that Embodies Catholic Social Thought”, by David Herrera (2004). 13 pages. May be read or downloaded at Scribd and accessed through The Distributist Review. Available in PDF format (19 pages) at the University of St. Thomas and (in a less well-formatted PDF text) at Community-Wealth.org.
  43. “The Mondragon Cooperative Movement” (by David Ellerman?). 31 pages. Available in PDF format at the website of David Ellerman.
  44. The Natural Law: A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy, by Heinrich Rommen (1936), trans. Thomas R. Hanley, with Introduction and Bibliography by Russell Hittinger (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1998). Available in multiple formats at the Online Library of Liberty. “Rommen and Natural Law”, an introduction by Russell Hittinger, may be read on this page.
  45. “The Neo-Conservative Response” (by John Medaille?). 16 pages. Available in PDF format at Medaille.org.
  46. Orations of Henry Austin Adams, with an introduction by James Cardinal Gibbons (St. Paul, Minn.: Adams-Cannon, 1903). With orations on Pope Leo XIII, Saint Thomas More, Blessed John Henry Newman, and Ludwig Windthorst, and on the destiny of Ireland. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  47. Our Christian Heritage, by James Cardinal Gibbons (Baltimore: John Murphy and Company; London: R.Washbourne, 1889). Available at Internet Archive with a 2nd copy here.
  48. “Our Debt to De Vitoria: A Catholic Foundation of Human Rights”, by Robert John Araujo, S.J., Ave Maria Law Review 10:2 (2012), pages 313-329. Available in PDF format on this page of the Ave Maria School of Law—Law Review.
  49. Pastoral letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of the United States Assembled in Conference at the Catholic University of America, September, 1919 (Washington, D.C., The National Catholic Welfare Council, 1920). Available at Open Library and  Internet Archive, with a 2nd copy here. [This is a restatement of doctrine and an exhortation on all aspects of the Catholic life in the United States.]
  50. The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas, edited with an introduction by Dino Bigongiari (New York: Hafner Publishing Co., 1953, repr. 1957). [Link deleted due to copyright concerns.]
  51. The Quiet Revolution, a Study of the Antigonish Movement, by Harold Lewack (New York, Student League for Industrial Democracy, 1955). SLID research tracts #4. Available in PDF, Full Text, and DJVu formats at Internet Archive.
  52. The Restoration of the Guild System, by Arthur J. Penty (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1906). Available in PDF format at the Aquinas Site. [Warning: The text is carried on what appears to be a schismatic (sedevacantist) website. Readers without adequate theological formation are advised to avoid reading other materials on the website.]
  53. Rome and the Revolution: a Sermon, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Longmans, Green, 1867). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  54. “Scholastic Economics: Thomistic Value Theory”, by Gloria L. Zuniga, Religion & Liberty, Vol. 7, No. 4 (July-August 1997). May be read online at the Acton Institute. [N.B., I’m uncertain if the author is a Catholic Christian, but the essay is useful for summarizing the the ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas on the determination of the just price in transactions, which it interprets from a Neoliberal perspective.]
  55. The School of Salamanca: Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory, 1544-1605, by Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952). 153 pages. Available in PDF and ePUB formats at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. [N.B., While I’m not sure if the author is a Catholic Christian, the text itself is a useful recapitulation of the economic theories of Catholic thinkers in the Silver Age of Scholasticism. But please other texts in the website with prayerful caution, as they may not be in conformity with Christian social teaching.]
  56. St. Thomas‘ Political Doctrine and Democracy, by Edward F. Murphy (Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America, 1921). Dissertation, 326 pages. Available in multiple formats at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library. May also be read online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library.
  57. Statement on Human Trafficking, by the Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes, Bishop of San Bernardino, California and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration (September 12, 2007). Available in PDF format at Catholic Charities USA.
  58. Strengthening Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families with International Human Rights Treaties: A Do-it-yourself Kit (Geneva: International Catholic Migration Commission, 2006). Available in pdf format at the International Catholic Migration Commission.
  59. “Subsidiarity, Federalism and the Best Constitution: Thomas Aquinas on City, Province and Empire”, by Nicholas Aroney, Law and Philosophy, Vol. 26 (2007): pp. 161-228. University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 07-06. Available in PDF format (70 pages) on the Social Science Research Network.
  60. The Superstition of Divorce, by G.K. Chesterton. Available at ManyBooks.net and at Internet Archive.
  61. “Thomas Aquinas on Justice as a Global Virtue”, by Claus Dierksmeier. Available in PDF format through the Social Science Research Network [N.B. The text may be of interest in the application of Catholic Christian ethics in the Thomist tradition.]
  62. “Totality and Idolatry: Rereading Pius XI”, by Rev. John J. Conley, SJ, Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. 6 (2001): 165-174. Available in PDF format on this page of the The Catholic Social Science Review Online.
  63. A Vanished Arcadia, Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay, 1607 to 1767, By R. B. Cunninghame Graham. Available in multiple formats at ManyBooks.net and Project Gutenberg. [N.B. Graham was not a Catholic. However, his account of the work of the Jesuits for the Amerindian peoples of Paraguay and their beneficent social policy is very fair-minded and informative.]
  64. What’s Wrong with the World, by G. K. Chesterton (1910). Available in various formats at Many Books.net and Project Gutenberg.

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