Catholic Social Teaching collection

Foreword by Bishop Robert Barron

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Bishop Barron on the “Catholic Social Teaching Collection”


Catholic social teaching—when it is not distorted or misrepresented—is famously confounding to the pundits and politicos, both left and right. How can the Catholic Church simultaneously stand against abortion and assisted suicide, but for immigration reform and care for the poor? How can it stand against racism, the death penalty, and abuse of the environment, but for protecting the family, individual rights, and free market principles?

This unique Word on Fire Classics volume aims to bring the both/and of the Church’s social teaching into sharp relief. The collection covers fourteen of the Church’s most important magisterial social documents, including the full texts of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum and Pope St. John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus, and excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate and Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. Unlike other anthologies, however, which only include encyclicals, this volume also features excerpts from the Old and New Testaments, the Didache, Church Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, and various saints and scholars, including St. Thomas Aquinas, Bartolomé de las Casas, Servant of God Dorothy Day, St. Teresa of Kolkata, and St. Óscar Romero.

But its purpose is not just to reveal the ethical and historical breadth of Catholic social teaching; it is to reveal its metaphysical heart—namely, God. With God out of the picture, it is indeed hard to make sense of the array of opinions the Church holds. But with God at the heart of things, the positions fall into harmony, much like the medallions in a rose window. If God exists, then every individual person is a subject of rights, freedom, and dignity. If God exists, then no one is expendable and everyone is equally worthy of respect.

Publisher: Word on Fire Classics

Release Date: March 22, 2021

Format: Hardcover (cloth)

Pages: 480 pages


Foreword by Bishop Robert Barron

Part I - Church Teaching

  1. Sublimis Deus (full text) - “On the Enslavement and Evangelization of the Indians”
  2. Rerum Novarum (full text) - “The Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor”
  3. Quadragesimo Anno (excerpt) - “On the Reconstruction of Social Order”
  4. Mater et Magistra (excerpt) - “On Christianity and Social Progress”
  5. Pacem in Terris (excerpt) - ”On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity, and Liberty”
  6. Dignitatis Humanae (full text) - “On the Right of the Person and of Communities to Social and Civil Freedom in Matters Religious”
  7. Gaudium et Spes (excerpt) - “On the Church in the Modern World”
  8. Populorum Progressio (excerpt) - “On the Development of Peoples”
  9. Octogesima Adveniens (excerpt) - “On the Eightieth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum
  10. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (excerpt) - “The Concern of the Church for the Social Order”
  11. Centesimus Annus (full text) - “On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum
  12. Evangelium Vitae (excerpt) - “On the Value and Inviolability of Human Life”
  13. Caritas in Veritate (excerpt) - “On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth”
  14. Laudato Si’ (excerpt) - “On Care for Our Common Home”

Part II - Scripture, Saints, and Scholars

  1. The Old Testament
  2. The New Testament
  3. The Didache
  4. The Church Fathers
  5. St. Thomas Aquinas
  6. Bartolomé de las Casas
  7. St. Peter Claver
  8. St. Vincent de Paul
  9. Bl. Frederic Ozanam
  10. St. Damien of Molokai
  11. Servant of God Dorothy Day
  12. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
  13. St. Teresa of Kolkata
  14. St. Óscar Romero

Catholic Social Teaching Collection