Modern Catholic Social Teaching

Commentaries and Interpretations

Second Edition

Kenneth R. Himes, Editor

"This is a truly excellent volume of wide-ranging scholarship that cannot be over-praised."
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Including contributions from twenty-two leading moral theologians, this volume is the most thorough assessment of modern Roman Catholic social teaching available. In addition to interrogations of the major documents, it provides insight into the biblical and philosophical foundations of Catholic social teaching, addresses the doctrinal issues that arise in such a context, and explores the social thought leading up to the "modern" era, which is generally accepted as beginning in 1891 with the publication of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum. The book also includes a review of how Catholic social teaching has been received in the United States and offers an informed look at the shortcomings and questions that future generations must address. This second edition includes revised and updated essays as well as two new commentaries: one on Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate and one on Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si'. An outstanding reference work for anyone interested in studying and understanding the key documents that make up the central corpus of modern Catholic social teaching.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments to the Second Edition
Introduction, Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M.

Part I: Foundations

1. The Bible and Catholic Social Teaching: Will This Engagement Lead to Marriage?
John R. Donahue, S.J.
2 Natural Law in Catholic Social Teachings
Stephen J. Pope
3 The Ecclesiological Foundations of Modern Catholic Social Teaching
Richard R. Gaillardetz
4 Early Modern Roman Catholic Social Thought, 1740–1890
Michael J. Schuck

Part II: Commentaries

5. Rerum novarum
Thomas A. Shannon
6. Quadragesimo anno
Christine Firer Hinze
7. The Christmas Messages of Pius XII
John P. Langan, S.J.
8. Mater et magistra
Marvin L. Mich
9. Pacem in terris
Drew Christiansen, S.J.
10. Dignitatis humanae
Leslie Griffin
11. Gaudium et spes
David Hollenbach, S.J.
12. Populorum progressio
Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J.
13. Octogesima adveniens
Christine E. Gudorf
14. Justitia in mundo
Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M.
15. Familiaris consortio
Lisa Sowle Cahill
16. Laborem exercens
Patricia A. Lamoureux
17. Sollicitudo rei socialis
Charles E. Curran, Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M., and Thomas A. Shannon
18. Centesimus annus
Daniel Finn
19. Caritas in veritate
Meghan J. Clark
20. Laudato si’
Christiana Zenner Peppard

Part III: Reception and Future of the Tradition

21. The Reception of Catholic Social and Economic Teaching in the United States
Charles E. Curran
22. The Reception of Catholic Approaches to Peace and War in the United States
Todd D. Whitmore
23. The Future of Catholic Social Thought
John A. Coleman, S.J.



"A superb contribution to Catholic social ethics and will undoubtedly serve as a basic text, providing a synthetic statement of the last century of the Catholic social tradition . . . It has no peer."—America

"An invaluable contribution . . . Until now there has been no comprehensive text on the history, development and content of the social teaching of the Catholic Church."—Catholic Library World

"This volume belongs on the bookshelf of anyone seriously interested in Catholic social teaching . . . There is nothing else like this collection. It will endure."—Journal of Church and State

"In assembling this extraordinarily ambitious reference work, [the editors] have done a great service to professors and students alike. Many Catholic academics intuit the potential for a rich dialogue between CST and their particular disciplines, but have been without concise, accurate analyses to help them make the connections. Modern Catholic Social Teaching will go a long way toward filling this gap . . . a valuable contribution to the literature."—Commonweal

"This is indeed a must-have book for anyone teaching or studying Catholic social ethics."—Teaching Theology & Religion

"This is a truly excellent volume of wide-ranging scholarship that cannot be over-praised."—Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, is professor in the theology department, Boston College. He is the author of several books, including Targeted Killing and the Ethics of Drone Warfare, Responses to 101 Questions on Catholic Social Teaching, and Christianity and the Political Order: Conflict, Cooptation, and Cooperation.

672 pp., 7 x 10

ISBN: 978-1-62616-513-7


672 pp., 7 x 10

ISBN: 978-1-62616-514-4


672 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-62616-515-1


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