By David A. Boileau
The goal of this study is to call attention to the contemporary significance of Catholic Social Teaching and, at the same time, to investigate what is meant by a number of central ideas that surface again and again in these essays. We should correct what seems to be a common historical inaccuracy. Catholic social teaching began long before the last century. Professor Michael J. Schuck has shown that the social teaching of the Papal Encyclicals began in 1740 under the pontificate of Benedict XIV (1740-58). What Professor Schuck calls the pre-Leonine period (1740-1877) will show that by a "textually inclusive and topically broad-gauged approach", a previously unacknowledged body of papal social teaching emerges.