Catholic Social Teaching, 1891-Present: A Historical, Theological, and Ethical Analysis

Catholic Social Teaching, 1891-Present: A Historical, Theological, and Ethical Analysis

Catholic Social Teaching, 1891-Present: A Historical, Theological, and Ethical Analysis

Catholic Social Teaching, 1891-Present: A Historical, Theological, and Ethical Analysis

Excerpt

This book deals with the contemporary body of Catholic social teaching as found in papal and hierarchical documents, beginning with the 1891 encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, Rerum novarum, and continuing to the present. In addition, the letters of the U.S. Catholic bishops on peace and the economy in the 1980s constitute a fuller development of the primary source. These documents constitute what has often been called Catholic social teaching. Obviously, although Catholic social teaching is broader than these documents, in the context of Catholic ecclesiology these official documents have been identified with Catholic social teaching. This volume uses the commonly accepted terminology of Catholic social teaching to refer to this body of documents; it also shows the diversity and differences among these documents, however.

Many excellent books and articles have been written about this body of Catholic social teaching. Three different perspectives or ways of treating these documents are possible, although there will always be some overlap. The first perspective considers these documents from the viewpoint of Catholic social teaching, with the emphasis on the “teaching” aspect. What positions have been proposed? The second perspective, often in conjunction with the first, considers the historical development of these teachings in light of the circumstances and times in which the various documents were written. The third perspective comes from the discipline of Catholic ethics and is the approach followed here. Catholic social ethics, as a second-order discourse, endeavors to study the social teachings in a thematic, systematic, and scientific way. Systematic and scientific study of these documents . . .

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