The Second Vatican Council exhorted the faithful to “seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God” (Lumen Gentium, 31). The contours of this mission are given by Catholic social teaching and this book guides the reader through the major themes of this social teaching by drawing directly upon the primary sources of this doctrine, in particular the social encyclicals of the popes from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI. By going back to the source of this doctrine, the author avoids the polemics that sometimes surround social teaching and gives a faithful, clear, precise, and thorough explanation of what the Church has actually said about human society.
The author presents Catholic social teaching thematically, exploring in depth such topics as the family, work, economic and political life, human rights, peace, the International Community, and the environment. In addition, he explains the nature, scope, and application of social teaching, as well as expounding its foundational principles including the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, private property, and the option for the poor.
This book is written in an academic but accessible style and is particularly suitable for those who are interested in gaining an authentic understanding of the Catholic Church's vision for human society.