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Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations

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With an equal emphasis on every word in the title—and with a distinctly American perspective—Himes and his distinguished associate editors and contributors, have assembled the most thorough and authoritative assessment of modern Roman Catholic social teaching to date, likely to remain the touchstone volume for decades. This culmination of many years of effort by twenty stellar scholars has produced a reference work for anyone interested in understanding or studying the key documents that comprise the central corpus of Catholic social teaching.

In addition to interrogations of the major documents, this volume provides an understanding of 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, generally accepted as beginning in 1891 with the publication of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum. Finally, there is a review of how Catholic social teaching has been received in the United States and an informed look at the shortcomings and questions that future generations must address.

By any standard, Modern Catholic Social Teaching is a remarkable work—intellectually rigorous and deeply faithful, it provides accessible and thought-provoking insights into the heart of a belief tradition that every Catholic will find invaluable. The Logos Bible Software edition of Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations, provides an abundance of resources that offers applicable and insightful material for biblical and philosophical study. The volume is easily searchable and an assortment of useful resources is accessible, including various perspectives on the subject matter from an assortment of scholars.

  • Comprehensive volume on the history, development, and content of the social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Essential for teaching or studying Catholic social ethics
  • Part I: Foundations
    • "The Bible and Catholic Social Teaching: Will This Engagement Lead to Marriage?," by John R. Donahue, SJ
    • "Natural Law in Catholic Social Teachings," by Stephen J. Pope
    • "The Ecclesiological Foundations of Modern Catholic Social Teaching," by Richard R. Gaillardetz
    • "Early Modern Roman Catholic Social Thought, 1740–1890," by Michael J. Schuck
  • Part II: Commentaries
    • "Rerum novarum," by Thomas A. Shannon
    • "Quadragesimo anno," by Christine Firer Hinze
    • "The Christmas Messages of Pius XII," by John P. Langan, SJ
    • "Mater et magistra," by Marvin L. Mich
    • "Pacem in terris," by Drew Christiansen, SJ
    • "Dignitatis humanae," by Leslie Griffin
    • "Gaudium et spes," by David Hollenbach, SJ
    • "Populorum progressio," by Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ
    • "Octogesima, adveniens," by Christine E. Gudorf
    • "Justitia in mundo," by Kenneth R. Himes, OFM
    • "Familiaris consortio," by Lisa Sowle Cahill
    • "Laborem exercens," by Patricia A. Lamoureux
    • "Sollicitudo rei socialis," by Charles E. Curran, Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, and Thomas A. Shannon
    • "Centesimus annus," by Daniel Finn
  • Part III: Reception and Future of the Tradition
    • "The Reception of Catholic Social and Economic Teaching in the United States," by Charles E. Curran
    • "The Reception of Catholic Approaches to Peace and War in the United States," by Todd D. Whitmore
    • "The Future of Catholic Social Thought," by John A. Coleman, SJ
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.


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.


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

Kenneth Himes and colleagues have produced what is arguably the single best collection of commentaries on the major documents of Catholic social teaching, and bracketed them within a series of critical essays on the theological, ecclesial, and historical meaning of this developing tradition. An extraordinary resource for scholars and students alike, Modern Catholic Social Teaching offers a thoroughgoing and in-depth analysis of fourteen of the modern Church's most important social documents as well as a comprehensive examination of Catholic social thought from Rerum Novarum to Centesimus Annus, and beyond.

—Patrick McCormick, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University

  • Title: Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations
  • Editor: Kenneth R. Himes
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 564

Kenneth R. Himes is Associate Professor in the Department of Theology at Boston College, Author of Responses to 101 Questions on Catholic Social Teaching, and Coauthor (with Michael J. Himes) of Fullness of Faith: The Public Significance of Theology.

Enjoy the free book of the month and extras for May!


Digital list price: $39.99
Regular price: $30.99
Save $19.00 (61%)