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Teachings of the Church

Encyclicals & Papal Writings

Pope Leo XIII

Rerum Novarum. Enyclical of on Capital & Labor. Issued May 15, 1891.

Pope Pius XI

Quadragesimo Anno: On the Reconstruction of the Social Order. Issued May 15, 193

Pope John XXIII

Mater Et Magistra. Encyclical on Christianity and Social Progress. May 15, 1961.

Pope John Paul II

Ecclesia in America. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Jan. 22, 1999.
Laborem Exercens: On Human Work. Enyclical of Pope John Paul II. Issued on September 14, 1981
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis: "On Social Concerns": On the Twentieth Anniversary of Populorum Progressio. Issued on December 30, 1987.
Centesimus Annus: The Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum. Issued on May 1, 1991

Pope Benedict XVI

Deus Caritas Est Issued December 25, 2005.

Vatican II

Gaudium Et Spes: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on Dec. 7, 1965.
Dignitatis Humanae: Declaration on Religious Freedom Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on Dec. 7, 1965.

From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Doctrinal Note on the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Nov. 24, 2002.

Reactions & Commentary on 'Doctrinal Note on the Participation of Catholics in Political Life'

- Importance and current validity of the document, by Cardinal Joachim Meisner Archbishop of Cologne. L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English. 22 January 2003, page 7.
- Catholic Culture for True Humanism, by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi. Archbishop of Bologna. L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English. 22 January 2003, page 7.
- Secularism, Morality & Politics, by Prof. John Finnis. L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English. 29 January 2003, page 9.
- Doctrinal Note: An Overview, by Fr. Réal Tremblay, C.SS.R. L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English 12 February 2003, page 9.

Instruction on Christian Freedom & Liberation. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. March 22, 1986.

Online Resources



  • The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. Inspired by the writings of the English historian Lord John Acton (1834-1902), the Acton Institute "seeks to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous." It publishes two journals, Religion & Liberty and Markets & Morality, and a series of pamphlets on Christian social thought.
  • The Ethics & Public Policy Center The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) was established in 1976 to clarify and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy issues.
  • The Economy Project, sponsored by The GK Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture, Oxford. Advances the premise: "that every economy is a "cultural economy", and fundamentally an "ethical economy", the expression of an ethos . . . Christianity claims that our nature fulfils itself only in self-giving love. If this is true, it affects the goals and methods of economics. What kind of "sane economics" might emerge from such a transformation is the question that our project seeks to ask, if not to answer."
  • InterCollegiate Studies Institute - ISI works "to educate for liberty" — to identify the best and the brightest college students and to nurture in these future leaders the American ideal of ordered liberty. To accomplish this goal, ISI seeks to enhance the rising generation's knowledge of our nation's founding principles — limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, market economy, and moral norms.
  • The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal - "Continuing in the tradition of Dr. Kirk, the Center’s mission is to strengthen the foundations—cultural, economic, and religious—of Western civilization and the American experience within it."
  • The Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society - founded in 1992 by Michael Novak, Rocco Buttiglione, Father Richard John Neuhaus, Father Maciej Zieba, OP, and George Weigel to deepen the dialogue on Catholic social doctrine between North American students and students from the new democracies of central and eastern Europe. The seminar is built around an intense study of John Paul II's 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, supplemented by readings from the classics of American political theory and contemporary articles.
  • The Catholic Worker Movement, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933, is "grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person [and] protests injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms."