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Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church Paperback – March 7, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; 1st edition (March 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574556924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574556926
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The book's 250 pages of carefully selected quotations from ancient and modern documents are wonderfully indexed by sources (25 pp.) and by vigorous topics and inviting subtopics (165 pp.). For achieving peace, there are so many connections, either in place or waiting to be made." (Rev. Philip C. Fischer, S.J. Review for Religious 20050701)

"The new Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, released in March in the United States, makes it unmistakably clear that the Church proposes something much more profound --(Henry Berry Reviewer's Bookwatch 20050501)

From the Back Cover

This Compendium is a unique, unprecedented document in the history of the Church. It serves as a tool to inspire and guide the faithful who are faced with moral and pastoral challenges daily. Parts include -God's plan of love for humanity -The family, the vital cell of society -Social doctrine and ecclesial action -For a civilazation of love -Index of references -Analytical index

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This is a well organized and comprehensive overview of Catholic Social Doctrine.
Its emphasis is on the dignity of the human person, the importance of work, the benefits and dangers of capitalism, as well as of socialism.
Deacon Bob
The new Compendium will be extremely helpful for deacons in the Roman Catholic Church and the other Christian churches.
Robert M. Pallotti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 86 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Phelan on August 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
Be warned that this amazing work is not a page-turning history of this often-neglected and rich history of Catholic Social Teaching. It reads like a John Paul II encyclical, in both its circular, thorough, hypnotic approach to the many aspects of the teaching as well as the sense one gets that one is witnessing transcendent Truth.

Overstatement? Perhaps. I admit to being a huge fan of JPII, but I'm a bigger fan of the One he served so faithfully. I have also had the ability to work full-time in the area of social justice in a faithfully Catholic organization and have often been dismayed by the misunderstandings that many have of Catholic Social Teaching.

There seems to be a large group of non-Catholic or semi-Catholic people who do great work "in the trenches" serving as Christ has called us all to do, but often do so with a hostility toward the Church and her teachings. There also seems to be another group of Catholics who are faithful in general to the Church's sacraments and moral teachings, but don't take the Church's call to solidarity with the poor very seriously. Christ's admonitions to both types of people are easy to find in the Gospel, so there is little need to go into that here, but this volume gives a wake up call to all of us if we will hear it.

If you are Catholic, then you are called to be with and serve those who need our help (Solidarity and Subsidiarity - two key principles). It is not for us to choose to let government do it (sorry, Socialists), to serve with bitter revolutionary intent (ditto, Marxists), or to simply insulate ourselves from the less fortunate, sick and needy with material wealth (sound familiar anyone?).
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Glenn S. Leach on March 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unique and valuable reference for anyone, Catholic or not, who would like a systematic concept of the theology of social doctrine. While less useful to non-Catholic readers due to its extensive use and references to church documents, its cross references to scripture and general theological/practical content is unique in my experience. Although the publisher's remarks give the reading level as young adult, I would rate it just a notch higher. It is very readable, but has an extensive vocabularly that at times involves words and comments more common to ecclesiastical documents than general reading.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John F. Griffin on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If one is seeking a blueprint, a framework, and a synthesis on putting the Catholic faith 'into practice', 'into action', one will find these qualities in this Compendium. Each sentence carries meaning and there are no unimportant words in this Compendium. It is concise, yet treats each topic with erudite precision. It is inspirational and hopeful! This Compendium makes one ponder deeply about the Catholic faith. It absolutely challenges both the mind and heart of the Catholic religious and lay faithful and exhorts the heart and mind to nobler causes outside of oneself and exhorts us to build a civilization of love, a culture of life. This Compendium, coupled with the previously published Catechism of the Catholic Church, will, in the judgement of history, be considered two classical works, that is, masterpieces. This is a book that all Catholics, at the least, should have on their shelves.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on April 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
The "concise but complete overview of the Church's social teaching" runs some 225 pages. The principles of the many facets of Catholic social work are specified "to sustain and foster the activity of Catholics in the social sector, especially the activity of the lay faithful." There's no guidance on the practicalities or pragmatics of realizing the principles; the "Compendium" is not a how-to. Parts of it are almost theological in tone, e. g., "God's Plan and the Mission of the Church." And other parts such as those dealing with the "way of love" or alluding to the "new heaven" and the "new earth" are visionary and inspirational. Half a dozen or more footnotes on every page point to historical or doctrinal bases for the principles; most of which are found in papal encyclicals. The family, peace, human rights, work, and politics are major sections. An "Analytical Index" of 150 pages takes one to any particular topic one is looking for. The format is each of the numerous social principles in italics followed by brief commentary in regular type. The "Compendium" is not only a comprehensive new edition gathering Catholic doctrine relating to social work. With recurring references to moral issues raised by advances in medicine, globalization, and other contemporary matters, it carries these principles into today's world and its central social developments.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pierson on July 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is an extremely helpful resource of and addition to Catholic Social Doctrine. The authors (it was written by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace) have collected all Papal and Curial social teachings since Pope Leo XIII's groundbreaking 1892 encyclical Rerum Novarum, and the foundations these teaching have in the Bible and the Doctors of the Church. But the book is more than a collection of pronouncements and teachings. It is a fluid and readable book. There are three sections that divide the book. The first section concerning the duty and right the Church has in promulgating a social doctrine "worthy of the human person". Section two is made up of those doctrines themselves. Each chapter being about a major area of social concern: the family, labor, politics, economics, peace, etc.. The third section is about the application of these teachings, by the clerics first and than, in a much longer sub-chapter, by the laity. This section concludes with the drawing out, on a deeper more theological level, all social teaching from the virtues of faith, hope, and love. In fact the whole book centers on the "law of love" as instituted by Christ in his death and resurrection.
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