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August 12, 2005
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v2.1 Reference

Modern Catholic Social Teaching

Commentaries and Interpretations

Edited by Kenneth R. Himes
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.

About the Author

Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, is an 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.


"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."—America

"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."—Commonweal

"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 "—Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education


"This invaluable volume assembles the most respected experts in Catholic social ethics and covers its subject in a comprehensive way. Not only does it treat the full range of topics one might anticipate, but it goes beyond the expected to offer original and creative insights regarding a venerable tradition of reflection upon life in society. The quality of the contributions is consistently outstanding. No teacher of Catholic ethics should be without this extraordinary resource, which promises to be a standard reference in the field for many years to come.

This volume represents a monumental achievement. Long have we awaited such a comprehensive treatment of Catholic social teaching from an American perspective. To describe this volume, I would eagerly apply the label 'definitive' if I were not so sure that the authors would dismiss this adjective as inappropriate for a commentary on a living, growing tradition of thought."—Thomas Massaro, SJ, associate professor of moral theology, Weston Jesuit School of Theology

"I believe in a Catholic conscience, the power of imagination, and the need for building Catholic communities of concern. This book will help Catholic lay women and men better understand how to turn their faith into action. In the present, as in the past, Catholic social teaching is a gift to the world. Throughout these pages, the authors apply their wisdom to the important questions of our day, as well as the past, including the puzzle of why our church sometimes fails to live the social justice message it teaches."—James E. Post, president of Voice of the Faithful

"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

"This volume offers synthetic insights into the documentary heritage of modern Catholic social teaching from some of the most respected scholars in the field. The commentaries and essays stand on their own, ready for use in undergraduate and graduate courses across the disciplines. This text will become a standard resource for scholars, students, and pastoral ministers seeking a deeper grounding in the historical context and development of Catholic social teaching texts."—Margaret R. Pfeil, assistant professor of moral theology, University of Notre Dame

Georgetown University Press

9781589010536 : modern-catholic-social-teaching-himes
Paperback / softback
464 Pages
$49.95 USD

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Modern Catholic Social Teaching, Second Edition

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