A reader asks about Catholic Social Teaching Resources

A reader asks about Catholic Social Teaching Resources November 19, 2015

He writes:

I was hoping that you could recommend a quality and qualitative book on Catholic Social Justice/Doctrine.

I’m not much of an expert here, but I’ll give you what little I have.  Three books come to mind:

1. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

2. Catholic Social Teaching: A New Synthesis by Daniel Schwindt:

3. Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World by Brandon Vogt:

I ask as a teacher looking to update the 12th grade Religion curriculum at a large all-boys Catholic School located on Long Island, NY.

About two years ago, we updated our 11th grade Religion curriculum, a Moral Philosophy class, to include a lot more Thomist Philosophy, which we then augment with some very cool resources – A Man for All Seasons (Richard Bolt), Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl), and The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor. (the changes have been amazing!!!)


Last year, we started the process of revamping the 12th grade course.  We have determined that we want the course to be two parts.  Part I will be apologetics using Dr. Peter Kreeft’s Because God is Real: 16 Questions One Answer as a base. And Part II will be Catholic Social Justice.  The only problem is that we have struggled to find a quality and qualitative Social Justice resource that is both readable for our students and somewhat non-political.

Hope those help.  Unfortunately, I doubt it is possible to entirely avoid politics since Catholic Social Teaching tends to get read through our political categories.  But what you *can* do is push back and insist on reading our political categories through Catholic Social Teaching, thus showing where they are are compatible with (and at odds with) the full-orbed teaching of the Church.

I reach out to you because I actually found Dr. Peter Kreeft’s Because God is Real on your recommendation.  In one of your blog posts you mentioned Kreeft’s book Fundamentals of Faith, which I loved, but thought was a little too dense for our students — but that book led me to Because God is Real.

Kreeft is always good.

Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

I’m still learning this stuff myself (largely with the help of the Compendium.  It’s all biblical and common sense and all fits together very rationally.  But our irrational political categories keep getting in the way.

Thanks for all the work that you do.  I really enjoy your Facebook posts and other writings, please keep up the great work.

Thanks!  And God bless your work in the Vineyard!

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