Throughout the course of her history, and particularly in the last hundred years, the Church has never failed, in the words of Pope Leo XIII, to speak “the words that are hers” with regard to questions concerning life in society. Continuing to expound and update the rich patrimony of Catholic social doctrine, Pope John Paul II has for his part published three great Encyclicals — Laborem Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Centesimus Annus — that represent fundamental stages of Catholic thought in this area. For their part, numerous Bishops in every part of the world have contributed in recent times to a deeper understanding of the Church’s social doctrine.
Numerous scholars on every continent have done the same. It was therefore decided that a compendium of all this material be compiled, systematically presenting the foundations of Catholic social doctrine.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (since August 2016 it is merged into Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development) has taken on this responsibility and dedicated an intense amount of work to the initiative.
We offer the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church to believers and to all people of good will, as a food for human and spiritual growth, both personal and communitarian.
The Compendium is one of the fundamental texts of the Catholic Church and has been published in over 15 languages and more than 50 editions.