Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

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The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church was published in 2004 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the request of John Paul II.[1] Catholic social teaching deals with "questions concerning life in society"[2] of which the compendium aspires to present "a precise but complete over-view".[1] In its English translation, the volume is 315 pages long, not counting the extensive Table of Contents, a foreword Letter from Cardinal Sodano, the then Cardinal Secretary of State to the President of the Pontifical Council, a brief Presentation by that President, a 24-page Index of References, and a comprehensive Analytical Index of 141 pages organised alphabetically from "abortion" to "youth".


The document was presented by Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on April 2, 2004, the memorial of Francis of Paola.[1] He noted that the document was preceded by Laborem Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Centesimus Annus, wherein John Paul II expounded upon the church's social teaching. The late Pope wanted a compilation of all the church's doctrines on society, so the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace wrote the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church to him, whom it named the "Master of Social Doctrine and Evangelical Witness to Justice and Peace".[1]


The compendium is divided into three parts, with twelve chapters, an introduction and a conclusion, a letter by Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, and abbreviations for books of the Bible and church documents it references.[3]

Specifically, it deals with questions on divine providence, the church as the mission of Jesus Christ and its social doctrine, the human person and human rights, the family in society, human work and the economy, the political and international communities, the environment, promoting peace, pastoral actions and the activities of the laity.

The conclusion is entitled "For a Civilization of Love".


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