Living out the social message of the Catholic Christian faith is not only an academic question. But if someone asked you for one book that clearly elucidated that message, what could you give them?
Just as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) has become a standard reference for informed Catholics about the Church's general doctrine, popes since John Paul II have expressed a desire for a "social Catechism" that succinctly presents the implications of the faith for social and political life and its connection to the new evangelization. This work aims to fill that void.
Handbook of Catholic Social Teaching employs a question and answer format, to better accentuate the response of the Church's message to the questions Catholics have about their social role and what the Church intends to teach about it. It is the first short book on Catholic Social Teaching to ground itself thoroughly in the longer and authoritative Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004), following the compendium's structure but rendering its key points more succinctly and accessibly. It also brings in more recent papal encyclicals like Caritas in Veritate and Laudato Si and new special topics (such as gender ideology).
Written in consultation with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and already a best-seller in Italy, the Handbook should take its place alongside the Catechism on the shelf of informed Catholics as works that can inform what we believe and do in the public sphere.
"Martin Schlag has put together an excellent resource on Catholic social teaching, addressing current issues such as poverty, marriage, bioethics, labor, politics, the environment, immigration, and life issues… This layout makes it a simple go-to reference book or an easy read from cover to cover. In explaining the social doctrine of the Church with only credible resources, this book is able to show how we can attempt to meet the needs of each human person. Modern topics and the Church’s position are clearly explained in a reasoned, factual, and faith-based manner. This is an excellent resource to better understand the true teachings of the Church and combat the distortion that is often portrayed about our social mission. There is a comprehensive bibliography and notes section as well as an easy-to use index. This is an essential resource for every library."~Michael A. Cerbo , Catholic Library World
"Catholic social teaching can be summarized with just one phrase: no man is a problem. Reductive anthropologies reduce human beings to problems that invite solutions – even final solutions. This is what has bought us abortion, genocide, euthanasia and the like. In this compendium of Catholic social teachings we find an anthropology coherent to both natural and divine law, one that shows the human face of God even as it reveals the divine face of man."~Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
"Catholic social teaching often has been described as the Church’s best-kept secret. That’s less so under Pope Francis, of course, but it’s still true that many people don’t understand the full range of the Church’s concerns, or the basis for them in Catholic teaching and tradition. In this exceptional volume, Monsignor Martin Schlag provides a one-stop-shopping overview, and it deserves to be widely read, studied, pondered, prayed over, and, perhaps most importantly, acted upon. -"~John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux