An Economics of Justice and Charity

by Thomas Storck, Angelico, 182pp, £13.50

This book looks at Catholic social teaching from the time of Pope Leo XIII at the end of the 19th century up to the present day, and focuses on papal teachings in particular.

It is thus, in essence, about the papal response to the modern economic, social and political theories which have shaped our modern world, and which are part of the “liberalism” which the Church has struggled with since the Reformation.

One of the main contentions of the author, in line with the teaching of recent popes, is that our modern economic situation and system cannot be seen as separate from a general consideration of culture, politics and religion, and that Catholics should be on their guard against the liberal ideology which asserts that economics is a discrete realm.

Although the beginning of modern Catholic social teaching is identified with Pope Leo XIII, and his encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891), as Storck points out, it is actually rooted in the teachings of Christ, the Church Fathers and the work of thinkers such as St Thomas Aquinas. But it has undergone a great development over the last century.

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