Educational Resource

Foundational Documents of Catholic Social Teaching

Year Published
  • 2020
  • English

Papal and Vatican Documents

Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labor)—Pope Leo XIII, 1891

Quadragesimo Anno (After Forty Years)—Pope Pius XI, 1931

Mater et Magistra (Christianity and Social Progress)—St. John XXIII, 1961

Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth)—St. John XXIII, 1963

Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)—Second Vatican Council, 1965

Dignitatis Humanae  (Declaration on Religious  Freedom)—Second Vatican Council, 1965

Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples)—Blessed Paul VI, 1967

Octogesima Adveniens (A Call to Action)—Blessed Pope Paul VI, 1971

Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World)—Blessed Paul VI, 1975

Laborem Exercens (On Human Work)—St. John Paul II, 1981

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern)—St. John Paul II, 1987

The Church and Racism:  Towards a more fraternal society—Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,  1989

Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year)—St. John Paul II, 1991

Veritatis splendor (The Splendor of Truth)—St. John Paul II, 1993

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)—St. John Paul II, 1995

Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of a Person)—Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1998

Ecclesia in America (The Church in America)—St. John Paul II, 1999

Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason)—St. John Paul II, 1998

Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political  Life - Congregation for the Doctrine of the  Faith, 2002

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church—Pontifical Council for Justice and  Peace, 2004

Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love)—Pope Benedict XVI, 2005

Sacramentum Caritatis (The Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church's Life and  Mission)—Pope Benedict XVI, 2007 (especially paragraphs 47, 49, 82-84, and  88-92)

Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth)—Pope Benedict XVI, 2009

Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)—Pope Francis, 2013

Laudato Si' (On Care for Our Common Home)—Pope Francis, 2015

United States Catholic Bishops Documents

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, November 2015, November 2011, November 2007

Labor Day Statements

Respecting the Just Rights of Workers, June 2009

A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death | en Español  November 2005

Catholics in Political Life, June 2004

"For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food" Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers | en Español  December 2003

Strangers No Longer | en Español  January 2003, Joint Statement from Bishops of the United States and Mexico

A Place at the Table: A Catholic Recommitment to Overcome Poverty and to Respect the Dignity of All  God's Children | en Español , December 2002

Statement on Iraq, November 2002 

Statement on Israeli-Palestinian Violence, March 2002

A Call to Solidarity with Africa | en français, November 2001

A Pastoral Message: Living with  Faith and Hope After September 11, November 2001

Resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis, June 2001

Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good | en Español  June 2001

Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice | en Español  November 2000

Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity | en Español  November 2000

Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice | en Español
November 1999

In All Things Charity: A  Pastoral Challenge for the New Millennium, November 1999

A Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty | en Español  April 1999

A Commitment to All  Generations: Social Security and the Common Good, May 1999

A Jubilee Call  for Debt Forgiveness, April 1999

Living the Gospel of Life | en Español  November 1998

Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions | en Español  June 1998

Called to Global Solidarity | en Español  November 1997

A Catholic Framework for Economic Life | en Español  November 1996

A Decade After Economic Justice for All | en Español  November 1995

Sowing Weapons of War, June 1995

Moral Principles and Policy Priorities for Welfare Reform, March 1995

The Cries of the Poor are Still with Us, September 1995

Confronting a Culture of Violence | en Español  November 1994

Communities of Salt and Light | en Español November 1993

The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace, November 1993

A Framework for Comprehensive Healthcare Reform, 1993

When I call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women | en Español
September 1992

A Matter of the Heart, November 1992

Renewing the Earth | en Español, 1991

A Century of Social Teaching, 1990

New Slavery, New Freedom, 1990

Called to Compassion and Responsibility, November 1989

Toward Peace in the Middle East, 1989

Homelessness and Housing, March 1988

Statement on Central America | en Español

Economic Justice for All | en Español, November 1986

The Challenge of Peace, 1983

Statement on Capital Punishment, November 1980

In the Name of Peace: Collective Statements on War and Peace, 1919-1980

Brothers and Sisters to  Us | en Español, 1979

Pastoral Statement on Persons with Disabilities, 1978

Declaration on Conscientious Objection and Selective Conscientious Objection, October 1971