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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Catholic social teaching is usually identified with the papal encyclicals and a few Vatican II documents, beginning with Leo XIII's great encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) and climaxing in the encyclical of John Paul II Centesimus Annus (1991). This article begins with a discussion on the ‘theopolitics’ of the encyclicals. It then considers some of the encyclicals dealing with family. These encyclicals are not solely (or perhaps even primarily) about the controversial issues of birth control and the nature of the family; rather, they help us see that Catholic social teaching must be interpreted as the ongoing attempt by the Church to respond to the challenge of social orders built on the assumption that we can live as if God does not exist.

Keywords: Church, Catholic social thought, papal encyclicals, moral theology, theopolitics, family

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