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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay considers the modern tradition of Catholic social teaching (CST). CST finds its roots in the biblical, patristic, and medieval periods, but was inaugurated in particular by Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) and has been sustained by a range of papal encyclicals and conciliar documents since. The documents of CST emphasize that human beings are created for mutual cooperation and a pursuit of common good in social, economic, and political life. The essay considers first CST’s developing account of how social relations may be governed by Christian charity. It then considers the nature of property within economic relations as conceived within CST. The final section considers CST’s reflections on political life, which is understood as primarily personal and dependent on relations of mutual rights and responsibilities that are directed to the common good.

Keywords: charity, common good, justice, economics, politics, Vatican II, Catholic social teaching

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