Wednesday 8th July 2020

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Bishop Strickland . . . Rescuing And Re-Presenting Catholic Social Doctrine

June 15, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Part 1

In the aftermath of the tragic and unjust killing of George Floyd, many are using the phrase “social justice.” But what they mean when they use that pregnant phrase may, and often does, vary substantially. Any genuine discussion of authentic social justice, as well as authentic human and civil rights, should consider the great treasury of Catholic Moral Teaching referred to as the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church.
Sadly, there are many misusing Catholic Social Teaching to promote political agendas which are at odds with the truths it presents and proposes. I am convinced that the treasury of insights and principles found within Catholic Social Teaching can indeed help to rescue a Western culture on the brink of an internal collapse.
The problem is finding that treasury, intact, without some form of reinterpretation and/or misinterpretation through a political filter with an agenda too often foreign to the teaching itself. Sadly, too many have taken the principles, criteria for judgment, and guidelines for action which the Social Doctrine offers and used it to promote their own political goals.

What Is The Church’s Social Teaching?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2423) summarizes what Catholic Social Teaching offers — and invites us to do — in one line, “The Church’s social teaching proposes principles for reflection; it provides criteria for judgment; it gives guidelines for action.” Prior to 2004, the phrase the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church referred to the teachings found in the Sacred Scriptures (the Bible) and the Christian tradition which were developed and reflected upon within a contemporary series of papal encyclical letters, apostolic letters, and exhortations.
The teaching is called social because it speaks to human society and to the formation, role, and rightful place of social institutions. Many of these truths and principles can be known by all men and women because they are revealed in the Natural Law, accessible by reason, and expounded upon in Revelation. These truths, insights, and principles have been reflected upon by bishops’ conferences and offered to the faithful to apply to their own participation in the social order in the national and cultural environments where they live, work, and serve — as a leaven in the loaf of culture.
These truths, insights, and principles are also informed by the teaching documents of the Second Vatican Council, and other councils preceding it. Most national bishops’ conferences group the Social Teaching around seven themes or topical areas within which these teachings, guidelines, and principles are to be applied. I express these seven areas in my own words below:
1) The fundamental and inviolable Right to Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2) The social call to Family, Community, and Participation
3) Human Rights and Responsibilities as citizens
4) The call to a love of preference to the poor and vulnerable, in all their manifestations
5) The dignity of all human work, which is rooted in the dignity of the worker who does it and the rights and duties of the worker
6) Our obligations in Solidarity — as applied through the principle of Subsidiarity; and
7) Our responsibilities as stewards of the gift of creation.

Where Can One Find The Social Teaching?

The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church is not only for Catholics, other Christians, or even just “religious people.” It is meant for all people and all nations. It is offered by the Catholic Church to those who seek to build a truly just and human society and promote the real common good.
As noted, prior to 2004, the phrase the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church referred to the teachings found in the Sacred Scripture (the Bible) and the Christian tradition which were developed and reflected upon within a contemporary series of papal encyclical letters, apostolic letters, and exhortations.
Unfortunately, many Catholics and other Christians had not read many of these sources — for any number of reasons. Thus, what sometimes is claimed to be the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church was just the spin of self-appointed experts with their own pet political, cultural, social or economic theories, opinions and agendas. I regularly admonish Catholic Christians not to simply accept what someone tells them is Catholic Social Teaching. Even if that someone happens to be an ordained servant of the Church.
Rather, they should personally inform their own minds, hearts, lifestyles, and social participation by the real deal. And, the Church, as mother and teacher, has made that possible. On April 2, 2004, on the Memorial of St. Francis of Paola, Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, then president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, released the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of Church. It contains an impeccably sourced, accessible, and readable summary of centuries of teaching and sets forth the themes of this branch of moral theology called the Social Teaching of the Church.
I strongly suggest that every Catholic home have a paper copy of this resource book right next to their Bible and Catechism. It can be purchased at It is available online at I recommend this Compendium to the many Christians of other communities with whom we should work in social causes.
My greatest disappointment since the publication of the Compendium is how few Catholics and other Christians see the integral connection between the faith they profess and their political, cultural, and social participation.
The fathers of the Second Vatican Council in their Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World warned, “This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.”

The Roots Of The Social Teaching

In the first Book of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Book of Genesis, the “Book of the Beginnings,” we find the story of creation, the beginning of the social doctrine of the Church. The Creation story reveals that we were made by the Creator for relationship — with God, with one another, and with the created order.
This is an essential contribution of the Social Teaching. The human being will not find his or her fulfillment or true freedom in isolation. We are constituted for relationships. We form societies not to just somehow “protect” ourselves from the other — but to become who we were created to be. In the words of the sacred text: “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures we find clear instruction concerning our social relations.
However, for Christians, it is in the great event which forever changed human history — the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh — that we find the fullness of the truth concerning the human vocation. We also find the invitation to all men and women to find true happiness and human flourishing through a relationship with the Father, in the Son and through the Holy Spirit.
That relationship is to be lived out within the Church, which is the seed of the Kingdom to come, for the sake of the world. It also has implications in how we form social relationships, with all men and women, in the various communities within which we live our daily lives.
The Christian Church proclaims that fullness of humanity is revealed in Jesus Christ, who is true God and True man, the New Adam (See Romans 5:12-20), the One in whom the new creation has begun. Through His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, Heaven is brought to Earth and Earth is brought to Heaven. Christians are incorporated into Him in and through Baptism and made new.
They are then sent into the world as a part of His Mystical Body, the Church, to continue His redemptive mission. It is in and through His Paschal Mystery, His saving Life, Death, and Resurrection, that we find the deepest meaning of human existence revealed and the path to the fullness of salvation opened to all.
The New Testament is filled with this “Social Teaching.” For example, the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5) contains the very essence of the moral and social teaching of the Christian faith. Jesus Christ, in His Sacred Humanity, is the Social Teaching. It is made visible in its complete perfection in His Sacred Humanity.
How He lived, loved, and related to others is the pattern for all truly human relations. The Church proclaims the truth about Jesus Christ — that He came to redeem the whole person — and to begin a new creation — both of which begin now and will be completed and fulfilled in the resurrection of the body and life in a new Heaven and the new Earth.

Church History And The Tradition

In the history of the early Church we certainly find the development of Christian Social Teaching contained in the writings of the early Church Fathers. It was lived and expressed in the practices of the early Christian communities. The Patristic sources (writings of the early Fathers) evidence a continual stream of teaching to Christians as to how they should properly relate to the goods of the Earth. They were always challenged by their leaders to live simply.
“To possess more than is needed,” St. Basil said, “…is to defraud the poor, to rob them.” Close to the seat of his episcopacy he built a large hospital to care for the sick and the hungry. We see it also in the writings of the great bishop of Constantinople, St. John Chrysostom, in his rich understanding of our social obligations expressed in his phrase the “Gospel of the brother.” This extraordinary bishop was known for multiplying hospitals and setting forth plans for implementing principles of economic justice which included his thoughts on just wages and working conditions.

Contemporary Sources

In the last one hundred or more years, the teaching office of the Catholic Church has developed and updated this beautiful patrimony of social doctrine. Contemporary Catholic Social Teaching is often associated with the promulgation of Pope Leo XIII’s On Capital and Labor (Rerum Novarum) in 1891 and the trajectory of modern papal encyclicals which have been released since.
That includes include the writings of Pope John XXIII, Pope St. Paul VI, and the multiple contributions of Pope St. John Paul II, to whom the Compendium of the Social Teaching is dedicated. It is also enriched by the social Magisterium of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. His first two encyclical letters, God is Love (Deus Caritas Est) and Saved by Hope (Spe Salvi), expounded upon the vision of a unity of life which forms the foundation for the Church’s Social Teaching.
In the first, a deeply theological and profoundly spiritual teaching on love, he spends the second half of the letter giving a developed teaching on the demands and implications of social charity. In the second, a reflection on biblical hope, he underscored its social expressions. The message in both is clear — the Gospel has social implications. The Third Installment, an apostolic exhortation entitled The Joy of the Gospel, was not completed by the time Pope Benedict voluntarily stepped aside from the Office of Peter. It was finished by his Successor in office, our current Pope, Francis.
In the Compendium of the Social Teaching, the connection between living faith and authentic social concern is consistent and strong. The message is simple: Christians are called to inform their entire lives, personal, familial, social, cultural, economic, and political, by their faith and thus to live what the Compendium calls “an integral and solidary humanism.”
The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church is meant to inform and influence social, economic, political, and cultural life, primarily through the work of lay Christians who not only know it but have committed themselves to live by it, making it the foundation of their work in service to human society and the common good. This teaching is called “social” because it speaks to human society and to the formation, role and rightful place of social institutions.
It reveals principles and truths that can be known by all men and women – because they are revealed in the natural law. These truths and principles are also confirmed by — and expounded upon in — Revelation. Thus, this body of teaching is not simply “religious,” in the sense that it is intended only for religious persons. It offers insights that are of tremendous value to all men and women — and it offers them for every nation.
The Introduction of the Compendium addresses all men and women with these words: “To the people of our time, our traveling companions, the Church also offers her social doctrine. In fact, when the Church ‘fulfills her mission of proclaiming the Gospel, she bears witness to man, in the name of Christ, to his dignity and his vocation to the communion of persons’.”
The reason for the Social Teaching is to serve the common good. So, what is the common good? We will consider this vital concept in our next installment.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Please educate yourself on this! Toward the end of this statement 2 points are made that are contrary to FAITH...#1 opposing the nuclear family (where is dad?) and #2 opposing God’s plan for sex as a union of male & female. This agenda is DANGEROUS!

John Roberts certainly should qualify as one of the top 10 recalls in history of the Supreme Court.#fraud

Likely two more Supreme Court appointments likely in the next presidential term. Something to consider. The conservative majority is a myth. Roberts has proven himself to be another leftist. Thank Bush for this one.

Bishop Strickland . . . Solidarity, Subsidiarity, And Economic Concerns -

3M headquarters, Mn. Displaying their true colors-Just another corporation "celebrating" and contributing to our culture of decadence.

Load More...

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

Catholic priest among defenders of St Louis statue

CNA Staff, Jun 27, 2020 / 09:36 pm MT (CNA).- Fr. Stephen Schumacher, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was among the defenders of a prominent statue of the city’s namesake as protesters called for its removal Saturday.…Continue Reading

‘I cannot remain silent’: Madison Catholic bishop condemns destruction of religious statues

Denver Newsroom, Jun 24, 2020 / 04:08 pm MT (CNA).- As rioters across the United States target statues depicting historical figures, the Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday denounced that destruction, along with calls to destroy some depictions of Jesus…Continue Reading

John Roberts tries to suppress Reagan’s letter

After three and a half years of legal wrangling, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in August of 1985 ordered the 16,433 mangled babies’ bodies found in Woodland Hills in 1982 to be turned over to the Guerra-Gutirrez-Alexander Mortuary…Continue Reading

Pope Francis declares Catholic sister killed in Satanic ritual a martyr

Vatican City, Jun 19, 2020 / 12:40 pm MT (CNA).- Pope Francis declared Friday that Sister Maria Laura Mainetti, an Italian religious sister killed by three teenage girls in a Satanic sacrifice, was a martyr for the Catholic faith. The…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: Catholics and Muslims share no common faith in God, no common adoration

June 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Athanasius Schneider has once more raised his voice concerning the controversial February 4, 2019 Abu Dhabi Statement on Human Fraternity where Pope Francis and a Grand Imam jointly declared, among other problematic statements, that God wills…Continue Reading

German cardinal criticizes ‘synodal path,’ exhorts German Church to ‘remain Catholic’

COLOGNE, Germany, June 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the head of the Archdiocese of Cologne in Germany, has called on the Church in Germany to strengthen its identity as part of the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic…Continue Reading

US bishop reverses plan to ban Communion on tongue as churches reopen

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana, May 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Douglas Deshotel has revised his decision to allow only reception of the Eucharist in the hand amid the coronavirus pandemic. He credited guidelines issued by the Thomistic Institute for correcting his previous…Continue Reading

Sainthood causes open for St John Paul II’s parents

A ceremony launching the causes of the Wojtyłas took place at the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice, John Paul II’s birthplace. At the ceremony, the Kraków Archdiocese officially formed the tribunals that will seek…Continue Reading

President Trump on National Day of Prayer: “Never Forget That All Things are Possible With God”

On this National Day of Prayer, Americans reaffirm that prayer guides and strengthens our Nation, and we express, with humility and gratitude, our “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”  As one Nation under God, we share a legacy…Continue Reading

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Archbishop Hebda Gives Guidelines For Reopening Catholic Churches

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Archbishop Bernard Hebda, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, says he anticipates reopening churches on May 18, which is when the state’s current stay-at-home order expires. In a letter to Catholics, he outlined strict guidelines…Continue Reading

Joe Biden Calls Killing Babies in Abortions “Essential Health Care That Cannot be Delayed”

Today, presumed Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden stated that abortions are “essential health care that cannot be delayed” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s statement was in response to a question during a virtual town hall in which pro-abortion…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Abp Viganò defends his union with Church: ‘I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church’

July 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – “I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church, for the exaltation of which I daily renew the offering of my life,” stated Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò regarding accusations that he was “on the brink of schism” over his comments regarding the Catholic Church in relation to the 1962-65 Vatican II council.  In a new post today that was first published by Sandro Magister in Italian and Marco Tosatti in English (read full…Continue Reading

English Catholic bishop: parishes see ‘dramatic fall’ in income following lockdown

CNA Staff, Jul 6, 2020 / 04:30 am MT (CNA).- An English bishop has said that parishes have seen “dramatic fall” in income as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury urged the government to step in to help dioceses struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.  “The weeks of the national lockdown saw a dramatic fall of about a third in parish income. This is having a serious impact…Continue Reading

President Trump tweets Catholic author’s warning that ‘there is a war against Christianity’

July 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On July 2, only hours after Dr. Taylor Marshall had given an interview to the U.S. cable network One America News (OAN) about the current crisis in America, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet highlighting the Catholic author’s warning. “Dr. Taylor Marshall, author. ‘There Is A War On Christianity’. @OANN,” Trump tweeted. Marshall had pointed out that the current attacks on sy

Cardinal Zen contradicts Hong Kong cardinal: China’s new national security law will hurt freedom of religion

HONG KONG, June 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― China has imposed a new security law on Hong Kong that Cardinal Joseph Zen believes will have a deleterious effect on religious freedom. In a Cantonese video produced by the “Catholic Faithful Watching the Hong Kong National Security Law,” Cardinal Zen, 88, said the national security law imposed upon Hong Kong by the mainland government cannot guarantee “true” religious freedom.  In doing so, he directly contradicted Cardinal John…Continue Reading

SF threatens enforcement against Catholic archdiocese for violating health order on gatherings

The San Francisco city attorney’s office told the archdiocese of San Francisco this week to stop holding “multiple indoor large gatherings at its facilities,” in violation of the city’s health order prohibiting such assemblies during the COVID-19 pandemic. After multiple rounds of correspondence between the city and the archdiocese over the gatherings, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent a cease-and-desist letter on Monday, ordering the archdiocese to discontinue the indoor religious services it has held in…Continue Reading


Liberty Counsel . . . Calls U.S. Supreme Court Louisiana Ruling A Supreme Blunder

WASHINGTON, D.D. — The U.S. Supreme Court released a plurality 4-1-4 opinion siding with the lower District Court that struck down the Louisiana state law known as the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act,” which requires doctors performing abortions to have admission privileges at a state-authorized hospital within 30 miles of the abortion center. Liberty Counsel reported…Continue Reading

Church Attendance Vs. Protests . . . De Blasio And Cuomo Get Creamed In Court

By BILL DONOHUE Protesters can take to the streets, some violently, and that is okay by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — the mob does not have to abide by social distancing rules — but religious New Yorkers cannot congregate in their houses of worship lest they imperil the public health.Well, the…Continue Reading

Open To Everything, Dedicated To Nothing

By DONALD DeMARCO “Merely having an open mind is nothing,” wrote G. K. Chesterton. “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”We have elevated “openness” to the status of a principle and in the process have forgotten what it is that we should select.…Continue Reading

Now It’s Woodrow Wilson’s Turn

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Now that statues of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt have been desecrated, vandalized, toppled, and smashed, it appears Woodrow Wilson’s time has come.The Cultural Revolution has come to the Ivy League.Though Wilson attended Princeton as an undergraduate, taught there and served from 1902 to 1910 as president,…Continue Reading

Nevada Church Says Governor Treats Churches Worse Than Casinos

RENO — Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries, issued a statement explaining ADF’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley.The Nevada church is challenging Gov. Steve Sisolak’s church gathering ban that allows casinos, restaurants, theme…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Fulfill The Word Of God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:10-11Romans 8:18-23Matt. 13:1-23 In the first reading God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His word will not return to Him void; rather, it will do His will, achieving the end for which He sent it. This word can be understood in two ways: Jesus, the…Continue Reading

Bishop Strickland . . . For The New Evangelization . . . We Need Epiphanies Of Beauty

By MOST REV. JOSEPH STRICKLAND Part 1 Pope St. John Paul II On Beauty On Easter Sunday in 1999, Pope St. John Paul II issued a reflective letter addressed specifically to artists. He referred to artists as “Images of the Creator.” He wrote that “to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: More thoughtful insights from Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City: “Robert Gould Shaw was born into an abolitionist Unitarian family in Boston in 1837. . . . During the Civil War, he was eventually promoted to colonel and, following the Emancipation Proclamation, he led New England’s first all-black military unit, the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Stop Complaining And Start TLM-ing

By Fr. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in a deplorable state, we all agree. At least those with eyes to see. Attendance is plummeting through the floor after the devastation of COVID in what were once the largest parishes.The elderly are being told by their doctors to not return to Mass. In many parishes the retired individuals were keeping…Continue Reading

The Yoke Of Jesus Is Love

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings:Zech. 9:9-10Romans 8:9, 11-13Matt. 11:25-30 In the Gospel reading our Lord invites those who labor and are burdened to come to Him for rest.Given this statement, what follows seems to make no sense. Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him because He is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph, Patron Of Fathers

By DEB PIROCH This week’s column is a personal labor of love. You see, our family has had a special devotion to St. Joseph (Josef) going back generations. My Father’s grandparents on both sides, maternal and paternal, were immigrants from Slovakia. And because it was quite common to name the eldest boy after St. Joseph, protector of families, most of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Nicholas Owen

By DEB PIROCH First you see him . . . and then you don’t. Dangerous times call for dangerous measures. During the reign of Elizabeth I and James I of England, St. Nicholas Owen was the expert at creating what became known as “priests’ holes,” or secret hiding spots for clergy. Located in the homes of wealthy recusant Catholics, these…Continue Reading