WASHINGTON (March 14, 2005)—The much-awaited synthesis of Catholic social doctrine is now available to U.S. readers. Published by the Vatican in October of last year, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church has now been issued in an exclusive American edition by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This publication will be officially released on March 14, 2005.
The Compendium, published at the request of Pope John Paul II, tackles such issues as human rights, terrorism, the family and marriage, workers rights', economic systems, peace and war, and politics. Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Holy See's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, asserted at an October 25 press conference that with this monumental work the social thought of the Church "is now made available to all – Catholics, other Christians, people of good will – who seek sure signs of truth in order to better promote the social good of persons and societies."
The Compendium is dedicated to Pope John Paul II who, in 1999, recommended that "it would be very useful to have a compendium or approved synthesis of Catholic social doctrine…which would show the connection between it and the new evangelization." But the document is not intended exclusively for Catholics. Addressing contemporary issues, the Compendium makes use of a systematic presentation of the Church's thought with stimulating insights on issues important to all. In an introductory letter to the Compendium, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano writes, "Followers of other religions and all people of good will can find herein fruitful occasions for reflection and a common motivation for the internal development of every person."
Since the American edition was first announced in late 2004, people from all spectrums of society have been contacting USCCB Publishing for information regarding its publication, according to Patrick Markey, director of marketing. "Besides large numbers of bookstores and Catholic institutions that have contacted us to order or get information about the Compendium, we have been approached by government officials and think-tanks and by many members of the nation's academic community," he said.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a 480-page paperback, publication no. 5-692, sells for $24.95 and will be officially available on March 14, 2005.