Catholic Social Teaching, Revisited, by Robert W. Shaffern

The Marriage/Parenthood Disconnect, by John M. Grondelski 
February 7, 2023
Joe Biden Celebrates Abortion in State of the Union Address, by Steven Ertelt
February 8, 2023

*Image: Lazarus and the Rich Man by Jacopo Bassano, c. 1550 [Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH]

By Robert W. Shaffern, The Catholic Thing, Feb. 8, 2023

Robert W. Shaffern is a professor of medieval history at the University of Scranton. Dr. Shaffern also teaches courses in ancient and Byzantine civilization, as well as the Italian Renaissance and the Reformation. He is the author of The Penitents’ Treasury: Indulgences in Latin Christendom, 1175-1375.


Much intra-Catholic squabbling these days ignores the prescriptions of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), which is often thought to have originated with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum. Catholic writers, however, addressed issues of justice and equity from the beginning. The Acts of the Apostles records that the community cared for the needs of poor Christians, and the Church Fathers and medieval canonists further discussed how best to serve the needs of the unfortunate.

Leo XIII’s immediate concern was the difficult circumstances of the industrial and rural workers of the late nineteenth century, but he relied on what had been handed down from the earlier tradition about service of the poor – actually, the “deserving poor.” …

Continue reading >>>>