Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Analysis on the presentation of the new compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church by the journalist Alex Navajas.

Author: Alex Navajas | Source: La Razon June 8th, 2005;

The Vatican collects in a book its posture with human rights, the family and poverty 

"It's like a catechism that summarizes what the Church teaches about issues of today." With these words Monsignor Omella presented in Madrid «The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church». 

The Vatican published it a year ago in Italian, but until yesterday there was no translation in Castilian. «The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church», a voluminous volume of 480 pages, collects «In a clear and concise manner everything that the Church, "expert in humanity", teaches about the great issues that affect the human coexistence in contemporary societies». Monsignor Juan José Omella, Bishop of Calahorra and La Calzada-Logroño and president of the Episcopal Commission of Social Pastoral, presented yesterday the book at the headquarters of the House of the Church of Madrid, jointly edited by the Library of Christian authors and the editorial Planet. This is "the first time an edition of this type has been made from an official organ of the Holy See", the prelate highlighted. 

The work aims to outline how the Catholic attitude should be in the face of issues such as the rights of people and nations, emigration, family, the common good, solidarity, marriage and work. 

The sources from which the book is inspired are mainly the catechism of the Catholic Church; the papal encyclicals from León XIII to John Paul II, as well as his speeches and documents; Vatican Council II and Holy Scripture. 



Monsignor Omella defended the right of the Church to "engage in social life and the construction of society" and rejected "a secularism that seeks to reduce faith to the private sphere", because "it would not really be democratic." The bishop of Calahorra defended that "the Social Doctrine of the Church should not be understood in the key of prohibitions but of affirmations and of a resounding yes to the human rights, to the peace, to the freedom, to the justice". 

Here are some of the highlights of "The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church": 

The right of resistance. "It is legitimate to resist authority in the event that it seriously and repeatedly violates the principles of natural law." 

Right to conscientious objection. "It is a serious duty of conscience not to provide collaboration, even formal, to those practices which, while being admitted by civil law, are in contrast to the law of God." 

The authority. "The authority must be guided by the moral law: all its dignity derives from exercising it in the realm of moral order, which has God as the first principle and last end." "Public authority, which has its foundation in human nature and belongs to the order, established by God, if it does not act in order to the common good, disregards its own purpose and therefore becomes illegitimate." 

Rights and duties. "Those who, in claiming their rights, completely forget their duties or do not give them the proper importance, resemble those who bring down with one hand what they build with another." 

Human rights. "The ultimate source of human rights is not in the mere will of human beings, in the reality of the State or in the public authorities, but in man himself and in God his creator." 

Private property. "The Christian tradition has never accepted the right to private property as absolute and untouchable; on the contrary, it has always understood it in the broader context of the common right of all to use the goods of creation". 

Subsidiarity. "The principle of subsidiarity protects people from the abuses of higher social bodies and urges the latter to help individuals and intermediate bodies develop their tasks. This principle is imposed because every person, family and intermediate body has something of original to offer to the community ".

The company. "The objective of the company must be carried out in terms and with economic criteria, but without neglecting the authentic values that allow the concrete development of the person and society". "Not always does the benefit indicate that the company is serving society." 

The family. "Any social model that seeks the good of man cannot do without the centrality and social responsibility of the family. Society and the State, in their relations with the family, have the obligation to abide by the principle of subsidiarity». "No power can abolish the natural right to marriage or modify its characteristics or its purpose." 

Poverty. "The spirit of international cooperation requires that, above the narrow logic of the market, awareness of the duty of solidarity is developed."

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