Catholic Social Teaching is the area of Catholic doctrine concerned with human dignity and the common good in society

Catholic Social Teaching – Possibly the Church’s Best Kept Secret – Gospel-Inspired Pathway to Harmonious Living

With its focus on see, discern, and act, Catholic Social Teaching (CST) brings together the letters and encouragements of popes since 1891 in a format that will appeal to all those looking for an accessible guide to the Catholic Church’s moral compass. With its contents aimed at creating a better world founded on truth, justice and love, CST offers a treasure trove of knowledge for schools, parish volunteers and charities.

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(ZENIT News / London, 11.22.2023).- Catholic Social Teaching is the area of Catholic doctrine concerned with human dignity and the common good in society; and was founded in 1891 by Pope Leo in response to the drastic changes that had occurred in the lives of working people since the industrial revolution.

Raymond Friel’s book, Catholic Social Teaching, is an easy-to-read revisiting of the aims and values of CST and how its eight themes (including dignity of the human person, preferential option for the poor, promotion of peace and economic justice) are all integral foundations to a harmonious contemporary world.

Enlightening and filled with case studies that exemplify the power of its contents, this book is suitable for staff working in Catholic schools, or charities, or volunteers in parishes. It will motivate and inspire anyone who wants to make a difference, who believes that we are all in this together, one human family in a common home.


Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is sometimes referred to as the Church’s best kept secret, perhaps because it’s so radical. Catholic Social Teaching, as found in the letters and exhortations of popes since 1891, shows us a Gospel-inspired pathway to a society reconciled and in harmony through justice and love.

Raymond Friel, in his latest book, provides an introduction to this treasure of the Church. The book is aimed at those who don’t know much about CST and are looking for an accessible guide to the main principles, with helpful references to scripture and the key Church documents.

There’s a section on Catholic Social Action, to make it clear that all this teaching is meant to inspire people to build a better world founded on truth, justice and love. With moving examples from frontline charities and schools, readers will see what CST looks like when it hits the streets.

The final section of the book includes a CST calendar, with suggested dates throughout the year to celebrate some of the key figures and milestones in the long struggle for social justice.

About the author:

Raymond has worked in Catholic settings since 1990, mostly in state secondary education, as a teacher of English, head of department, headteacher, National Leader of Education, General Secretary of the Catholic Independent Schools Conference, and CEO of two multi academy trusts.

He is currently CEO of Caritas Social Action Network, the agency of the bishops’ conference dedicated to tackling poverty and enhancing social mission capacity in England and Wales.

He has written a number of books on education and Catholic life, including How to Survive in Leadership in a Catholic SchoolGospel Values for Catholic Schools and Formation of the Heart: the why and how of being a Catholic today (all available from Redemptorist Publications).

He was awarded an OBE in the 2022 New Year Honours List for services to education. He lives in Somerset with his wife Janet. They have three sons.

Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton says of its publication:

“Raymond Friel has provided us with a valuable resource for Catholic Social Teaching. He shows that CST is an integral part of the Gospel and not something that is an add-on to the life and mission of the Church. He bases his work on the scriptures and the Catholic Social Teaching of the Church from the encyclical Rerum Novarum to the present exhortations of Pope Francis in the Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si.’ As well as giving sound theology he provides a practical resource based on the model See, Act and Judge. He prefers the word “discern” rather than “judge,” following the example of Pope Francis, who lays emphasis on the necessity to discern the way forward for the Church. I recommend this book to you, schools, parishes and charities.”


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