In this conflict-ridden time, we need the Church’s best kept secret

By Alan Yoshioka, 11 October 2020
Image: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash.


I’m ever grateful to the blogger and author Mark Shea for helping draw me into full communion with the Catholic Church 15 years ago last month, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting his new book, The Church’s Best-Kept Secret: A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching.

Soon after St. John Paul II died in April 2005, the first edition of Mark’s little book By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition convinced me that the Protestant doctrine that the Bible on its own is the only infallible spiritual authority really didn’t hang together. (Ignatius Press has since published a revised edition.)

The four pillars of Catholic Social Teaching are explained in short chapters that relate them to God’s will, then apply them practically.

Catholic Social Teaching has four pillars: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity. In these conflict-ridden times, we need this teaching as much as ever.

Catholic Social Teaching is thoroughly explained in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, one of those Church documents that only keeners are likely to read on their own, so I’m glad Mark has written such an accessible introduction to this important topic.

I had half-expected The Church’s Best-Kept Secret to be full of policy questions such as how health care should be provided. Instead, it asks what Scripture and Tradition tell us God is like. And then, in light of God’s generosity, what we can infer about how to act toward our neighbours.

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Alan Yoshioka is a writer, medical editor, and speaker with a PhD in the history of medicine.

With thanks to The B.C. Catholic, the news publication of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


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