The Church's Best-Kept Secret


The Church's Best-Kept Secret

A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching
Page Count
160 pages
Publication date
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    About the book

    Writing in everyday language for the non-scholar, award-winning writer Mark Shea concisely describes the roots of Catholic social teaching in Scripture and Tradition and gives simple, practical examples of how it works in ordinary life. Sketching the meaning of the Dignity of the Human Person, the Common Good, Subsidiarity, and Solidarity, Shea bridges the gulf in our politics and cultural warfare to make the case that Catholic Social Teaching, properly understood, is common sense, as well as the path to living a happier and more just common life for each human person.

    The social teaching of the Catholic Church shows how universal the faith really is, touching all people regardless of age, social status, or ethnicity. By introducing us to this social teaching Mark Shea has invited all Catholics to deepen their faith in practical ways, and to put aside individualism and tribalism and open their hearts to everyone just because they are fellow human beings.

    Bishop Thomas Dowd
    Auxiliary of Montreal

    The Church’s Best-Kept Secret is Mark Shea at his best: winsome, very accessible, thought-provoking, and seriously and holistically Catholic. Read this book, discuss it with friends and fellow parishioners, and then set out together with a journey of discipleship that reveals the goodness and love of God in ways that 21st century skeptics can hear.

    Sherry Weddell
    Author, Forming Intentional Disciples

    In The Church’s Best-Kept Secret, Mark Shea provides a faithful and spirited overview of Catholic social teaching grounded in Scripture, Vatican II, and papal writings since Leo XIII. He clearly explains the key principles of Catholic social teaching—human dignity, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity—and he shows that some Catholics, while rightfully opposing abortion and euthanasia, mistakenly reduce Catholic teachings on capital punishment and the environment to mere “prudential judgments” that can be ignored or opposed.

    Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D.
    Professor of Systematic Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, Michigan

    In a style that will engage a broad range of people, Shea's faithfulness to the tradition (and rejection of the tired political idolatry on both the right and the left) is precisely what we need at this moment of realignment and creative destruction. Read this book if you want to know where and how the Church should speak to the signs of our times.

    Charles Camosy
    Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Fordham University and author of Resisting Throwaway Culture

    Mark Shea’s succinct primer brings us into the heart of the Church’s thinking on society and the economy — needed now as never before

    Austen Ivereigh
    Author of Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church

    In The Church’s Best-Kept Secret, Mark Shea has written an accessible and essential primer for anyone interested in learning about Catholic teaching on human dignity and the common good rooted in the Gospel and Sacred Tradition.

    Mike Lewis
    Managing Editor, Where Peter Is

    A book like this has been needed for a long time. Short but comprehensive, well-written with good examples. I hope this becomes a resource at the parish level.

    John Medaille
    Author of Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective and The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace

    Mark Shea has a gift for making official Catholic teaching accessible in a manner that displays not only its truth but also its beauty. In The Church's Best-Kept Secret, he shows that Catholic social doctrine challenges us to go beyond "liberal" and "conservative" distinctions. I recommend this book for all who seek to understand the fundamental principles behind that doctrine and apply it to their everyday lives, including their spiritual lives.

    Dawn Eden Goldstein, S.Th.D
    Theologian and author of My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints

    In an increasingly polarized Church and world, we are accustomed to apologias and manifestos, jeremiads and rants. The word "catechesis" means to echo or resound and this resonance must be pastoral, in the voice of the Good Shepherd. Mark Shea captures this catechetical tone and pastoral spirit, eschewing polemics and hyperbole. His book echoes Catholic Social Teaching from our mother and teacher, the Church. It is a resounding success.

    Samuel D. Rocha
    Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

    About the author

    Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. He is the author of numerous books including By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and he is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. Shea also maintains the popular blog Stumbling Towards Heaven. In addition, Mark is an internationally known speaker on various issues in Catholic faith and life. He lives in Washington State with his wife, Janet, and their sons.