Documents of United States Bishops

The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly "Catholic" unless we hear and heed the Church's call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing "good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind"

Communities of Salt and Light, U.S. Bishops, 1993

Selected Statements

The United States bishops have stated the Church’s social teaching is integral to its identity and mission and they seek a renewed commitment to integrate and to share the riches of the Church’s social teaching. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. A selection of statements by U.S. bishops on various social issues is offered here.

General Catholic Social Teaching

Program of Social Reconstruction 1919

Pastoral Letter of 1919

Communities of Salt and Light, 1993

Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, 1998

Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, 1998



Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2007, 2012

Criminal Justice

Capital Punishment, 1980

Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, 2000

A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, 2005

Diversity and Racism

Brothers and Sisters to Us 1979

Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith, 2001

Economic Justice and Local Poverty Issues

Economic Justice for All, 1996

A Decade after “Economic Justice for All:” Continuing Principles, Changing Context, New Challenges, 1996

A Place at the Table: A Catholic Recommitment to Overcome Poverty and Respect the Dignity of all God’s Children, 2002

For I Was Hungry and you Gave Me Food: Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers, 2003


Blessings of Age: A Pastoral Message on Growing Older Within the Faith Community, 1999


Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, 2001

The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good (An International Pastoral Letter by the Catholic Bishops of the Watershed Region, 2001)

Human Trafficking

On Human Trafficking, 2007


Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity, 2001

Strangers no Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, 2003

Statement on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, 2012

Global Solidarity

Called to Global Solidarity, 1997

A Call to Solidarity with Africa, 2001

Peace and Non-Violence

The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, 1983

The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace, 1993 (A Reflection of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Tenth Anniversary of The Challenge of Peace)

Confronting a Culture of Violence, 1994

When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women, 2002

Documents of local bishops

In God’s Image, Pastoral Letter on Racism by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, 2003

Unlocking the Gate in Our Hearts, MN Bishops, 2012

Donate Now ENews