The Vatican releases a compilation of its social teachings

Competing notions of human dignity are often at the root of headline stories around the world, as witness debates over issues ranging from stem cells to the war in Iraq. Since the end of the 19th century, the Catholic Church has tried to set down guidelines on social, economic and political issues in an increasingly complex world. A number of documents have been published on these teachings and these have now been compiled by the Holy See as a "Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church", a 520-page manual with a 200-page index.