The emergence of Catholic economic thought in the late nineteenth century was preceded by several attempts to deal with some crucial moral issues arising out of economic activity, although economic questions did not rank high in the church's concerns until the second half of the nineteenth century. From the 1830s onward we identify several political economists bearing a Catholic viewpoint and the development of intellectual networks in several continental European Catholic countries in the second half of the nineteenth century. At the end of the century these efforts received a significant stimulus with the first papal documents promoting the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. By the early decades of the twentieth century, Catholic economic thought had flourished. In this article we deal with the evolution of Catholic economic thought in western continental Europe between 1830 and the early 1950s, especially the efforts to develop a Catholic school of economic thought, with a specific agenda of research and of social and economic transformation.

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