Skip to comments.What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism (Ecumenical)
Posted on 02/25/2010 8:33:29 AM PST by Pyro7480
After examining the ideology of socialism, the contrast between the socialist doctrine and the doctrine of the Church becomes clear and consistent.
All the same, it is not out of place to review the condemnation of the popes starting with Pius IX and ending with Benedict XVI. Thus, we present what the popes have to say about socialism as they condemn the socialist doctrine thoroughly and entirely. This is not a comprehensive compilation, but just some samples.
PIUS IX (1846-1878):
LEO XIII (1878-1903):
A sect “that threatens civil society with destruction”
Socialists debase the natural union of man and woman and assail the right of property
“They [socialists, communists, or nihilists] debase the natural union of man and woman, which is held sacred even among barbarous peoples; and its bond, by which the family is chiefly held together, they weaken, or even deliver up to lust. Lured, in fine, by the greed of present goods, which is ‘the root of all evils, which some coveting have erred from the faith’ (1 Tim. 6:10.3), they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one's mode of life.” (Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, December 28, 1878, n. 1)
“...socialists and members of other seditious societies, who labor unceasingly to destroy the State even to its foundations.” (Encyclical Libertas Praestantissimum, June 20, 1888)
Enemy of society and of Religion
“...there is need for a union of brave minds with all the resources they can command. The harvest of misery is before our eyes, and the dreadful projects of the most disastrous national upheavals are threatening us from the growing power of the socialistic movement. They have insidiously worked their way into the very heart of the community, and in the darkness of their secret gatherings, and in the open light of day, in their writings and their harangues, they are urging the masses onward to sedition; they fling aside religious discipline; they scorn duties; they clamor only for rights; they are working incessantly on the multitudes of the needy which daily grow greater, and which, because of their poverty are easily deluded and led into error. It is equally the concern of the State and of religion, and all good men should deem it a sacred duty to preserve and guard both in the honor which is their due.” (Encyclical Graves de Communi Re, January 18, 1901, n. 21)
SAINT PIUS X (1903-1914):
BENEDICT XV (1914-1922):
“But what if Socialism has really been so tempered and modified as to the class struggle and private ownership that there is in it no longer anything to be censured on these points? Has it thereby renounced its contradictory nature to the Christian religion? This is the question that holds many minds in suspense. And numerous are the Catholics who, although they clearly understand that Christian principles can never be abandoned or diminished seem to turn their eyes to the Holy See and earnestly beseech Us to decide whether this form of Socialism has so far recovered from false doctrines that it can be accepted without the sacrifice of any Christian principle and in a certain sense be baptized. That We, in keeping with Our fatherly solicitude, may answer their petitions, We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” (Ibid. n. 117)
JOHN XXIII (1958-1963):
PAUL VI (1963-1978):
JOHN PAUL II (1978-2005):
“It may seem surprising that ‘socialism’ appeared at the beginning of the Pope's critique of solutions to the ‘question of the working class’ at a time when ‘socialism’ was not yet in the form of a strong and powerful State, with all the resources which that implies, as was later to happen. However, he correctly judged the danger posed to the masses by the attractive presentation of this simple and radical solution to the ‘question of the working class.’" (Encyclical Centesimus Annus − On the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, May 1, 1991, n. 12)
Fundamental error of socialism: A mistaken conception of the person
“Continuing our reflections, ... we have to add that the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property.” (Ibid, n. 13)
BENEDICT XVI (2005 - present):
Everyone should e-mail this to their local bishop and to the USCCB.
Thanks for the great post and information.
ping mbarker12474 catholic pope comments socialism
Well these Popes are obviously NOT some of the many Amercican Catholics of whom many seem to think that charity and Government programs are exactly the same thing. I don't know how many times I have heard the Christian charge to help the poor being translated by American catholics as a mandate for "soft" socialism. The Kennedy's come to mind as well as many prominent democrats including Nacy Pelosi.
Every Pope* since the concept of socialism appeared on the world scene has condemned it. Yet many Catholics (as well as other Christians) seem to support some socialist policies. The state of Christian catechesis in the West is dreadful.
*JP I excepted ... he wasn't around long enough.
Thank you ten thousand times. I am bookmarking this to re-use it over and over until the USCCB sincerely re-examines its political premises and repents (or Our Lord comes again, whichever comes first!)
Encyclical of Pope John XXIII, On Establishing Universal Peace In Truth, Justice, Charity, And Liberty, April 11, 1963
Mans personal dignity requires besides that he enjoy freedom and be able to make up his own mind when he acts.
In his association with his fellows, therefore, there is every reason why his recognition of rights, observance of duties, and many-sided collaboration with other men, should be primarily a matter of his own personal decision.
Each man should act on his own initiative, conviction, and sense of responsibility, not under the constant pressure of external coercion or enticement.
There is nothing human about a society that is welded together by force.
Far from encouraging, as it should, the attainment of mans progress and perfection, it is merely an obstacle to his freedom.
Hence, a regime which governs solely or mainly by means of threats and intimidation or promises of reward, provides men with no effective incentive to work for the common good.
And even if it did, it would certainly be offensive to the dignity of free and rational human beings.
Consequently, laws and decrees passed in contravention of the moral order, and hence of the divine will, can have no binding force in conscience, since it is right to obey God rather than men.
3 posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 2:25:31 PM by Matchett-PI (”The Role of Government is to Secure Our Liberty, Not to Seize It” ~ Rush 6/26/09)
Pope’s New Encyclical Speaks Against New World Order
Lifesitenews.com ^ | July 8, 2009 | John-Henry Westen
Posted on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 10:54:25 PM by Pope Pius XII
To the point of the pope's opinion of socialism, he also condemns abortion, but the Church allows the Sacraments to Dems in Washington. Each one of which has probably voted to allow murdering babies to continue. If nothing else, they are a member of a political party that has as a plank in it's platform to allow such a thing. I would be interested if the pope has ever addressed THAT issue in his statements. When Pelosi left an audience with the pope, she said the issue wasn't decided. Of course, the Church made a statement that it was most definitely decided, but what happened to Pelosi, ......nada. That's the same thing that has happened to Father Phlager preaching communism in Rev Wrights church. And the same thing that happens to each and every Catholic that espouses socialism or collectivism.....nothing! Until Catholics have to at least agree with Church teachings to be Catholic, we will see that socialist teachings have ALREADY come to the fore in the Church. When the Church begins to expell non believers, maybe Catholics will be confronted with the choice of Jesus, or liberalism, but no more fenceriding lukewarmers. Until then, we will still see the Church supporting dictators that shoot people in the back of the head because they promised to feed the poor by STEALING money from the rich. You can look to El Salvador, Nicagragua, Argentina, Bolivia, and on and on to see the conflict in the Church. I'm sure Hugo Chavez thinks he is as good of a Catholic as anybody in Boston including the Kennedy's, and you know,.....he's probably right.
It is because many Catholics are Democrats or liberals first and Christians second. The poison of liberation theology has put blinders on their eyes and discernment.
Excellent! Thank you for researching this.
Is there a prescribed method of discipline in the Roman Church?
Having said that, I'll bet there is a prescribed method of discipline, but it isn't being enforced. If we pushed the issue, I'll bet there would be a schism over what to do. Many in our pews today support Obama, abortion, homosexual marriage, women priests, ect. Some Churches have denied The Eucharist to Kerry and others, only to retreat to another Church and receive it. The Bible is clear on Church discipline, but I've not seen any except for some excommunications. What is the threshold for such an action? Is it delivered consistently? Why does one get it and others not? I'm sure the public would howl that the Inquisition has returned.
I'm just saying that if you are public with your views that abortion should be legal, homosexual marriage should be legal, women should be priests, and on and on, we see nothing happens to them, and some are even honored, aka Kennedy.
A split in the Church, IMHO, is coming. Many pooh pooh that and attack me for bringing it up, but the hypocrisy and weakness in the Church is sticking out like a sore thumb. For me, this is a cancer that has been growing for decades and is coming to critical mass( no pun intended). The inability for the Church to handle the pedophile priests in a timely and public manor is just one example. They allowed it to fester and get worse just by pretending there is no problem.
Thank you for your honest assessment. Keep fighting, brother.
Do you have any evidence that he does? I looked for it and couldn't find it. He's been divorced twice.
What would happen if the Church refused him and condemned his actions against the people?
In 2005, the Cardinal Archbishop of Caracas said that Chavez "needed an exorcism" and complained about Chavez's treatment of dissidents. In response, Chavez said that the Cardinal was a demon.
The relationship between the Church and Chavez isn't exactly what I'd call a happy one.
Google "Code of Canon Law". The specific canon you're interested in is # 915.
Things are actually better than they have been for decades(not that it doesn’t have a LONG way to go), and you would have never seen some of the discipline type stuff going on you see now. For example, so many bishops speaking out against Obama speecherfying at ND. Yes it was terrible that it couldn’t have been stopped, but if it had happened in the 70s-80s you probably wouldn’t have heard any bishop speaking out against it, and probably would have heard of some who strongly supported it.
As far as bishops not treating abortion like what they say it is, it’s going to be looked back at as a scandal that dwarfs the homosexualist priest scandal.
But don't you wonder why it isn't much more clear-cut and defined?
Is the RCC simply too big to deal with Chavez because he isn't the only one in need of rebuke?
So the person that says that he/she personally doesn't approve of abortion but says he wouldn't vote to stop it, has the innocent blood of that child on his/her hands. The Catholics that stay in the Democrat party that has in its planks, the women's "right to choose" is committing murder by prolonging this abomination.
Now that's my personal reading of the Scripture and I feel the Church agrees with that interpretation. Having established that, why are these high profile Dems allowed to remain in the Church? I have been scolded that it is difficult to be excommunicated, and I can appreciate that, but at some point, shouldn't the Church make a decision over the parishioners that are publicly thumbing their noses at the Church? Why was Teddy Kennedy allowed to be supported by the Church in Mass. year after year, when his life was fraught with open defiance of the Church?
I know there are many that say that it isn't up to me to decide who is worthy to be called Catholic, but at what point is the Church responsible to decide the parishioner isn't serious about their faith? IMHO, a few "trials" of high profile perps would prove the Church will not bend to Satan and means what it is saying. If there were consequences for a few of these, the low profile Catholics would have to decide it's either being Catholic, or being a Democrat, you can't be both.
Recently, we all were reminded that the charade is ongoing when Biden and others proudly wore their ashes on their foreheads on TV to show they are still "good Catholics". Maybe Biden just fell into a door and it was a bruise, That's what the "Catholic" news caster thought anyway. She didn't even know it was ash Wed. That's where we are today.
Abortion and the Church has been going on for 40 years. I've had to mute the TV or cover my ears to listen to Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Kennedy, and others over decades. I get angry and ashamed to know that they are welcomed into the Church and even recognized for their "acts". I often think of what it would be like for NAZI's to be honored by Jewish Synagogue's. I'm told I should pray for my "brothers" and seek to bridge the gaps of understanding, but for how long? I don't think Pelosi will have an epiphany and fall in love with the Catholic Church's teaching. It isn't like she doesn't know what the Church teaches and she has decided she knows better. I'm sure the Unitarians would love to have her.
Abortion is just the most visible sin in public view, but there are many other splits that go almost in silence. I even hate to bring up women priests or condoms or divorce, when abortion is out there in front of everyone. I wish condom use was all Catholics had to argue about, but abortion and euthanasia are front and center most of the time and Dem Catholics are right there in defiance of the Church.
A line in the sand should be drawn on abortion and the ones that can't accept this should be asked to leave. Otherwise Catholics are no different than the other denominations that are crumbling under the weight of liberalism.
Not sure what you mean by that. The hierarchy doesn't like him. I see no evidence that he practices his [supposed] faith, in fact, it's not entirely clear to me that he even still self-identifies as a "Catholic".
So what you have in Chavez -- as far as I've been able to determine -- is a non-practicing "Catholic" at odds with his bishop.
No point in excommunicating him (assuming he's not already done so himself latae sententiae): he doesn't "communicate" in the first place, and would just try to make himself a martyr.
I think you, and editor-surveyor (above), may have a bit of a misunderstanding about what "excommunication" does. It doesn't remove the excommunicate from the church -- even a bishop doesn't have that power.
If you want to talk definitive removal from the Catholic Church, that has to come either from the sinner himself (by formally declaring that he is not a Catholic, or joining some other religion, etc.), or from God -- by having the sinner die and go to the bad place.
Excommunication simply says to a Catholic: "You are prohibited, formally and publicly, from receiving any of the sacraments of the church, until such time as you repent of sin X before a minister Y authorized to accept your repentance." (Exactly who Y is, depends on the situation of the case; either a priest, a bishop, or the Pope.)
Canon 915 is not excommunication. It's an instruction to the minister of communion to refuse communion to "manifest public sinners". I, like a lot of other Catholics (e.g., Abp. Raymond Burke of the Holy See), think it ought to be used a lot more often than it is.
As to why it isn't, ask the bishop of the person in question.
Obviously I can't "vote" Mr. Kennedy out of the Church and the priests and Bishops don't seem to care what I think, so I'm left disillusioned and angry why I am taught one thing, but others are judged by a different standard. I am lectured all the time about how The Church is stable and consistent and then have to watch the Church hold Teddy up as a pillar in the Church. I don't doubt at some point he will be nominated for "sainthood" if they could just get past all that Kopeckney and divorce stuff. ( and others stuff we can't know that the Church knows about but is hiding.)
I know I'm being a little persnickety, but it is weighing on me that the Church would participate in this folly. As far as I'm concerned, allowing Pelosi, Kerry and Biden to take the Sacraments, makes the Church a participant in their sin. The Church cannot possibly say they don't know what these people are doing. I am more of an activist type and it's hard to defend the Church when these people are raised in conversation. If the Church chooses to ignore their sin, I have to ask what the motivations are from the Church. Money, access, position, ...?
When I bring up excommunication, I'm told it's none of my business and the Church will handle Church business. Well, I've been waiting a few DECADES now.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, all the marching and sign waving from anti abortion Catholics would pale in comparison if the Church just held one highly visible Dem to public humiliation. Try to imagine Pelosi being called out to defend herself against Church discipline. She would eventually be forced, in public, to chose abortion, or Catholicism. I know it would force many to re evaluate their positions if she were disciplined. And it may have stopped the abomination that was Teddy's funeral.
I'm not saying the church needs to wiretap and hire detectives to follow parishioners around, but these people rub our noses in their defiance and then enjoy the backing of the Church. If the Church didn't back Kennedy for 50 years, could he have been repeatedly elected in Massachusetts? Couldn't the Church find and support a pro life Catholic instead of him? Kerry is the same thing. I have mentioned several times that Obama won with a majority of the Catholic vote and all I get is "They aren't real Catholics". All that means is it means nothing to call yourself Catholic. It has been taken over with non Catholics if that is the case. Most of my life I've been taught that you don't really have the option to disagree with Catholic doctrine if you want to be a Catholic. It isn't a democracy. IMHO, this is why we have the women priests, birth control, married priests, ect, controversies. If we can debate these issues, then why not be pro abortion, and homosexual marriage? I'm told over and over the position of the Church is clear, but I guess some haven't gotten the memo. As far as I can tell it depends on who you are and what Bishop you have as to whether or not abortion is murder. It's starting to make sense why a Mafia Don gets all the bells and whistles funeral when they get whacked in New Jersey. If the Church gets the check, the guy gets the "works". Pretty cynical, huh?
This kind of talk angers many Catholics, but I'm sick of fighting for babies lives and have the Church back the baby killers. We could argue many issues , but abortion has to be the slam dunk issue to unite Catholics. I just can't bend or water it down, and frankly, the Church is trying to have it both ways. .........I'm done, /rant off
I know I will offend many, but, actions speak much louder than words, and my own belief on this is that Ratzinger, many RC Cardinals and the majority of American Roman Catholic Bishops “speak with forked tongue” ON THIS ISSUE (socialism), as Native American’s used to say, when the Europeans said one thing and then supported something else.
I haven’t found one set of statements by American RC officials where they find anything offensive about Obamacare other than “right to life” issues and mandates that could make RC institutions become legally obligated to take actions against their moral principles. But, there is a ton of massive socialist encroachment into the fabric of our lives in Obamacare, accompanied by, and to be enforced by massive expansion of federal authorities, and on THOSE things the RC is silent. And that is the same RC that invited BHO to Notre Dame. The shoe fits.
Excellent thread! Thank you so much for posting it.
Don't forget that Pope Paul VI in "Populorum Progressio" (1967) critiqued the international economic order, explicitly condemned the capitalistic system as presently known for the social evils and called for development through consensus rather than struggle. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) was prefect of the CDF at the time when the instructions were issued, and published his own personal criticism of the movement in 1985. The workings of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are totally beyond me, but seem to have played a God ordained role on par with the pope.
You’re right that too many bishops don’t brush up on and/or don’t care what their own Church teaches, but it isn’t just on the issue of socialism.
Bookmarking for future reference.