What Do the Popes Truly Say About Socialism?

What Do the Popes Truly Say About Socialism?

The socialist fathers meet the Church Fathers? (Photo taken by me [Artur Rosman] in Rome, 2001. I reserve all rights to this photo. Contact me if you would like to use it). The communist fathers meet the Church Fathers? (Photo taken by me [Artur Rosman] in Rome, 2001. I reserve all rights to this photo. Contact me if you would like to use it).

The reps of the proles come to visit the popes? (Photo taken by me [Artur Rosman] in Rome, 2001. Just to be a contrarian I reserve all rights to this photo. Contact me if you would like to use it).

Like the man who slays a son in his father’s presence is he who offers sacrifice from the possessions of the poor.

–Sirach 34:20

Keith Michael Estrada is the founder of Students for a Fair Society at Franciscan University of Steubenville and is a member of the International Observatory of Young Catholics (Rome). Finishing his MA in philosophy at the aforementioned institution, he writes from Seattle-land, Washington. He can be reached at keithmichaelestrada.com.

This is a guest post.


Some days ago, Mark Perry decided to provide a short collection of quotes for the sake of providing “some historical perspective” on “what four previous popes had to say about socialism.”

I suppose Perry thought he could help advance the cause of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) with his short collection of quotes. If, in relation to Perry’s post, AEI seeks to promote the non-existing “democratic capitalism” and not much else, the author didn’t do too bad a job – and should be, perhaps, congratulated.

However, if the purpose of the article truly extended towards providing “some historical perspective” on “what four previous popes had to say about socialism”, with the gracious benefit – though, unmentioned – of sharing Catholic thought and respecting the intellect of one’s readership, then perhaps we should withhold our congratulations.

One may find that, in producing the collection of quotes, Perry aimed at advancing the position of “democratic capitalism” by negating socialism.

With the above considerations in mind, we can readily submit that the American Enterprise Institute is not to be recommended as a teaching source if one’s desire is to learn Catholic thought on capitalism and socialism – unless one desires to learn the ways and extent in which pro-capitalist venues would distort and defile Christian ethics.

Before I comment any further, I must admit that I find the short piece to be very consistent with capitalist thought. These are three reasons why I believe this to be the case:

    • the author makes no distinctions – which would be useful for the purpose of providing “some historical perspective” – on what is understood to be “socialism” in the writing of each pope; the lack of distinction is curiously common in pro-capitalist discourse and our author does not disappoint,
    • the author offers a quote from Benedict XVI’s Deus Caritas Est that not only fails to mention socialism, but happens to be an encyclical that cites previous work, from another pope, which seeks to correct – as opposed to reject – parts of socialism; the pro-capitalist’s fantasy that papal teaching favors capitalism and rejects socialism requires their consistent failure to engage the teaching in a historical fashion
    • With reason #1 in mind, we recall the nasty attempt to provide an inauthentic presentation of papal thought with the end of advancing capitalism, by failing in the acknowledgement of distinctions made by the papal Magisterium concerning socialism and refusing to provide any alternative that is not capitalism nor any teaching related to capitalism -understandably negative- from the popes; this is consistent in pro-capitalist efforts, as anyone considering particular merits of a certain socialism would be identified as communists in being: anti-freedom, anti-property, anti-creativity, anti-life, anti-family, anti-enterprise – as if all socialism maintained these positions and as if capitalism actually cared to materialize freedom, property creativity, life, family, and enterprise for all

Let us make no mistake, Dear Friends, in understanding that the rejection of certain systems does not force us to embrace another, as capitalists would let us believe. As the bishops of France once wrote:

… no Catholic should fall into that all too frequently conceived illusion that an unfavorable judgment by the Holy See on one doctrine signifies its approval of the opposing doctrine. By condemning the actions of communist parties, the Church does not support the capitalist regime.

This was from a comment on Pope Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris, on atheistic communism.

We should should note that the bishops of France, along with Pius XI, do specifically refer to atheistic communism, and not socialism in its various manifestations, then and now. Nevertheless, I would wrong you by not providing what the bishops of France wrote in the the sentence continuing from the quote above:

It is most necessary that it be realized that in the very essence of capitalism-that is to say, in the absolute value that it gives to property without reference to the common good or to the dignity of labor-there is a materialism rejected by Christian teaching.

That said, let us also remember that the Popes spoke  before they were elected bishop of Rome. Would it be useful for “historical perspective” to have an insight into what the Popes said before election?

Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) may have believed, or simply had written down as a note:

The church is aware that the bourgeois mentality and capitalism as a whole, with its materialist spirit, acutely contradict the Gospel.

Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) wrote in Europe: Today and Tomorrow . . .

​Back to Europe. A third model was added to the two models of the 19th century: socialism. Socialism took two main paths — the democratic and the totalitarian one. Democratic socialism became a healthy counterbalance to radically liberal positions in both existing models. It enriched and corrected them. It proved itself even when religious confessions took over… In many ways, democratic socialism stands and stood close to the Catholic social teachings. It in any case contributed a substantial amount to the education of social conscience.

Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) wrote:

“What the Church rejects is the spirit that has encouraged capitalism, utilizing capital to subject and oppress man, without considering the human dignity of workers nor the social function of the economy, distorting the ethical values of social justice and the common good.”*

The capitalist system also has its own spiritual perversion: to tame religion. It tames religion so that it does not bother Capitalism too much; it brings it down to worldly terms. It gives it a certain transcendence, but only a little bitThe capitalist system in turn tolerates a kind of tamed transcendence that manifests in a worldly spirit. For religious people, the act of adoring God means to submit to His will, to His justice, to His law, and to His prophetic inspiration. On the other hand, for the worldly who manipulate religion, it is not too hot or too cold. Something like: Behave yourself, do some crooked things, but not too many.There would be good manners and bad customs: a civilization of consumerism, of hedonism, of political arrangements between the powers or political sectors, the terrain of money. All are manifestations of worldliness.

John Milbank is one of the keen contemporary expositors of the Anglo-Catholic tradition of socialism.

John Milbank is one of the keen contemporary expositors of the Anglo-Catholic tradition of socialism.

Certainly, then, my friends, we are able to learn a bit about what some Popes had to say about capitalismand democratic socialism before becoming Bishop of Rome.

Let’s give the capitalists a pass on this one, though, as these quotes are from the time belonging to their pre-Papal ministry.

What do we have, then, on capitalism and socialism? Well, we can consider the fact that the unhelpful article produced through the American Enterprise Institute fails to do something that one of the popes it cites did 44 years ago: namely, distinguish between socialisms.

Ratzinger did this in the quote above. Why don’t pro-capitalists do this for the benefit of their readers? It would be unhelpful for them to do so, if only for the reason that they would have to then refrain from taking “socialism” -without qualification – as meaning some sort of system that can be identified with the USSR, etc. Maybe pro-capitalists think all socialisms are bad – but it’s hard to know if we never learn of any distinction.

Thus, let us correct our kind author at AEI by providing some “historical perspective” and context in a few words.

Benedict XVI: anti-socialist?

If we look at the AEI quote from Benedict XVI, we’ll notice that it is from Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love). In the section where the quote is located Benedict emphasizes the need and irreplaceable character of love -caritas- as service, etc. Given that Benedict, before he was elected bishop of Rome, was able to make distinctions between socialisms, perhaps he did so as Pope too?

Let’s consider, first, that Benedict doesn’t use the word “socialism” in the cited encyclical. However, if you do a general search of what Benedict – as Pope Benedict XVI – wrote/said using what is available on vatican.va, you’ll notice his harshness when treating some realities that contain, in name, the word “socialism”.

What are they? National socialism. It would benefit a pro-capitalist to reduce Benedict’s concern to socialism, however, especially in this case. Why? Because we could easily make a simple line graph explaining what national socialism is – to the sorrow of our pro-capitalist friends:

National socialism -> Nazism -> Fascism -> Capitalist Pursuits to the Extreme

What else does Benedict XVI refer to when discussing socialism? The same thing he refers to when he was Prefect of the CDF: atheistic, totalitarian forms of socialism. Not only is this made evident by perusing vatican.va, but it should be considered a consistency. Ratzinger makes the distinction in the quote above. But, even a modest scholar would connect the dots between Benedict XVI’s ability to make a distinction and Ratzinger’s ability to make a distinction as is evident in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As summarized in the compendium:

Opposed to the social doctrine of the Church are economic and social systems that sacrifice the basic rights of persons or that make profit their exclusive norm or ultimate end. For this reason the Church rejects the ideologies associated in modern times with Communism or with atheistic and totalitarian forms of socialism [italics are mine].

Are there forms of socialism that are not atheistic and totalitarian? It would seem so, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That’s a major loss for pro-capitalists, because now they have to make the distinction which makes the actualization of their cause ever more difficult.

​Well, the next sentence from the compendium makes life a little more difficult again . .

​But in the practice of capitalism the Church also rejects self centered individualism and an absolute primacy of the laws of the marketplace over human labor.

Yikes! Not only does the Catechism of the Catholic Church distinguish between forms of socialism, some of which are completely unacceptable, it strikes down capitalism in its essence.

John Paul II: anti-socialist?

Taking John Paul II as anti-socialist is not a conclusion one should accept without qualification. John Paul II rejected, like his predecessors and successors, communism, or, forms of socialism that are atheistic or totalitarian.

In Centesimus Annus, John Paul II does two things that you would not know if you un-learned Catholic teaching from the American Enterprise Institute:

1) He qualifies his predecessor’s rejection of socialism (paragraph 12), and;

2) He qualifies his rejection of socialism as rejecting “Real socialism” (paragraphs 12, 13, and 35). For example, “We have seen that it is unacceptable to say that the defeat of so-called ‘Real Socialism’ leaves capitalism as the only model of economic organization.”

Dussel does the popes on socialism.

Dussel does the popes on socialism.

John Paul II doesn’t reject socialism outright, in fact, it can be argued that he rejects some socialism in principle. Centesimus Annus builds on and presupposes, instead of correcting, John Paul II’s previous encyclicals (paragraph 10). It would also benefit us to note that Centesimus Annus affirms that a market economy, innovation, entrepreneurship, etc., none of which are exclusive to capitalism. In fact, the capitalism we reject, is rejected by the pope in the encyclical. When people mean to express a market system with appropriate private property, entrepreneurship, etc., but use the word “capitalism”, John Paul II explains that the appropriate term would be market economy, or free economy, or business economy. A system, like capitalism, which rejects the priority of labor over capital, among other things, is rightly rejected (see, for example, paragraph 42).

Laborem Exercens is especially troublesome for the pro-capitalist cause – indeed, some could say that the capitalist cause should have ended with Laborem Exercens (at least to the degree pro-capitalists wanted to be pro-Christian ethic).

It would be easier to provide a short quote from a section of Enrique Dussel’s study Ethics and Community covering Laborem Exercens​:

Surely a central place in the history of the social teaching of the church must be assigned to Laborem Exercens. This encyclical moves to a head-on criticism of capitalism-capitalism in its very essence- and approves of socialism in principle.

Now it is socialism that comes in for particular criticisms and a call for internal reform. The orientation conferred on the social teaching of the church in 1891 has been reversed. If the earlier “key” was private property, now “human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the entire social question” (Laborem Exercens, 3). The basic thesis of the document’s criticism of the essence of capitalism is enunciated in terms of “the principle of the priority of labor over capital ” (ibid., 12):

“This principle directly concerns the process of production: In this process labor is always a primary efficient cause, while capital, the whole collection of means of production, remains a mere instrument or instrumental cause” [ibid.].

“Further consideration of this question should confirm our conviction of the priority of human labor over what in the course of time we have grown accustomed to calling capital” [ibid.].

“We must emphasize and give prominence to human primacy in the production process, the primacy of humankind over things. Everything contained in the concept of capital in the strict sense is only a collection of things” [ibid., 13].

The social teaching of the church no longer held that work can be set in confrontation with capital or detached from it as an independent factor or aspect on the very level of production itself. Rerum Novarum had held: “Neither capital can subsist without labor, nor labor without capital” (no. 14). Now we are taught instead:

“This consistent image, in which the principle of the primacy of person over things is strictly preserved, was broken up in human thought. The break occurred in such a way that labor was separated from capital and set in opposition to it, and capital was set in opposition to labor, as though they were two impersonal forces, two production factors juxtaposed in the same “economistic” perspective” [Laborem Exercens, 13].

All capital is work. The creative source of wealth, of all wealth or value, is work , not capital. On the other hand, as we have seen, John Paul II basically accepts socialism: “In consideration of human labor and of common access to the goods meant for humankind, one cannot exclude the socialization, in suitable conditions, of certain means of production” (Laborem Exercens, 14). But now there is more: socialism is criticized internally. Instead of being criticized from without, as before, it is corrected from within, as I indicated:

“We can speak of socializing only when the subject character of society is ensured, that is to say, when on the basis of their work all persons are fully entitled to consider themselves part- owners of the great workbench at which they are working with everyone else” [Laborem Exercens, 14].

“If it is to be rational and fruitful, any socialization of the means of production must …ensure that in this kind of system also persons can preserve their awareness of working ‘for themselves’” [ibid., 15].

The quoted passages within the block quote above all come from John Paul II’s encyclical, as cited by paragraph numbers. There is more to Dussel’s study and I heartily recommend you access his work for more, especially The Ethics of Liberation.

Don’t forget that John Paul II also said: “Look, I can surely say by now that I’ve got the antibodies to communism inside me. But when I think of consumer society, with all its tragedies, I wonder which of the two systems is better.” He also said, “If present day capitalism is improved, it is in great part because of the good things realized by communism: the fight against unemployment, concern for the poor. Capitalism, on the other hand, is individualistic.”

That being said, let us consider Paul VI.

Paul VI: anti-socialist?

Paul VI’s 1971 encyclical letter to Cardinal Maurice Roy of Canada, Octogesima Adveniens, does something that other Bishops of the time did, and even before the encyclical while attending the Second Vatican Council, namely, admitting that there are distinctions to be allowed for socialism. It actually comes from the same paragraph the American Enterprise Institute article pulls from. Actually, it begins in the sentence where the AEI quote ends:

​Distinctions must be made to guide concrete choices between the various levels of expression of socialism: a generous aspiration and a seeking for a more just society, historical movements with a political organization and aim, and an ideology which claims to give a complete and self-sufficient picture of man. Nevertheless, these distinctions must not lead one to consider such levels as completely separate and independent. The concrete link which, according to circumstances, exists between them must be clearly marked out. This insight will enable Christians to see the degree of commitment possible along these lines, while safeguarding the values, especially those of liberty, responsibility and openness to the spiritual, which guarantee the integral development of man. (31)

Perhaps someday I’ll compile a huge treasure chest of quotes from the Catholic social imagination that would bring some relief to those considering the merits of democratic socialism and great anxiety to those who would identify as pro-capitalist? If you want to send them along to me then contact me through my homepage I’ll share them in a post.

For now, a word for John XXIII.

John XXIII: anti-socialist?

It is easy to see that John XXIII rejected the pure materialism in an atheistic socialism. We might also note that in Pacem In Terris, John XXIII writes that each person:

Has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood (11).

Both sides now: From the other side, Harvey is a socialist who is sympathetic to CST.

Both sides now: From the other side, Harvey is a socialist who writes critically about the neoliberalism AEI represents and is sympathetic to CST.

Who has it as a primary responsibility to make sure these rights are promoted? For John XXIII, it’s the state (starts at paragraph 60). Doesn’t John know that the market will take care of everything? What is he, a socialist?

In conclusion

Let us remember that the American Enterprise Institute and, perhaps, other manifestations of capitalist apologetic institutions – whether led by priests or otherwise -, aren’t always a safe place to learn Catholic teaching on capitalism and socialism, etc. Perhaps, it may be said, one could go there to un-learn Catholic teaching.

I know it’s a challenge to go through a lot of material in the Church’s teaching, but remember that such pursuits are worthy and fruitful. Know that capitalists would discourage these pursuits, I am reminded especially of Hayek and Mises, not only because they’re inefficient or non-lucrative in their view, but will teach you about the Christian virtues that contradict the capitalist way of life. Instead they may resort to posting short, unhelpful, non-perspective-giving quotes to keep you in their trap. Or, instead, they may just produce their own summaries of encyclicals or go so far as highlighting, for you, what is authentic teaching in an encyclical and what is not. A pro-capitalist effort, such as these, relies on your vulnerability and abuses your trust, insisting that they’re simply making life easier for you – which capitalism could never do.

Do remember, this isn’t meant to provide a complete treatment on Catholic thought, socialism, and capitalism – it’s just a subtle and modest correction of the AEI article linked above.

I forgot to mention. Remember to look at Laborem Exercens to learn aboutunemployment as an evil, and how the Church tasks the state with planning (not in a  centralized fashion) to avoid or diminish its effects. Also, John Paul II, in the same encyclical, ties the right to employment to the Universal destination of goods, and expresses that it is a ‘right to life’ situation. Maybe AEI will quote that section in a future article?

*Concerning the Bergoglio quote beginning: “”What the Church rejects is the spirit that has encouraged capitalism, utilizing capital to subject and oppress man…” This is my translation of Bergoglio’s Spanish original, which reads: “Lo que censura la Iglesia es el espiritu que ha animado al capitalismo, utilizando al capital para someter y oprimir al hombre, sin contemplar la dignidad humana de los trabajadores ni la función social de la economia, distorsionando los valores éticos de la justicia social y el bien comun.”

After all that you might now be ready to read my Prominent Polish Prelates and the Poisonous Fruit of Unbridled Capitalism. But I doubt it.

Read the source & comments: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/cosmostheinlost/2015/10/06/what-do-the-popes-truly-say-about-socialism/

What the Popes Really Say About Socialism

By Gustavo Solimeo

“Hideous”, “destructive”, “wicked”, and “perverted” are only some of the adjectives used by the Popes to describe socialism.  From Pius IX to Benedict XVI, the popes have thoroughly and consistently condemned socialism.  Given the advance of socialism in America, TFP Student Action is glad to offer its readers a brief selection of thought-provoking quotes from the Popes on the topic.


PIUS IX (1846-1878)

The Overthrow of Order

“You are aware indeed, that the goal of this most iniquitous plot is to drive people to overthrow the entire order of human affairs and to draw them over to the wicked theories of this Socialism and Communism, by confusing them with perverted teachings.”
(Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, December 8, 1849)


LEO XIII (1878-1903)

Overthrow is Deliberately Planned

“… For, the fear of God and reverence for divine laws being taken away, the authority of rulers despised, sedition permitted and approved, and the popular passions urged on to lawlessness, with no restraint save that of punishment, a change and overthrow of all things will necessarily follow. Yea, this change and overthrow is deliberately planned and put forward by many associations of communists and socialists.”
(Encyclical Humanum Genus, April 20, 1884, n. 27)

Debasing the Natural Union of Man and Woman

“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.
(Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, December 28, 1878, n. 1)

The Harvest of Misery

“…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.”
(Encyclical Graves de Communi Re, January 18, 1901, n. 21)


SAINT PIUS X (1903-1914)

The Dream of Re-Shaping Society will Bring Socialism

“But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, ‘the reign of love and justice’ … What are they going to produce? … A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.”
(Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique [“Our Apostolic Mandate”] to the French Bishops, August 15, 1910, condemning the movement Le Sillon)


BENEDICT XV (1914-1922)

Never Forget the Condemnation of Socialism

“It is not our intention here to repeat the arguments which clearly expose the errors of Socialism and of similar doctrines. Our predecessor, Leo XIII, most wisely did so in truly memorable Encyclicals; and you, Venerable Brethren, will take the greatest care that those grave precepts are never forgotten, but that whenever circumstances call for it, they should be clearly expounded and inculcated in Catholic associations and congresses, in sermons and in the Catholic press.”
(Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914, n. 13)


PIUS XI (1922-1939)

Socialism Cannot Be Reconciled with Catholic Doctrine

“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.”
(Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, n. 117)

Catholic Socialism is a Contradiction

“[Socialism] is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.” (Ibid. n. 120)


PIUS XII (1939-1958)

The Church Will Fight Socialism to the End

“[The Church undertook] the protection of the individual and the family against a current threatening to bring about a total socialization which in the end would make the specter of the ‘Leviathan’ become a shocking reality. The Church will fight this battle to the end, for it is a question of supreme values: the dignity of man and the salvation of souls.” (“Radio message to the Katholikentag of Vienna,” September 14, 1952 in Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. XIV, p. 314)

The All-Powerful State Harms True Prosperity

“To consider the State as something ultimate to which everything else should be subordinated and directed, cannot fail to harm the true and lasting prosperity of nations.” (Encyclical Summi Pontificatus, October 20, 1939, n. 60)


JOHN XXIII (1958-1963)

“No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism”

“Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production; it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.” (Encyclical Mater et Magistra, May 15, 1961, n. 34)


PAUL VI (1963-1978)

Christians Tend to Idealize Socialism

“Too often Christians attracted by socialism tend to idealize it in terms which, apart from anything else, are very general: a will for justice, solidarity and equality. They refuse to recognize the limitations of the historical socialist movements, which remain conditioned by the ideologies from which they originated.” (Apostolic LetterOctogesima Adveniens, May 14, 1971, n. 31)


JOHN PAUL II (1978-2005)

Socialism: Danger of a “simple and radical solution”

“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)


BENEDICT XVI (2005 – 2013)

We do not Need a State which Controls Everything

“The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person – every person – needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. … In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) – a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, December 25, 2005, n. 28)

Read the source & comments: http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/socialism/what-the-popes-really-say-about-socialism.html



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“A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order. A system that ‘subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production’ is contrary to human dignity. Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’”(CCC: 2424).

“The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’. She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of ‘capitalism,’ individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for ‘there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.’ Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended” (CCC:2425).