The Catholic Church on the Seven Deadly Sins of Socialism

However well-intended, socialism is a virus that drains human energy and degrades us.

By David Deavel Published on June 2, 2016

One of the stories that excited Catholics of different political persuasions this spring concerned the participation of Bernie Sanders in a Vatican-sponsored conference on Catholic Social Teaching and his brief meeting with Pope Francis.

Is the Catholic Church feeling the Bern?  Many writers have made the case, listing ways in which Pope Francis and Senator Sanders sound alike.  Senator Sanders calls himself a socialist. Is socialism itself Catholic?

There are two main questions here. First, what is socialism? Second, what would it mean for socialism to be the Catholic option? For many, the second question is simply sociological — to ask if anything is Catholic is simply to ask if there are any Catholics who believe that thing. A better question to ask is what the Church officially teaches about socialism. And that depends on the answer to the first question.

What Is Socialism?

Numerous news reports this year indicated that “millennials” have embraced socialism as a choice, while at the same time those same people also support free markets, oppose government ownership of the means of production, and oppose a government-directed economy. What such people seem to mean by socialism is simply a large welfare state by which income is redistributed.

But perhaps we should take socialism to mean what its advocates and practitioners have really, historically meant by the word: a society in which “the major part of the means of production of goods and services is in some sense socially owned and operated, by state, socialized or cooperative enterprises”; where rights of private property and economic initiative are not acknowledged; where free markets are suppressed; and where the state usurps the God-given rights and duties of families and the Church. In these and other areas, the Catholic Church has firmly warned us that socialism exerts a de-Christianizing, even a dehumanizing influence.

Socialism’s Seven Deadly Sins

1. Socialism truncates the human person. Catholic teaching has at its heart a focus on the inviolable dignity and wholeness of every human person, as well as the need for personal transformation to transform society. While not all socialists have been atheists, the questions that socialists ask tend to focus on the care of the body instead of the soul — and the answers that they tend to give focus on systems, not people.  In his landmark encyclical Rerum Novarum (“Concerning New Things”), Pope Leo XIII taught that even the satisfaction of bodily and material needs was dependent upon the care of the whole person:

And since religion alone, as We said in the beginning, can remove the evil, root and branch, let all reflect upon this: First and foremost Christian morals must be reestablished, without which even the weapons of prudence, which are considered especially effective, will be of no avail, to secure well-being.” (82).

2. Socialism denies the rights of the family. Christian morals and natural virtues are taught and indeed “caught” most often in the family, which the Church has taught is the center of human society.  The Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching affirms the “priority of the family over society and over the state.” (214)  While socialists classically think in only two categories — the individual and the state — Catholic teaching emphasizes that “society and the State exist for the family” (ibid.). The omnicompetent socialist state supplants the functions of families and shatters society into tiny atoms whirling around a single nucleus: the federal government.

3. Socialism crushes civil society. The Church teaches that the state exists to protect and empower families and other parts of civil society — those “little platoons” of professional, local, cultural, artistic, religious and other associations that fulfill people’s material, social, and spiritual needs. (This key principle is called subsidiarity.) While prudence may dictate that in certain limit situations the state must step in and fulfill some needs that civil society or even a family or families cannot provide for, the Compendium of Social Doctrine observes that such “intervention” should always be seen as “exceptional” (no. 188). If someone outside the government can accomplish something without using coercion, it’s at best a dangerous lack of prudence and quite often simply a serious violation of justice to get the government involved.

4. Socialism tramples on the sacred human right to private property. Socialists assert that private property essentially belongs to the state to be used for the common good. While Catholics have always believed that the goods of this earth belong to the whole human race and are to be used by all, this does not mean that the state should control all of them.  In Rerum Novarum Leo XIII defended not only the practical benefits of private property, but argued that those benefits came from the fact that private property was according to natural law:  The human race, he said

has found in the law of nature itself the basis of the distribution of goods, and, by the practice of all ages, has consecrated private possession as something best adapted to man’s nature and to peaceful and tranquil living together.” (11)

This right is of course accompanied by the duties to use private property to provide for the needs of one’s family and those in need.  But it is still a right even if it’s sometimes abused.

5. Socialism promotes class warfare. Because of its Marxist origins, socialism goads workers into the unrelenting “class warfare” which Marx himself saw as the engine driving human history. Instead of partners in productivity and human cooperation, owners and investors are seen as workers’ enemies — as if all wealth were a fixed, unchanging pie over which citizens should fight for their limited share. Pope Pius XI condemned this view of society, urged socialists to renounce the very concept of class warfare, and warned Catholics of the dangers of cooperating with socialists under any circumstances: “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.” (Quadrogesimo Anno, 117)

6. Socialism thwarts our right to take economic initiative. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states bluntly, “Everyone has the right to economic initiative; everyone should make legitimate use of his talents to contribute to the abundance that will benefit all, and to harvest the just fruits of his labor.” (2429) The abundance created by economic activity is clearly designed for the good of all, but this in no way negates the justice of entrepreneurs and inventors “harvesting” profits. Prevent them from doing that, and soon there will be no economic initiative at all — and perhaps no economy, as the unfortunate citizens of Venezuela are discovering.

7. Socialism replaces love with bureaucracy and class conflict.This right to economic initiative is also connected to the benefit of the human person. St. John Paul II observed in his encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis that to deny the right of economic initiative in the name of an “alleged ‘equality’” would be a violation of “the creative subjectivity of the citizen” (no. 15). Again, human persons don’t just have material needs, but spiritual ones that creativity and economic initiative help fulfill.

Socialism focuses on justice, but Catholic teaching emphasizes that for a good society, something much deeper is needed:  love.  Yes, justice is the main goal of politics, but political life is not all there is, because human persons are more than just material beings.  Pope Benedict XVI wrote that even the most just society would require love, something that cannot be given by the state:

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. (Deus Caritas Est, 28).

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  • I have not heard Pope Francis to support socialism. What I have heard is he is disgruntled with free market capitalism. Personally my feelings are that he is just ignorant of economics. He doesn’t get the whole picture, and so just harps on the negatives. He should just speak in terms of values and not specific economic policies or principles. He just sounds so dumb when he does.

    • StupiditySlayer

      He is a Socialist. And I’m betting he is the false prophet of Revelation.

    • Alfred Puglisi

      You are right Manny. He has not given the imprimatur to the Communist Manifest at all but has pointed out that the West, and America in particular, had fallen prey to one of Satan’s greatest marketing gimmicks…the me, mine and give me , I deserve it, philosophy of out of control capitalism.While other are free to immerse themselves in this philosophy, taking a quick look at the Bible, are not.

      • MotherGinger

        If any economic system exhibits an “I deserve it” mentality, it is socialism. “I should have free” college, healthcare, birth control, art, even housing, food, daycare, phones …

        Any economic system can be abused, because they are all only as fallible as the people who design them and implement them. Some are *inherently* flawed.

      • No, we are in a society where people have a right to keep the fruits of their labor.

        • AndRebecca

          Except for taxes and the free stuff for those who could work for themselves in order to get what they want.

      • AndRebecca

        We don’t have out of control capitalism, we have the government involved in all sorts of things they never had any business being involved in before. And, socialists have been behind the me, mine, give me I deserve it philosophy. The self-actualization movement and open borders to all are Leftist ideas. The crony capitalists like George Soros love this stuff and he has written two books against capitalism.

  • Virginia Harlow

    What we have today is not “free market capitalism.” It’s bastardized crony capitalism. Lots of people rightly have a problem with that. But socialism certainly isn’t the way to fix it. There are many things Pope Francis should not have said, and should not say. I agree he is ignorant of economics. But then, most of those wanting socialism are also.

  • Don

    #5

  • Frank Stephens

    Socialism is not in the least what it pretends to be. It is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler
    of what thousands of years of civilization have created. It does not build; it destroys. Destruction of freedom, choice, and liberty are its heartbeatt. It produces nothing, it only consumes what the social order based on private ownership in the means of production has created. Socialism kills not only the will to be productive, it kills humans living under its straightjacket of oppression.

  • ralpheatsbeef

    The Catholics I grew up around were far from Socialists. They were merchants and farmers and carpenters– people who worked hard and expected to be paid and to decide for themselves how to use their money. They were generous to their Church and to the community and all its people. They would be appalled at the premise of Socialism being an option in the nation they built and defended.
    Freedom of Religion requires economic freedom. You cannot maintain your Church and your Faith if the Government takes your money and your role and your choices.

  • Kurt 20008

    I have been a Socialist official and can attest your description of Socialism is wrong.

  • Alfred Puglisi

    I am not a socialist but many of the things you state here can be associated with capitalism or corporatism as well. The Catholic Church has abided many different kinds of systems: the imperial system of Rome that existed when the church began; the Feudal system of the middle ages, in fact, the Catholic church perfected that system and wholeheartedly engaged it; the monarchical and city state systems of the Renaissance; the slavery system of America’s ante-bellum south, the laissez faire capitalists system of 19th century Europe and the Czarist system (though not the Roman Church) of pre 1917 Russia. Were any of those systems “the” system the church needed to ally itself with? Of course not. Each one of those systems helped mankind navigate its history, and in each one of those periods, the Church helped its people navigate those systems. Just as history has gone through period after period of changing economy, the Church has thrived alongside each one, sometimes better than others.History will have it’s way and it is the place of the church to help its people navigate their lives through the events and changes of their times.I also take exception with your first description of the Church. Throughout its history it has been the purpose of the church not to preserve the individual dignity of a man or woman but to bring them into conformity and compliance with the Church’s concept of what a human being should be.Also, the very fact that the congregations have zero control over what happens to its money once it hits the collection box is bordering on socialism. The Bishop can take money that I give and use it in a parish clear across the state even though my own parish may have needs.

    It is a mistake of bias to pick one particular system and say the church can have nothing to do with this.In short, be more concerned with the kingdom of God than the kingdom of man. I say this as one who has been quite troubled by some of the things this pope has said and done. Take a step back.Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.
    Also let me remark that Kurt is correct: you have not objectively nor correctly described what socialism is.

    • Anthony Zarrella

      The key difference that separates socialism from other forms of government that you describe is that unlike the others, socialism is expressly condemned by formal (though not infallible) Magisterial teaching. In other words, the Church is doctrinally opposed to socialism on principle.

      On the other hand, an imperial system, or a feudal system, or a city-state system are all capable of protecting the individual dignity of the human person and the proper relation of family to society (though of course, like any system, they are also capable of being abused). It is only socialism (of those mentioned) that rejects a Catholic conception of human nature and of family by its core principles.

      I also take exception with your first description of the Church. Throughout its history it has been the purpose of the church not to preserve the individual dignity of a man or woman but to bring them into conformity and compliance with the Church’s concept of what a human being should be.

      You’re making a distinction that doesn’t exist. “Individual dignity” does not mean “individualism” or “self-determination” – a person’s dignity is most perfectly expressed precisely when he or she is most in conformity with God’s will.

      Also, the very fact that the congregations have zero control over what happens to its money once it hits the collection box is bordering on socialism. The Bishop can take money that I give and use it in a parish clear across the state even though my own parish may have needs.

      Wrong.

      First, no one forces you to donate. You do have a moral obligation to support your parish, but no one is going to come around to collect from you on pain of imprisonment if you don’t.

      Second, you’re simply objectively incorrect about canon law (though I’ll admit that most Catholics probably have the same mistaken perception) – Canon 1267 §3 states, “Offerings given by the faithful for a certain purpose can be applied only for that same purpose.” So, if you really want to include a signed note with each donation envelope, stating, “This donation is made expressly to be applied towards purchase of liturgical supplies and for no other purpose” (or whatever other thing you want it to be spent on), then it will only be able to be spent on that thing. Though of course, it could also remain unspent for an indeterminate period, or returned to you, if the pastor chooses not to spend it on the thing you want (i.e., you have no right to compel an expenditure).

      Third, the judgment of the Bishop that your voluntary donation for the support of the Church would benefit the Church most by being spent in a particular way is a judgment that is part and parcel of his responsibility to govern his diocese in accordance with the Church structure established by Christ and the Apostles (see, e.g., Acts 4:34-35). This is in sharp contrast to the role of the state in taking a compulsory contribution and applying it to projects which may or may not even be permissible under the law of God.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “while at the same time those same people also support free markets, oppose government ownership of the means of production”

    Socialism means that the people own the means of production, not the government.

    And even by your own definition, unless you think the military should be disbanded and replaced by groups of private militia, then you accept a form of socialism yourself.

    • Anthony Zarrella

      Socialism means that the people own the means of production, not the government.

      Sure, in high-minded theory. But socialism uses “the people” as a collective term, not a term for a bunch of individuals considered in a group – so practically-speaking, a socialists “the people” always means “society as a whole”, which always means “the government, which we will notionally speak of as holding it ‘on behalf of’ the people”.

      Unless “the people” means individual people (in which case, that’s capitalism or distributism, not socialism), then there is no alternative to having it functionally mean “the state” – hence the popularity of Communist “People’s Republics”.

      And even by your own definition, unless you think the military should be disbanded and replaced by groups of private militia, then you accept a form of socialism yourself.

      Actually, Catholic social teaching expressly affirms (as the author does specifically mention) that the power of the state is properly directed to those goods which cannot be feasibly attained or maintained by smaller, more “personal” units of civil society.

      The defense of civil society by military power has always been acknowledged as perhaps the paradigmatic example of such a good (not to mention being expressly mentioned in Paul’s letters).

      It is disingenuous to label support for a national military as “socialist” when it is a principle that has been embraced by every major political and economic philosophy throughout history. One might as well say to a progressive liberal, “unless you think the military should be disbanded, then you accept a form of fascism” or “unless you think everyone should be able to do absolutely anything that does not directly and coercively harm another person (i.e., total libertarianism verging on anarchism), then you accept a form of authoritarianism”.

      • Andrew Ryan

        “Actually, Catholic social teaching expressly affirms (as the author does specifically mention) that the power of the state is properly directed to those goods which cannot be feasibly attained or maintained by smaller, more “personal” units of civil society.”

        Then it’s becomes just an argument about what qualifies under that definition. I’d argue that healthcare qualifies just as the military does. Certainly in both cases there’s a huge benefit of economies of scale involved in both. The NHS in the UK has enormous buying power, meaning that companies throughout the country have to pitch for its business, meaning it gets cheaper prices for, say, false legs or medical equipment than the enormously inefficient US hospital system, which then also has an entire extra later of bureaucracy to pay for in the form of insurance companies.

        “It is disingenuous to label support for a national military as “socialist” when it is a principle that has been embraced by every major political and economic philosophy throughout history.”

        Why does that stop it being socialist? It just means that every major political and economic philosophy throughout history has accepted the benefit of this aspect of socialism.

        • Anthony Zarrella

          Then it’s becomes just an argument about what qualifies under that definition. I’d argue that healthcare qualifies just as the military does.

          Maybe it does. I’ve seen good Catholic distributists and even some capitalists make that argument, and I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

          But socialism (or any other socioeconomic philosophy) isn’t defined by what specific policy proposals it supports or rejects, but by the principles that determine why a given policy is supported or rejected.

          A Catholic who wanted to argue for state healthcare would do so on the grounds that healthcare is (by this argument) an essential human good, and that entities below the state level are incapable of properly arranging for the provision of that good.

          A socialist would need only to argue the first point, and would then take it for granted that the state is the best entity to provide that good (and would also argue that a compulsory contribution to the system by all citizens is inherently just, rather than being just if and only if it is the least-coercive way to ensure the provision of essential goods to the poor).

          Why does that stop it being socialist? It just means that every major political and economic philosophy throughout history has accepted the benefit of this aspect of socialism.

          No, it means that every major philosophy including socialism agreed on this particular policy (generally for very different reasons – as alluded to above).

          What I’m saying is that a state military simply isn’t a distinctive feature of socialism – it’s a common feature that does not distinctively identify or “belong to” any single philosophy.

          Here’s an analogy: Wiccans believe that it is wrong to commit murder. Does that mean that every major religion throughout history has accepted that aspect of Wicca, such that Catholics and Protestants and Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists are all “accepting a form of Wicca”? Of course not – it just means that Wicca, when it was developed in the 1920s, found itself in agreement with all other major religions on the idea that murder is bad (though each religion has its own subtly different explanations for why it is bad).

          A prohibition on murder simply isn’t a distinctive doctrine of any one religion, because it is common to virtually all of them.

          Likewise, the fact that socialism and all other major socioeconomic philosophies tend to support the existence of a state military doesn’t mean that all the philosophies accept a form of socialism. It means that when socialism was developed as a philosophy, its originators agreed with the other philosophies on the point that a state military is a good idea (though each philosophy has its own subtly different explanations for why military defense should be a function of the state).

          • Andrew Ryan

            “Likewise, the fact that socialism and all other major socioeconomic philosophies tend to support the existence of a state military doesn’t mean that all the philosophies accept a form of socialism”

            I’m happy to agree to disagree there – I’d say it does. I don’t agree with your analogy – the difference is that one is inherently socialist in concept, whereas murder isn’t ‘inherently Wiccan’. Seems to me that the military remains an inherently socialist system both in concept and execution, regardless if otherwise mainly free market capitalist systems accept it as the best way to run things.

            By ‘both in concept and execution’ I mean that not only is it socialist to provide a national military funded by taxation, but that the military itself runs on socialist principles, with food, healthcare and often transport and accommodation all being provided for members.

          • AndRebecca

            So the Roman army was socialist. What a stretch.

          • Anthony Zarrella

            Seems to me that the military remains an inherently socialist system both in concept and execution, regardless if otherwise mainly free market capitalist systems accept it as the best way to run things.

            You’re not listening.

            A policy cannot be socialist or capitalist (or whatever else). A principle is socialist or capitalist, and that principle leads to acceptance or rejection of particular policies.

            So, whether a national military is a socialist concept depends on the reasons for adopting it.

            A socialist might approve of a national military because it collectivizes and socializes the power to make war and causes each person to contribute to the well-being of “the people”. A capitalist might approve of a national military because it is the proper role of government to safeguard the ability of its citizens to deal freely with their own goods and persons and because it is in their rational self-interest for private individuals to sacrifice a relatively small share of their personal assets/profits in order to better facilitate such protection.

            not only is it socialist to provide a national military funded by taxation

            Again, socialists didn’t invent taxation. Whether funding a national project via taxes is “socialist” or not depends entirely on why.

            Feudal lords collected taxes because it was believed to be their right to extract a toll from those who lived under their protection, and then they spent some of that money on public improvements (roads, guard patrols, military) both because it was in their own interest and because they felt they had a reciprocal obligation to see to the well-being of their vassals.

            Capitalists approve of limited taxation because they see it as a necessary evil to allow the government to do its job (namely, the securing of the natural liberties of man so as to facilitate the ability of man to participate in a free market).

            Socialists see taxes (and their use to fund public works) as a matter of justice – that is, a matter of everyone “paying their fair share” for the good of all.

            the military itself runs on socialist principles, with food, healthcare and often transport and accommodation all being provided for members.

            Again, depends on why. A socialist would say, perhaps, that it is only fair for the state to provide such necessities. A capitalist would either see it as a reciprocality issue (i.e., people serve the country in the military, and in exchange, the country provides them with goods) or simply an efficiency issue (i.e., the military will work better if we ensure that it is well-equipped, well-supplied, and well-fed).

            Basically, I think you’re making your definition of “socialism” far too broad. You’re basically implying that any system involving central distribution of goods is socialist, and any system involving public projects funded via taxation is socialist.

            First, philosophies have principles, not policies – so there is no such thing as an “inherently socialist” policy (unless the policy is such that it cannot possibly be justified except under socialist principles). Second, “collectivism” is a broader category, of which socialism is only one subset.

          • Andrew Ryan

            “So, whether a national military is a socialist concept depends on the reasons for adopting it.”

            Cool. So there’s nothing inherently socialist about a national health service, providing healthcare for citizens through taxation.

        • AndRebecca

          We have Obamacare, haven’t you heard? It isn’t working as well as what we had before. The military in America is an obligation of the male citizens to step up and do their duty. How is that socialism? We are making it socialistic now, but it wasn’t socialist in the past. Love your neighbor as yourself and laying down you life for your brother are not socialist ideals, but Christian.

          • Andrew Ryan

            “We have Obamacare, haven’t you heard?”
            Isn’t that mainly an insurance-paid for system?

            “It isn’t working as well as what we had before”
            For who? Aren’t millions more covered than were before? It must be working for them, right? But yes, I’m sure the system isn’t perfect as it got severely watered down by the politicians who opposed it.

            “The military in America is an obligation of the male citizens to step up and do their duty”
            It comes out of your taxes, no? It’s a nationalised organisation? Participants have their accommodation, food, health care etc provided.

          • AndRebecca

            Do you talk to anyone living in America? Obamacare is not working for lots of people. I know people who have payments for health insurance now equal to a car payment, which they can’t afford, and yet the deductibles are so high they can’t use this insurance it for anything except major emergencies. If they went to the doctor for anything less than $3500 it would be out of pocket for them. They are more broke and have nothing to show for it and they would go bankrupt if they actually had got in a situation where they had to use it. As it is, they have to rely on county services or pay out of pocket, just like they would have done before Obamacare. The government picked up over fifty percent of healthcare before this mess and still does. It just costs everyone more for them to do it. As for the military, pooling the money of people for services is not socialism. Paying money for someone else to do road repair or other services through taxes is not socialism, either.

          • Andrew Ryan

            “As for the military, pooling the money of people for services is not socialism. Paying money for someone else to do road repair or other services through taxes is not socialism, either.”

            Cool. Nationalised healthcare isn’t socialist either.

          • AndRebecca

            If I pay taxes to have roads built and repaired in my county instead of doing the job myself, that is not socialism. Neither is paying for an army. America was started as a capitalistic nation. Anything originally O.K.’d by the Founders isn’t socialistic in nature. But now, we have gotten away from the Constitution and are becoming more Socialist. Many things the Feds do today are socialistic. The USDA has become a worldwide welfare program. That wasn’t always so… That still doesn’t mean the military is based on socialism. Using the military as a social welfare program like they do today, is socialism. Just because our government today is becoming more socialistic by the minute and we are sinking in debt because of it, doesn’t mean certain entities are socialistic in nature. Our school system used to be capitalistic. Now it is Marxist (socialist/communist)… Life long learning is a socialist concept. “Life long learning,” a communist idea, is set up to waste money, be a jobs program, and to propagandize students. The isn’t what the Founders intended.

          • Andrew Ryan

            “Anything originally O.K.’d by the Founders isn’t socialistic in nature”

            Sounds like ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy – if they OK’d it, then it CAN’T be socialistic, because they weren’t socialists. That’s not a good argument.

            “Now it is Marxist (socialist/communist)…”Life long learning,” a communist idea, is set up to waste money, be a jobs program, and to propagandize students.”

            This is tin-foil hat stuff, Rebecca.

            “If I pay taxes to have roads built and repaired in my county instead of doing the job myself, that is not socialism. Neither is paying for an army.”

            National healthcare works on exactly the same principle. All three are services paid for out of taxation that all benefit from, whether they’re tax payers or not. It’s special pleading to draw a line between one and the others.

            If you’re saying the difference is that one was approved by the founding fathers and one wasn’t, then you’re making making a terrible argument. The arbiter of what is socialism and capitalism isn’t ‘Was it approved by the founding fathers or not?’

          • AndRebecca

            Read the Constitution. Is it socialistic? No. As for communist life long learning, as usual, you have no idea of what you are talking about and say I don’t. The communists have publishing company sites on the net and have their books on the subject. I realize you don’t read actual books, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. O.K. so national health care isn’t socialism in your opinion. So, why are you having this discussion? I mention the Founders in the discussion because they wrote the Constitution, and the Marxists in the government have been trying to get rid of the meaning of the Founders and the Constitution for many years now. You can access political speeches on the net, along with just about anything else you want to know politically. Why keep yourself in the dark? Obama and others have stated the Constitution and the people who want it followed are hindering him. Where have you been, oh propagandist?

          • Andrew Ryan

            “The communists have publishing company sites on the net and have their books on the subject.”

            I said that it’s tinfoil hat stuff that the US school system has been co-opted by a communist plot.

            “Read the Constitution. Is it socialistic? No”

            Which says nothing about whether nationalised military is any more or less socialist than nationalised healthcare.

            “O.K. so national health care isn’t socialism in your opinion”

            You accuse me of not reading but yourself apparently fail basic English comprehension. I didn’t say it isn’t socialism – I said it’s no less socialism than a nationalised military.

            “I mention the Founders in the discussion because they wrote the Constitution, and the Marxists in the government have been trying to get rid of the meaning of the Founders and the Constitution for many years now.”

            You could say the same about the GOP in government, who have tried to get rid of secularism. Read the Constitution. Is it religious? No. Is it secular? Yes. The founding fathers voted several times about whether to put religion in. They voted No every time, bar a reference to ‘In the year of our Lord’ and to affirm secularism.

          • AndRebecca

            Andrew, you are a communist propagandist. I’m aware of that. And, you may not even live in America or know anything about what is going on here. I’m only responding to you in order to refute your lies. The Founders set up the schools in America with religion in them. In the 1940s, the socialists in the government started taking religion out. Now, I could give you all sorts of sites where you could easily look this up, but Stream doesn’t like that. It is common knowledge that we have Marxists in the government and in the schools. I’m sorry you are so uninformed.

          • Andrew Ryan

            So, you’re denying that the Constitution is secular and deliberately left out religion except to affirm secularism? Ok, now I think you’re either trolling, are completely ignorant of the constitution, aren’t American or possibly a combination of all three.

          • AndRebecca

            You can call me a “patriotic troll” if you want. When I read some Leftist anti-American comment on one of my favorite sites, I will try to point out where the comment is wrong, if I have time. George Washington the Father of Our Country stated “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” Mr. Washington prayed in public all the time and Christianity was front and center… clear up until the 1940s when the liberals in our government decided we were to get rid of it.

          • Andrew Ryan

            “You can call me a “patriotic troll” if you want.”

            I didn’t call you that. I said I doubted you were even American, given your ignorance of the Constitution. And we can swap contrasting quotes from Founding Fathers for and against religion all you want, but it’s against the point – they deliberately left it out the Constitution.

          • AndRebecca

            Well, I didn’t say you called me that. I said you can (may) call me that. You have a comprehension problem. All sorts of things were not detailed in the Constitution, that didn’t mean they weren’t in practice. 97% of the people in the colonies were Protestants and they considered some things “self-evident truths.” Like, that our rights are given to us by God. If your rights are given to you by God, you would certainly worship Him.

          • Andrew Ryan

            Well, before you were asking me too look in the constitution and tell you if it was socialist. But when I ask you to look and see if it’s secular, you change your mind and now it doesn’t matter if something is in the constitution or not. And why are you giving me permission to call you something? Express yourself more clearly rather than blame my comprehension. And if you’re unaware of the different religious positions of the FF, do your own homework. Do you think deists worship a God, for example. And ask why they left God out the constitution.

          • AndRebecca

            The Constitution is not secular. God was left out of the Constitution because Protestants do not believe in theocracies. The Founders were dealing with sectarian beliefs, not secular beliefs. None of the Founders were socialists or communists or atheists, although such people existed at that time. The French went with getting rid of Christianity, not us. You’re confused and behind the times. The Democratic Party today wants to get rid of Christianity and the Bill of Rights. Where have you been?

          • Andrew Ryan

            “I didn’t say you called me that”

            If you’re going to go down that road, I never said that you DID say that you called me that. And in return you never said that I did say that did say that you called me that. And so on. But so what?

          • AndRebecca

            Don’t you have anything better to do?

          • Andrew Ryan

            It’s my duty to school idiots on the constitution. You should read it: you will learn more than you imagine possible. It’s well worth your time.

          • AndRebecca

            Ah yes, if we idiots only knew what is in the Constitution, we would accept totalitarianism. And, if we weren’t delusional we would accept atheism. And, if we weren’t so provincial, we would know the communists have it all figured out and we would accept them running our country. Like I said, don’t you have anything better to do?

          • Andrew Ryan

            “Ah yes, if we idiots only knew what is in the Constitution, we would accept totalitarianism.”
            The opposite, actually.

            “Like I said, don’t you have anything better to do?”
            Says the person who keeps replying…

          • AndRebecca

            How clever…

    • AndRebecca

      Cooperation is not socialism. Our country was set up to support private property and liberty and religious freedom. Socialism is against private property, religious liberty, and individualism. V. I Lenin stated that the only thing he liked about the America was the Post Office because it was set up to not make a profit. You are over simplifying socialism. And, the writer above is leaving out the Social Justice Movement in the Catholic Church and the Mary Knolls out of New York. I’m sure he knows about them and prefers to leave them out. He’s also leaving out the history of Catholics in the labor unions in America and people like Chiara Lubich.

      • Andrew Ryan

        1) “Socialism is against private property, religious liberty, and individualism.”
        2) “You are over simplifying socialism”

        That’s pretty funny.

        • AndRebecca

          What’s funny about it? You left all that out and that over simplified it. Socialism is also about not making a profit.

          • Andrew Ryan

            “Socialism is also about not making a profit.”

            Who says? Profits can be made and then ploughed back into the system.

            It’s funny because you accused me of oversimplifying while making huge generalisations yourself.

          • AndRebecca

            You need to read up on a subject if you want to discuss it. You don’t know what you are talking about and I don’t have time to teach you economics.

          • Raymond Donahue

            YOU ARE A BLOATED GOOF.

          • AndRebecca

            It took your small mind a whole year to come up with that. Should I be impressed?

  • Charles Nordstrom

    This article has, as could be expected, generated a lively debate. However, has the author or anyone else shown this to the Pope? Does Pope Francis understand the author’s view? Just asking.

  • mollysdad

    That isn’t the right definition of socialism. To paraphrase Quadragesimo Anno, socialism is a worldview which sets the following as the chief end of man:

    The production, for public ownership, of as much material wealth as possible, as efficiently as possible. It asserts that all property (at least in the means of production) belongs by nature to the State, so that no law is needed to authorise its transfer from a private owner to public ownership.

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