A Pope Speaks Out (No, Not That Pope)


I’ve listened to some of the Democrat Presidential debates and I had no idea there were that many people that were concerned with what I should eat, how I should travel, what I should own, and my medical care. There’s more to add to the list so rather than list everything I’ll just say – I never knew I was so inept in living my unsupervised personal life, much less how that ignorance was oppressing my neighbors. I not only was oppressing my neighbors I was oppressing an entire nation with my selfish lifestyle.

In this age of unexamined ideas where history begins with the start of the next 24-hour news cycle, state-sanctioned looting is nothing new, the Catholic Church has already wrestled with this issue. There were Catholics that advocated Distributism, which was no more than Socialism. Some called it the Catholic Third Way of Economics. The Magisterium never advocated this Third Way because it was seen as no more than theft.

I’ll leave you with two quotes from Pope Leo XIII taken from his Encyclical “On Capital and Labor” – Rerum Novarum, written and published on May 15, 1891.

4. To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.

5. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man’s little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.

Would that a Pope Leo XIII was here today, but we have his words on this issue, and would that small “c” Catholics and non-Catholics were more aware of the pedigree of ideas.

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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There are 4 comments.

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  1. cdor Member

    Yes indeed, the very first unit of property is one’s own work or thought. That is why socialism is just another name for slavery. If one does not own one’s own endeavors, one is, in fact, not a free person. 

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  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…

    I’m impressed that the Catholic Church once had a Pope who had an understanding of basic property rights and economics.  His view was almost utterly defeated, among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Two of the Commandments are lurking in his explanation, as well, though not expressly cited.

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  3. colleenb Member

    Ha ha. I thought you were going to quote Msg. Charles Pope but, come to think of it, there are a lot more Popes to quote from. Good job. And my number one question for E Warren now is – What wouldn’t you regulate in my life? This is generally true for all the Democratic candidates but she especially seems to believe that there should be nothing outside the State.

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  4. Unsk Member

    Impressive quote. 

    Ya know if you listen to the Gospels long enough, you will find that Christ used free market situations involving work arrangements,  payments etc a lot for his lessons in his Gospels, but ain’t it funny that he-GOD – didn’t take those opportunities to promote Socialism which he as GOD would surely have known of? 

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