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We are bringing you a conversation with Trent Horn, staff apologist for Catholic Answers, and Eric Kohn, the director of communications here at Acton. In this episode, they discuss Horn’s new book, Can a Catholic be a Socialist?
Horn explains that, “Societal injustices are the result of deeper moral evils like greed, envy, indifference, and selfishness. However, simply reordering society so people aren’t poor can’t eliminate these vices (and doesn’t solve poverty, either).”
Some Catholics who claim to be socialists look at government as an altruistic solution – if done correctly – to solve all the world’s problems with their infinite resources and boundless regulation. This simply just isn’t the case. Horn writes that “Governments are really just groups of individuals who have been given weighty responsibilities. Those individuals are not immune to the effects of vice; in fact, the temptations that government officials face make them more susceptible to sin and the magnitude of the problems they face make them more prone to error.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, socialism is dangerous. Government interference can and will threaten individual freedom and liberty. The Church teaches the principle of “subsidiarity,” which “opposes all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.”
We must work towards building a free and virtuous society. As long as humans are running our governments, there will be no “utopia.” The solution is not an overarching government, the solution starts and ends in our homes, where we build virtuous families, and care for our communities. As Horn puts it, “so we can have confidence and peace that in applying ourselves with hard work and diligence we can joyfully participate in God’s co-creation—a task we are urged to take up for the good of our families and our communities.”
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