“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” ? Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
We are currently living in a tale of two cities-well at least two distinct reasons why we are in the shape we currently find us in the world today. Look at the following two quotes from Karl Marx. Is there any wonder why Pope Leo XIII was worried about socialism?
“Democracy is the road to socialism.” Karl Marx
“We know that violent measures against religion are nonsense; but this is an opinion: as socialism grows, religion will disappear. Its disappearance must be done by social development, in which education must play a part.” Karl Marx
It should be plain to any one reading this article that Karl Marx viewed democracy as leading to socialism and then socialism leading to communism. Democracy would vote in socialism and before they really had a chance to realize what had happened the large state socialist government would evolve into communism. Therefore, socialism was not a sustainable form of government and more a stop gap government between a democracy and communism.
In many ways, we simply do not know much about our own religious history. There is probably nowhere is this more true than when studying about Catholic Social Teaching. Many in this field will to trace the modern 21st Century Catholic Social Teachings to Pope Leo XIII and what he wrote in his 1891 Rerum Novarum. It’s quite easy to forgive those who experience an attack of nausea upon hearing the phrase “Catholic Social Thinking.”
Catholic Social Thinking has become code speak for ultra liberal, big government programs, which offer the states little or no control and make the individual dependent upon the state for resources. Brothers and Sisters, this is not Catholic Social Teaching, at least not the teachings of Pope Leo XIII. This is the road to socialism. Socialism takes the concept of helping others and makes the government do that. The problem is the government will offer help but at what costs? They take away free thought, religion, and political discourse. In effect socialism makes the government take the place of God in a free society.
The Church clearly teaches that it is the moral duty of all believers to help those in need, to exercise the "preferential option for the poor." But is it self-evident that in socialism there are no individuals- just the group demands. Free college-make college free to all- sounds good on the surface until you find that instead of paying for your own college training you are paying the rest of your life for everyone’s college degree. Therefore, in a free society, we should want a less expensive college tuition program, not a free college program because free college costs way too much.
In socialism, is there an effort to fight poverty and that should be waged through impersonal government programs, supported by mandatory taxation, rather than by the freewill offerings of charitable donors. Only the state has the ability to tackle these problems. Is it self-evident that in socialism the federal government should supervise these anti-poverty programs, although the principle of subsidiarity would seem to militate in favor of local solutions to local problems and individual approaches to needy individuals? If the goal was actually to help any individual person or family it would appear that helping on the individual level would be the way to do this.
Who would know how to truly help someone in your neighborhood, the local priest or the behind the desk sitting bureaucratic in Washington, D.C. that the program for the entire world? In an odd way- the problem with socialism besides attacking the family unit and the Church, is that it is much more bureaucratic than democracy. The further you get from local leaders transferring their power and authority to national leaders- the less power is in the hands of the people and more power is in the hands of the government.
This will mean that the government will take over more powers from the family. As the government takes over more and more powers from the family and Church. What happened to the First Catholic President John Kennedy when he asked a nation on Jan. 20, 1961, “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You But What You Can Do For Your Country?” Are willing to listen to
In light of the misuse from which that phrase has suffered over the past century and alternative responses are all too likely to indicate either that a person has not been paying attention or is lacking in all Catholic, Christian, and common sense. Unfortunately, the idea that Catholic teaching on what our inelegant vernacular has dubbed “socio-economic matters” implies a big state, left-wing agenda is an error not limited to outright adherents of the left. But no one has asked the simple question, “Why?” Brothers and sisters, I now ask just that, “Why?”
There have been conservatives—both Catholic and non-Catholic—who have bought into this contention and so opposed what they have wrongly considered to be the teaching of the Church. There are Catholics with a sincere dedication to Catholic doctrine, Catholics who are pro-life, who are committed to natural heterosexual marriage, who embrace the Church’s teaching against contraception, and who embrace the most traditional of Catholic liturgical and devotional practices, but who remain convinced that within the limited sphere of economics that they must hold to the program of the left. This is not what a young Catholic President, John Kennedy, told a nation in Jan. 1961.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
Pope Leo XIII Gave Ten Reasons To Defeat Socialism
- Socialism promotes envy between classes. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods.”The transfer of private property to community property is against nature and justice.
- Socialism hurts the working man first and foremost.
- A person has the right to improve his social condition through labor. His social condition should not be taken away from him.
- Socialism perceives children as belonging to the State chiefly, and thus the State has a prior right over the father of the child with regard to guardianship, education, and labor. This the Pope condemns.
- Socialism must be “utterly rejected.”
- Socialism leads to “condition of misery and degradation.”
- The Pope recognizes that not every human has equal aptitude in this life for wage-earning.
- Labor is good and not evil. Socialism wrongly presumes that work is always an exploitation of one class serving another class.
- It is evident in these quotes, but especially elsewhere, that those who have acquired private property should share their goods with those who are in need.
- This is the call to almsgiving that Proverbs and Christ repeatedly exhort us to practice
Clearly, Pope Leo XIII was vehemently against big government and big government liberal socialism. Yet the left has somehow rewritten history and we are believing this. They have created the fact that Catholic Social teaching began with Pope Leo XIII and to be a good Catholic you should vote for the party that supports programs for the poor. Never mind that the party may not believe in chastity, pro life, or you voting for people who support many points which would take away your freedom to worship your faith. Who is at fault? Could it be our public education or could it be because we are not doing enough for religious education today? Do you know your faith? Brothers and sisters, these are the problems that we face today. All I can say is thank God for Pope Leo XIII and his ability to understand the times we are facing today and the guidance he gave us so that we can successfully live in our times. Amen.
“The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home.”
Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum: On The Condition Of Working