Believe it or not, the Pope spoke about Christianity and socialism over 120 years ago. In a time before the Communists had taken over any country in the world, Pope Leo XIII was warning about the evils of Communism and Socialism. He warned the people then and we should take his advice now about the many different facets of socialism and how it fits into Christianity.
On the 18th of January 1901, Pope Leo XIII wrote the GRAVES DE COMMUNI RE. This was an encyclical on Christianity and Socialism. He clearly warned and foresaw much of the problems that many people had to suffer through for the majority of the 20th century under the iron yoke of Communism. Loss of personal freedom, the inability to freely worship, and Godless bureaucrats who govern the country.
Socialism has re-entered the public discourse over the past several years, in part due to the high profile candidacy of socialist Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, as well as the surprise victory of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America organization, in New York's 14th Congressional District.
Young Americans like socialism. Their opinions more likely reflect concerns about inequality, a desire to see America become a pseudo-European social democracy. Sympathies for socialism also reflect a lack of understanding of what free markets are and, importantly, what they are not. Where socialism denies human individuality, liberty, and fallibility and thus oppresses people, capitalism pays attention to realities about human nature. Pope Leo XIII also will explain that socialism also denies the Church and God.
Pope Leo XIII explained:
Christian Socialism- Is There Really Such a Thing? What did Pope Leo XIII say on this subject:
4. This work of popular aid had, at first, no name of its own. The name of Christian Socialism, with its derivatives, which was adopted by some was very properly allowed to fall into disuse. Afterwards, some asked to have it called the popular Christian Movement. In the countries most concerned with this matter, there are some who are known as Social Christians. Elsewhere, the movement is described as Christian Democracy and its partisans as Christian Democrats, in opposition to what the socialists call Social Democracy. Not much exception is taken to the first of these two names, i.e., Social Christians, but many excellent men find the term Christian Democracy objectionable. They hold it to be very ambiguous and for this reason open to two objections. It seems by implication covertly to favor popular government and to disparage other methods of political administration. Secondly, it appears to belittle religion by restricting its scope to the care of the poor, as if the other sections of society were not of its concern. More than that, under the shadow of its name there might easily lurk a design to attack all legitimate power, either civil or sacred. Wherefore, since this discussion is now so widespread, and so bitter, the consciousness of duty warns Us to put a check on this controversy and to define what Catholics are to think on this matter. We also propose to describe how the movement may extend its scope and be made more useful to the commonwealth.
Please note the purpose of this was to attack the power of the Church in the eyes of the people. This attack destroyed families, tore apart the Church, and resulted in many people leaving the Church. Maybe had we listened more to Pope Leo XIII about this almost 121 years ago we would not be in this situation we find ourselves in today.
Social Democracy-What Is It?
5. What Social Democracy is and what Christian Democracy ought to be, assuredly no one can doubt. The first, with due consideration to the greater or less intemperance of its utterance, is carried to such an excess by many as to maintain that there is really nothing existing above the natural order of things, and that the acquisition and enjoyment of corporal and external goods constitute man's happiness. It aims at putting all government in the hands of the masses, reducing all ranks to the same level, abolishing all distinctions of class, and finally introducing a community of goods. Hence, the right to own private property is to be abrogated, and whatever property a man possesses, or whatever means of livelihood he has, is to be common to all.
This policy sounds much better than what it really or truly ends up being. Everyone get lowered to the lowest class of people and only a few insiders in the Government end up becoming better off. To ruin a system in order to save the system and only make it much worse is not a positive thing at all.
6. As against this, Christian Democracy, by the fact that it is Christian, is built, and necessarily so, on the basic principles of divine faith, and it must provide better conditions for the masses, with the ulterior object of promoting the perfection of souls made for things eternal. Hence, for Christian Democracy, justice is sacred; it must maintain that the right of acquiring and possessing property cannot be impugned, and it must safeguard the various distinctions and degrees which are indispensable in every well-ordered commonwealth. Finally, it must endeavor to preserve in every human society the form and the character which God ever impresses on it. It is clear, therefore, that there is nothing in common between Social and Christian Democracy. They differ from each other as much as the sect of socialism differs from the profession of Christianity.
Clearly if given a choice, Christian Democracy is preferable because it centers into the idea that Christ is the center of the Government not the government itself. In socialism they try to take out God and replace the “G” with a little”g” government. People are normally not that excited about the change. Take a look at the growth of the Orthodox Church in Russia. It was outlawed from 1917 until 1991 and now today it is one of the few branches of Christianity that is growing and thriving- increased Church attendance and new converts.
7. Moreover, it would be a crime to distort this name of Christian Democracy to politics, for, although democracy, both in its philological and philosophical significations, implies popular government, yet in its present application it must be employed without any political significance, so as to mean nothing else than this beneficent Christian action in behalf of the people. For, the laws of nature and of the Gospel, which by right are superior to all human contingencies, are necessarily independent of all particular forms of civil government, while at the same time they are in harmony with everything that is not repugnant to morality and justice. They are, therefore, and they must remain absolutely free from the passions and the vicissitudes of parties, so that, under whatever political constitution, the citizens may and ought to abide by those laws which command them to love God above all things, and their neighbors as themselves. This has always been the policy of the Church. The Roman Pontiffs acted upon this principle, whenever they dealt with different countries, no matter what might be the character of their governments. Hence, the mind and the action of Catholics devoted to promoting the welfare of the working classes can never be actuated with the purpose of favoring and introducing one government in place of another.
Here is a great example of the difficulty you find yourself -look no further than President Joe Biden of the USA. Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, President Joe Biden said he did not “agree” that life begins at conception.
"I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade,” he said at the White House, answering a reporter’s question on abortion. “I respect them - those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all - I respect that. Don't agree, but I respect that,” he said.
Biden’s comments were a departure from previous statements of his on when life begins. In a 2008 interview as a vice presidential candidate, and again at a 2012 vice presidential debate, Biden said he believed life begins at conception. You can not promote politics over policy or non Catholic teaching over Catholic teaching and still be considered a Catholic. The Archbishop of Washington (His Bishop) on Wednesday (Sept. 8) clarified the Church’s teaching on when life begins, after Catholic President Joe Biden last week said life does not begin at conception.
“The Catholic Church teaches, and has taught, that life – human life – begins at conception,” said Cardinal Wilton Gregory at a Wednesday luncheon of the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C “So, the president is not demonstrating Catholic teaching,” he added.
We need Catholic leaders who lead with Catholic teachings and principles. We do not need Catholics by name, we need Catholics by words and deeds. Saying that you are Catholic is not enough here.
8. In the same manner, we must remove from Christian Democracy another possible subject of reproach, namely, that while looking after the advantage of the working people it should seem to overlook the upper classes of society, for they also are of the greatest use in preserving and perfecting the commonwealth. The Christian law of charity, which has just been mentioned, will prevent us from so doing. For it embraces all men, irrespective of ranks, as members of one and the same family, children of the same most beneficent Father, redeemed by the same Saviour, and called to the same eternal heritage. Hence the doctrine of the Apostle, who warns us that "We are one body and one spirit called to the one hope in our vocation; one Lord, one faith and one baptism; one God and the Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in us all."(2) Wherefore, on account of the union established by nature between the common people and the other classes of society, and which Christian brotherhood makes still closer, whatever diligence we devote to assisting the people will certainly profit also the other classes, the more so since, as will be thereafter shown, their co-operation is proper and necessary for the success of this undertaking.
9. Let there be no question of fostering under this name of Christian Democracy any intention of diminishing the spirit of obedience, or of withdrawing people from their lawful rulers. Both the natural and the Christian law command us to revere those who in their various grades are shown above us in the State, and to submit ourselves to their just commands. It is quite in keeping with our dignity as men and Christians to obey, not only exteriorly, but from the heart, as the Apostle expresses it, "for conscience' sake," when he commands us to keep our soul subject to the higher powers.(3) It is abhorrent to the profession of Christianity that any one should feel unwilling to be subject and obedient to those who rule in the Church, and first of all to the bishops whom (without prejudice to the universal power of the Roman Pontiff) "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God which Christ has purchased by His Blood."(4) He who thinks or acts otherwise is guilty of ignoring the grave precept of the Apostle who bids us to obey our rulers and to be subject to them, for they watch as having to give an account of our souls.(5) Let the faithful everywhere implant these principles deep in their souls, and put them in practice in their daily life, and let the ministers of the Gospel meditate them profoundly, and incessantly labor, not merely by exhortation but especially by example, to teach them to others.
10. We have recalled these principles, which on other occasions We had already elucidated, in the hope that all dispute about the name of Christian Democracy will cease and that all suspicion of any danger coming from what the name signifies will be put at rest. And with reason do We hope so; for, neglecting the opinions of certain men whose views on the nature and efficacy of this kind of Christian Democracy are not free from exaggeration and from error, let no one condemn that zeal which, in accordance with the natural and divine laws, aims to make the condition of those who toil more tolerable; to enable them to obtain, little by little, those means by which they may provide for the future; to help them to practice in public and in private the duties which morality and religion inculcate; to aid them to feel that they are not animals but men, not heathens but Christians, and so to enable them to strive more zealously and more eagerly for the one thing which is necessary; viz., that ultimate good for which we are born into this world. This is the intention; this is the work of those who wish that the people should be animated by Christian sentiments and should be protected from the contamination of socialism which threatens them.
God Bless Pope Leo XIII and his insight. May you read this article and more put to use. Brother and sisters, we are Christians and we should have charity for all people. Charity begins at home, not with the government. The Church is why we should fight very hard against socialism now and forever. Amen Comment below