Can Socialism, The Church and Democracy co-exist?


#1

Can Marxism (without it’s atheistic view) work in a democratic country along with the Church (in particular in the US with its current constituion) ?

Aside from the obvious failures of Communism in the USSR and China, where religion was persecuted relentlessly, is it possible for this country to take on socialism in a peaceful evolution (as opposed to a violent revolution as was the case in many other socialist takeovers) ?

Personally, I see that capitalism works in this country for a huge portion of the population. It offers the most freedom of any political view for individuals, and it offers opportunities to advance and improve ones social class. PLUS it guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of press and freedom excell (or fail) in proportion to whatever efforts an individual is willing to put forth.

On the other hand, capitalism creates a small percentage of super wealthy that ends up controlling the political and financial aspects of the country. According to this 'golden rule" the ones with the most gold, rules.

Such is the case with capitalism, folks with enormous wealth have the most say in the political process. They can control who gets elected and who does not. Even though we have a one person, one vote political process, everyone knows that it takes a lot of money to get elected.

We are becoming a country ruled by the rich, and it is the rich who can influence country-wide opinion, merely by promoting (advertising) what views they wish to push forward.

There are small groups of socialists developing in our schools and among young people (my son has joined one of these). They are disenchanted with the war, and what they view as American imperialism. They see the war as an economic grab for oil, and they see the occupation of Iraq as unjustified.

What we see in the news is far different from how Europe is reporting it. The ‘insurgentcy’ or pro-terrorists that our government proposes to fight against is seen by the rest of the world as a normal reaction to an occupation by a foreign power.

wc


#2

Socialism is incompatible with Catholicism. So much so that it arguably belongs on the list of “non-negotiables” in the Voter’s Guide.

**"…Socialism…cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth."
**QUADRAGESIMO ANNO, 117, Encyclical of Pope Pius XI
Reconstruction of the Social Order, May 15, 1931

"…no Catholic [can] subscribe even to moderate Socialism."
MATER ET MAGISTRA, 34, Pope John XXIII
On Christianity and Social Progress, May 15, 1961

"Socialists…debase the natural union of man and woman…the [family] bond they…deliver up to lust. Lured…by the greed of present goods…they assail the right of property. While they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title, by labor, or by thrift."
QUOD APOSTOLICI MUNERIS, 1, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII
On Socialism, December 28, 1878


#3

If you mean Socialism in terms of Marxism, then no, I don’t see anyway that it can work with Catholicism (or work at all, for that matter). If you mean socialism in the most general sense (sharing of common resources while protecting individual rights), then yes, it can work, and did. The Apostles lived in a “socialist” community in the earliest days of the Church, and many, if not most, monastaries are socialistic.

Whether such a lifestyle is feasible in any given circumstance is an entirely different issue for debate, however.


#4

On the surface, it would seem that the principles of socialism would be more compatible with Christianity than capitalism would.

Doesn’t socialism advocate the idea of sharing with all ? Wouldn’t greed and hoarding be more of a trait associated with capitalism than they would be with socialism ?

I am not that familiar with Russian history, but it is my son’s contention that the Bolsevicks initially wanted freedom of religion, but Stalin when he took over killed off the majority (or all) of the Bolshevicks who favored this view.

Marx did advocate atheism, so a ‘true’ Marxist would probably hold the same atheistic view. Are there any socialist Christian countries, or is that necessarily an oxymoron ?

wc


#5

Socialism is inherently violent because it does not respect private property rights.


#6

I think stumbler did a very good job at showing the Catholic Teaching on Socialism.

One can not be a Catholic and be a Socialist.

As Pope John XXIII said in Mater Et Magistra, “…no Catholic [can] subscribe even to moderate Socialism.”

[quote=Ghosty]If you mean Socialism in terms of Marxism, then no, I don’t see anyway that it can work with Catholicism (or work at all, for that matter). If you mean socialism in the most general sense (sharing of common resources while protecting individual rights), then yes, it can work, and did. The Apostles lived in a “socialist” community in the earliest days of the Church, and many, if not most, monastaries are socialistic.

Whether such a lifestyle is feasible in any given circumstance is an entirely different issue for debate, however.
[/quote]

I think Ghosty makes an error that many make.

You can not look to the past and ascribe a modern political veiw to it.

The Apostles did not practice socialism. They lived in a governmental system, which was a dictatorship, and as a community they helped each other. They were not socialists. They were Christians.

Socialism is a governmental system which goes against what the Church Teaches. One of its main tennets is redistribution of wealth.


#7

ByzCath: I’m not talking about governmental systems, though, and I made that point. Socialism is a very, very broad term, and not all forms of socialism, even governmental socialism, involve a forceful redistribution of wealth.

Any free association of individuals who share needed resources in common can be termed socialist. It’s just that historically it was the Socialists (note the big S) and the Communists who popularized this notion, and did so with their own spin. Utopian Christians, and many other groups, were also part of the early socialist movement, and shared almost nothing in common with the Socialists and Communists. Saying that socialism is contrary to Catholicism because of the beliefs of the Socialists is like saying that democracy is contrary to Catholicism because the Democratic Party supports abortion.

Furthermore, just because the Apostles lived under a greater dictatorship does not mean that they didn’t practice socialism, or even Socialism (of course I don’t believe they did the latter) in their own community. Just because a group operates in the U.S. doesn’t mean it must operate democratically, and just because a group operates in China doesn’t mean it has to do so undemocratically.

Unfortunately most people don’t have an extensive background in political science and political history, so such distinctions between Socialism (a governmental structure, usually parliamentary in nature with a focus on government direction of the economy and an emphasis on social welfare) and socialism (sharing needed resources in common within a group) get lost. It just gets confusing because a very particular ideology claimed a general term as its name, and it stuck. When reading the Church’s condemnations of Socialism listed above, note the capital S at the beginning of the word.

Incidently, the Church also refuses to accept “capitalism” in the same way it refuses “socialism” and “communism”:

**2425 **The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with “communism” or “socialism.” She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for “there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.” Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

As can be seen in the above paragraph, it is certain ideas generally associated with the terms “capitalism”, “socialism”, and “communism” that the Church rejects, not all aspects of the given terms.


#8

[quote=Ghosty]As can be seen in the above paragraph, it is certain ideas generally associated with the terms “capitalism”, “socialism”, and “communism” that the Church rejects, not all aspects of the given terms.
[/quote]

If this is so, then how do you reconcile what Pope John XXIII said in Mater Et Magistra?


#9

I think the Pope was rejecting Socialism with regards to its advocation of atheism, of putting the state in the place of God or the Church.

Sharing resources in itself is not evil. Co-operatives operate completely within the laws of our democracy and have no anti-religion associated with it.

The current Pope did at one point say that neither system served the people well in all circumstances. In the past all the socialist countries developed into totalitarian and atheistic states.

IF a socialist country could ensure individual rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and ensure basic human rights, I do not think the Church would object to it. It is the restrictions on basic human freedoms that makes the socialist states of the past so offensive to the Church.

Whether or not such a state could succeed in the world economy and could sustain itself without degenerating to a totalitarian regime is the question.

Also, it is very doubtful that the US could ever evolve into such a state without a violent revolution. The very idea of socialism with all its negative connotations would not be acceptable to 99 % of the population.

BUT prior to WWII, the Nazis in Germany also started off with less than 1% approval of the German voters. As offensive as the hate rhetoric against Jews was, when the country became a financial basket case, the Germans voted the Nazis in. The Nazis managed to tone down its message or the voters ignored the consequences.

During times of great crisis and economic upheaval, even the unthinkable becomes a possibility. I pray it does not happen here, but people here are no different than anywhere else. Under stress, anything can and does happen.

wc


#10

Can Marxism (without it’s atheistic view) …

Marxism without atheism would be what?And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.
Acts 4:33-35

Personally, I see that capitalism works in this country for a huge portion of the population. It offers the most freedom of any political view for individuals, and it offers opportunities to advance and improve ones social class. PLUS it guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of press and freedom excell (or fail) in proportion to whatever efforts an individual is willing to put forth.

Capitalism is an economic system that can function just as well with labor unions as it does with slave labor. Godless capitalism is just as Satanic as godless Marxism.Some of our most famous American families, including the Bushes, made their fortunes from the Holocaust.

… What most people do not know is that Joseph Kennedy bought his Nazi stocks from Prescott Bush. Every great family has its scandal. The Bush family’s scandal is that they funded Hitler and profited from the Holocaust.

… long buried US government files demonstrate that the Bush family stayed on the corporate boards of Nazi front groups even after they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were helping the financial cause of the Third Reich. It was all about the money. Nazi Germany is where the Bush family fortune came from, and where the Harrimans, and the Rockefellers increased their fortunes to obscene proportions.

… The Robber Barons bribed Congress (it happens) into passing a loophole, the Web-Pomerene Act of 1918 which legalized cartels and monopolies outside the borders of the United States. This loophole law let the Robber Barons loose to prey on a helpless world already ravaged by the human and and financial cost of WWI.

Averil Harriman (patriarch of the famous Democratic family) promptly broke another American law by secretly financing the Bolsheviks while American, British and White Russian troops were still fighting against the infant communist revolution. (The FBI “ARCOS” files on Harriman’s connections with the Soviets are quite a read). Harriman bribed Lenin into letting him take over the Czar’s cartels, which exported managanese, iron ore and other raw materials. Harriman shipped the Russian raw materials to his German partners, the Thyssens, who had been secretly bought out by the Rockefellers.

The Rockefeller’s lawyers, the Dulles Brothers, had deliberately and systematically bankrupted the German economy with the Versaille Treaty. German currency was almost worthless after WWI, and so the Dulles brother’s favorite clients, the Rockefellers, were able to buy the stock of nearly every German company for a song. The great sucking sound that preceeded the Great Depression was the whistling of Wall Street money out of America into Germany, Russia (and as a side deal, Saudi Arabia). Two generations later, we are still paying for it.

The Robber Barons did not call it an international crime. They called it synergy. Harriman’s Soviet cartels would deliver the raw materials, Rockfeller’s high-tech German companies (the Thyssens) would process the manganese into steel for Harriman’s railroads. To save transportation costs, the Robber Barons looked for a middle ground in eastern Poland for a future factory site. It had to be in the coal fields of Silesia, on the banks of the Vistula river, where a canal could be dug to ship materials in cheaply from Russia. The Polish town was named Oswieczim, later known to the world by its German name: Auschwitz.

Former Federal Prosecutor John Loftus confirms the Bush-Nazi scandal


#11

Matt 16-18 posts:

Marxism without atheism would be what?
And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.
Acts 4:33-35

So how come the Church doesn’t practice such a form of communal life today?

The early Christian experiment in Utopianism simply failed – as all such experiments have failed.


#12

[quote=Matt16_18]Marxism without atheism would be what?

Capitalism is an economic system that can function just as well with labor unions as it does with slave labor. Godless capitalism is just as Satanic as godless Marxism.Some of our most famous American families, including the Bushes, made their fortunes from the Holocaust.

Former Federal Prosecutor John Loftus confirms the Bush-Nazi scandal

[/quote]

I guess that is the question, is Marxism and atheism necessarily inseparable ???

From your post, godless capitalism is capable of being as corrupt as socialism.

Would socialism prevent the exploitation and corruption from individual who would exploit capitalism for their own greed ? and can it work in a free society ? or is democracy and socialism mutually exclusive ?


#13

[quote=wcknight]I guess that is the question, is Marxism and atheism necessarily inseparable ???
[/quote]

Marxism and atheism ARE necessarily inseparable because the foundation of Marxism is the philosophy of dialectical materialism, a materialist philosophy that denies the existence of God. Catholic teaching condemning “socialism” must be understood as a condemnation of the philosophy of dialectical materialism, and not a condemnation of the idea that laws of the land must take into account the common good of the governed. **Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Common Good

1911** Human interdependence is increasing and gradually spreading throughout the world. The unity of the human family, embracing people who enjoy equal natural dignity, implies a universal common good. This good calls for an organization of the community of nations able to “provide for the different needs of men; this will involve the sphere of social life to which belong questions of food, hygiene, education, . . . and certain situations arising here and there, as for example . . . alleviating the miseries of refugees dispersed throughout the world, and assisting migrants and their families.”

1912 The common good is always oriented towards the progress of persons: “The order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons, and not the other way around.” This order is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love.

From your post, godless capitalism is capable of being as corrupt as socialism.

History certainly proves this is true. Did you ever see the film * Schindler’s List *? Oskar Schindler was a capitalist that wanted to become wealthy by using slave labor in his factories.

Would socialism prevent the exploitation and corruption from individual who would exploit capitalism for their own greed ?

Both socialism and capitalism can be brutal instruments of Satan. Whether that happens or not depends on what is in the hearts of men. Certainly what we see in the book of Acts could be described as “socialistic”. But clearly, the way that the early Christians lived was not based on a philosophy of materialism.

It is the conversion of the hearts of men by the grace of God that prevents any particular economic systems from becoming an instrument of Satan. Oskar Schindler’s conversion transformed him from being a greedy capitalist into a decent human being.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not steal

2414** The seventh commandment forbids acts or enterprises that for any reason - selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian - lead to the enslavement of human beings, to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity. It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights to reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit. …

2434 A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. “Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good.” Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.


#14

The Church still has monastic communities whose members take vows of poverty.

The early Christian experiment in Utopianism simply failed – as all such experiments have failed.

The first Christians understood that they were under the commandment to love their neighbor, and they responded accordingly. Their response to the Gospel was not failure.

If our fragile economic system begins to collapse, perhaps we too will live again as the early Christians. What other choice would we have if we would remain Christians?


#15

[quote=Matt16_18]The Church still has monastic communities whose members take vows of poverty.
[/quote]

Those are monastic communities – not society, nor the Church, as a whole.

[quote=Matt16_18]The first Christians understood that they were under the commandment to love their neighbor, and they responded accordingly. Their response to the Gospel was not failure.

If our fragile economic system begins to collapse, perhaps we too will live again as the early Christians. What other choice would we have if we would remain Christians?
[/quote]

Read Acts 6,1-7. It wasn’t the collapse of the economic system that drove the early Christians toward utopianism, it was the collapse of utopianism that returned them to a different mode of living.

Don’t equate the failure of utopianism with the failure of Christianity.


#16

[quote=vern humphrey]Those are monastic communities – not society, nor the Church, as a whole.
[/quote]

The Church is made up of many communities. You asked, “how come the Church doesn’t practice such a form of communal life today?”, and I answered that there are still communities within the Church that do indeed practice this form of communal life.

Don’t equate the failure of utopianism with the failure of Christianity.

Define “utopianism”. Christ commanded that his disciples practice charity. If taking that command seriously is considered to be “utopianism”, then all authentic Christians are called to be utopians.


#17

:thumbsup:

Not only is sharing resources not an evil, it is an action that is commanded by God.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

2446** St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” … “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”:[indent]When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.’” Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren …[/INDENT]


#18

If this is so, then how do you reconcile what Pope John XXIII said in Mater Et Magistra?

Moderate Socialism is still Socialism (big S), just of a less violent bent. As others have noted, their philosophy is necessarily Atheistic, as it is based on Marx’s use of dialectic materialism, a philosophical construct that is directly opposed to religion. One can’t be a dialectic materialist (i.e. Socialist, Communist, or any other agenda that incorporates this idea as part of its foundation) and be a Catholic. You can be the most peaceful, neighbor-loving Socialist, but by definition you’re still a materialist, hence even moderate Socialism is forbidden.

What all this boils down to is actually that Christian morality, in its purest and practice, is actually a form of socialism (small s). The application of soup kitchens and other forms of charity are socialistic by definition. I have a Spanish friend in the seminary who, after some discussion on this matter, called it “Christianism” :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

[quote=Ghosty]Moderate Socialism is still Socialism (big S), just of a less violent bent. As others have noted, their philosophy is necessarily Atheistic, as it is based on Marx’s use of dialectic materialism, a philosophical construct that is directly opposed to religion. One can’t be a dialectic materialist (i.e. Socialist, Communist, or any other agenda that incorporates this idea as part of its foundation) and be a Catholic. You can be the most peaceful, neighbor-loving Socialist, but by definition you’re still a materialist, hence even moderate Socialism is forbidden.

What all this boils down to is actually that Christian morality, in its purest and practice, is actually a form of socialism (small s). The application of soup kitchens and other forms of charity are socialistic by definition. I have a Spanish friend in the seminary who, after some discussion on this matter, called it “Christianism” :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

The Russians prior to Stalin’s take over wanted religious freedom. Stalin murdered all those who took this view. Would a socialist state with freedom of religion and other basic freedoms work ?

The evil that my son and these neo-socialists see is the exploitation of workers by big business and corporate America.

It is hard to argue that capitalism is okay, when workers in huge corportations are paid hundreds of times less than the corporate executives and the owners, rich share holders. This country is ruled by the super rich, even though we have elections, it takes wealth to get elected.

And even if a poor person were to rise to some position of authority, they are very unlikely to have much of an impact. Is it any wonder that the recent tax cuts favored the rich ? Less than 1% of the population controls over 50% of the wealth.

wc


#20

[quote=Matt16_18]The Church is made up of many communities. You asked, “how come the Church doesn’t practice such a form of communal life today?”, and I answered that there are still communities within the Church that do indeed practice this form of communal life.
[/quote]

There are people who seal themselves up into cells, too – but the Church as a whole does NOT live by that rule. To pretent that what a tiny minority can do is applicable to the whole body of the Church or society is simply sophistry.

[quote=Matt16_18]Define “utopianism”. Christ commanded that his disciples practice charity. If taking that command seriously is considered to be “utopianism”, then all authentic Christians are called to be utopians.
[/quote]

Nonsense! Nowhere can you show that your view of how life should be lived is the command of Christ.

Utopianism fails every time its tried. Simplistic views of economics not only fail, but cause widespread suffering when applied on a large scale.


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