Christian Charities create a non-state socialism?

Where some countries have socialist programs, all countries have Christian Charities.
Do these charities create a socialist state? Not socialist in the sense that the rich are compelled to give, rather in the sense of what they do for the poor.

Care for the poor is not socialism.

What’s your definition (or understanding) of socialism?

Without looking it up, I think that socialism is a system where the common good, or the good of society, is promoted above the good of the individual.

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Preferential treatment for the poor…charitable giving…is absolutely essential to the Church’s mission and always has been. Our Lord makes it abundantly clear in Matthew 25 and elsewhere that it is gravely sinful to ignore this mandate. This has been true for 2000 years. Socialism did not exist 2000 years ago.


No. Helping the poor is not socialism. Socialism has to do with ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange by the community as a whole.


@whatistrue, @twf, @Beryllos

Definition of Socialism:

  1. Name a government program that has been called socialist.
  2. For that government program, find a charity that does what that program does to the poor.

Agree with the others. Voluntary giving is not socialism. Charity is the opposite of it, in fact. Socialism is the forced redistribution of wealth and created dependency. Welfare hurts families because it’s no longer a “get back on your feet” aid.

That’s an interesting working definition, but I’ll stick with the dictionary definition, courtesy of

A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

and this useful note:

The term ‘socialism’ has been used to describe positions as far apart as anarchism, Soviet state Communism, and social democracy; however, it necessarily implies an opposition to the untrammelled workings of the economic market. The socialist parties that have arisen in most European countries from the late 19th century have generally tended towards social democracy

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