How does the church define socialism & why is it against Church teaching?

I was watching this live stream over on youtube one of the subjects of conversation was socialism. I want to know how the church defines as socialism. I only want to know how the church defines socialism. I just thought I would throw that last sentence out there. Because it has recently come to my attention that everyone defines things their own way.

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I suggest reading the social justice encyclicals of the Church, starting perhaps with Rerum Novarum. Take care to understand how the definition fits within the context of the entire document.

The reference (not a definition as such) appears in #15. It describes a system that opposes private property.

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  1. The Church has watched socialism and socialists since the idea sprang upon this earth and sees that the leaders and those systems become despotic.
  2. Socialism is a form of collectivism - it violates human dignity by subordinating the invidiual to the state.
  3. Soviet Russia, the USSR: the Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics. We called them communist and they were. They called themselves socialist.
  4. Socialism has wealth re-distribution in its DNA - legalized theft.

Capitalism - tempered by Christian faith - is far, far better. Not perfect, as there is no perfect system this side of the gates of heaven, but employed with a conscience, it is probably the best.


I think several here are describing communism more than socialism.

Remember that socialism is not communism nor is it democratic socialism. You may think also of the scholars who describe the Twelve Apostles as living in a socialist collective. Finally, Dorothy Day (who is up for sainthood) and the Catholic Worker movement can accurately be described as socialist.

I think that people describe “socialism” according to their political bent.

The Church doesn’t seek to define Socialism. Encyclicals that touch on the subject talk about specific actions and attitudes present in particular socialist movements as they occured.

As far as I am aware, there is no teaching against common ownership of the means of production, state directed aid, mutual aid, or state ownership of the means of production.

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Let’s see how it works in the real world. Sweden - long touted as an example of how socialism works.

We know Sweden partially due to the cars it exports.

Saab. DOA.
Volvo. Owned by the Chinese.

Oh, I know there are a million reasons, but how many excuses are being made?
Not too many of us are more politically or economically astute than Margaret Thatcher† She had ample opportunity, over her decades in governance, to examine the workings and viability of various economic systems.
Her take on socialism?
Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 8.31.38 PM

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I know I asked before but can you please explain how the Catholic Worker was socialist?

The Church condemned socialism as defined in the nineteenth century by Marxist and anarchist schools of thought. It refers to a completely nationalized (in the case of Marxism) economy, and under anarchism the expropriation of private property by the masses. It goes against the principle of subsidiarity and the right to private property.

The three elements that define socialism as rejected by Catholicism are the abolition or private ownership, class enmity, and a materialistic vision of man and his social end.

I find paragraphs 113 to 120 of the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno helpful because it addresses “moderate socialism” and helps distill the essential points of socialism:

The Catholic Worker Movement was not that much about nationalism or anarchy as for the reduction of poverty and the fostering of equality in America. As has been stated on AOC’s victory: " The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) rhetoric played well in the 14th District, which is 70 percent people of color, and 50 percent immigrant. Founded in New York City by Michael Harrington, an Irish Catholic and Holy Cross College graduate, the DSA still draws upon the same rhetoric surrounding Catholic social teachings on human dignity and human flourishing that Harrington promoted in his early days of community organizing in the 1950s. In 1951, Harrington got his start in socialism at what the DSA website calls “Dorothy Day’s anarchist-pacifist Catholic Worker movement.” "

So, in line with Pope Leo XIII, today’s democratic socialists are working to end the enmity between income classes in America. It is not a movement seeking to abolish private ownership of property or income, either.

I agree with po18guy. Capitalism can be grossly unfair at times, but even at its worst, it’s more fair than socialism.

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If you have ever had a job and your boss was a tyrant and or you felt that you were cheated on your wages you would understand how anybody could be a socialist.

Socialism is not a good system. Been tried many places and fails.

Cuba, Venezuela etc.

Poche, that is the great thing about Capitalism, you are free to get a new job if you don’t like the one you have.

It’s not that easy.

Well, it is better than being forced to work somewhere.

Freedom is a beautiful thing.

If I may, there is a type of economic system that is neither capitalist, socialist or, communist, called distributism, it could work in a country like the United States, it could not work in a socialist country.

G. K. Chesterton was one of its main proponents. It was at a time in England when socialism was rearing its head.

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