Land ownership


I just became aware and interested in the writings of Dorothy Day and some of her ideas about “personalism” and “communitarianism.” I’ve read a little on, but it’s hard to find what I’m looking for. Are there papal documents written on land/property ownership? Which pope and what’s the name of the document? I know that sounds kind of vague, but that’s my problem—I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for b/c I don’t know enough about it. But it intrigues me.


I haven’t read much Dorothy Day, but I have heard of an intriguing concept called “Distributism” which is neither capitalism nor socialism (it actually rather PO’s proponets of BOTH).

From my reading, this concept comes pretty close to the ideals of several popes (judging from encyclicals).

In a nutshell, it is kinda like capitalism, except that law and tax policy is designed to reward PERSONAL initiative and hard work, as opposed to rewarding those who START with a lot of capital in the first place. The goal is to harness free market forces to responsible regulation and taxation to distibute wealth as widely as possible without creating the disincentives to work inherent to socialism and the tendency towards Oligarchy inherent to capitalism.

Google ‘distributism’ and you’ll find articles that reference papal encyclicals on the subject of freedom, wealth and responsibility. I just can’t remember the one that’s tickling the back of my brain.

I’m hooked!


John Paul wrote Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work”) in the early 1980s.

Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum?


Rerum Novarum is the one I’m thinking of. Thanks!




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