[quote="John_Monaco, post:1, topic:196903"]
I was reading in my AP European History textbook about the beginning of socialism in England in the 1800s, and I was curious why socialism is bad by the Church's teachings. I see how socialism (allegedly) helps the poor and needy, and everyone would be doing things equal. Is it because we wouldn't have freedom of religion? Help me out please, I'm not trying to be a heretic, just I'm curious to know why socialism is bad. I already know why socialism is bad in terms of euthanasia, but I'm ignorant in other areas.
Catechism 2425: The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern 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.
The Church primarily supports a third way idea, called distributism, that is presented as an alternative to capitalism and socialism—parts of both are criticized above. (Note the careful wording above as to not outright deny socialism, communism or capitalism, but rather ideologies and aspects of them.) I would encourage you to read for yourself and make your own decisions about political and economic systems within the scope of the Church's social teachings, particularly against the materialism which defines both capitalism and communism.
For some reason, in the United States, some people believe that any government intervention into or control over private enterprise is a form of heretical socialism. A recent example is the labeling of Obamacare as socialism. Despite this label, this does not mean that the Church has written against government intervention into private enterprise. In fact, the Church has consistently supported the role of the state within an economic system, as well as strongly supported other groups commonly associated with socialism, such as labor unions. This has been done up to today, including in Caritas in Veritate, which was published last year.
Note the statement: "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."
The Church, quite correctly, leaves it to the people of a state to decide what is reasonable regulation as long as it does not enter totalitarian, atheistic, or materialistic heresies. This level of regulation has varied widely across countries and cultures without official intervention by the Church in most cases. This is how we, as Catholics, get to disagree over political issues, such as health care..
In particular, you should read:
Pope Pius XII
Mater et Magistra
Gaudium et Spes
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
Caritas in Veritate