Sunday, March 7, 2010
Church Teaching On Socialism-Pius IX Thru Leo XIII
In order from top to bottom:
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius X
Pope Pius XI
Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."
Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, On the Nature of True Liberty:
Denial of Divine Authority
What naturalists or rationalists aim at in philosophy, that the supporters of Liberalism, carrying out the principles laid down by naturalism, are attempting in the domain of morality and politics. The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence, and constitutes itself the supreme principle and source and judge of truth.
Hence, these followers of Liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality, and which, under the guise of liberty, exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God, and substitutes a boundless license. The end of all this is not difficult to foresee, especially when society is in question.
For, when once man is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one, it follows that the efficient cause of the unity of civil society is not to be sought in any principle external to man, or superior to him, but simply in the free will of individuals; that the authority in the State comes from the people only; and that, just as every man's individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs.
Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority. But, from what has been said, it is clear that all this is in contradiction to reason. To refuse any bond of union between man and civil society, on the one hand, and God and Creator and consequently the supreme Law-giver, on the other, is plainly repugnant to the nature, not only of man, but of all created things; for, of necessity, all effects must in some proper way be connected with their cause; and it belongs to the perfection of every nature to contain itself within that sphere and grade which the order of nature has assigned to it, namely, that the lower should be subject and obedient to the higher.
The results of this denial
Moreover, besides this, a doctrine of such character is most hurtful both to individuals and to the State. For, once ascribe to human reason the only authority to decide what is true and what is good, and the real distinction between good and evil is destroyed; honor and dishonor differ not in their nature, but in the opinion and judgment of each one; pleasure is the measure of what is lawful; and, given a code of morality which can have little or no power to restrain or quiet the unruly propensities of man, a way is naturally opened to universal corruption.
With reference also to public affairs: authority is severed from the true and natural principle whence it derives its efficacy for the common good; and the law determining what it is right to do and avoid doing is at the mercy of the majority. Now, this is simply a road leading straight to tyranny.
The empire of God over man and civil society once repudiated, it follows that religion, as a public institution, can have no claim to exist, and that everything that belongs to religion will be treated with complete indifference. Furthermore, with ambitious designs on sovereignty, tumult and sedition will be common among the people; and when duty and conscience cease to appeal to them, there will be nothing to hold them back but force, which of itself alone is powerless to keep their covetousness in check. (On the Nature of True Liberty, Pope Leo XIII, #14-16)
Communism, from a Catholic perspective:
Communism is the most logical and extreme form of Socialism, outcome of the revolutionary theory of Karl Marx. The underlying philosophy is materialistic and determinist; the social order evolves through economic struggles between the classes in the direction of the violent revolution and a dictatorship of the proletariat, to be followed by a "withering away" of the state and the substitution of a society where ownership of all things is common, where all will work voluntarily, and all take freely of goods produced according to his needs.
As well as the abstract theory of Communism there must, since 1917, be considered the concrete attempt to apply its principals in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where one aspect of it can be summed up in the words of Stalin:
"Scientifically speaking, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a power which is restricted by no laws, hampered by no rules, and based directly on violence."
Whether in theory or in practice, the Church utterly rejects Communism on account of its errors, notably: its atheistic materialism, its doctrine and practice of class-war, its denial of the rights and liberties of the human person, including the natural right to possess some measure of private property, and its contempt for good morals under several heads.
Communism has been repeatedly condemned by the Holy See, notably by Pope Pius XI in the encyclical letter, Divini Redemptoris. (Definition from A Catholic Dictionary, 1951)
# "This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization" Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against "that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself." Later on, another of Our predecessors, the immortal Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, defined Communism as "the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin."" Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "In 1924 when Our relief-mission returned from the Soviet Union We condemned Communism in a special Allocution which We addressed to the whole world. In our Encyclicals Miserentissimus Redemptor, Quadragesimo Anno, Caritate Christi, Acerba Animi, Dilectissima Nobis, We raised a solemn protest against the persecutions unleashed in Russia, in Mexico and now in Spain." Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "In fact, the most persistent enemies of the Church, who from Moscow are directing the struggle against Christian civilization, themselves bear witness, by their unceasing attacks in word and act, that even to this hour the Papacy has continued faithfully to protect the sanctuary of the Christian religion, and that it has called public attention to the perils of Communism more frequently and more effectively than any other public authority on earth." Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoricians of bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man.
Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves towards the final synthesis of a classless society. In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life. Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world towards its final synthesis can be accelerated by man.
Hence they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.
Communism, moreover, strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man's relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents.
What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement." Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "Such, Venerable Brethren, is the new gospel which bolshevistic and atheistic Communism offers the world as the glad tidings of deliverance and salvation! It is a system full of errors and sophisms. It is in opposition both to reason and to Divine Revelation. It subverts the social order, because it means the destruction of its foundations; because it ignores the true origin and purpose of the State; because it denies the rights, dignity and liberty of human personality." Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless" Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
# "You are aware indeed, that the goal of this most iniquitous plot is to drive people to overthrow the entire order of human affairs and to draw them over to the wicked theories of this Socialism and Communism, by confusing them with perverted teachings. But these enemies realize that they cannot hope for any agreement with the Catholic Church, which allows neither tampering with truths proposed by faith, nor adding any new human fictions to them.
This is why they try to draw the Italian people over to Protestantism, which in their deceit they repeatedly declare to be only another form of the same true religion of Christ, thereby just as pleasing to God. Meanwhile they know full well that the chief principle of the Protestant tenets, i.e., that the holy scriptures are to be understood by the personal judgment of the individual, will greatly assist their impious cause. They are confident that they can first misuse the holy scriptures by wrong interpretation to spread their errors and claim God's authority while doing it. Then they can cause men to call into doubt the common principles of justice and honor" Encyclical On the Church in the Pontifical States by Pope Pius IX, 1849
# Like every other apostolate, the lay apostolate has two objectives: to preserve and to win over. The present-day Church must give the closest attention to both of these. Putting it succinctly, Christ's Church has no intention of yielding ground to her avowed enemy, atheistic communism, without a struggle. This battle will be fought to the end, but with the weapons of Christ!" Encyclical On Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate by Pope Pius XII to the Second World Congress of the Lay Apostolate, 1957
# "There are some who show themselves fearful and uncertain when faced with the wickedness of communism which aims to rob of their faith the very ones to whom it promises material prosperity. But documents recently issued by this Holy See have shown clearly the way to be followed, the path from which no one must stray unless he wishes to fail in his duty" Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Pius XII To the Clergy of the Entire World
# "Moreover, not content with removing religion from public society, they wish to banish it also from private families. For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of "Communism and Socialism," they assert that "domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education." Encyclical On Condemning Current Errors by Pope Pius IX, 1864
# "To this goal also tends the unspeakable doctrine of Communism, as it is called, a doctrine most opposed to the very natural law. For if this doctrine were accepted, the complete destruction of everyone's laws, government, property, and even of human society itself would follow." Encyclical On Faith and Religion by Pope Pius IX, 1846
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 28 December 1878