Socialism and the Pope
High Resolution Image
<--Previous Up Next-->
idea that a man had no right to any kind of property. Since then Socialists have distinguished between the different kinds of property, and many Socialists now admit the right to Consumptive Property. Therefore they do not deny the right to property and the Encyclical "Rerum Novarum" cannot be urged against them.
If Father McNabb's arguments were sound, the "Rerum Novarum" would have no meaning. Actually the definition is all wrong and is based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of wealth and property.
How can consumptive wealth be termed property? If one is going to talk about "consumptive property," every Socialist believes in such "property"! But the "Rerum Novarum" opposed Socialism--opposed the Socialisation of the means of production and distribution, and not the Socialisation of personal "consumptive wealth," which must and can only be wealth used for each individual's wellbeing.
Pope Leo XIII., whilst Cardinal Archbishop of Perugia, devoted many essays to attacks on Socialism. After his elevation to the Papacy he expatiated on the evils of Socialism in all his official pronouncements. The following are his chief denunciations: Encyclical, 21st April, 1878; 28th December, 1878; 29th June, 1881; 15th February, 1882; 1st November, 1885; 10th January, 1890; 1st May, 1891. Apostolic Letter to the Nations and Princes of the Universe, 20th June, 1894.
The famous Encyclical of 15th May, 1891, "on the Condition of the Working Classes," is described by Catholics as "The Workers' Charter." They claim that is sets forth the basic principles of social justice. It was translated by the Rt. Rev. Mgr. Henry Canon Parkinson, D.D., and published by the Catholic Social Guild, Oxford. We are quoting the forty-five thousand edition, published in 1926.
Canon Parkinson, in his introduction, declares:-
"The Encyclical Rerum Novarum, on the condition of Labour, announces no revolution in the teaching of the Church: it merely applies-but with the majesty and support of St. Paul-those eternal laws of social duty and Christian affection of which the Church is the guardian and the exponent."
Note the reference to the "eternal laws"!
How can any church that upholds slavery and blesses kings and war, as the Church of Rome has done, be the guardian and exponent of the "eternal laws of social duty and Christian affection"? We suspect persons who incline to redundancy. Why "Social Duty and Christian Affection"? Ought not "social duty" to be synonymous with "Christian affection"? Ought not "social duty" to be synonymous with "Christian affection"? Should not "social duty" as the clearer phrase suffice?
Canon Parkinson proceeds to prove that the Encyclical was most opportune and depicts the Pontiff's keen interest in the work "of the Knights of Labour, whose cause Cardinal Manning and Gibbons