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The Church Repudiates Collective Property

Given the efforts of Pope Francis to diminish the role of private property as much as possible and replace it with a regime of universal solidarity, which he calls the "common home" – see Evangelii gaudium §§ 188, 189; Laudato Si §§ 1, 3, 14 – many Catholics feel guilty for owning properties and are, thus, induced to give them away based on social or ecological reasons.

These papal efforts, unfortunately, coincide with the goals of Socialism, which include the replacement of private property with collective property. Such ends were duly condemned by the Church on many occasions.

Today, we bring to the attention of our readers three excerpts from the Encyclical Rerum novarum by Leo XIII in which he stresses the damage the regime of collective property causes to society and praises the regime of private property. These authoritative words should be sufficient to assay the doubts of any Catholic who owns properties and to make him suspicious of the present day teachings coming from the Vatican.


Pope Leo XIII

* The conversion of private property into collective property, so often professed by Socialism, would have no other effect than to make the situation of the workers more precarious, by taking from them free disposal of their salaries and, for this reason, robbing them of any hope and possibility of increasing their patrimony and improving their situation. (§ 9)

* The socialist theory of collective property must be absolutely repudiated as harmful to the very persons it pretends to help; as contrary to the natural rights of the individual; as denaturing the functions of the State and as disturbing the public peace. Therefore, let it be clearly stated that the first basis to be established for all those who sincerely wish the good of the people is the inviolability of private property. (§ 23)

* Thus, the socialists violate natural justice and break the bonds of family when they replace paternal providence with the providence of the State. Further, in addition to the injustice of their system, all its disastrous consequences can be seen: unrest in all the classes of society; a hateful and insupportable servitude imposed on all citizens; doors opened to every type of envy, discontent and discord; removing the stimulus for talents and skills and, as a necessary consequence, wealth stanched at its source; and, finally, instead of the much dreamed of equality, the installation of an equality of nakedness, poverty and misery. (§ 22)

(Leo XIII, Encyclical Rerum novarum of May 15, 1891,
Petropolis: Vozes, 1954, pp. 6, 11, 12)

Posted January 23, 2016