The Vatican Insider newspaper in Italy reported my comments responding to Pope Francis that “Jesus Christ is weeping in heaven hearing Christians espouse a socialist philosophy that has created suffering and poverty around the world. It is impossible to love one’s neighbor as yourself without fighting against socialism,” I hope to explain further and propose solutions.
As a Protestant myself, I will say that many Protestant Church leaders are no more than pop culture media stars and celebrities who promote themselves, tickle the ears of shallow people, and forget about Christ. Surveys show that most Church leaders do not pray routinely. The Book of Jude warns us against them. We should wish and pray that more leaders in all corners throughout the church will become as sincere and caring as Francis. Of course, the conditions in Argentina and much of Latin America must change.
Catholic Church has officially warned against the dangers of dependence upon government.
But should we do nothing, then?
First, the Vatican is wealthy. Let the Catholic Church loan money to the poor or to middle class in poor regions to start businesses or expand businesses. Impersonal banks cannot provide the continuing pastoral care, help, counseling, and advice to help people succeed that a Catholic Opportunity Fund could provide. Naturally, Catholics can steer funds to businesses that will hire those who need jobs on fair terms and behave morally.
Second, lack of education or practical skills (vocational) training is one of the greatest causes of poverty. No institution has done more than the Catholic Church to improve education. But this priority has been forgotten, it seems. The United States spends more money for each student than any other country, and receives very bad results. In the past in the U.S.A., non-Catholics often sent their children to Catholic schools to ensure a good, quality future for their children. But proven techniques are being discarded for the latest experimental fantasies. In some cases, training on practical skills is more important. Jesus of course, was a carpenter.
Third, the Pope has a popular and powerful name. Calling on the rich to voluntarily donate to programs that will improve the lives of everyone would be a good thing. Bill Clinton raised, I believe, around a billion dollars, although I don’t know what the Clinton Foundation is doing with that money. Pope Francis is capable of doing the same or better.
Fourth, the Bible speaks often about injustice in the law courts. Where Pope Francis sees unacceptable corruption and oppression of the poor, perhaps the Vatican could consider speaking out for reform in legal systems and courts. What the government does, that no one else can do, it should do properly and well.
Fifth, Jesus warned us to trust in God to provide our needs. Practical action is proper. The Book of James tells us that faith without actions is dead. But actions without faith are also dead. People can easily forget the need to openly, actively, aggressively trust in God to solve their problems. Jesus warned “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Pope Pius XI: No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialistPope Pius XI issued an authoritative Encyclical to the Catholic Church “Quadragesimo Anno”, which officially proclaimed in paragraph 120 of “Quadragesimo Anno,” that socialism “is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
Pope Pius XI also authoritatively pronounced: “Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” And in paragraph 10, he added that “socialism … proposing a remedy far worse than the evil itself, would have plunged human society into great dangers.”