It’s time to play “Name That Leftist,” the crazy quiz game where you guess the names of wicked anti-capitalists and their bodies of work. See if you can guess all four!
Question Number One: Name the commie pinko rat who is responsible for the following quote:
Are you not a cheater? taking those things which you received for the sake of stewardship, and making them your very own? Now, someone who takes a man who is clothed and renders him naked would be termed a robber; but when someone fails to clothe the naked, while he is able to do this, is such a man deserving of any other appellation? The bread which you hold back belongs to the hungry; the coat, which you guard in your locked storage-chests, belongs to the naked; the footwear mouldering in your closet belongs to those without shoes. The silver that you keep hidden in a safe place belongs to the one in need. Thus, however many are those whom you could have provided for, so many are those whom you wrong.
Who was it who was so against an honest man’s right to private property? Was it a) Leon Trotsky, b) Vladimir Lenin, or c) Saint Basil the Great?
Question Number Two: Name the socialist snot rag in which the following propaganda was printed:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
Was it a) Das Kapital, b) The State and Revolution, or C) The Epistle of James?
Question Three: What godless leftist said the following:
It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need.
Was it a) Stalin, b) Che, or c) Saint Thomas Aquinas?
Question Four: What modernist weirdo had the gall to preach the following:
Was it a) Bernie Sanders, b) Boris Badenav, or c) Pope Benedict XVI?
It is necessary not only to relieve the gravest needs but to go to their roots, proposing measures that will give social, political and economic structures a more equitable and solidaristic configuration.
If you answered all c’s: congratulations! You know that the Catholic Church is not capitalist. She’s not communist either; she does her own thing. But a strict capitalism that values money over human beings, or naively allows the wealthy to get richer and richer without helping the poor, is forbidden by Catholic Social Teaching. The Church teaches that a rich person’s excess belongs to the poor. Not only is it a form of stealing to hoard wealth, it’s actually NOT stealing for a poor person to just take what they need to survive, whether he breaks the law to do it or not.
Poor people have a right to life and we a duty to keep the poor alive. If we don’t keep them alive, we sin. We have a right to private property, but the right of poor people to live takes precedence over that right. And, yes, the Church teaches that governments ought to be involved in making sure the poor stay alive by redistributing some of the wealth. You’re not off the hook for private giving; you still have to give to the poor yourself. But the government has the right and duty to regulate economics and to take taxes from the well off for the common good.
That isn’t “leftist nonsense,” as I’ve been accused of spouting lately. The Catechism specifically states that “Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good,” and “It is unjust not to pay the social security contributions required by legitimate authority.” If you are a Catholic faithful to the whole of the Church’s teaching, you have to accept that taxes, regulations and such aren’t theft. There’s plenty of room for debate about how much regulation, how much tax, what programs the tax goes to and how they should be run. But if you’re a strict libertarian who thinks taxes are immoral and all care for the poor must be through private charity, you’re a protestant. And if you honestly hold that your right to keep your money is more important than your neighbor’s right to live, you’re in sin. The poor take precedent.
Like it or not, this crazy modern hippie dippy social justice nonsense is part of the Natural Law, and it’s something Catholics have to believe. And it’s nothing new. The Church has held this from the beginning.
(image via Pixabay)