Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lucia Confused Catholic thinks Jesus was a socialist

A while back, I came across a commenter on TBR who wholeheartedly believed that it was possible to be both a Christian and a socialist. If that were not bad enough, this person also believed that Jesus Christ was a socialist. The writings of Joseph Ratzinger condemning Liberation Theology (Catholic socialism in action) were not enough to sway her, as even though she considers herself Catholic, she and apparently many other Catholic socialists were very unhappy when he became Pope.

So, I thought, maybe something from the Catholic Encyclopaedia on Socialism would help.
[...] it is probably safe to conclude that those who profess to reconcile the two doctrines are mistaken: either their grasp of the doctrines of Christianity or of Socialism will be found to be imperfect, or else their mental habits will appear to be so lacking in discipline that they are content with the profession of a belief in incompatible principles.
Surely, I meant communism not socialism? Nope, socialism is comes from the same source as communism - the only difference is that socialism is less extreme than communism. For example, in regards to private property rights as in NZ where we are allowed to own property, but it seems it's only on paper since we do not have the right to develop our properties as we see fit - we need to apply to the government for permission. Not as bad as in a communist coutnry, where all property belongs to the state, but not far off.

To also say that Jesus was a socialist shows extreme ignorance of what Christianity is about.
Man is here for a definite purpose, a purpose which transcends the limits of this mortal life, and his first business is to realize this purpose and carry it out with whatever help and guidance he may find. The purpose is a spiritual one, but he is free to choose or refuse the end for which he was created; he is free to neglect or to co-operate with the Divine assistance, which will give his life the stability and perfection of a spiritual rather than of a material nature. This being so, there must be a certain order in the nature of his development. He is not wholly spiritual nor wholly material; he has a soul, a mind, and a body; but the interests of the soul must be supreme, and the interests of mind and body must be brought into proper subservience to it.
As I said on TBR, Socialism is not compatible because it focuses entirely on the body, on the physical world. It's aim is to create a utopia on earth by whatever means necessary. Yet, utopia on earth is not possible until Christ's coming. Our entire focus as Christians ought to be to getting to Heaven, and then helping others get to Heaven. Christ's mission on earth was to open the gates of Heaven and defeat the ruler of this world (Satan) and to provide a way for us to follow Him (into Heaven). To say otherwise is completely wrong.

24 comment(s):

Andrei said...

I figured this post would turn up sooner or later.

I'm glad it has.

Here's my 2 cents worth.

As Christians we are required to look after our neighbours in their times of trouble.

But this has to be of our own free will and an act of love.

Socialism makes it charity compulsory and the charity we are obliged to give goes to whereever those that deem they know best and have the power to redistribute our gifts for us rather than allowing us to be guided by our own observations of need and the Holy Spirit as the best use for our gifts.

The results are obvious, clear cases of need go unmet while others make a career out of maximizing their share of Government largess.

Lucia Maria said...

I agree, Andrei, with your definition of charity and how socialists pervert it.

This post almost turned up several weeks ago when the first bout with the commenter in question occurred. If I could find the comments from back then, I'd link them in as well.

It's very hard to get through to someone whose only spiritual authority is a person they agree with, and not even the Pope!

Anonymous said...

Firstly Lucyna , let me say that I have enjoyed what I have read of your commentary on this blog. Secondly, let me affirm that I am no socialist. I agree with the sentiment of your post - Christianity and socialism, as I understand them both, are philosophically incompatible. However, surely it is possible to be both a Christian and a socialist? I have encountered Christians who, backed up by convincing philosophical arguments, do not believe that it is possible to be both a Christian and a Catholic. A Christian is a follower of Christ. As I understand the message, salvation is available because of God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice. It does not guarantee a failsafe intuitive path through the intellectual and philosophical minefield that is life in the 21st century. There are plenty of liberal Christians in the world.

Gooner said...

Andrei - if we are here to look after our 'brothers', how can that reconcile with God's words to Cane (i think) in Exodus that said "we are not our brother's keeper"?

PS: My memory of the Old Testament might be a little off!

bruddah said...

NZConservative dudes
You link to TBR.CC is munted. Try this one.

Here's my response to the leftist comments:

By all means feed the poor, heal the sick, visit the prisoners, turn the other cheek, be polite to everyone you meet, give all you have away, teach your children lies about who they really are and who God is, allow your house to be taken over by squatters, let your daughters be sold into sexual slavery, let your sons run wild with no discipline, let your mind become that of a beast...

BUT stop trying to compel others to do so.
"having a form of godliness but denying its power.. these men oppose the truth"

Which gospel was preached by Christ and the apostles? A gospel of social justice or a gospel of Salvation?

Andrei said...

Gooner as you said your memory of the OT may be a little off.

8And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

9And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

10And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

The words you quote are Cain's uttered after he had murdered his brother Abel.

It has no relevence to the point under discussion.

Ngati Pakeha indeed you are correct there are plenty of good Christians who subscribe to socialism.

However when their commitment to socialism and their faith in it overtakes their commitment to the Gospels and faith in Christ it becomes a problem.

Psalm 146
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

2While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

3Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

4His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

5Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

6Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:

7Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:

8The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:

9The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

10The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

Which is why I support no political party but vote according to candidate and policy with the full realization that all are flawed.

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Peasant!

Hi Ngati Pakeha,

First, thanks!

Second, the part of your comment that wasn't addressed by the above comments on the idea that Catholics aren't Christians. I have heard that there are people that believe this. However, after having read a few conversion stories of people that though that Catholics aren't Christians, who then eventually became Catholics, I have discovered that they had this idea of what the Catholic Church was that didn't meet up with reality. Hence, the confusion.

There's no confusion with socialism.

Anonymous said...

There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are thousands who hate what they think the Catholic Church is - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Unknown said...

It is no surprise to me that the Catholic and fundamentalist churches are the only ones growing in New Zealand. The others are diluting their message so much that no one can quite define how they are different.

I noticed in Uni (way back when I was there) that the people who were the most respected were those who held strong, even if generally unaccepted rules. At that time it was the young communists that people tended to look up to. But as they say, if a young person doesn't believe in communism he has no heart, and if an older person does believe in communism he has no brain.

John Tertullian said...

Socialism and the Christian faith are incompatible because socialism is a thorough going violation of God's holy law. That is to say it is about as compatible with the Christian faith as murder. However, that is not to say that all professing Christians understand this. Just as there are Christians who commit murder, so there are Christians who, regrettably, are socialists.
Socialism's fundamentally distinct doctrine is to assert society's prior ownership rights to all property--which, of course, is to assert that the representative of society, the State, has prior ownership rights to all property.
Within socialism, insofar as private property exists, it does so by condescension of the State.
However, private ownership of property is protected in the eighth and tenth commandments--thou shalt not steal, and thou shalt not covet.
Socialism's claim of a prior right over all property is theft and covetousness. The seizing of property through taxation does not make it any less an act of theft because it is "legal". All that is happening is that the State is shaking its fist at the King of all kings--arousing His anger and vengeance.
When the State takes property by force (as does the thief) and gives it to others (statist health, statist education and statist welfare)it is raising itself up in hubris and pride against the Living God. Those who applaud such actions or are believers in socialism are engaged in reckless rebellion against the Lord, and He will not hold them guiltless.
When I last checked, the Catechism, in answer to the question, What is sin? said that "Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God."
Thus, insofar as socialism is a belief system and an institution which extols the transgression of God's Law, propagating a deliberate and overt breaking of the eighth and tenth commandments, is sinful and evil. It is fundamentally, utterly, and radically incompatible with the Law of the Living God. Therefore, Christianity and socialism are diametrically opposed faiths.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, many people in senior positions in the mainstream Churches in New Zealand still think its possible to be socialist and Christian. Thats why they are bleeding numbers the way they are (and the Catholic church is not exempt from this).

I would go further and say that Socialism and Capitalism are both the same. They both pray to the same god called "the economy" and only differ in there view of who should control it. The socialist says the state (by which they mean me and my buddies in political power); the capitalist says the free market (by which they mean me and my buddies and their monetary power).

Neither option gives due credit to the full dignity of the individual and both vehemently oppose the concept of religion as a potentially unifying factor.

Skyman said...

When the church, Catholic or otherwise, because of power and arrogance stopped caring for the poor and hurting in their midst the church created a vacuum the State was able to fill.

It's no wonder people look to socialism. The church has done a very good job of making itself irrelevant to much of the world with strange words and rituals. The state has done a much better job of communicating that they care for folks than the church has.

Anonymous said...

Catholicism isn't a political movement or philosophy like Marxism or Capitalism but a religion that lives in various degrees of disharmony between both.

If you were to graph the Govt. of the old USSR at one end and the rampant capitalism of 19th century Britain at the other, where would the religion be most comfortable?

It simply couldn't exist by choice at either end, but would fit most comfortably somewhere in between.
For instance, in the NZ of the 80s and particularly the 90s, the Catholic Church was often vociferous about the political direction of the country, which it saw as inimical to the poor and less well off. It has been seriously quiet under the quite socialist Labour Govt.

However, we get a lead on how the Church sees the current system of Govt. here through the anti-smacking law.. it disagrees with it because of Rerum Novarum, the Encyclical that promotes delegation of authority to the lowest competent entity, ie, individual humans and families in the case of smacking.

So, it seems to me the Church is less interested in political structures than in preserving the dignity and inherent rights of people, and that the poor are not further disadvantaged.

And the next question might be: "If humans have inherent rights, and they voluntarily give them to the State, will the Church resist this because they have given away their responsibilities as well?"


fugley said...

andrei (or anyone else), how do you reconcile verse 3 in the Psalm above with the gospels, specifically Mark 2:10 and matthew 26:64 where Jesus describes HIMSELF as the Son of Man?

Skyman said...


The NIV reads: 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.

No reconciliation needed.

fugley said...

That's what I love about god botherers and their boook, as soon as something is proven in error, do a quick re edit.

Who does the editing - Winston Smith?

Lucia Maria said...

Fugley, the Son of Man is considered to be a Messianic title and also, a way of Jesus affirming that He was completely human. You may or may not be aware that there are different interpretations as to the humanity of Jesus - there were heresies in the early days that said as God, He could not have possibly been human - that would have been a defilement of His divinity. Yet He states over and over again that He was fully human. In other places in the Bible He states that He is the Son of God also. So, what we make of that is that He was fully divine AND fully human.

Andrei said...

Fugley nit picking as usual.

I used the King James translation.

But note the use of lower case in the translation of this phrase son of man as opposed to the uppercase in the verses you quote ie Son of Man.

However the Jerusalem Bible translates the verse
Do not put your trust in princes, in any child of Adam, who has no power to save.

Nobody here is re-editing it is a matter of translation from Hebrew, nothing more.

Scotty said...

The most literal translation of the Hebrew in that Psalm gives us 'a son of man'. The psalmist is encouraging his fellow worshipers to trust not in man. Interestingly enough the word for man is Adam - hinting of links to the earth. We are not to trust in what comes from dust. We are not to trust in the creature. Rather we are to trust in the Creator.

In the New Testament (say for example Matthew 8:20) we read in the Greek Jesus describing himself as "the Son of Man". The article 'the' is significant. Jesus sees himself as the representative of mankind. He is not 'a Son of Man", he is "the Son of Man". And that is an important aspect to Christian doctrine. To save mankind, the Son of God had to become the Son of Man; he had to completely identify with man, yet remain sinless.

When we trust in him, we are not trusting in 'a Son of Man' we are trusting in 'the Son of Man' - we are trusting in God.

Gooner said...

Ok andrei, got me.

No need to be prickly.

Andrei said...


Did my correction of your mistake come across as prickly?

It wasn't meant to.

Have you seen the stick I've been getting over an error I made on a thread at Sir Humphs, reference to it has followed me to threads at TBR and other blogs where I have commented.

You know that I think debate should be robust but respectful.

Anonymous said...

"When the church, Catholic or otherwise, because of power and arrogance stopped caring for the poor and hurting in their midst the church created a vacuum the State was able to fill.

It's no wonder people look to socialism. The church has done a very good job of making itself irrelevant to much of the world with strange words and rituals. The state has done a much better job of communicating that they care for folks than the church has."

Wow - what a messed up concept.

The church had sooo much power the state had to step in.

Um, so if there was a state independent of the church, where was the church's power exactly?

Gooner said...

All is forgiven Andrei, if there was anything to forgive!


Psycho Milt said...

"Have you seen the stick I've been getting over an error I made on a thread at Sir Humphs..."

I noticed the error but didn't consider that it altered or undermined the point of your comment at all. Annoying that others (presumably enjoying a Papal level of infallibility themselves)proceed to make something of it. We're not in a school playground any more.

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