IT IS easy to understand why the Catholic Church is against Communism. It is a godless ideology even if it admits believers (for tactical reasons) into its fold. It also espouses violence (armed revolution) as the only means to gain the political power to change socio-economic systems.
Communism, moreover, pursues its goals with a relativist morality. Unlike in Catholicism where the morality of actions are determined by their conformity with God-given commandments, in Communism actions are good or bad depending on whether or not they advance (good) or hinder (bad) the communist revolution.
Communism’s concept, however, of communal ownership of property is distinctively of Christian origin. From ancient biblical and early Christian times we are made to understand that the earth’s resources are placed there to fulfill the needs of not a few but of all people. We are not absolute owners of these resources but stewards who must manage them in a way that satisfies the needs of every man, woman or child. It is but rational that a loving God would want such an arrangement.
Thus, it is not as easy to understand why the Catholic Church fights communism from behind Capitalist ramparts where absolute ownership of property is causing so much inequality in the world. It is effectively dividing the world’s inhabitants into a few superfluously provisioned owners and a majority of barely surviving non-owners.
The Catholic Church teaches that virtue is in moderation (In medio stat virtus). Why not fight Communism then by advocating a middle way? Why can it not throw the full weight of its influence and power on the worker’s fight, beyond living wages, for profit-sharing or, better still, for part-ownership of a business? This is arguably a fair middle ground between Capitalist absolute ownership and Communist communal ownership which is really not communal at all because its ruling Central Committee is absolute owner.
The Church is against totalitarianism yet it is a monarchy that apes the totalitarian system in that in the parish, the parish priest is king, in the diocese the bishop and in Rome the Pope; and God have mercy on the souls of those who disrespect their pontifications. But the early Christians were democratic. They elected their elders, their liturgical leaders, their deacons, priests and bishops.
The Catholic Church has so much power and influence on people’s minds that it can be a formidable force for the advancement of justice and equality in this country and in the world. But not if it fights Communism from behind Capitalist ramparts and not unless it dares to emerge from its medieval cocoon to bring Christ’s healing light on a dark and broken (by injustice) world.