Volume 2, Part 5

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The Communist policy of "redistribution of wealth" differs significantly from the Catholic moral principal of "just distribution of resources," in both the idea and methods of implementation.

"There are two kinds of welfare. One leads each individual according to his means, to alleviate the evils he sees around him. This type is as old as the world; it began with human misfortune. Christianity made a divine virtue of it and called it charity. The other, less instructive, more reasoned, less emotional, and often more powerful, leads society to concern itself with the misfortunes of its members and is ready systematically to alleviate their sufferings. This type is born of Protestantism and has developed only in modern societies. The first type is a private virtue; it escapes social action; the second, on the contrary, is produced and regulated by society. It is therefore with the second that we must be especially concerned.

"At first glance, there is no idea that seems more beautiful and grander than that of public charity. Society is continually examining itself, probing its wounds, and undertaking to cure them. At the same time that it assures the rich the enjoyment of their wealth, society guarantees the poor against excessive misery. It asks some to give of their surplus in order to allow others the basic necessities. ... centuries have passed since the principle of legal charity was fully embraced by our neighbors [England], and one may now judge the fatal consequences that flowed from the adoption of this principle....Since the poor have an absolute right to the help of society, and have a public administration organized to provide it everywhere, one can observe ... abuses ... Man, like all socially organized beings, has a natural passion for idleness. (Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir on Pauperism)"

Deacon Joseph B. Gorini, Mechanicsburg PA <///><   [First Published September 25, 2011]

Category: Volume 2

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