I met a priest who stated that an economic system based upon shared property is the best and holiest possible system. The priest has made a few interesting Biblical arguments. In his opinion:
- Such an economic system was given to people by Christ himself. He had had abstained from worldly goods during His earthen life; and also His Apostles, under His teaching, during and after His earthen life were living in a commune with no private property, with Judas Iscariot given the duty to administrate common wealths.
- All Christians, not only the Apostles, from the earliest days of the Church and until about 100 A.D., were living in such communes, as testified by the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles are also the Biblical basis for the claim that such communism is the “correct” system people should live in, since it was imposed by the Apostles.
- In this system love is at its highest, because everyone is given what they need and everyone work towards the good of the whole community.
- After around 100 A.D. the Church allowed private property; they, however, did this only because there was much hostility towards this system among Christians themselves, so the Church allowed some sinless imperfection out of realism.
- Modern Marxists borrowed the idea of Communism from Christianity. Their vice was that they attempted to impose it by force and through revolution rather than through sanctifying people’s hearts. Also, modern Marxists actually failed to even implement Communism; rather, they enforced a system that actually had little in common with true communism.
Does the Church teach that an economic system with no private property is best and holiest possible economic system, but one with private property is needed due to people’s imperfection? If the Church does not teach so, how does it interpret the relevant verses of the Acts of the Apostles?
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. (…) There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated "son of encouragement"), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles.
[32-37] This is the second summary characterizing the Jerusalem community (…). It emphasizes the system of the distribution of goods and introduces Barnabas, (…) who, as noted here (…), endeared himself to the community by a donation of money through the sale of property. This sharing of material possessions continues a practice that Luke describes during the historical ministry of Jesus (⇒ Luke 8:3) and is in accord with the sayings of Jesus in Luke's gospel (⇒ Luke 12:33; ⇒ 16:9, ⇒ 11, ⇒ 13).
So, judging from this annotation, it would seem that indeed the Bible wants such a system to be imposed. However, CCC 2401 and CCC 1883.1885 seem to say something contrary: (other interesting parts are CCC 2211, CCC 2402-2406 and CCC 2407)
1883 (…) the teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.
1885 The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.
2401 (…) For the sake of the common good, it [the Seventh Commandment] requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world's goods to God and to fraternal charity.
How can CCC 1883.1885 and 2401 be reconciled with the aforementioned annotation to the Bible?