Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
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Quotes by Various Popes
Pope John Paul I
The world awaits this today: It knows well that the sublime perfection which it has
reached by research and technology - in which it is just to recognize the fulfillment of
the first command of God: "Fill the earth and make it subject to man" (Gn. 1:28) - has
reached a height beyond which dizziness occurs. It is the temptation of substituting for
God one's own decisions, decisions that would prescind from moral law. The danger for
modern man is that he would reduce the earth to a desert, the person to an automaton,
brotherly love to a planned collectivization, often introducing death where God wishes
+ Text of First Message to College of Cardinals and to the World Given At Conclusion of a Mass Celebrated in the
Sistine Chapel, August 27, 1978
Pope Leo XIII
For God is said to have given the earth to mankind in common, not because He
intended indiscriminate ownership of it by all, but because He assigned no part to
anyone in ownership, leaving the limits of private possessions to be fixed by the
industry of men and the institutions of peoples. Yet, however the earth may be
apportioned among private owners, it does not cease to serve the common
interest of all, inasmuch as no living being is sustained except by what the fields
The goods of nature and the gifts of divine grace belong in common and without
distinction to all human kind.
Whether you abound in, or whether you lack, riches, and all the other things
which are called good, is of no importance in relation to eternal happiness. But
how you use them, that is truly of utmost importance... The well-to-do are
admonished that wealth does not give surcease of sorrow, and that wealth is of no avail unto the happiness of
eternal life but is rather a hindrance; that the threats pronounced by Jesus Christ, so unusual coming from Him,
ought to cause the rich to fear; and that on one day the strictest account for the use of wealth must be rendered
to God as Judge.
+ Rerum Novarum, Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, issued on May 15, 1891
Pope Pius XI
42. Even though economics and moral science employs each its own principles in its own sphere,
it is, nevertheless, an error to say that the economic and moral orders are so distinct from and
alien to each other that the former depends in no way on the latter. Certainly the laws of
economics, as they are termed, being based on the very nature of material things and on the
capacities of the human body and mind, determine the limits of what productive human effort
cannot, and of what it can attain in the economic field and by what means. Yet it is reason itself
that clearly shows, on the basis of the individual and social nature of things and of men, the
purpose which God ordained for all economic life.
43. But it is only the moral law which, just as it commands us to seek our supreme and last end
in the whole scheme of our activity, so likewise commands us to seek directly in each kind of
activity those purposes which we know that nature, or rather God the Author of nature, established for that kind
of action, and in orderly relationship to subordinate such immediate purposes to our supreme and last end. If we
faithfully observe this law, then it will follow that the particular purposes, both individual and social, that are
sought in the economic field will fall in their proper place in the universal order of purposes, and We, in ascending
through them, as it were by steps, shall attain the final end of all things, that is God, to Himself and to us, the
supreme and inexhaustible Good.
44. But to come down to particular points, We shall begin with ownership or the right of property. Venerable
Brethren and Beloved Children, you know that Our Predecessor of happy memory strongly defended the right of
property against the tenets of the Socialists of his time by showing that its abolition would result, not to the
advantage of the working class, but to their extreme harm. Yet since there are some who calumniate the Supreme
Pontiff, and the Church herself, as if she had taken and were still taking the part of the rich against the non-
owning workers - certainly no accusation is more unjust than that - and since Catholics are at variance with one
another concerning the true and exact mind of Leo [XIII], it has seemed best to vindicate this, that is, the
Catholic teaching on this matter from calumnies and safeguard it from false interpretations.
45. First, then, let it be considered as certain and established that neither Leo nor those theologians who have
taught under the guidance and authority of the Church have ever denied or questioned the twofold character of
ownership, called usually individual or social according as it regards either separate persons or the common good.
For they have always unanimously maintained that nature, rather the Creator Himself, has given man the right of
private ownership not only that individuals may be able to provide for themselves and their families but also that
the goods which the Creator destined for the entire family of mankind may through this institution truly serve this
purpose. All this can be achieved in no wise except through the maintenance of a certain and definite order.
46. Accordingly, twin rocks of shipwreck must be carefully avoided. For, as one is wrecked upon, or comes close
to, what is known as "individualism" by denying or minimizing the social and public character of the right of
property, so by rejecting or minimizing the private and individual character of this same right, one inevitably runs
into "collectivism" or at least closely approaches its tenets. Unless this is kept in mind, one is swept from his
course upon the shoals of that moral, juridical, and social modernism which We denounced in the Encyclical issued
at the beginning of Our Pontificate [Ubi Arcano, Dec. 23, 1922]. And, in particular, let those realize this who, in
their desire for innovation, do not scruple to reproach the Church with infamous calumnies, as if she had allowed
to creep into the teachings of her theologians a pagan concept of ownership which must be completely replaced by
another that they with amazing ignorance call "Christian."
117. But what if Socialism has really been so tempered and modified as to the class struggle and private
ownership that there is in it no longer anything to be censured on these points? Has it thereby renounced its
contradictory nature to the Christian religion? This is the question that holds many minds in suspense. And
numerous are the Catholics who, although they clearly understand that Christian principles can never be
abandoned or diminished seem to turn their eyes to the Holy See and earnestly beseech Us to decide whether this
form of Socialism has so far recovered from false doctrines that it can be accepted without the sacrifice of any
Christian principle and in a certain sense be baptized. That We, in keeping with Our fatherly solicitude, may
answer their petitions, We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a
movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points
which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of
society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.
118. For, according to Christian teaching, man, endowed with a social nature, is placed on this earth so that by
leading a life in society and under an authority ordained of God he may fully cultivate and develop all his faculties
unto the praise and glory of his Creator; and that by faithfully fulfilling the duties of his craft or other calling he
may obtain for himself temporal and at the same time eternal happiness. Socialism, on the other hand, wholly
ignoring and indifferent to this sublime end of both man and society, affirms that human association has been
instituted for the sake of material advantage alone.
+ Quadragesimo Anno, Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on Reconstruction of the Social Order, May 15, 1931
© Copyright 1891, 1931, 1978 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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