Playing with Fire: What Previous Popes Had to Say about Socialism

pope-francis-1Recently, Pope Francis seemed to indicate that there was nothing wrong with socialism. This was of a piece with confusing things he has previously said about economic affairs in general.

Last week, he did hid himself even better when he said that “Communists had stolen the Christian flag.” The implication was that we Christians had allowed the Communists to steal our rhetorical thunder. I guess.

This is most unfortunate. What His Holiness doesn’t understand is that that in using these curious words, he’s playing with fire. The totalitarian spirit is always submerged (barely) in man. It is violent and retributive and it always seeks moral support for its evil actions. Does Pope Francis understand this? (Let’s leave aside for the moment the unworkability of the Communist economic program.) What will he say when hordes of malingerers go on a rampage demanding “justice”? They will do so carrying banners which have Francis’ words emblazoned on them. I for one, don’t believe that the intellectual parsing that Jesuits are famous for will be of any use to him during the resultant bloodbath.

So why did he say these things?

My hunch is that unlike John Paul II (who personally suffered under Communism) or Benedict XVI (who was a very clear thinker), Francis is not burdened with the weight of intellectual rigor, at least not the rigor that comes with the bitter experience of life. A good and kindhearted man no doubt, he seems to be imbued with the joie de vivre insouciance that Latin Americans are famous for. For all its cultural vibrancy, that part of the Western Hemisphere has never been known for its rigorous thought or academic attainment. And, being a Jesuit, he is not averse to the phenomenon of casuistry.

Anyway, every previous Pope, going all the way back to Pius IX (r 1846-1870) understood that socialism is not only inimical to ordered creation but a major step on the road to nihilism. This includes (by the way) even liberals such as John XXIII. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism

Source: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) | Gustavo Solimeo

Anyone who examines the ideology of socialism will see the contrast between the socialist doctrine and the doctrine of the Church.

All the same, it is not out of place to review the condemnation of the popes starting with Pius IX and ending with Benedict XVI. Thus, we present what the popes have to say about socialism as they condemn the socialist doctrine thoroughly and entirely. This is not a comprehensive compilation, but just some samples.


PIUS IX (1846-1878):
“Overthrow [of] the entire order of human affairs”
You are aware indeed, that the goal of this most iniquitous plot is to drive people to overthrow the entire order of human affairs and to draw them over to the wicked theories of this Socialism and Communism, by confusing them with perverted teachings.” (Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, December 8, 1849)
LEO XIII (1878-1903):
Hideous monster
“…communism, socialism, nihilism, hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin.” (Encyclical Diuturnum, June 29, 1881)

Ruin of all institutions
“… For, the fear of God and reverence for divine laws being taken away, the authority of rulers despised, sedition permitted and approved, and the popular passions urged on to lawlessness, with no restraint save that of punishment, a change and overthrow of all things will necessarily follow. Yea, this change and overthrow is deliberately planned and put forward by many associations of communists and socialists” (Encyclical Humanum Genus, April 20, 1884, n. 27).

A sect “that threatens civil society with destruction”

Leo XIII (1877-1903): Socialists assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law.
“…We speak of that sect of men who, under various and almost barbarous names, are called socialists, communists, or nihilists, and who, spread over all the world, and bound together by the closest ties in a wicked confederacy, no longer seek the shelter of secret meetings, but, openly and boldly marching forth in the light of day, strive to bring to a head what they have long been planning – the overthrow of all civil society whatsoever. Surely, these are they who, as the sacred Scriptures testify, ‘Defile the flesh, despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.’ (Jud. 8).” (Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, December 28, 1878, n. 1)

Socialists debase the natural union of man and woman and assail the right of property
“They [socialists, communists, or nihilists] debase the natural union of man and woman, which is held sacred even among barbarous peoples; and its bond, by which the family is chiefly held together, they weaken, or even deliver up to lust. Lured, in fine, by the greed of present goods, which is ‘the root of all evils, which some coveting have erred from the faith’ (1 Tim. 6:10.3), they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one’s mode of life.” (Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, December 28, 1878, n. 1)

Destructive sect
“…socialists and members of other seditious societies, who labor unceasingly to destroy the State even to its foundations.” (Encyclical Libertas Praestantissimum, June 20, 1888)

Enemy of society and of Religion
“…there is need for a union of brave minds with all the resources they can command. The harvest of misery is before our eyes, and the dreadful projects of the most disastrous national upheavals are threatening us from the growing power of the socialistic movement. They have insidiously worked their way into the very heart of the community, and in the darkness of their secret gatherings, and in the open light of day, in their writings and their harangues, they are urging the masses onward to sedition; they fling aside religious discipline; they scorn duties; they clamor only for rights; they are working incessantly on the multitudes of the needy which daily grow greater, and which, because of their poverty are easily deluded and led into error. It is equally the concern of the State and of religion, and all good men

Saint Pius X (1903-1914)
should deem it a sacred duty to preserve and guard both in the honor which is their due.” (Encyclical Graves de Communi Re, January 18, 1901, n. 21)

SAINT PIUS X (1903-1914):
The dream of re-shaping society will bring socialism
“But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, ‘the reign of love and justice’ … What are they going to produce? … A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.” (Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique [“Our Apostolic Mandate”] to the French Bishops, August 25, 1910, condemning the movement Le Sillon)


Benedict XV

BENEDICT XV (1914-1922):

The condemnation of socialism should never be forgotten
“It is not our intention here to repeat the arguments which clearly expose the errors of Socialism and of similar doctrines. Our predecessor, Leo XIII, most wisely did so in truly memorable Encyclicals; and you, Venerable Brethren, will take the greatest care that those grave precepts are never forgotten, but that whenever circumstances call for it, they should be clearly expounded and inculcated in Catholic associations and congresses, in sermons and in the Catholic press.” (Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914, n. 13)
PIUS XI (1922-1939):

Pius XI (1922-1939): “No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”

Socialism, fundamentally contrary to Christian truth
“… For Socialism, which could then be termed almost a single system and which maintained definite teachings reduced into one body of doctrine, has since then split chiefly into two sections, often opposing each other and even bitterly hostile, without either one however abandoning a position fundamentally contrary to Christian truth that was characteristic of Socialism.” (Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, n. 111)
Socialism cannot be reconciled with Catholic Doctrine
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.” (Ibid. n. 117)

Catholic Socialism, a contradiction
“[Socialism] is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.” (Ibid. n. 120)
Pius XII
PIUS XII (1939-1958):
The Church will fight to the end, in defense of supreme values threatened by socialism
“[The Church undertook] the protection of the individual and the family against a current threatening to bring about a total socialization which in the end would make the specter of the ‘Leviathan’ become a shocking reality. The Church will fight this battle to the end, for it is a question of supreme values: the dignity of man and the salvation of souls.” (“Radio message to the Katholikentag of Vienna,” September 14, 1952 in Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. XIV, p. 314)

The state can not be regarded as being above all
“To consider the State as something ultimate to which everything else should be subordinated and directed, cannot fail to harm the true and lasting prosperity of nations.” (Encyclical Summi Pontificatus, October 20, 1939, n. 60)


JOHN XXIII (1958-1963):

“No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism”
“Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production, it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.” (Encyclical Mater et Magistra, May 15, 1961, n. 34) 

Paul VI


PAUL VI (1963-1978):
Too often Christians tend to idealize socialism
“Too often Christians attracted by socialism tend to idealize it in terms which, apart from anything else, are very general: a will for justice, solidarity and equality. They refuse to recognize the limitations of the historical socialist movements, which remain conditioned by the ideologies from which they originated.” (Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens, May 14, 1971, n. 31)
John Paul II (1978-2005)
JOHN PAUL II (1978-2005):
Socialism: Danger of a “simple and radical solution”
“It may seem surprising that ‘socialism’ appeared at the beginning of the Pope’s critique of solutions to the ‘question of the working class’ at a time when ‘socialism’ was not yet in the form of a strong and powerful State, with all the resources which that implies, as was later to happen. However, he correctly judged the danger posed to the masses by the attractive presentation of this simple and radical solution to the ‘question of the working class.’” (Encyclical Centesimus Annus – On the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, May 1, 1991, n. 12)

Fundamental error of socialism: A mistaken conception of the person
“Continuing our reflections, … we have to add that the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property.” (Ibid, n. 13)

BENEDICT XVI (2005 – present):
“We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything”

Benedict XVI

“The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person – every person – needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. … In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) – a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, December 25, 2005, n. 28)


  1. Did you also search for their critiques of capitalism? They all critique it as well. You’re just buying into the left’s hype about Francis being somehow revolutionary.

    But here’s what Francis has also said, which is a much more interesting argument: “”I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel,” he said, citing Biblical passages about the need to help the poor, the sick and the needy. “Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian’.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      The question was not Capitalism but his embrace of the most demonic form of governance in the history of the world –Communism.

      As for the critiques of Capitalism by previous popes I might agree to a great extent but unless you can prove that the free market has caused genocide to the tune of 100 million dead (in one century alone), then there’s no real comparison, is there?

      • Francis has been critical of capitalism but has never embraced communism – indeed he has explicitly stated that he is not a Marxist. Calling him a communist is slander.

      • Nate Trost says

        Suggesting Pope Frances is “embracing” Communism is ridiculous. One might suggest that given how Communism turned out in the 20th century, using it as hyperbole to prove a point was ill-advised. Obviously Communism was a dismal failure, but what Pope Francis is speaking to is why was it appealing in the first place.

        For someone so supposedly opposed to crony capitalism, you sure do jump to it when the water must be carried.

        • George Michalopulos says

          If I said that he “embraced Communism” then I apologize. However that is exactly how leftists the world over take his laudatory remarks. That’s why I entitled this post “Playing with Fire.”

  2. I’ve wondered to myself sometimes if this isn’t the pope to which we refer when we say that Rome is just one bad pope away from becoming the Episcopal Church. Time will tell. I’m not fond of him at all but for other reasons besides the socialism question. He can’t seem to give a straight answer to a simple question. His remarks always have to be clarified. Even if I agreed with him, I would never trust him.

    • He can’t seem to give a straight answer to a simple question. His remarks always have to be clarified.

      He certainly keeps his Vatican minders busy bursting his all too frequent publicly uttered thought bubbles, Misha. No doubt they will hope for a Trappist and not a Jesuit to be elected pope at the next conclave!

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      Even if I agreed with him, I would never trust him.

      Never trust any Pope. Orthodox Catechumen > the Pope, leader of most of Heterodoxy and main backer of modern “Ecumenism.” (When my Greek dentist extracted some teeth from my head, that was an Ecumenical meeting, and a profitable one, involving members of two different Local Churches. Orthodox meetings with Heterodoxy, and other religions, aren’t Ecumenical, since those people aren’t members of the Church and aren’t even interested in becoming so.)

      The Pope is always the leading candidate for the False Prophet. Morever, this Pope is named after Francis of Assisi, whose Life is singled out by our real saints as a model of prelest (while pretending to be humble), and may be Peter Romanos, the last Pope, or the False Prophet, depending on how your interpret their (“St.’) Malachi prophecy (1094-1148).

      Meanwhile (ISIS militants take sledgehammers to Mosul tomb of Prophet Jonah):

      But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

      ISIS (Sex Jihad, Anal Jihad “in which two men are permitted to perform this great sin – God forbid – with one another, because they are away from home and cannot have sex with their wives”):

      Interestingly, Putin has been aiding Iraq’s government against ISIS, setting the stage for a pincher movement through Iran into Iraq and then into Syria to crush them and all the other Obama backed “freedom fighters.” This would put Russia right on Israel’s border, for the End Times, as per various saintly and Biblical prophecies.

      Ukraine Crisis: War Crimes/Atrocities committed by Ukrainian Army [ENG] (Banned on mainstream media):

      Ukraine Crisis – What You’re Not Being Told:

      Flashback – May 6 – Children of Slavyansk gathered to protest against Ukrainian army aggression in their town. Sometimes they want to eat, and their parents just want a Referendum, and that is, for sure, a terrible crime in a democratic country, their parents are doomed to be killed, but what about children? Yet, for such crimes in the Great Ukr Land, perhaps, children are considered to be separatists and pro-Russians too?

      “We are not terrorists! Dear Lord, how I want to live! Don’t kill us!
      Soldier, don’t shoot! Slavyansk.
      If we die, millions of people will not forgive you. Soldier, don’t shoot! Slavyansk. Don’t kill us!”


      “Indeed, the Ukie tactics are a form of artillery genocide. They are very concerned about losing their manpower, and that is why they simply pull up howitzers and Grad systems to our residential areas, and then pummel them, methodically devastating one district after another. Take this, for example: the Ukies almost entirely demolished Russkaya Street in Slavyansk. It looks as if the battery commander looked at his navigator, at the city map, saw the hated name, and specifically decided to level Russkaya Street.

      “However, there was plenty of destruction to go around for other streets as well. The scenes that I observed are indescribable in their horror: a confused 3-year old child going mad right in front of your eyes, screaming in an unnatural voice; priests performing funeral services for an entire section of an apartment block, walking around a dozen coffins set up beside the devastated homes of the deceased. It was in order to stop this monstrous Ukie ‘peacemaking’ that the Militia Commander-in-Chief, Strelkov, decided to withdraw our forces. ”

      “Right-Sector” Kiev-junta Nazis kill former Donetsk police chief in front of his wife:

      On traitors, rebels, terrorist and loyalist:

      They started their Reign of Terror with mass murder on Maidan. At every step accusing their victims for their own crimes – from Odessa to Lugansk.

      They began with cudgels and Molotov cocktails, then assault-rifles and machine guns, then heavy mortars and artillery, then attack aircraft and white phosphorus. Finally they switched to multiple rocket launchers, starting with the GRAD, then upgrading to the Uragan, and ultimately the BM-30 Smerch – the destroyer of cities. They only stopped because there was not yet a thermonuclear weapon in their arsenal that could kill 6 million people at one blow!

  3. J. Maropoulakis Denney says

    My guess is that Pope Francis is indoctrinated with the Marxist “liberation theology” that so many Catholic clergy promoted in South America in the 60’s and 70’s, and probably still do. It promotes Marxist class struggle and denigrates individual worth.

  4. Francis Frost says


    You are worried about the Pope being too cozy with socialism.? You might just be horrified to know that the MP’s Patriarch Kirill has awarded the MP’s highest award to Gennady Zyuganov, the unreconstructed Marxist – Leninist – Communist.

    Read on:

    The Church Cynically sidesteps Soviet’s brutal past

    Not much in modern Russia surprises me anymore, but last week I got a real shock: Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill warmly congratulated Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov on the occasion of his 70th birthday and presented him with the church’s highest order.

    “As one of the most prominent politicians of modern Russia, you strive to look after the welfare of the people and protect traditional moral values,” the patriarch wrote. “I hope that in the future your fruitful activity will help promote socially significant initiatives and the moral transformation of society.”

    I would like to remind our friend the Patriarch that a communist dictatorship killed tens of thousands of Russian Orthodox priests and sent hundreds of thousands to labor camps. That does not even include the countless Soviet laypeople who were imprisoned or killed for their faith.

    Zyuganov has portraits of Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin hanging above his desk, portraits of men who personally signed orders to destroy churches and execute believers. But perhaps the modern-day leader of the same party once led by Lenin and Stalin has had a change of heart and said something about the “blunders” or “wrongdoings” of his predecessors.

    Nothing of the sort. Zyuganov remains the same diehard Marxist he always was.

    The only explanation is that Patriarch Kirill so venerates Soviet-era leaders and history that he willfully closes his eyes to the darkest pages of his country’s past, even when those tragedies concern the Orthodox Church.

    The Bolsheviks did not formally ban the church, they simply “separated it from the state.” But in a country where the state controlled everything, this meant that people of faith were denied access to ordinary jobs. Even if they did manage to land a desirable post, they were denied opportunities for career advancement. Back when I studied at the Moscow State University, I twice saw school authorities expel students for the “crime” of attending church. After all, a normal, self-respecting Soviet citizen should be an atheist.

    The Soviet authorities enshrined atheism in a thousand different laws. For example, the Bolsheviks adopted a decree on marriage in December 1917 that prohibited church marriages.

    And right up until 1991, any Soviet citizen who got married in a church or baptized a child in a church shouldered a serious risk. Party members would be expelled, while ordinary workers faced dismissal. And even with all of the attempts at change that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev undertook with his “perestroika” during the final years of the Soviet Union, the intolerance to churches and those who visit them remained unchanged.

    But the Orthodox Church has become an influential force under President Vladimir Putin. Nobody speaks of “separating the church from the state” anymore, although that principle is clearly enunciated in the Russian Constitution. The Moscow patriarch is Putin’s greatest cheerleader.

    Now, in place of lessons on atheistic communism, school students study the Russian Orthodox faith, institutes devoted to the hard sciences have introduced theology departments, and Orthodox priests are on hand to give their blessing at every ship and rocket launch.

    But in the authorities’ view, and perhaps even from Zyuganov’s perspective, such behavior is normal and even right.

    Andrei Malgin is a journalist, literary critic and blogger.

    Remember the ROC bishops’ blessing given to the military invasion, the murder of innocent civilians, the destruction of Orthodox communities and the desecration of Ghvrtaeba Cathedral.

    “O daughter of Babylon,you destructive one, Blessed is He who requites you for what you have done to us.”

    Psalm 137

    • George Michalopulos says

      I of course am appalled that socialism is celebrated by Russian hierarchs and can offer no excuse other than that is what they were taught in school and it has been their life experience. I rather doubt that they really –in praxis–embrace it. To my knowledge nobody in Russia gives it anything but lip service. As for Communism, it has now transmogrified into a nationalist –one could almost say ethnocentri–expression of Russian nationhood in Russia.

      It’s an irony of course. Communism was supposed to be “internationalist” and not patriotic but it’s become patriotic and nationalist today in Russia. Don’t tell Barbara Marie Dregslow but they’ve done what Mussolini did with Fascism in Italy, a synthesis of “black” and “red”. Hitler did the same thing in Germany. Communism today in Russia at least is a “brown” phenomemon.

      • J. Maropoulakis Denney says

        If Russia is becoming a nationalist socialist state, then it would be Russian Nazism, one of fascism’s many “scientific socialist” offspring, as are American Progressivism, Italian Fascism, German Fascism (Nazism), and CUP movement in Turkey, later lead by Mustafa Kemal. All of these share an anti-Christian, or anti-religious, anti-individualism ideology that puts “masterminds” in charge of the state, in an attempt to replace God with government, and which mistakenly tries to use science to modify, explain and ultimately control human behavior. This has resulted in hundreds of millions of murders and deaths, all in the name of creating the “new man”, and a fairer society. This was and is satan’s work. Pope Francis’ wrong-headed thinking that Communism somehow stole the Christian flag is a gross misunderstanding of both Christianity and Fascism/Marxism. For a partial list of the crimes of just the Marxist sector of these fascists, see: Unfortunately, we can clearly see the very same anti-Christian, anti-God ideology at work in America today.

    • You tell ’em, Francis!!! I guess you’re back from vacation. Good to hear you’re still healthy and happy.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      But the Orthodox Church has become an influential force under President Vladimir Putin. Nobody speaks of “separating the church from the state” anymore, although that principle is clearly enunciated in the Russian Constitution. The Moscow patriarch is Putin’s greatest cheerleader

      Hey, are you American? You just keep backing Obama and the Democratic party, and perhaps we’ll meet on opposite sides of the Obama foreign policy brought home:

      You could be my a prison guard (re-educator) at the Homeland Security camps or something.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      You are worried about the Pope being too cozy with socialism.? You might just be horrified to know that the MP’s Patriarch Kirill has awarded the MP’s highest award to Gennady Zyuganov, the unreconstructed Marxist – Leninist – Communist.

      An Orthodox Patriarch is just one flawed guy, in fact sometimes given the corruption needed to get to the top, maybe among the most flawed in the Church.

      The Pope is the infallible head of his entire sect.

      The old joke is, “you can’t be more Catholic than the Pope,” but Orthodox layman can be, and sometimes are, more Orthodox than Orthodox bishops.

  5. Steve Knowlton says

    A common remark you’ll hear is that the Pope is opposed to “unfettered capitalism.”

    Which causes anyone in any industry to laugh.

    One wonders what civilization he’s talking about?

    Or one is forced to conclude that he’s like most modern day intellectuals; every social problem (and there are only social problems) is not seen as the PRODUCT of over-regulation, but as a problem requiring ever broader layers of regulation and enforcement.

    How about the religious case for “unfettered regulation of human beings?” When can we have a pope that articulates such a position?

  6. It’s an irony of course. Communism was supposed to be “internationalist” and not patriotic but it’s become patriotic and nationalist today in Russia.

    This course was already set when Stalin defeated Trotsky in the quest for control of the Russian Communist Party after Lenin’s death in the 1920s. The nationalist element on Stalinism became even more pronounced when Stalin appealed to patriotic feelings in the struggle against the German invasion in WWII. Stalin’s restoration of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1943 can be read in this context, although it also served as a useful propaganda tool to assuage Western concerns about the advancement of Godless Communism into eastern Europe.

  7. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    I don’t know how Pope Francis got as far as he did without the intellects of our historians and other erudite scholars and spiritual giants on Monomakhos. Did the Devil do it? Am i on to something?

    • Fr. Blues says

      No doubt he did with the aid of the spiritual giants such as yourself who frequent this blog.

  8. A Roman bishop from South America once said something to this effect: “When I fed the poor they called me a saint. When I asked why there were so many poor, they called me a Communist.”

  9. Gotta Get Skype says

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    Contact: PRESS OFFICE
    Stavros Papagermanos

    For Immediate Release
    July 7, 2014



    PHILADELPHIA – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed from the Phanar in Constantinople the delegates of the 42nd Clergy-Laity Congress via remote video-conferencing through Skype and conveyed his greetings and his Patriarchal blessings to all attending the official opening at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel.

    The opening session program this morning was filled with excitement and anticipation and included the Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter and U.S. Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania who offered warm and cordial greetings.

    The program started with opening prayer service led by Archbishop Demetrios of America, with the participation of the choir of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians who also sang the Greek and American National Anthems. The two co-chairs of this 42nd Congress, Michael Karloutsos and Anastasia Michals offered a warm welcome to the almost 1500 delegates of the Congress and the Philoptochos convention, the Hierarchs, the priests, the presvyteres and the other participants.

    Michael Karloutsos, who also acted as the Master of Ceremonies, introduced the Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter who expressed his enthusiasm for hosting in Philadelphia, the great city of brotherly love, this gathering of Greek Orthodox Christians from across the country.

    Church World Service, represented by its chairman Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr. and its president Rev. John L. McCullough, presented to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese the first Church World Service Ecumenical Award. The Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States George Chacalli conveyed the greetings and goodwill of the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the gratitude of the People of Cyprus for the Greek Orthodox Church in America. United States Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania in his greeting to the Greek Orthodox faithful spoke about the importance of family, which is the focus of this Congress. Aphrodite Skeadas, the National Philoptochos President offered her greeting and was enthusiastically received by the delegates and the Philoptochos representatives.

    A special greeting and welcome was offered by the host Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey who in his address said that historically it is because of the strength of the Greek Orthodox family as a unit that our Church in America has thrived and blossomed with the grace of God.

    Metropolitan Stephanos of Kallioupolis and Madytos read the written Patriarchal Message (see here, while the other patriarchal representative Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium offered his pastoral greeting.

    His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America delivered the Keynote Address on the theme, “The Orthodox Christian Family: A Dwelling of Christ and a Witness of His Gospel.”

    Before he began his address, the Archbishop publicly offered tribute in memoriam of Emanuel G. Demos, the General Legal Counsel of the Archdiocese for many years, who passed away Friday, July 4. As several pictures of Emanuel Demos from previous Clergy-Laity Congresses appeared on the large screens behind the Archbishop, he spoke of Demos’ devotion and service to the Church.

    Archbishop Demetrios in his Keynote Address, first reviewed several developments and events in the Church since the last Congress. He included the Synaxis of the heads of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches in Constantinople last spring and the decision for the convening of the Great and Holy Synod in the Spring of 2016; the historic meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis in Jerusalem last May; and the finalization of plans for the rebuilding of the Church of St. Nicholas at the World Trade Center, which will commence sometime in September.

    His Eminence described how the traditional perception and image of a family has changed over the years, and he pinpointed the attacks and heavy pressure this image and structure of the family is under, as “its very sense of identity and uniqueness is being eroded by a huge change in public sentiment.” He added that “if everybody and everything is a family, then nobody is truly a family in any meaningful sense.”

    Finally, Archbishop Demetrios proposed and urged all the individuals, the groups, the departments, and organizations of the Church in America to focus on the issues of the family as a top and a first priority, above anything and everything else. (see full text

    Congress information, reports, and programs are available at

  10. have any of you people read the book of “Acts”

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      I know what you mean, “greggo” They write as if they had not done.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      Acts 2:44

      “And all that believed were together, and had all things common.”

      Voluntary sharing of goods among Christian believers, as in monasticism. Versus this:

      Greggo and the bishop are both awarded an F in Church History, and an F in Western Civ.

      • J. Maropoulakis Denney says

        The difference between the sharing of Acts, and socialism is essentially the fact that Christianity calls for charity and sharing on the basis of God’s gift of free will, and conscience. It’s voluntary, and an individual choice. Socialism, on the other hand, is the forcible “sharing” by the state, picking one person’s pocket to give to others who the state deems to be more deserving. That is not Christian charity.

  11. J. Paul Ford says

    The difference between the Acts of the Apostles and Socialism is that in the Acts everything was in common. In Socialism it was just an ideal never put into practice as the people who can live it can testify. The casual reader can compare for themselves the difference between two societies with just a cursory reading of the Acts in comparison to George Orwell’s allegorical work Animal Farm.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Oh, dear. Democrats pursue Democracy and never make it. Republicans pursue a Republic and never make it. Socialists pursue Socialism and never make it. Communists pursue Communism and never make it. The Acts of the Holy Apostles report on a small, very small religious community that practiced voluntary and pure communism. It never caught on. I’m not sue why what J. Paul Ford means by ‘the difference between the Acts of the Apostles and Socialism. One’s Scripture; the other’s a political system. I believe George Orwells “Animal Farm” was a work of the imagination which had no further claims.
      Might as well compare a written and signed authoritative statement of fact by the ROCOR hierarchy to an embarrassing statement of wishful thinking which jumped the gun and bruited something that has not taken place at all; the reception of Metropolitan Jonah into the episcopate of ROCOR.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    LDA, yup. Anyone who can confuse the voluntary sharing described in Acts with socialism knows nothing of either.

  13. I take Francis’ remarks to be a criticism of the fact that Marxist government policies have replaced the Christian obligation to charity. If that’s the case, I totally agree with him.

    But therein lies the problem with Francis: you can take his words in many different ways. He would do better to speak clearly or to not speak at all.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      “Ages” Do you mean that Pope Francis must never utter a parable to confuse those not in the know? Or that he should never utter some cryptic remark in Hebrew, such as our Savior did on the Cross, confusing all the listeners who thought He was calling Elijah, rather than “Eli/Allah?”
      Our Saviour’s words were never taken in many; different ways, then?

      When He said that those who take the sword will perish by the sword, did He really mean to add “except for members of the NRA?” All those proud gun-totin’ Texas Christians thought Peter had the right idea, no?

      Oh, that’s right. HE didn’t mean for His words to be applied to others, no? He meant to say, ‘Only those who take the sword TONIGHT IN THE GARDEN will perish by the sword, right?