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The most logical and extreme form of Socialism (q.v.).  outcome of the revolutionary theory of Karl Marx.   The underlying philosophy is materialistic and determinist; the social order evolves through economic struggles between the classes in the direction of violent revolution and a dictatorship of the proletariat, to be followed by a “withering away” of the state and the substitution of a society where ownership of all things is common, where all will work voluntarily, and all take freely of goods produced according to his needs. As well as the abstract theory of Communism there must . since 1917, be considered the concrete attempt to apply its principles in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where one aspect of it can be summed up in the words of Stalin: “Scientifically speaking, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a power which is restricted by no laws, hampered by no rules, and based directly upon violence.” Whether in theory or practice, the Church utterly rejects Communism on account of its errors, notably: its atheistic materialism, its doctrine and practice of class-war, its denial of the rights and liberties of the human person, including the natural right to possess some measure of private property ( in practice in the USSR some private property is allowed ) and its contempt for good morals under several heads. Communism has been repeatedly condemned by the Holy See, notably by Pope Pius XI in the encyclical letter Divini Redemptoris (q.v.).  But the individual Catholic does well never to utter a condemnation of Communism without at the same time condemning those manifold injustices and abuses which help to pave the way for Communism in Christian lands.


A Catholic Dictionary

by Donald Attwater

TAN Books and Publishers

PO Box 424

Rockford Illinois 61105


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