issues raised by your correspondents in the discussion On the Popes and Socialism, it may be useful to recall some contemporary words on the subject by Henry George in his booklet, The Condition of Labour, which he described as " an open letter to Pope Leo XIII," after studying the famous Encyclical of that Pontiff. He commences: " Your Holiness, I have reed with care your Encyclical letter on the condition of labour, addressed through the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of your faith. to the Christian world. Since its most strikingly pronounced condemnations are directed against a theory which we who hold it know to he deserving of your support, I ask permission to lay before your Holiness the grounds of our belief, and sto set forth some considerations that you have unfortunately overlooked The. momentous seriousness of the facts you refer to, the poverty, suffering and seething discontent that .pervade the Christian world, the danger 'that passion may lead ignorance in a blind struggle against social conditions rapidly becoming intolerable-are my justification. Our postulates are all stated or implied in your Encyclical. They. are the primary perceptions a human reason, the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith." And later in this remarkable documeut he writes; " I have said enough to show your Holiness the injustice into which you fall in classing us, who, in seeking virtually to abolish private property in land, seek more fully to secure the true rights of property, with those whom you speak of as Socialists, who wish to make all property common. But you also do injustice to the Socialists. There ere many, it is true. who. feeling bitterly the monstrous %%tones of the present distribution of wealth, are snimatee only by a blind hatred of the rich and a fierce desire to destroy existing social adjustments. This class is indeed only Aess dangerous than those who proclaim that no special improvement is needed or is possible. But it is not tnir to confound with them those who, however mistakenly, propose definite schemes of remedy. The Socialiets, ay understand them, and as the term hay come to apply to anything like a definite theory, and not to be vaguely and improperly used to include all who desire social improvement, do not, as you imply, seek the abolition of all private property. Those who do this are prOptely called Communists." One cannot resist transcribing the concluding sentences of this intensely interestieg letter, for they remain as true to-clay as when they were written " Servant of the Servants of God1 I call you by the strongest and sweetest of your tide'. In your hands more than in those of any living man lies the power to say the word and make the sign that shall end an unnatural divorce, and marry again to religion all that is pure and high in social aspiration. Wishing tor your Holiness the chiefest nf all blessWigs, that you may know the truth and be freed by the truth: wishing for you the days and the strength that may enable you by the great service you may render to humanity to make your Pontifitate through all coming time most glorious: and with the profound respect duo to your personal character and to your exalted office, I am, yours sincerely, Henry George " (New York. September 1 I., 11391). It will thus be seen that the difficulties voiced by your correspondents were long ago entice paled, and that by those not themselves of the Catholic faith.
The complete answer to the question lies in stressing the distinction between Socialism and the materialistic social creed popularly known as Communism. As for the lawfulness of a Catholic subscribing to Socialism in this sense, let the Catholic Encyclopaedia give its own authoritative decision. In the article on Communism we find the following! " Socialism means the collective ownership and management not of all property, but only of the material agencfes of production. Communism in the strict sense demands that hoth production-goods, such as land, railways and factories, and consumptiongoods, such as dwellings. fuiniture, food and clothing, should be the property of the whole community. Previous to the middle of the 19th century the term (Communism) wan used in its more general sense. even.by Sociaiists. Marx and Engels called the celebrated document in which they gave to Socialism its first ' scientific • expression, the ' Communist Manifesto.' They could scarcely do otherwise since the word Socialism was used for the first time in the year 1831 in England. Before long, however, most of the followers of the new movement preferred to call their economic creed Sociuliem and themselves Socialists. To-day no Socialist who believes that individuals should be allowed to retain ownership of consumption-goods would class himself as a Communist. Hence the word is at present pretty generally employed in the narrower sense. Its use to designate merely common ownership of capital is for the most part confined to thc uninformed and to those who seek to injure Socfalism by giving it a had name." Front the foregoing we see that the sense-development of the word has been such that tIO modern Pope OT council would utter a syllable of condemnation against Socialism as at present understood, and which counts numberless loyal and learned Catholics among its adherents.
JOHN W. 'REGAN.
23, London Road, Horsham, Sussex.