Distributism – Catholic Economics and Social Justice

13 Sep


Today I’m going to talk about the many US Catholic’s anger and revulsion that Pope Francis “dared” to call a spade a spade and pointed out that both Socialism and Capitalism as economic systems are equally flawed and exploitive. Many poorly catechized Catholics are unaware that there is an alternative system based on private property and private ownership of production which is based on, and follows exactly Catholic Social Teaching. It is called Distributism and you can read about it on Wikipedia HERE.

Given the name Distributism, it probably evokes a really negative reaction – but I encourage people to read first and judge only after reading. I know a large number of “Catholics” who seem to find the Social Justice teachings just as impossible to follow as those on Birth Control or Divorce. They’re not guidelines or recommendations. – they’re rules of the faith laid down in the Catechism. They are not optional beliefs. We seem to have tried both of the other systems (Capitalism and Socialism) and they have failed. We have tried mixing the two together in various combinations, and still they fail.

Catholics are the single largest religious group in the USA comprising over 25% of the total population. We have an opportunity to lead here by not only learning our faith, but by putting the tenants of Social Justice based economics onto the table and hopefully into practice for the benefit of all. If all of them were better educated on the requirements of their faith in economic matters and made an effort to implement those principles in their lives and businesses. Better still if an effort was made to educate others who may not be Catholic about this economic alternative. It may be an uphill battle at first, but I like to think that people don’t know truth when they hear it, or even see it, they only recognize it when they truth when they directly experience it.

The challenge is to start taking the Social Justice teachings of the Church seriously and put them to work in our own lives, families, and businesses. In doing so we can spread the teachings by example – and allowing those around us to experience it for themselves.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, especially how aware you were of distributism before reading this article! This is a good follow-up for those looking for some additional reading:


Yours in Christ,


7 Responses to “Distributism – Catholic Economics and Social Justice”

  1. emanon November 17, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    I was raised Catholic during the Cold War 1950s-1960s. Father told my grade school class (I quote): “It is impossible to be a Communist and a Catholic at the same time.” I hold fast to this belief. Distributism seems Communistic or at least socialistic to me. The United States of America cannot sustain all of the giveaways that you progressives push. Neither can we, as individuals. You should know this by now. Get progressive politics out of the Catholic Church and dissenting others like me will return. If not, we won’t. Up to you.


    • cc70458 November 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      You didn’t read the article at all. You judged on the name. Distributism is fully endorsed by the Catholic Church. It does not involve giveaways of any kind. I’d recommend you read the references, and realize that distributism would get government out and restore responsibility for each person and their well being to themselves.

      I assure you the progressives don’t like me one little bit. Read what it means to have a distributed economy vs. a centralized economy and then you will find it meets much more with right wing goals and desires than capitalism can without compromising social justice principles.

      Good Luck in your quest for truth.


  2. emanon November 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    You are right. Sorry. I saw “take the social justice teachings seriously” and it was like chalk on a blackboard. Social justice is the reason why I am not a “regular” at Sunday Mass.

    I read the blurb before the article and just saw R E D. Social justice to me is the ACA, welcoming illegal aliens, giving everything I earn to the church and to the poor — but being allowed to keep enough to pay my bills. Not a penny more. No Eddie Bauer. No Ecco shows. No Coach, Dooney……just me and the lilies in the field!!!

    But bottom line — I did not read the article. You “caught me” (-:

    I thought it would just tick me off all the more and I wanted to be happy today.

    More apologies.


    • cc70458 November 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      I encourage you to read up on Distributism. It has been my experience that the more progressive one is the more one hates it. As the social justice teachings are often misunderstood it is a good opportunity to learn that typical conservative views of strict property rights and private ownership of enterprise are the foundation of Distributism. It might even bring you back to the Church when you discover how off base your progressive friends are. Have you considered finding an EF Mass to attend? You are unlikely to run into too many progressives there. Read my post here to learn more: https://catholichusband.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/finding-a-community-or-ode-to-the-latin-mass/

      Trust me I know how much a supportive community is a key part of Catholicism. Good luck to you, and I hope you learn something that makes your day!


  3. emanon November 18, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    I am humbled! I am educated and write…..but I had trouble following the article (education and writing are great, but they don’t make up for having the attention span of a honey bee!) so I googled Distributism:

    From Wikipedia……Distributism (also known as distributionism[1] or distributivism[2]) is an economic philosophy that developed in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially the teachings of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum Novarum and Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno.[3]

    According to distributists, property ownership is a fundamental right[4] and the means of production should be spread as widely as possible rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism) or of accomplished individuals (laissez-faire capitalism). Distributism therefore advocates a society marked by widespread property ownership[5] and, according to co-operative economist Race Mathews, maintains that such a system is key to bringing about a just social order.[6]

    Distributism has often been described in opposition to both socialism and capitalism,[7][8] which distributists see as equally flawed and exploitative.[9] Thomas Storck argues that “both socialism and capitalism are products of the European Enlightenment and are thus modernizing and anti-traditional forces. In contrast, distributism seeks to subordinate economic activity to human life as a whole, to our spiritual life, our intellectual life, our family life”.[10]

    Some have seen it more as an aspiration, which has been successfully realised in the short term by commitment to the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (these being built into financially independent local cooperatives and small family businesses), though proponents also cite such periods as the Middle Ages as examples of the historical long-term viability of distributism.[11] Particularly influential in the development of distributist theory were Catholic authors G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc,[9]the Chesterbelloc, two of distributism’s earliest and strongest proponents.[12][13]

    I need to learn more. Since I have always believed in capitalism, it is hard for me to wrap myself around anything which is not in favor of it. IMHO, it does feel foreign…albeit….the references to Leo XIII & Pius XI make me feel somewhat comfortable.

    I wanted to rejoin the church during this, The Year of Faith. I began my journey last Advent, with a little blue Archdiocese of Saginaw “Little Book” about Advent, which I “found” in the rack of the parish church which I help clean. God sent, believe me. However, the social justice issues that I had until last night made me feel like a fraudulent Catholic. You are supposed to be in lock step with the Pope, no? I surely am not!! So I backed off. Tried to talk to three or four priests, lost count, really….NONE OF THEM HAD TIME FOR ME!! Not even the one whose church I was cleaning…..My sister said, “Well…what do you want to talk over with the priest(s)? Do you want permission to not get in lock step with social justice? Maybe I did. Maybe not. I don’t know. I think I needed acknowledgement.

    So thank you.

    I can continue on my journey now…..I will try to completely wrap my arms around Distributism. I will try to learn enough to discuss it.

    I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon this website.

    Wanting to return, I guess I googled something Catholic and landed in your living room.


    The Prodigal

    Liked by 1 person

    • cc70458 November 18, 2013 at 4:53 am #

      I’m so very glad you found my blog. If you google “Catholic Husband” it’s the #1 hit. You might enjoy a few other posts – particularly the ones clearing up what Pope Francis said (in keeping with the Catechism) and how the Mass Media misled the public by assigning incorrect meaning to it. If there is ever a question you need answered please ask 🙂 Almost all of my posts are written in response to common or very good questions.

      Yours in Christ,


  4. emanon November 18, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Thanks. Will read. Unfortunately I lost my Catholic husband in 2011. How terribly coincidental that you mention “Catholic Husband.” Once, when no priests would talk to me, I tuned in to EWTN and didn’t like it. I listened because there was nothing on other than that at that time of day….a moderator (might have been Patrick Coffin?) or his substitute (it was on Catholic Answers) said, “The most important thing a spouse does for his spouse is get him/her to Heaven.” Then, ‘Even when one is in Heaven, it is still his/her job to get the spouse on earth to Heaven.” I sat up in bed so startled. Things fell together. It was my Husband who was sending me on this journey, not me sending myself. I could “hear” (I am not a whack job, so I want you to know…I mean I “felt” him saying, “We have unfinished business. I need to help you get to Heaven.”

    When nothing worked, one afternoon while throwing out some things, I checked the pocket of a much-too-large work (carpentry?) apron he never wore, but had “just in case” his MARINE COMPASS. I “felt him saying, “You have lost your way.”

    Catholic Husband is probably just the name of the website…..a nice name you or someone gave it. But I had a Catholic husband once. As I said, a US Marine (and a cop) and you know — they leave no man behind. In this case, my Marine is not leaving his wife behind.

    When I write, I write of him, mostly. Flash fiction.

    Thank you I am sure he led me to you. XXX

    Liked by 1 person

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