EWTN Catholic Q&A
being equal
Question from js on 07-03-2012:

In 2 Corinthians 8:14-15 it says "but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, 'He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.'" Does this mean that we should all share and be equal in what we have? I know the Church condemns socialism but if this is what this particular scripture means it sounds socialist.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 10-30-2012:

Saint Paul agreed to take up a collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem, probably for two reasons: as an act of charity based upon genuine need, and to lessen tensions of conservative Jewish Christians at Jerusalem towards Gentile converts. Abstracting from this secondary motive, the Gospel and Church do advocate charity, which includes those with wealth assisting those with genuine need and the inability to supply that need. However, there are a couple aspects of this which distinguish this from socialism:

It is voluntary, that is, not compelled It is motivated by charity, that is, love of God and neighbor It is not intended to equalize the wealth of all but for genuine need

Socialism, as practiced, is a government system which compels compliance and basically redistributes wealth. It is oppressive, contrary to justice in its application, among other things for which it should be condemned as a political or governmental system. I also have concerns about the modern welfare system in our own nation, and am absolutely opposed to progressive attempts to redistribute wealth in our country as a matter of policy and principle. In the end, instead of raising the level of the majority, it tends to drag down the masses, and can be contrary to justice.

Father Echert