"I will take delight in Jerusalem and rejoice in my people; weeping and cries for help shall never again be heard in her . . . Men shall build houses and live to inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit; they shall not build for others to inhabit nor plant for others to eat. My people shall live the long life of a tree, and my chosen shall enjoy the fruit of their labor. They shall not toil in vain or raise children for misfortune. . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord." -- Isaiah 65: 19, 21-23, 25
A Memo to Congress:
"Shame on you! you who make unjust laws and publish burdensome decrees, depriving the poor of justice, robbing the weakest of my people of their rights, despoiling the widow and plundering the orphan. What will you do when called to account, when ruin from afar confronts you? To whom will you flee for help?" -- Isaiah 10:1-3
The Curse of Sodom:
"This was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride of wealth and food in plenty, comfort and ease, and yet she never helped the poor and the wretched." -- Ezekiel 16:49
The Judgment of the Nations:
[Pantocrator]"Then the king will say to those on his right hand, 'You have my father's blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been made ready for you since the world was made. For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger you took me into your home, when naked you clothed me; when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me.' Then the righteous will reply, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and fed you, or thirsty and gave you drink, a stranger and took you home, or naked and clothed you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and come to visit you?' And the king will answer, 'I tell you this: anything you did for one of my brothers [or sisters] here, however humble, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left hand, 'The curse is upon you; go from my sight into the eternal fire that is ready for the devil and his angels. For when I was hungry you gave me nothing to eat, when thirsty nothing to drink; when I was a stranger you gave me no home, when I was naked you did not clothe me; when I was ill and in prison you did not come to my help.' And they too will reply, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and did nothing for you?' And he will answer, 'I tell you this: anything you did not do for one of these, however humble, you did not do for me.' " -- Matthew 25:34-45
St. John Chrysostom on true Christianity (4th Century):
"This is the rule of the most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good . . . for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors."
How to Spot a Heretic: St. Ignatius (2d Century):
"Observe those who are heterodox concerning Christ Jesus' grace, which came to us, how contrary they are to God's will. They have no regard for a love feast, none for the widow or the orphan, the oppressed, the bound, the freed, the hungry, or the thirsty . . . they exhibit enmity and deceit in their dealings with one another. They have no regard for love; they despise the good things we expect hereafter; they regard present things as if they were durable; they ridicule him that is in affliction; they laugh at him that is in bonds."
St. John Chrysostom:
"The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies."
St. Catherine of Siena (14th Century):
"Our every principle and foundation is in the love of God and our neighbor alone; all our other activities are instruments and buildings placed on this foundation. Therefore thou shouldst not, for pleasure in the instrument or the building, desert the principal foundation in the honour of God and the love of our neighbor."
Lactantius on equality (3rd Century):
"God who creates and gives life to all human beings wants them to be equal. He put us all into the same condition of life; he made us capable of wisdom; he promised immortality to all; he excluded no one from the heavenly benefits . . . With him no one is master, no one is slave. For if he is the same father to all, we are all free by equal right."
St. Basil on the profit motive (4th Century):
"While we try to amass wealth, make piles of money, get hold of the land as our real property, overtop one another in riches, we have palpably cast off justice, and lost the common good. I should like to know how any man can be just, who is deliberately aiming to get out of someone else what he wants for himself."
St. Ambrose on private property (4th Century):
"How far will your mad lusts take you, ye rich people, till you dwell alone on the earth? Why do you at once turn nature out of doors, and claim the possession of her for your own selves? The land was made for all; why do you rich men claim it as your private property?"
"Nature produced common property.
Robbery made private property."
Privatization? - St. Gregory Nazianzen (4th Century):
"Be ashamed, you who hold back what belongs to another, take as an example the justice of God, and no one will be poor. While others suffer poverty, let us not labour to hoard and pile up money. . . Let us imitate the first and most important law of God who sends his rain on the just and on sinners and makes the sun shine on all men equally. God opens up the earth, the springs, the streams and the woods to all who live in the world. He gives the air to the birds, the water to the fish, and the basic needs of life abundantly to all, without restriction or limitation or preference. These basic goods are common to all, provided by God generously and with nothing lacking. He has done this so that creatures of the same nature may receive equal gifts and that he may show us how rich is his kindness."
From the Private Prayer Book of Elizabeth I (1578):
"Thou, O Lord, providest enough for all men, with Thy most liberal and bountiful hand; but whereas Thy gifts are, in respect of Thy goodness and free favour, made common to all men we (through our naughtiness, niggardness and distrust) do make them private and peculiar. Correct Thou the thing which our iniquity hath put out of order: let Thy goodness supply that which our niggardliness hath plukt away."
St. John Chrysostom -- 'mine' and 'thine':
"It is not for lack of miracles that the church is stagnant; it is because we have forsaken the angelic life of Pentecost, and fallen back on private property. If we lived as they did, with all things common, we should soon convert the whole world without any need of miracles at all."
"For 'mine' and 'thine' -- those chilly words which introduce innumerable wars into the world -- should be eliminated from that holy Church . . .The poor would not envy the rich because there would be no rich. Neither would the poor be despised by the rich, for there would be no poor. All things would be in common."
See also: The Patriarch's Proposal
"Property, the more common it is, the more holy it is."
Cyprian of Carthage on war (3rd Century):
"The world is going mad in mutual bloodshed. And murder, which is considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse. The offenders acquire impunity by increasing their ravaging."
Arnobius (3rd Century):
"Did [Christ] ever, in claiming for Himself power as king, fill the whole world with bands of the fiercest soldiers; and of nations at peace from the beginning, did He destroy and put an end to some, and compel others to submit to His yoke and serve Him? Did He ever, excited by grasping avarice, claim as His own by right all that wealth to have abundance of which men strive eagerly?"
And from Origen (3rd Century):
"We will not raise arms against any other nation, we will not practice the art of war, because through Jesus Christ we have become the children of peace."
Tertullian on the Crown of a Soldier:
" Is the laurel of the triumph made of leaves, or of corpses? Is it adorned with ribbons, or with tombs? Is it bedewed with ointments, or with the tears of wives and mothers? It may be of some Christians too; for Christ is also among the barbarians. Has not he who has carried (a crown for) this cause on his head, fought even against himself? "
St. Martin of Tours:
"Hitherto I have served you as a soldier: allow me now to become a soldier to God . . . I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight."
Father Dolling (1894):
"War still exists . . . but the Divine Carpenter will have His revenge and His revenge will be complete when by means of labour, war shall cease throughout the whole world . . . when shameful wages and shameful hours and the abominable sweating system, depriving men of the fruits of their labours, shall have ceased universally . . . then the patient pleadings of the Carpenter of Nazareth will be realized, and man -- the temporal redeemer of the earth by the sweat of his brow -- shall refuse to be manipulated by his brethren, either in the sweating dens of financiers, or on the battle-field, or in the armies maintained at present at an impossible cost by politicians or by monarchs for their own selfish purposes."
St. John Chrysostom on 'welfare as we know it':
"'He who will not work, neither shall he eat.' (2 Thessalonians 3:10) . . . But the laws of St. Paul are not merely for the poor. They are for the rich as well. . . But you say, 'I have my paternal inheritance!' Tell me, just because he is poor and was born of a poor family possessing no great wealth, is he therefore worthy to die?"
"You say that the poor do not work, but do you work yourselves? Do you not enjoy in idleness the goods you have unjustly inherited? Do you not exhaust others with labor, while you enjoy in indolence the fruit of their misery?"
St. John Chrysostom: 'An equal place at the table':
"Week by week you come to the Lord's table to receive bread and wine. What do these things mean to you? Do you regard them merely as some kind of spiritual medicine, which will purge your soul, like a laxative may purge your body? Or do you sometimes wonder what God is saying in these simple elements? Bread and wine represent the fruits of our labor, whereby we turn the things of nature into food and drink for our sustenance. So at the Lord's table we offer our labor to God, dedicating ourselves anew to his service. Then the bread and the wine are distributed equally to every member of the congregation; the poor receive the same amount as the rich. This means that God's material blessings belong equally to everyone, to be enjoyed according to each person's need. The whole ceremony is also a meal at which everyone has an equal place at the table."
St. Gregory Nazianzen (4th Century):
[Gregory Nazianzus] "Do you think that kindness toward your neighbor is not something necessary, but voluntary; not law but exhortation? I would wish and think that it were so, were I not frightened by the possibility of being numbered among the goats on the left hand of the Sovereign Judge who will hurl his condemnations; and this not because they have robbed or committed sacrileges or adulteries, nor because they have done something forbidden; nothing of the sort attracts condemnation on them, but their having failed to care for Christ himself in the person of the poor."
St. Gregory of Nyssa on the Lord's Prayer:
"So we say to God: Give us bread. Not delicacies or riches, nor magnificent purple robes, golden ornaments, and precious stones, or silver dishes. Nor do we ask Him for landed estates, or military commands, or political leadership. We pray neither for herds of horses and oxen or other cattle in great numbers, nor for a host of slaves. We do not say, give us a prominent position in assemblies or monuments and statues raised to us, nor silken robes and musicians at meals, nor any other thing by which the soul is estranged from the thought of God and higher things; no -- but only bread! . . .
"But you go on business to the Indies and venture out upon strange seas; you go on a voyage every year only to bring back flavourings for your food, without realizing that . . . [it] is above all a good conscience which makes the bread tasty because it is eaten in justice. . .
"'Give Thou bread' -- that is to say, let me have food through just labor. For, if God is justice, anyone who procures food for themselves through covetousness cannot have his bread from God. You are the master of your prayer if your abundance does not come from another's property and is not the result of somebody else's tears; if no one is hungry or distressed because you are fully satisfied. For the bread of God is, above all, the fruit of justice."
St. Augustine of Hippo (4th Century):
"A certain exploiter of . . . others says to me, 'I am not like that rich man. I give love feasts, I send food to the prisoners in jail, I clothe the naked, I take in strangers'. Do you really think that you are giving? . . . You fool . . . If he shall go into eternal fire to whom Christ will say, 'When naked you did not clothe me,' what place in eternal fire is reserved for him to whom Christ shall say, 'I was clothed and you stripped me bare?'
St. John Chrysostom on lending at interest:
"Nothing is baser, nothing is more cruel than the interest that comes from lending. For such a lender trades on other persons' calamities, draws profit from the distress of others, and demands wages for kindness, as though he were afraid to seem merciful. Under the mask of kindness he digs deeper their grave of poverty; when he stretches forth his hand to help, he pushes them down. . ."
St. Leo the Great on the same:
"This point, too, we have thought must not be passed over, that certain possessed with the love of base gain lay out their money at interest, and wish to enrich themselves as usurers. For we are grieved that this is practised not only by those who belong to the clergy, but also by laymen who desire to be called Christians. And we decree that those who have been convicted be punished sharply, that all occasion of sinning be removed."
"If you wish to love your neighbor as yourself, divide your money with him." -- St. Augustine