Easter proclaims, ‘Go out and tell the people about this new life’ (Acts 5).
What is this ‘new life’? We discover:
The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2).
Furthermore, and not an optional extra:
The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common.
The Church has always defended the right to private property. With the advancement of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century, society faced a double-edged sword.
One, an explosion of material wealth, but unevenly distributed.
Two, the utopian socialist solution advocating the abolition of private property to address the inequity.
The first truly modern pope – Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) – faced the challenge with competence and courage.
He defended both the right to private property and the right of association.
However, the right to private property is a ‘relative right.’ Pope John Paul II coined the phrase that all ‘private property has a social mortgage’ on it.
That is, we have a right to possess things, but we must use these gifts for the benefit of others.
In this way, we are one with the early Christians.