Christian Democracy

A political Bystem which stresses the inalienable rights of individuals and society in relation to civil authorities in the State, guaranteeing the liberty of the individual to act according to the dictates of Christianity. The radical form advocates a republican government; the less radical allows monarchical government with representation of the people. The oldest systems, of Lamennais (died 1854) and Gioberti (died 1852), were condemned by the Church because of revolutionary ideas. Leo XIII laid down the principles of true Christian democracy in his Encyclical "Graves de communi" of 18 January 1901. Christian democracy is opposed to socialism and has no political end, as has political democracy. It teaches respect for all laws and opposes hatred between classes of society. Its principles of political activity were restated by Pius X in his Motu Proprio of 12 October 1903. These principles are embodied in the program of the Catholic political parties of Belgium, France, and Italy, and these parties are designated as Christian democracies.

New Catholic Dictionary

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