A little more on socialism after Iowa

No sooner did we discuss whether a Catholic could support Bernie Sanders due to Sanders’s self-identification as a democratic socialist did Fr. Dwight Longenecker take up the question at Patheos. Ultimately, he argues that a Catholic could vote for a democratic socialist, but that Sanders’s standard-issue positions on abortion and marriage are serious problems for Catholic voters. (He cites a 2002 voter’s guide, which does not appear to have been updated to reflect Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 memorandum.) This is, of course, more or less what we said, but we still think that Sanders’s concept of socialism remains, by and large, too murky to make a clear up-or-down decision. As it stands—and notwithstanding Longenecker’s citations to Benedict XVI—it unclear to us what is distinctively socialist about Sanders’s position. Based upon some prepared remarks of his from November, it is far from clear that his concept of socialism is actually socialism as the Church has long understood it. (Cf. 3 Grenier, Thomistic Philosophy, nos. 1150–51.) But, as Paul VI noted, that does not mean that there are not connections between Sanders’s thought and more explicitly (actually?) socialist thinking, with all of its implications.