"The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world, and all they that dwell therein." Psalm 23:1
Establishing Basic Principles
Christians must begin with Christ’s teachings when considering economic policy. So let’s start with first principles. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, "God has sovereign dominion over all things: and He, according to His providence, directed certain things to the sustenance of man’s body. For this reason man has a natural dominion over things, as regards the power to make use of them." - Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa, IIae, q. 66. We are not the owners, but the stewards of creation. We owe our being to God, yet this is not disempowering. Property can never actually be private because it is bounty of the earth in which all share. This definition of private property is far different than the one that currently reigns in the U.S. According to this definition, man has the power of use, but God is the ultimate owner. As with the Fathers of the Church, St. Thomas chides the wealthy for acquiescing in the illusion of absolute ownership, which is the source of false freedom, "The rich man is reproved for deeming external things to belong to him principally, as though he had not received them from another, namely from God." – Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa, IIae, q. 66. Everything that we "own" is a loan from God meant to help bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.