John Clark notes that socialism has been condemned by the Catholic Church for 20 centuries. “One would be hard-pressed to find an error that has been condemned more often, more strongly, by more popes, for more serious reasons, than socialism.”
Thus, being a great defender of private property rights, the Catholic Church and her saints have found the need to speak out against socialistic theories since her infancy.
In the second century, for instance, the heresy of Gnosticism was spread by Epiphanes who maintained a Platonic version of socialism, for which he was censured by Saint Clement of Alexandria, a Father of the Church.
In the third century, Church Father Lactantius warned that while private property allows the possibility of both virtue and vice, a “community of goods” disallows the possibility of some virtues and “contains nothing else than the licentiousness of vices.” Clearly, Lactantius was aware that some early Christian communities held things in common, but he also understood something else: there is a fundamental difference between a man freely giving up his possessions for the love of Christ, and denying anyone else the right to own property.