In light of the victory of socialist candidate François Hollande over Nicolas Sarkozy in the recent French election, I found this a very interesting and well done post by Religioblog author Jean-Marie Guénois about the relationship of socialism to, on the one hand, the Christian Democratic Party and, on the other, Catholic Social Thought. Here’s a portion of the post involving Catholic Social Thought (with an attempt at loose translation):
[T]he Catholic Church has always kept itself apart from socialism and social democracy. Why has this Rubicon never been crossed? The reason derives from the keystone of this vision. It is as simple as it is little known: against socialism, which places the state at the heart of social edification, the Church places the human person as the fundamental guarantor of society.
Stated otherwise, the motor of society is not found in government structure but in the responsibility and freedom of persons. “Personal” — and not “individual” — freedom and responsibility: that which pushes the social doctrine to decline a thoroughgoing liberalism. “Personal” — and not “collective” — freedom and responsibility: that which leads the doctrine to decline a thoroughgoing socialism.