Francesco Saverio Nitti
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Francesco Saverio Nitti (19 July 1868 – 20 February 1953) served as Prime Minister of Italy between 1919 and 1920.
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Catholic Socialism (1895)
- The doctrines held by the early Fathers of the Church on the nature of property are perfectly uniform. They almost all admit that wealth is the fruit of usurpation, and, considering the rich man as holding the patrimony of the poor, maintain that riches should only serve to relieve the indigent; to refuse to assist the poor is, consequently, worse than to rob the rich. According to the fathers, all was in common in the beginning: the distinctions mine and thine, in other words, individual property, came with the spirit of evil.
- pp. 65-66
- The poverty-stricken rural population rose up against their despoilers; they burnt down the castles of the nobles, and swore that they would leave nothing to be seen upon the land but the cabins of the poor. The rich middle-class seemed at first to side with them, and at Strasburg, Nuremberg, and Ulm the peasants were encouraged, aided, and provided for. However, the bourgeoisie soon grew alarmed at the spreading of the insurrection, and made common cause with the nobles in smothering the revolt in the rural districts. Luther, who was then at the apex of his power, condemned the rising in the name of religion, and proclaimed the servitude of the people as holy and legitimate. "You seek," wrote he, "to free your persons and your goods. You desire the power and the goods of this earth. You will suffer no wrong. The Gospel, on the contrary, has no care for such things, and makes exterior life consist in suffering, supporting injustice, the cross, patience, and contempt of life, as of all the things of this world. To suffer! To suffer! The cross! The cross! Behold what Christ teaches!" Were not these teachings, given in the name of the faith to a famishing people in revolt against the tyranny and avidity of the ruling aristocracy, fatal to the future of the peasant masses, whose very sufferings were thus legitimised in the name of the religion that should have come to their aid?
- p. 75
- Luther did not consider the claims of the peasants as in the least unjust; indeed, he admitted that they were "not contrary to natural law or to equity". But, unconscious apostle of bourgeois interests, he immediately added: "No one is judge in his own cause, and the faults committed by authority cannot excuse rebellion."
- pp. 75-76