The official Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church formally released by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (ISBN 88-209-7651-X) brings to fore in right and proper, plain and succinct language, the substance of the fundamental, realistic as well as altruistic Social Teaching of the Church in terms of realities and truths that find relevance specially during these times – with the existent contradiction that the wealthier the world becomes, the more these and those people suffer from misery and destitution, from hunger and sickness. Among other truly negative realities existent in today’s materialistic world are found primarily existent in the errant understanding of “Private Property” as if this has no social dimensions at all of any kind, in any given circumstance. So it is that in the Philippines today, while there are well-endowed families and clans that live in this and that wealthy and thus famous plush villages, there are very much more people practically naked and usually starving that live under the bridges, by the canals if not in downright public sidewalks. This is strange but true. And the big culprit in such a nauseating and disgusting phenomenon is by and large the wrong understanding of “Private Property”.
It might be then not only necessary but also practical for the sake of brevity and clarity, that the following key contents of the Social Doctrine of the Church about “Private Property” in general be forwarded in some kind of an outline form for their easy, ready, and better understanding:
1. That with the employ of the gift of intelligence, the observance of industry and the use of skill, people acquire dominion over temporal goods which become their private property basically by virtue of their private initiative, pursuant skill, and consequent personal industry.
2. That the right to private property however is neither absolute nor beyond regulation through proper legislations and pursuant implementation thereof, considering that the said right is within the broader context of the universal destination, the social dimension of temporal goods.
3. That the various forms of juridical regulations of private property are but means in respecting the universal destination of material assets, thereby making private property but a means and not an end – with the simple thought that the wealth of the world is not but for some but for all people.
4. That any form of private ownership may not erase the social dimension and function of temporal goods whereas otherwise, there would be nothing less than human beings themselves who could be unjustly left with nothing at all which is clearly unjust and could be unhuman as well.
5. That so it is that an equitable distribution of land itself remains not only mandatory but also critical, particularly in developing Countries where some families claim/have so much thereof and thus practically leaving many others empty-handed.