(Vatican Radio) The role of property rights in Christian social thought was the subject of a seminar at Rome’s Pontifical University of Saint Thomas “Angelicum” on Wednesday.
During the event, co-sponsored by the Istituto Acton, the International Property Rights Index 2015 was presented.
The Index, now in its ninth edition, compares data from 129 countries and ranks them by how well they protect property rights.
The Property Rights Alliance, which publishes the volume, has noted the great economic differences between countries with strong property rights and those without: The top quintile on the Index has a GDP twenty times higher than the bottom quintile.
The Executive Director of the Property Rights Alliance, Lorenzo Montanari, said the Church has an interest in protecting property rights.
“It is an important issue, because the Church considers property rights are a basic human right for everyone,” he told Vatican Radio. “It is not only the right for an entrepreneur or a business leader, but it is for anyone.”
Listen to the Vatican Viewpoint featuring an interview with Lorenzo Montanari:
The Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church says “Private property is an essential element of an authentically social and democratic economic policy, and it is the guarantee of a correct social order. The Church's social doctrine requires that ownership of goods be equally accessible to all, so that all may become, at least in some measure, owners, and it excludes recourse to forms of common and promiscuous dominion.” 
It does add that “Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute and untouchable.” 
“The Catholic teaching states and supports the importance of property rights as one of the most important individual liberties” – Montanari said – “for the tie to the economic growth of the entire community, but even because of the tie to [run one’s personal economic affairs] for everyone.”
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