Subsidiarity

ISIS-Burns-Down-Church

Middle Eastern Christians Face Calamity

The Middle East is embroiled in chaos and what little remains of the ancient Christian communities there are being destroyed with the latest tragic turn of events in Iraq. The barbarism of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that began a sweeping military and terror campaign from Syria swept into Iraq to capture [...]

What is Distributism? A Controversial Alternative to Socialism and Plutocracy

Distributism is the name given to a socio-economic and political creed originally associated with G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Chesterton bowed to Belloc’s preeminence as a disseminator of the ideas of distributism, declaring Belloc the master in relation to whom he was merely a disciple. “You were the founder and father of this mission,”Chesterton [...]

Subsidiarity Calls Us to Live Like Catholics

Subsidiarity is integral to a social doctrine based on natural law rather than technology. That ought to be a feature rather than a bug, but in today’s world it means no one can make sense of it or apply it coherently. The principle tells us that lower level associations such as families and local communities [...]

Subsidiarity: Why is It Praised More than It is Practiced?

Subsidiarity is a basic principle of Catholic social teaching. Like other such principles, it is praised more than practiced, because it is at cross purposes with the outlook that now governs our public life. It springs from concern for man in all his dimensions. Each of us participates in the human nature that is common [...]

Papal Teaching Warns Against Excessive Government

We are familiar enough with left-of-center Catholics, like Catholics United and the professors who publicly opposed House Speaker John Boehner’s honorary degree from The Catholic University of America in 2011, beating the drum for governmental—especially federal government—“solutions” to problems. We also witness it, however, from some Catholics known for being committed to the orthodox teaching [...]

As Wise as Pigeons: Lessons Never Learned

Why must the children of light always be ten revolutions and a hundred years behind the children of darkness?  If we cannot always defeat our enemies on the battlefield, can’t we at least learn to recognize their tactics so that we won’t be fooled the next time?  Never mind that.  Can’t we learn to recognize, [...]

Pope Leo’s Ideal Was Not State Control

Pope Leo XIII affirms that a well governed State will promote the material and moral prosperity of its citizens, will honor private property and free association, and will protect the poor from abuse or depredation by the rich. How to do these things?  Leo lays down four principles. The first is what I’ll call the [...]

The Modern State Causes the Problems it Pretends to Fix

Pope Leo XIII affirms that a well governed State will promote the material and moral prosperity of its citizens, will honor private property and free association, and will protect the poor from abuse or depredation by the rich. How to do these things?  Leo lays down four principles. The first is what I’ll call the [...]

Paul Ryan’s Bishop Defends “Good Reputation” of “Native Son”

Editor’s note: Below is a column by Madison, Wisconsin bishop Robert C. Morlino addressed to the faithful of his diocese that appeared Thursday, August 16, in the Madison Catholic Herald under the title “Subsidiarity, Solidarity, and the Lay Mission.” Here, Bishop Morlino clarifies Church teaching, distinguishing between intrinsic evil that no Catholic in good conscience [...]

Nuns, Budgets, and Buses…Oh My

The Nuns on the Bus tour ended in front of the United Methodist Church & Society Building here in DC on July 2nd. Sister Simone Campbell gave an impassioned speech invoking Catholic Social Teaching in defense of their ideas about the federal budget and criticized certain Catholic politicians for violating the tenets of Catholic Social [...]

Subsidy or Subsidiarity

Individualism and community are the opposite halves of the American character. For every myth of the self-made man, there is the image of the closely knit New England small town. For every lone cowboy on the frontier, there are the social, political, and cultural groups that Americans have formed since the beginning of the Republic. [...]

Subsidiarity on Earth and in Heaven

Several years ago I attended a lecture at Marquette by John Allen, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, in which he addressed the stereotype of the Vatican passing down commands to be implemented by 5000 bishops and subordinate clerics, as well as the various religious orders.  He dissipated the stereotype with a depiction [...]

Private Charity Versus Government Welfare

Less than three years has passed since the publication of Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, Charity in Truth. As some readers may remember, the encyclical caused quite a stir both in secular and religious circles -- as have many of the past papal encyclicals dealing with economic questions, going back to Pope Leo XIII's groundbreaking [...]

Resisting Obamacare with the Interstate Compact

On April 26, 1783, two weeks after Congress approved a preliminary peace treaty with England, the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey entered into a compact over their shared use of the Delaware River. The waterway was an important shipping route, and any interference in its operation, either from dams or bridges, would harm both [...]

Community: A Conversation with Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry, novelist, essayist, poet, and farmer, is a central contributor to the growing renaissance of Christian culture. Although he does not, in his lean careful writing, broach religion directly, he writes as one completely at home with the Christian tradition. His readers are numerous and ever growing, drawn to his scriptural and Aristotelian-Thomistic view [...]

Subsidiarity and Human Dignity

In my column last week, I asked the question, "Does the USCCB understand subsidiarity?" I received a variety of responses to that piece, the most interesting being from Msgr. Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, who posted his thoughts on the website of the Archdiocese of Washington. Writing in a judicious and even-handed way [...]

The “How To” Problem

One of the biggest problems with Distributism--the idea that economies should not be based on corporations (pure capitalism) or on the State (pure socialism), but on individuals and families--is the question of how to achieve that goal.  Frequent commenter R.C. pinned the tail on the donkey when he wrote: "Is there anything we can do [...]

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