Subsidiarity

Why Satanism Is Now on the Center Stage in the Culture War

The religious right has often been looked down upon by many Americans involved in the political scene. For them, it shouldn’t exist. According to the secular liberal tradition, the public square is supposed to be value-neutral. Any religious intrusion into political matters is to be discouraged. The secular left is especially fearful of mixing politics [...]

Catholic Socialism Isn’t Catholic

My readership and the traditionalists in my parish exploded at the recent Catholic Herald article, titled "The Catholic turn to socialism is something to celebrate." I am surrounded by socialists at work and have a lot of time for those with their hearts in the right place, especially regarding social justice. That said, I thought [...]

The Catholic Position on the Electoral College

Is there a Catholic position on the Electoral College? Is there a “Catholic algebra” or a “Catholic chemistry”? Of course, there is not a Catholic algebra or chemistry, but there ought to be Catholic circumstances in which those subjects are taught and learned. There is, then, a Catholic “sense and sensibility” about learning, including the [...]

No Blue Wave, Yet Troubles Are Ahead

Last night’s election returns were not a total disaster for people of faith, or for Catholics in particular. Republicans actually increased their majority in the Senate, which means that President Trump’s uniformly textualist judicial nominees will continue to be confirmed. This is very good news regarding the Constitution, and with it for people committed to [...]

Running the Church on Hail Marys

“This attitude of resignation with regard to truth lies at the heart of the crisis in the West, the crisis of Europe.”  ∼ Pope Benedict XVI "You can’t run the Church on Hail Marys.”  ∼ former Vatican Bank president Archbishop Paul Marcinkus As jarring revelations about the contemporary episcopacy continue to come to light, it [...]

Has Government Become Too Big?

Thomas Jefferson is said to have quipped, "a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." While history does not support the Jeffersonian attribution, it does support the conclusion—witness Soviet Russia, Communist China, and North Korea. But how big is too big? [...]

Liberty and Authority: Toward a Catholic Conservatism

We’ve learned by now to apply a certain hermeneutic to the Holy Father’s proclamations, and that includes one given to a congress of Catholic lawmakers in Rome in late August: As long as the contribution of the Church to the great questions of society in our time can be put into discussion,” he said, “it [...]

A Role for Government that Nobody Thinks About

A few years ago, as Obamacare was being put in place, Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio suggested that the Christian obligation to assist the poor was a reason for expanding Medicaid in the state. Catholic social teaching does indeed make clear that the state has a role in assisting the needy, but only—in line [...]

Why Cultural Renewal Requires a Restoration of Meaning

One of the most common attitudes I encounter with today’s college students is a kind of blasé non-judgmentalism—or, worse, a passively nihilistic relativism. They are reluctant to label any behavior or belief bad, even if, in the most extreme thought experiments, it involves killing innocents. This attitude seems to get worse every year; it’s as [...]

How Prudent Public Policy Staves Off Leviathan

In a recent essay, I claimed that we need an understanding of biblical anthropology to adequately comprehend the agenda behind much of American public policy in recent decades. This anthropology declares that people were created in Eden, for heaven (Phil. 3:20), and the Preacher (Qoholeth) in Ecclesiastes states that God has “set eternity in [our] [...]

Can a Catholic be a Collectivist?

Should Catholics today work, as a matter of conscience, toward ever broader bureaucratic responsibility for human well-being in general? That result seems to follow from current ways of thinking. “Love thy neighbor” implies an ethic of mutual assistance. The democratic view that we act through government, together with the industrial approach to getting things done [...]

The Latest Debate Over Catholic Social Thought

Pope Francis' statements about economics (and related questions, such as environmentalism and "fracking") have caused much consternation among conservative Catholics in the United States. The Holy Father's comments on the "greed" of capitalism and his seeming belief that capitalism causes income inequality rather than providing explosive growth and increased prosperity historically seem without nuance at [...]

Ending Charitable Deductions to Feed the Leviathan State

Indiana University professor Fran Quigley urges, in the progressive Catholic magazine Commonweal, an end to deductibility of charitable contributions against federal income taxes. His argument rests primarily upon the twin beliefs that the U.S. social safety net is too thin and that lost revenues from charitable contribution deductibility would be better spent on governmental social welfare programs. His [...]

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 [...]

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