Subsidiarity is Conservative

One of the distinctive contributions of Catholic social teaching is the principle of subsidiarity. According to the Catechism, subsidiarity means that “neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies” (CCC, 1894). If we focus on subsidiarity, the political world looks quite different from the perspective of many liberal Catholics who still embrace the Democratic Party. This difference is due to the fact that subsidiarity is a politically conservative principle.

The liberal distaste for subsidiarity–for local decision-making–is rooted in the elitism that permeates so much of American liberalism. It is an elitism on full display in certain high status college campuses…
catholicanalysis.blogspot.com/ Wed. Jan 19

This such a great subject to discuss!

The Family is first (the domestic church). The Community of families is second (the Chruch). The state, while being important, is third.

Liberals, rightly expouse the virtue of socialism only if it pertains to private free-will Catholic action. But the socialist state?? A roadmap to Communism, which the Holy Father decries emphatically.

Private Ownership is also very Catholic.

[quote=fix]According to the Catechism, subsidiarity means that “neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies” (CCC, 1894).
[/quote]

This fits for the thread on raising taxes.

Should the state raise taxes to redistribute the money to the poor instead of individuals supporting the poor directly and though chairtable giving to non-profit groups whose sole purpose is to support/help the poor.

Sorry, I may be blind. I couldn’t find something on subsidiarity on that Blog.?

Anyway,

For me it is ironic that this thread should come up the day after I was pondering this very subject. Currently in Wisconsin, a political organization is trying to get every county to include a referendum in this springs election as to if the State should pay for the things it requires more local governments to do. The thought is that the State should pay for services that it requires of a local government. Such as a county pshych ward.

IMHO two things violate the principle of subsidiarity with this proposal. First, the smaller (local) community should decide how to accomplish local services and how to pay for them. The group controlling the activity should be controlling the monetary aspects. Second, the smaller community should be able to decide what services it has need to offer.

The political organization is Republican.

Now I understand that what might appear to be hypocrisy is really just a way of saying “OK you want to violate subsidiarity? Do it completely and take care of the funding as well!” (Maybe).

Now if I play devil’s advocate I might consider the implications of the state not requiring certain minimum standards on local communities. What if one county does not provide a psych ward? Will this generate an unfair burden on a neighboring county or the state? Just as subsidiarity requires that the family is responsible for taking care of its members so shouldn’t the county of its citizens? Do we not think it is good that law requires certain minimum standards for family life (no abuse, feed and care for kids etc) or for businesses (don’t pollute, pay the minimum wage, don’t force workers to work in unsafe conditions)? Doesn’t God require certain behaviors of us and our families and our church?

You might be asking what point I am making. i am asking that of myself right now too. :o

I guess my point is that the principle of subsidiarity requires responsibility on the part of the smaller group but does not preclude the right of a larger community to impose some minimum standards. Is this Republican or Democrat? I think neither actually.

Peace,

Jim

[left]Economic Justice for All
Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy

[/left]
[left]**U. S. Catholic Bishops, 1986
**
[/left]
[left]osjspm.org/cst/eja.htm

[/left]
[left]8. As Catholics, we are heirs of a long tradition of thought and action on the moral dimensions of economic activity. The life and words of Jesus and the teaching of his Church call us to serve those in need and to work actively for social and economic justice. As a community of believers, we know that our faith is tested by the quality of justice among us, that we can best measure our life together by how the poor and the vulnerable are treated. This is not a new concern for us. It is as old as the Hebrew prophets, as compelling as the Sermon on the Mount, and as current as the powerful voice of Pope John Paul II defending the dignity of the human person.

[/left]
[left]13. Every economic decision and institution must be judged in light of whether it protects or undermines the dignity of the human person. The pastoral letter begins with the human person. We believe the person is sacred – the clearest reflection of God among us. Human dignity comes from God, not from nationality, race, sex, economic status, or any human accomplishment. We judge any economic system by what it does for and to people and by how it permits all to participate in it. The economy should serve people, not the other way around.
[/left]
14. Human dignity can be realized and protected only in community. In our teaching, the human person is not only sacred but social. How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The obligation to “love our neighbor” has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment to the common good. We have many partial ways to measure and debate the health of our economy: Gross National Product, per capita income, stock market prices, and so forth. The Christian vision of economic life looks beyond them all and asks, Does economic life enhance or threaten our life together as a community?

  1. The challenge of this pastoral letter is not merely to think differently, but also to act differently. A renewal of economic life depends on the conscious choices and commitments of individual believers who practice their faith in the world. The road to holiness for most of us lies in our secular vocations. We need a spirituality that calls forth and supports lay initiative and witness not just in our churches but also in business, in the labor movement, in the professions, in education, and in public life. Our faith is not just a weekend obligation, a mystery to be celebrated around the altar on Sunday. It is a pervasive reality to be practiced every day in homes, offices, factories, schools, and businesses across our land. We cannot separate what we believe from how we act in the marketplace and the broader community, for this is where we make our primary contribution to the pursuit of economic justice.

    26. We ask each of you to read the pastoral letter, to study it, to pray about it, and       match it with your own experience. We ask you to join with us in service to those in need.       Let us reach out personally to the hungry and the homeless, to the poor and the powerless,       and to the troubled and the vulnerable. In serving them, we serve Christ. Our service       efforts cannot substitute for just and compassionate public policies, but they can help us       practice what we preach about human life and human dignity.
    
    1. The pursuit of economic justice takes believers into the public arena, testing the policies of government by the principles of our teaching. We ask you to become more informed and active citizens, using your voices and votes to speak for the voiceless, to defend the poor and the vulnerable and to advance the common good. We are called to shape a constituency of conscience, measuring every policy by how it touches the least, the lost, and the left-out among us. This letter calls us to conversion and common action, to new forms of stewardship, service, and citizenship

[quote=JamesD]Sorry, I may be blind. I couldn’t find something on subsidiarity on that Blog.?

[/quote]

Subsidiarity is Conservative
One of the distinctive contributions of Catholic social teaching is the principle of subsidiarity. According to the Catechism, subsidiarity means that “neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies” (CCC, 1894). If we focus on subsidiarity, the political world looks quite different from the perspective of many liberal Catholics who still embrace the Democratic Party. This difference is due to the fact that subsidiarity is a politically conservative principle.

The liberal distaste for subsidiarity–for local decision-making–is rooted in the elitism that permeates so much of American liberalism. It is an elitism on full display in certain high status college campuses. In one book on the Bush White House, the author quotes George W. Bush on his philosophy of government: “My philosophy trusts individuals to make the right decisions for their families and communities, and that is far more compassionate than a philosophy that seeks solutions from distant bureaucracies” (Ronald Kessler*, A Matter of Character* [Penguin, 2004], p. 58).

It seems that Bush’s embrace of subsidiarity is rooted in his dislike of the elitism he saw at Yale:
“What angered me was the way such people at Yale felt so intellectually superior and so righteous . . . . They thought they had all the answers. They thought they could create a government that could solve all our problems for us.” . . . . There’s a “west Texas populist streak in me, and it irritates me when these people come out to Midland [Texas] and look at my friends with just the utmost disdain,” Bush said. He wanted to "get away from the snobs."
Kessler, p. 31.

So here is the conservative President hated by so many liberal Catholics espousing what, in my view, is the central principle of Catholic social teaching. At this point, some might say, “Hold on. What about the Church’s preferential option for the poor?” Good question. Subsidiarity is based on man’s dignity as free and rational and seeks to make full use of those divinely ordained traits (see CCC 1884). Subsidiarity aims at the common good. To have a preferential option for the poor means seeking to aid the poor in the best way possible. Aiding the poor by respecting their human dignity and by being close enough to know what the poor really need and want is what subsidiarity contributes to implementing the preferential option for the poor. The Church speaks of a personal love and compassion for the poor–you cannot deliver personal love and compassion while distant from and ignorant of the lives and needs of the poor (see CCC 2447-48). The preferential option for the poor must also include the call to conversion as part of helping the poor (see CCC 1888)-- a facet exhibited by Bush’s savagely mocked faith-based initiatives.

If we look closely, as George Weigel has pointed out, it seems that the conservatives are the ones most in tune with the Church’s social teaching. Just consider who favors and who opposes school vouchers for the poor–a paramount issue of subsidiarity. This political reality will surprise and anger many, for different reasons, on both sides of the political divide.

posted by Oswald Sobrino at 6:34 A

I think I see your point Matt.
Why did the pastoral letter leave out subsidiarity?
The CCC gives me the impression that it is a major component of church teaching as it affects society. Very curious.
I did not read the whole pastoral letter. Perhaps it is elswere in the document?

Peace,
Jim

Opps,

Sorry fix, I told you I was blind. I missed the Wed Jan 19 note you so clearly included.

Thanks,
Jim

Its seems we have found a principle that both conservatives and liberals can rejoice in and affirm. And that is good. We liberal, too, greatly affirm the Church’s social understanding of subsidiarity.

To give a better context of the Church’s thinking on this, let me give a larger selection from the CCC:
**

The Communal Character of the Human Vocation

1879 The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.2

1880 A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future. By means of society, each man is established as an “heir” and receives certain “talents” that enrich his identity and whose fruits he must develop.3 He rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge of the common good.

1882 Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him. To promote the participation of the greatest number in the life of a society, the creation of voluntary associations and institutions must be encouraged "on both national and international levels, which relate to economic and social goals, to cultural and recreational activities, to sport, to various professions, and to political affairs."5 This “socialization” also expresses the natural tendency for human beings to associate with one another for the sake of attaining objectives that exceed individual capacities. It develops the qualities of the person, especially the sense of initiative and responsibility, and helps guarantee his rights.6

1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. the teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."7

1893 Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged.

1894 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies. **

The Church titles this whole section the Communal Character of the Human Vocation. The first point she makes is that man by his nature is social. Extreme individualism is rejected. She affirms society exists organicly. Society is more than the sum of individuals. Authorities in societies are to promote common good. The family and the state are mentioned as the two most important societies. Membership in other societies (trade unions are frequently given as example) are strongly recommended by the church. The CCC specifically affirms the virtue of socialization. Yet while first blessing socialization, she then raises a secondary point – that socialization can have its dangers as well as its virtues. Here the most frequent example the Church cites is usually atheistic Communism. The Pope has referred to this as “collectivization without socialization”. This is a brillant phrase (from a brillant pope). Communism collectivized functions but they were not made social – the dictators ran them, not the people; not society.

But she rightly goes further. She states "subsidiarity, according to which “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good”

Two points to ponder. The CCC speaks of a community of a higher order and a community of a lower order. In both cases, she does not speak about individualism but of communities at various levels. Second, the Church speaks of activities towards a common good. A task should be taken up by the lowest level of community that can best resolve it. She does not say that important social concerns (among which might be health care, wage negotiations, retirement security, relief for the poor, etc) should be left unsolved or inadequetely responded to, or left to privitization or extreme individualism.

One example of this which the church has often cited might be the Food Stamps program. This is financed at the national evel, but following subsidiarity is administered at the state level with the actual outreach at a local level. Further, following the principle of subsidarity, distribution is also decentralized. Rather than those in hunger coming to a centralized government faciltiy for food, they are enabled to shop in private food markets using the Food Stamps to make their purchase.

The Bush Administration’s FBI I think was a program with some true merit (I would hope so as it was designed by a Catholic Democrat). However (and I understand this was the frustration that led its first two directors to resign) I feel the President did not follow through on subsidiarity. The initiative has enabled more community based organizations to apply for projects. But Bush has CUT the resources available for these projects. So, we have more organizations willing to serve human needs but less funds to award them. More cuts are expected this year.

i’m sorry this thread has gone quiet. I think this is actually an interesting topic where Catholic Social Thought can offer a positive “third way” from the usual bi-polarism in politics. I also think it represents something than many here can come together on.

Hi katherine2,

I don’t think any conservatives have a problem with the communities at lower levels handling things. This is our ideal - get the federal government out of it. Different counties have different problems, so even state government should be limited IMHO.

Our current method of taxation is wasteful and inefficient. Any taxes collected by the federal government should be for federal requirements (military, interstate infrastructure, FCC, FDA, wilderness areas, etc.) not redistributed to states for administration of local concerns. If a county or state has a program worth implementing, the taxes should be levied locally. This cuts down bureacracy.

I agree that the Church does not say things “should be left unsolved or inadequately responded to”, but does the Church actually speak out against privatization? Where?

I’m not an extreme libertarian who believes everything should be privatized…that’s silly. But public/private cooperation such as voucher programs and faith-based initiatives do make sense. Let the people who can efficiently get the job done do it (i.e. Catholic schools have proven to be much more efficient than public schools.)

God Bless,

Robert.

[quote=rlg94086] Let the people who can efficiently get the job done do it (i.e. Catholic schools have proven to be much more efficient than public schools.)

God Bless,

Robert.
[/quote]

Yes, Catholic schools are more efficient, but…Catholic schools do not have to educated EVERYONE. If a child misbehaves in Catholic school and does it either consistently enough or seriously enough, he’s out (boy, would I love to be able to do that!). If a kid’s grades aren’t up to snuff, they have a limited amount of time to get their act together or they’re out (boy, would I love to be able to do that!). In public schools, the laws are such that I must educate everyone who comes in the door to the best of their ability to be educated. Does a parent of a good student have a concern about most of my time being spent on the behavior disordered child who has been placed in my classroom and who cannot sit still to save his immortal souls? Too bad, the most that will be done for that student and his parents is a classroom shift. I think the behavior disordered child needs a paddling and to be taken to confession, which a Catholic school teacher could rec., but which I can’t. No, I have to fill out a referral form for the school counselor, a “recovering” Catholic who doesn’t think any child should be given a failing grade, even if they’re failing, as it isn’t at all “encouraging!” I take my hat off to Catholic schools. In my parish, the children leaving kindergarten to go to first grade are REQUIRED to already know how to read (I’d love to be able to do that!). Catholic schools, however, are doing a different job with a different crowd than public schools. Change won’t happen for us until we can say,“We can teach your kid as long as he acts like a decent human being,” and “NO, we won’t be passing your child to the next grade unless he earns it!” We just aren’t allowed to say those things.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Yes, Catholic schools are more efficient, but…Catholic schools do not have to educated EVERYONE. If a child misbehaves in Catholic school and does it either consistently enough or seriously enough, he’s out (boy, would I love to be able to do that!). If a kid’s grades aren’t up to snuff, they have a limited amount of time to get their act together or they’re out (boy, would I love to be able to do that!). In public schools, the laws are such that I must educate everyone who comes in the door to the best of their ability to be educated. Does a parent of a good student have a concern about most of my time being spent on the behavior disordered child who has been placed in my classroom and who cannot sit still to save his immortal souls? Too bad, the most that will be done for that student and his parents is a classroom shift. I think the behavior disordered child needs a paddling and to be taken to confession, which a Catholic school teacher could rec., but which I can’t. No, I have to fill out a referral form for the school counselor, a “recovering” Catholic who doesn’t think any child should be given a failing grade, even if they’re failing, as it isn’t at all “encouraging!” I take my hat off to Catholic schools. In my parish, the children leaving kindergarten to go to first grade are REQUIRED to already know how to read (I’d love to be able to do that!). Catholic schools, however, are doing a different job with a different crowd than public schools. Change won’t happen for us until we can say,“We can teach your kid as long as he acts like a decent human being,” and “NO, we won’t be passing your child to the next grade unless he earns it!” We just aren’t allowed to say those things.
[/quote]

I agree with your points and would like to expand on them. I think that the whole public school setup is rooted in the faulty concept that the state is responsible for the education of the children. That concept has tainted every aspect of public education and led to the deplorable system we see today. The biggest complaint I hear from public school teachers and administrators is lack of involvement of the parents. The parents complain that the school is unreponsive to their needs. Common sense tells you why this is so. The state takes the educational repsonsibility away from the parents, so why should they be involved. The school is a one-size-fits-all monopolistic bureaucracy, so why should it be responsive to children’s needs.

To sum it up, the public school system violates the concept of subsidiarity, and that’s the root of its problems. I know this is radical and I’ll be pilloried for it, but I think the public school system should be abolished.

[quote=StJeanneDArc]To sum it up, the public school system violates the concept of subsidiarity, and that’s the root of its problems. I know this is radical and I’ll be pilloried for it, but I think the public school system should be abolished.
[/quote]

I don’t think it is all that radical, nor do I think you should be pilloried. Other countries have other systems that work well (the UK for instance). I agree that the school system status quo in the USA is unaccpetable. One of the difficulties in change is that we have applied subsidiarity, but in the wrong way. Unique among most advanced nations, the School system here is under the primary control of local school boards. Decentralized in comparision, yes, but not working. We need subsidiarity by vertical rather than horizonal. Let the financing come from the federal government so that rich school districts do not have more money than poor districts. But them let various non-profits (including the Catholic Church) run the schools.

Katherine2,

I agree. I hope this thread is sustained for a while.

[quote=katherine2]The CCC speaks of a community of a higher a lower order. She does not speak about individualism but of communities at various levels.
[/quote]

Agreed. I think this is one area that many Republican conservatives get it wrong. The Republican conservatives, who hold up individual freedom and responsibilities, cannot claim that the subsidiarity principle is on their side. Individualism is used wrongly by extreme libertarian conservatives and extreme modern democratic liberals. Both say the individual is paramount. The conservative claim this is God given. The liberal will say that the individual creates their own moralities based on personal beliefs.

[quote=katherine2] The Church speaks of activities towards a common good. A task should be taken up by the lowest level of community that can resolve/affect it. She does not say that important social concerns (among which might be health care, wage negotiations, retirement security, relief for the poor, etc) should be left unsolved or inadequately responded to, or left to privatization or extreme individualism.
[/quote]

Agreed, nor does she say that it is the responsibility of government to do these things. I believe the religious liberals have thiswrong.

[quote=katherine2]One example of this which the church has often cited might be the Food Stamps program. This is financed at the national evel, but following subsidiarity is administered at the state level with the actual outreach at a local level. Further, following the principle of subsidarity, distribution is also decentralized. Rather than those in hunger coming to a centralized government faciltiy for food, they are enabled to shop in private food markets using the Food Stamps.
[/quote]

Please provide references to the church citing the Food Stamp program. I find this to be unlikely because the church begins to loose her expertise when dealing with the mechanics of policies and actions based on moral and/or theological principles. We regularly find that the church (I don’t mean individual clerics or comities) does not take strong positions on mechanics. Typically we mostly see warnings about any potential moral concerns of policies. But rarely (never?) endorsements of specific policies.

As a side, has the church ever officially endorsed democracy? I know the church didn’t SEEM to be very fond of it in the 18th century.

[quote=katherine2]The Bush Administration’s FBI I think was a program with some true merit.
[/quote]

What is FBI program?

[quote=katherine2]I feel the President did not follow through on subsidiarity. The initiative has enabled more community based organizations to apply for projects. But Bush has CUT the resources available for these projects. So, we have more organizations willing to serve human needs but less funds to award them. More cuts are expected this year.
[/quote]

I tend to think that programs that are administered by smaller communities but financed by the Fed is a violation of subsidiarity. It may be good for the common good for the Fed to provide some financial assistance if helpful to a well run program but should not be the primary source of funding. It not only violates subsidiarity (in my opinion) but tends to be unsustainable.

[quote=katherine2]But she rightly goes further. She states "subsidiarity, according to which “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good”.
[/quote]

Katherine2 is correct that the individual is not considered a “community” of either order. However, the individual responsible for aspects of a community (father of a family for example) requires the freedom to perform his function within that community without interference from the community of a higher order. IMHO this is closer to the Republican position. (As long as we are talking about morally licit activities. Polygamist families, for example, should not be supported)

The higher order (state) has the responsibility to assist in the case of need the lower order (family). IMHO, I do not see either US party being more in line with this than the other. Though the policies seem to differ, I do not see one party being more driven by this principle than the other and I think the policy differences can both be legitimately argued within catholic social teaching.

[quote=fix]One of the distinctive contributions of Catholic social teaching is the principle of subsidiarity. According to the Catechism, subsidiarity means that “neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies” (CCC, 1894). If we focus on subsidiarity, the political world looks quite different from the perspective of many liberal Catholics who still embrace the Democratic Party. This difference is due to the fact that subsidiarity is a politically conservative principle.

The liberal distaste for subsidiarity–for local decision-making–is rooted in the elitism that permeates so much of American liberalism. It is an elitism on full display in certain high status college campuses…
catholicanalysis.blogspot.com/ Wed. Jan 19
[/quote]

Hmmmm. Wonder if all the USCCB worker-bees study the Catechism?

[quote=Matt25][left]Economic Justice for All
Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy

[/left]
[left]**U. S. Catholic Bishops, 1986
**
[/left]
[left]osjspm.org/cst/eja.htm

[/left]
[left]8. As Catholics, we are heirs of a long tradition of thought and action on the moral dimensions of economic activity. The life and words of Jesus and the teaching of his Church call us to serve those in need and to work actively for social and economic justice. As a community of believers, we know that our faith is tested by the quality of justice among us, that we can best measure our life together by how the poor and the vulnerable are treated. This is not a new concern for us. It is as old as the Hebrew prophets, as compelling as the Sermon on the Mount, and as current as the powerful voice of Pope John Paul II defending the dignity of the human person.

[/left]
[left]13. Every economic decision and institution must be judged in light of whether it protects or undermines the dignity of the human person. The pastoral letter begins with the human person. We believe the person is sacred – the clearest reflection of God among us. Human dignity comes from God, not from nationality, race, sex, economic status, or any human accomplishment. We judge any economic system by what it does for and to people and by how it permits all to participate in it. The economy should serve people, not the other way around.
[/left]
14. Human dignity can be realized and protected only in community. In our teaching, the human person is not only sacred but social. How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The obligation to “love our neighbor” has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment to the common good. We have many partial ways to measure and debate the health of our economy: Gross National Product, per capita income, stock market prices, and so forth. The Christian vision of economic life looks beyond them all and asks, Does economic life enhance or threaten our life together as a community?

  1. The challenge of this pastoral letter is not merely to think differently, but also to act differently. A renewal of economic life depends on the conscious choices and commitments of individual believers who practice their faith in the world. The road to holiness for most of us lies in our secular vocations. We need a spirituality that calls forth and supports lay initiative and witness not just in our churches but also in business, in the labor movement, in the professions, in education, and in public life. Our faith is not just a weekend obligation, a mystery to be celebrated around the altar on Sunday. It is a pervasive reality to be practiced every day in homes, offices, factories, schools, and businesses across our land. We cannot separate what we believe from how we act in the marketplace and the broader community, for this is where we make our primary contribution to the pursuit of economic justice.

    26. We ask each of you to read the pastoral letter, to study it, to pray about it, and       match it with your own experience. We ask you to join with us in service to those in need.       Let us reach out personally to the hungry and the homeless, to the poor and the powerless,       and to the troubled and the vulnerable. In serving them, we serve Christ. Our service       efforts cannot substitute for just and compassionate public policies, but they can help us       practice what we preach about human life and human dignity.
    
    1. The pursuit of economic justice takes believers into the public arena, testing the policies of government by the principles of our teaching. We ask you to become more informed and active citizens, using your voices and votes to speak for the voiceless, to defend the poor and the vulnerable and to advance the common good. We are called to shape a constituency of conscience, measuring every policy by how it touches the least, the lost, and the left-out among us. This letter calls us to conversion and common action, to new forms of stewardship, service, and citizenship
      [/quote]

It is ironic that someone not in the US consistently quotes the non-binding USCCB statements to support his positions.

Send me a document from the Vatican and we’ll discuss it.

[quote=katherine2]Its seems we have found a principle that both conservatives and liberals can rejoice in and affirm. And that is good. We liberal, too, greatly affirm the Church’s social understanding of subsidiarity.

To give a better context of the Church’s thinking on this, let me give a larger selection from the CCC:


[/quote]

Thank you for posting this section Katherine. It promotes VOLUNTARY social groups that increase the welfare of communities and condemns the concept of socialism within the state(which would require non-voluntary contributions from constituents to redistribute wealth and services). The Church has been very consistent on this as we have seen before.

QUOTE=katherine2]
One example of this which the church has often cited might be the Food Stamps program. This is financed at the national evel, but following subsidiarity is administered at the state level with the actual outreach at a local level. Further, following the principle of subsidarity, distribution is also decentralized. Rather than those in hunger coming to a centralized government faciltiy for food, they are enabled to shop in private food markets using the Food Stamps to make their purchase.

Food Stamps does not fall into a positive category according to the Catechism paragraphs you cited. They referrred to voluntary social institutions. The food stamp program requires non-volunteers (taxpayers) to sustain the program. This is a socialistic program, an element of socialism - a philosophy the Church has consistently condemned.

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