Archive for April 16th, 2012

There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. – Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need.

-Benedict XVI,  Caritas in Veritate, (no. 58)

When the term “subsidiarity” is being thrown around by free market ideologues to give their ideas the veneer of Catholic social teaching, it is wise to reexamine the term and the way it is used by the Church. Stephen Schenk of Catholic University does so beautifully:

“Subsidiarity refers to the appropriate balancing of responsibilities and functions among the parts of a social order.  It has its origin in the Catholic understanding of community, which perceives a community not as so many individuals connected by contracts, but as a corporate whole—a moral and cultural body that, like any body, is comprised of limbs and parts the differences of which contribute to the good of the whole.  The ethic that pertains to the unity of the body is called solidarity.  The ethic that pertains to the role of the parts is subsidiarity.  And the good of the whole by which solidarity and subsidiarity are measured is called the common good.

In the complete sense, this understanding is referred to as the Mystical Body of Christ.  Romans 12:4-5 puts it this way.  “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.”  But, Catholic teachings encourage us to promote such an understanding in all human associations.  Hence, the Church argues that subsidiarity (like solidarity and common good) is an ethic to apply even to political governance.”

Read the rest of his fine article here.

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Working, Poor

“Low wage jobs have been a big part of the so-called recovery.  What they also signify is a more troublesome trend that continues to eat away at the middle class in this country.  I’ve noted that the per capitaaverage income for Americans is $25,000and many seem to be shocked when they hear how low this figure is.  A recent presentation only reinforces this figure by discussing the number of working Americans in low wage fields.  The problem with having such a large portion of our population in low wage work is that as the cost of living goes up many of these people have a harder time providing for necessities like food, education, and also healthcare.  Surprising or not, the nation has been seeing a massive divide between the working class and those at the top.  The low wage employment growth signifies a continuation of this trend.”

More  here.


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