Jul 19, 2009


If you want to begin to understand the Pope's new encyclical Caritas In Veritate, then you have to understand subsidiarity.

The Wikipedia entry for Subsidiarity says it "is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority" and adds that "Subsidiarity is, ideally or in principle, one of the features of federalism".

The principle of subsidiarity can be traced back to the 1891 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, which some have described as a means to a third way between laissez-faire Capitalism and Communism.

Caritas In Veritate says that "Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility."

"In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. Globalization certainly requires authority, insofar as it poses the problem of a global common good that needs to be pursued. This authority, however, must be organized in a subsidiary and stratified way[138], if it is not to infringe upon freedom and if it is to yield effective results in practice."

1 comment :

JayG said...

Deal Hudson writes:

Pope Benedict XVI's latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, was published on July 7. With the appearance of a new papal document, various factions in the Church, as well as some outside, eagerly attempt to score points on their own behalf. This is particularly true of Caritas in Veritate, since both its length and the variety of its content allow plausible misreadings supported by selective citations...

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