Subsidiarity, The Catholic Church, and Social Justice

Subsidiarity is a big idea from the Church. Hopefully our video can give you enough information to understand basically what it is and why it is important. But a few minutes is not enough time to thouroughly explain the philosophy. So, if you would like to learn more about Subsidiarity, and other ideas the Church teaches about how we can best structure a just society, please use the following links to help in your exploration.*

The Catholic Church on Subsidiarity:

Catholics on Subsidiarity:

Practical Applications of Subsidiarity:

*Some of the links are from the Church itself, so you can trust them completely to explain exactly where the Catholic Church stands on the issue. Other links are from Catholics themselves explaining how we can best use Subsidiarity and other complimentary Catholic philosophies to create a more just and moral society. These should be read as instructive, but realize that they are not directly from the Church. So while we have tried our best to only link to those things that are in line with the Church and free from error, they man contain personal opinions or unintentional errors.
  • Jasen White

    this is all in response to a page titled
    Obama vs. Romney — The choice is clear who are you people? How do I know you are even Catholic? And yes I understand the Church’s views on Gay marrige and other issues but I mean are you seriously suggesting we turn the government of These United States of America into a mirror of the teachings of the Catholic church or even worse do you think that Catholics should impose their views on the entire country ? I am a Catholic and I am an American I love the Church but I love my country America we don’t dictate to others what their beliefs should be and we dont impose our religion on others…SO yea as a Catholic the choice is crystal clear if you believe as Jesus did that we have an obligaction to help those less fortunate then our selfs …mathew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ So yea Fellow Catholics the choice is clear vote for the person who actually cares about the poor and forgotten and the person who actually is a Christian…It’s interesting that this so called catholic vote page endorses a Mormon over a Christian wow I don’t think it is run by Catholics..unless we Catholics now believe in Marrying many teen aged girls off to men in their 40’s??I didn’t want to bring religion into this but it’s hard when who ever runs this page goes around masquerading as a Catholic:)

  • Mari

    Thanks for all the links! A couple of small corrections:

    Papal Encyclical of Pope John II – Centesimus Annus
    This should really be Pope John Paul II


    Pastoral Constitution Pope Paul IV – Gaudium Et Spesshould be “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World”, Second Vatican Ecumenical Council

  • Rich

    CV Subsidiarity for Dummies?
    It was good for those who never really knew the principle before, and finally a good public service from CV.
    But perhaps there is not enough emphasis about the word capable when determining the smallest level of authority. It is not just the smallest authority, but the smallest authority capable of handling, for which there are many considerations. To think of it too simplistically, is to miss the importance of having it as a Social JUSTICE issue.

    • Joe M

      Rich. If a person is capable of paying taxes for the purpose of helping others, then they are obviously capable of skipping the secular middle-man (government) and giving the exact same amount directly.

      Are they not? Are people who write a check to the IRS not capable of writing the same check to someone in need?

  • James Lomuscio

    I’m concerned that the student/parent metaphor will reinforce the false notion that higher level’s of government are necessarily wiser than than their subjects. In reality, the opposite is usually the case.

    A good video, overall.

    I’m up for continuing the conversation. I’m @lomuscio.

    • Bonnie Wenig

      Agree on your point, James. Look at the work of the late Elinor Ostrom, first female Nobel Laureate in Economics, and how her “nesting principle” may be guided by subsidiarity



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