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  #1  
Old 4th November 2010, 01:28 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default Principle of Subsidiarity

http://www.ascensionhealth.org/index...ity&Itemid=171
"Often considered a corollary of the principle of the common good, subsidiarity requires those in positions of authority to recognize that individuals have a right to participate in decisions that directly affect them, in accord with their dignity and with their responsibility to the common good. Decisions should be made at the most appropriate level in a society or organization, that is, one should not withdraw those decisions or choices that rightly belong to individuals or smaller groups and assign them to a higher authority. However, a higher authority properly intervenes in decisions when necessary to secure or protect the needs and rights of all. The principle implies that, when a decision is to be made, we should identify the most appropriate forum and level of decision making, and how best and to what degree those individuals most affected should participate in the decision making process."

Notice that this principle does NOT require all decisions to be made at the lowest level, but rather at the most appropriate level. Each individual and group, each governmental body and other organization, has its own role. Higher authorities are especially needed in a sinful society in which many persons, left to their own devices, would commit grave sins against other persons.
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Old 10th November 2010, 04:02 AM
Seelos Seelos is offline
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Here, Link is a great site on catholic social teaching with quotes from various encyclicals. There are a few quotes regarding subsidiarity that reflect well what you stated Ron.

Still, that most weighty principle, which cannot be set aside or changed, remains fixed and unshaken in social philosophy: Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.The Fortieth Year, #79


The "principle of subsidiarity" must be respected: "A community of a higher order should not interfere with the life of a community of a lower order, taking over its functions." In case of need it should, rather, support the smaller community and help to coordinate its activity with activities in the rest of society for the sake of the common good.The Hundredth Year, #48

The primary norm for determining the scope and limits of governmental intervention is the "principle of subsidiarity" cited above. This principle states that, in order to protect basic justice, government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacities of individuals or private groups acting independently. Government should not replace or destroy smaller communities and individual initiative. Rather it should help them contribute more effectively to social well-being and supplement their activity when the demands of justice exceed their capacities. These does not mean, however, that the government that governs least, governs best. Rather it defines good government intervention as that which truly "helps" other social groups contribute to the common good by directing, urging, restraining, and regulating economic activity as "the occasion requires and necessity demands".Economic Justice for All, #124



I also think there maybe keys to this related in Benedicts encyclicals as well.
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Old 10th November 2010, 04:18 AM
Seelos Seelos is offline
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This is a really interesting subject and I have been diving into Catholic Social beliefs a little bit, particularly as it relates to Obamacare. I came across an article blasting Clinton 2 decades ago trying to push through what Obama has been successful at, I was shocked to hear despite the USCCB's essential support of it then and now, Pope John Paul II was against it because in his views it violated the principles of subsidiarity. The article really took me for a loop. Here it is:

The Principle of Subsidiarity
by David A. Bosnich

One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.

This is why Pope John Paul II took the “social assistance state” to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

In spite of this clear warning, the United States Catholic Bishops remain staunch defenders of a statist approach to social problems. They have publicly criticized recent congressional efforts to reform the welfare system by decentralizing it and removing its perverse incentives. Their opposition to the Clinton Administration’s health care plan was based solely upon its inclusion of abortion funding. They had no fundamental objection to a takeover of the health care industry by the federal government.

Why the troubling contradiction between Papal teaching and the policy recommendations of the U.S. Bishops? Part of the problem may rest with the reliance the Bishops have placed upon commentators such as Monsignor George Higgins. In the spring of 1994 Monsignor Higgins gave a lengthy talk on the principle of subsidiarity to the Albert Cardinal Meyer Lecture series. Higgins stated that the “principle of subsidiarity is concerned with the relationship of the state to other societies, not with the nature of the state itself.” This view is wrongheaded. Subsidiarity applies to all human institutions, including the state. When the federal government usurps the rights and responsibilities of state and local governments, a flagrant violation of the principle of subsidiarity has occurred. If upper echelon bureaucrats in a Cabinet department operate in a top-down manner and deny any flexibility to their subordinates, the effectiveness of this department will be diminished. Higgins’s interpretation of subsidiarity exempts the internal operation of the various levels and branches of government from any critical scrutiny.
http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-li...e-subsidiarity
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Old 10th November 2010, 04:40 AM
Seelos Seelos is offline
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Here is something I read about recently that immediatley made me think of subsidiarity in action. Parishoners were upset in Platteville with a number of priest's and wanted there removal form the parishes. They decided they would go over the head of the priests themselves and over the bishop as well. The Link to the Bishops reply, but here are a few quotes.

Quote:
By means of this letter I am replying to what you requested, namely, the “immediate removal of the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest from St. Mary and St. Augustine parishes in Platteville.” A number of you have written to the Apostolic Nuncio about this matter. He has forwarded the letters to me after having read them. He asked that I inform you that he has forwarded these letters to me for my pastoral consideration, since the responsibility for priestly assignments rests with the diocesan bishop.

This is a great example of maintaining and allowing issues to be dealt with on the lowest level where they naturally fit best. It goes further:

Quote:
While I am available to all of the faithful of the Diocese of Madison, it is always best to resolve concerns with one’s Pastor(s) personally and locally. Not only does this give due respect to the priests, who have given their lives to serve you, but it is usually more efficient. I urge you to speak openly with these priests about your concerns; and I am confident that you will be treated with dignity and respect.
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Old 10th November 2010, 12:24 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Seelos,

Some of what you have posted above is not correct doctrine. A Catholic cannot merely look around the internet and different sites, and believe whatever assertions are made about doctrine.

In particular, this article:
The Principle of Subsidiarity by David A. Bosnich
is not consistent with Catholic teaching. He distorts and over-simplifies Catholic teaching on this principle, then he uses this distortion to claim that the U.S. Catholic Bishops are opposed to the Pope. He also inserts his own political point of view into what he claims is Catholic teaching.

The site that that article comes from is not a Catholic website, but a political/social policy site: "Integrating Judeo-Christian Truths with Free Market Principles".

Also, the principle of subsidiarity is not an absolute rule of the moral law, but a norm related to the moral law. Whether or not any act of an individual or group is moral depends on the three fonts of morality. One cannot take the principle of subsidiarity, even properly understood, and use it as the sole or main guide to moral actions in any sphere of human endeavor.
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Old 10th November 2010, 12:36 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seelos View Post
Here is something I read about recently that immediatley made me think of subsidiarity in action. Parishoners were upset in Platteville with a number of priest's and wanted there removal form the parishes. They decided they would go over the head of the priests themselves and over the bishop as well. The Link to the Bishops reply, but here are a few quotes.

This is a great example of maintaining and allowing issues to be dealt with on the lowest level where they naturally fit best. It goes further:

I'm not sure what you mean by this post.

I don't see any application of the principle of subsidiarity here. Any parishioners can complain to their Bishop, or even to the Holy See, if there is a grave violation of the moral law, or of doctrine or discipline, by a priest or group of priests.

However, parishioners should not be using "activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, doorto- door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc" to impose their will on leaders in the Church. This is not the principle of subsidiarity in action, even though these activities occur at a lower level.

In this case, the complaints appear to be false accusations, largely based on a conflict between liberal parishioners and conservative priests. This group appears to hold the false doctrine that the Church has changed after Vatican II such that the older doctrine and disciplines no longer apply. This is a false dicotomy, as the Bishop (referencing Pope Benedict's teaching) points out.
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