Action Alert!

Subsidiarity, anyone?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Nov 23, 2004

When was the last time you heard anyone-- anyone-- talk about the principle of subsidiarity?

Like most elements of Catholic social teaching, the principle of subsidiarity is a) not often discussed, b) widely misinterpreted when it is discussed, and c) sorely needed as an antidote to serious problems in the contemporary world.

Thanks to our friend Jeff Mirus, over on the CatholicCulture site, for a timely and accurate reminder of what subsidiarity means, and why we need it today.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: westcoast subscriber - Nov. 23, 2004 2:38 PM ET USA

    We talk about subsidiarity frequently in our house. My favorite use of the principle is when I explain to the children that they should clean their rooms instead of Mom or Dad doing it. I can't say the children always like it, but they "get it." It also comes in handy when we have to insist that certain subjects (like human sexuality) are taught at home instead of in the parish school.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 23, 2004 11:27 AM ET USA

    The people who need to be instructed in subsidiarity are the RC bishops and Vatican bureaucrats who demand that every violation from politically correctness be forcefully addressed by the Federal Government, the EU, or the UN.