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Subsidiarity and Human Dignity | Feature | Articles

Subsidiarity: "(in the Roman Catholic Church) a principle of social doctrine that all social bodies existfor the sake of the individual so that what individuals are able to do, society should not take over, andwhat small societies can do, larger societies should not take over." (

A concept that seems to be getting lost as big government intrudes more and more into personal rights and freedoms. It reminds me of the lessons of the book 'Small is Beautiful' (
E. F. Schumacher) in which he argues that true freedom and development must respect the initiatives and efforts of the smallest units in society. He uses a wonderful analogy to make his argument. He tells the story of three tailors who were all located on the same block. The first one put a sign on his business that read "Best Tailor in the State". The second then put one up that read "Best Tailor in the Country". The third simply put up a sign that read "Best Tailor on this Block!" I can't think of a better analogy than this to explain the strength of subsidiarity as a Catholic social doctrine. | Subsidiarity and Human Dignity | Feature | Articles


  1. Larry Green12 January, 2011

    Jesus’ influence on the world is increasing while at the same time the churches influence on the world is diminishing .
    On one level there remains in the world a great deal of division, violence, genocide and many other forms of injustice and at the same time on another level there is growing collective recognition that human beings need to embrace their differences and cast aside certitudes in order to act as we should for the good of all. The message for the majority is getting louder and clearer that just as Jesus’ sacrifice and suffering was for the good of ‘mankind’, so should each individual human being act with a view to the good of mankind. ( not in a campaign to win votes for God kind of activity..

    ‘ Big Government intrudes’ when ‘ Big Government’ listens to the people it represents. Why wait till ‘ Big Government’ asks you to put down your “ We Are The Best “ signs ( without doubt a fitting representation and mixture of analogy and reality) even if you fail to see that we have evolved to a better understanding of the needs of all- rather than the few - . They are childish , unholy, destructive , unjust ,hurtful and foolish .
    The church has finally conceded to the fact that man has evolved. Now the church needs to be convinced that man is evolving.


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