Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Related writings on subsidiarity and the Perfect State

" order to spare them the shame of begging, the Church has provided aid for the needy. The common Mother of rich and poor has aroused everywhere the heroism of charity, and has established congregations of religious and many other useful institutions for help and mercy, so that hardly any kind of suffering could exist which was not afforded relief. At the present day many there are who, like the heathen of old, seek to blame and condemn the Church for such eminent charity. They would substitute in its stead a system of relief organized by the State. But no human expedients will ever make up for the devotedness and self-sacrifice of Christian charity. Charity, as a virtue, pertains to the Church; for virtue it is not, unless it be drawn from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ; and whosoever turns his back on the Church cannot be near to Christ." Rerum Novarum 30, Pope Leo XIII

"Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own ability andeffort and entrust it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time both a serious evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher society 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." Quadragesimo Anno 79 (Forty Years After) Pope Pius XI

"The perfect state is a thing to fight for. Christ said, "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." "Go ye therefore and sell what you have and give to the poor." "If you have two coats take one and give it to your brother, and if your brother ask you for your coat, give him your cloak too." People do not scoff at these words because they are the words of Christ. A great many regard them hopelessly and falling back on their poor humanity they admit their inability to live up to these words. But nevertheless these words (hard words) go down through the ages, and through them many have followed the precept as well as the counsel. And have influenced humanity greatly thereby. (As for those who don't God knows that we are but dust and he is a kind and tender father.) The Catholic Worker stands opposed to Communism, Socialism, and Fascism. The Catholic Worker regards the existing system of labor unions as a poor and faulty one, far below that of organization described by Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical, Forty Years After. ... We believe with the Pope that whenever the general interest of any particular class suffers and is threatened with evils which can in no other way be met, the public authority, the state, must step in to meet them."If within the walls of a household there occur grave disturbances of mutual rights, the public power must interfere." But not the italics - "which can in no other way be met." ...we continue to cling to the ideal as held up in the gospel and in the encyclical on St. Francis of Assisi [Pope Leo XIII's Renum Novarum]. We shall not reach it we know. But that does not mean that there is no use trying."
Dorothy Day , Days with an End, Catholic Worker, April 1934