Subsidiarity and the Social Doctrine

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]." Margaret Thatcher

“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.” G. K. Chesterton

Subsidiarity in the Gospels

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The First Temptation of Christ

“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (Mt4:3)

“…Is there anything more tragic, is there anything more opposed to belief in the existence of a good God and Redeemer of mankind, than world hunger? Shouldn’t it be the first test of the Redeemer, before the world’s gaze and on the world’s behalf, to give it bread and to end all hunger?...

“…Marxism---quite understandably---made this very point the core of its promise of salvation: It would see to it that no one went hungry anymore and that the “desert would become bread….”

“…When this ordering of goods is no longer respected, but turned on its head, the result is not justice or concern for human suffering. The result is rather ruin and destruction even of material goods themselves. When God is regarded as a secondary matter that can be set aside temporarily or permanently on account of more important things, it is precisely these supposedly more important things that come to nothing. It is not just the negative outcome of the Marxist experiment that proves this….”

“…The aid offered by the West to developing countries has been purely technically and materially based, and not only has left God out of the picture, but has driven men away from God. And this aid, proudly claiming to “know better,” is itself what first turned the “third world” into what we mean today by that term...”

“…The idea was that we could turn stones into bread; instead, our “aid” has only given stones in place of bread. The issue is the primacy of God. The issue is acknowledging that he is a reality, that he is the reality without which nothing else can be good. History cannot be detached from God and then run smoothly on purely material lines….”

Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI, pages 30-34

Analysis and application of Subsidiarity

1.) If the “West” has done this to third world countries what has it done to itself?

Jesus having fasted in the desert during these temptations exemplifies the physical needs and the physical evils that we all experience in this life. His mission as well as ours is to point the way to the heavenly Kingdom; not to make all physical evils go away here on earth.

Of course all creation is good, even material things developed by man, when it’s used for God’s purpose. When Jesus fed and healed in the scriptures he did so to point to the Heavenly Kingdom---as should all of his followers.

2.) If the Marxist experiment failed how could any state power created by man with the intent of removing physical evils or needs ever succeed? Did Jesus prescribe any type of state authority for the purposes of addressing physical needs and/or physical evils?

CCC 2431 The responsibility of the state. "Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly. . .

“Do you get your rights and liberties from the Federal Government in Washington? If you got your rights and liberties from the Federal Government in Washington, the Federal Government in Washington could take them away. Our Founding Fathers had to face this question, and it was one of the very first that they answered. They sought for some basis and ground of human rights and liberties, and they found it and set it down in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: It is a self-evident principle that the Creator has endowed man with certain inalienable rights. They cannot be taken away. And among them is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." —Bishop Fulton Sheen

When a state sets itself up as absolute as God, when it claims sovereignty over the soul, when it destroys freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, then the state has ceased to be political and has begun to be a counter-Church.—Bishop Fulton Sheen

Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. — John Adams

A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security. —John Adams

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