Friday, July 16, 2010

On Subsidiarity and Solidarity

I remember sitting in a lovely little church at Port Aransas. My wife and I were enjoying a quick getaway for our anniversary and were attending Saturday Mass. We had not been to reconciliation in a while, so we decided to stop for the sacrament and decided to stay for Mass.

In any event, Mass was about to end and the announcements for the week were given. An elderly gentleman came up to talk about the local food pantry that the local Christian churches were collaborating on. He asked for the customary donations, on the basis that the community needed to help the poor.

Before he ended his talk though, he paused and stopped for a moment. Addressing the vacationers there he said (I paraphrase from memory) that the work of the pantry was the responsibility of the local community. We were free to donate but were not to feel any obligation to do so.

I nearly fell out of the pew. Here at last was to me the perfect synthesis of solidarity - this problem is our community's problem - and subsidiarity - this problem is our community's problem.

Wonder of wonders, the two principles of Catholic Social Justice teaching can work in harmony.

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