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Vatican to America: ‘Social Justice’ is About Relationships, Not Socialism

Posted on January 14 2011 11:30 pm
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.

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The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is among those in the forefront of American political discourse in regard to Catholic teaching on subsidiarity.

One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.

This is why Pope John Paul II took the ‘social assistance state’ to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This ‘leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.’

You  may remember that Pope John Paul II worked closely with President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to bring down communism in the Soviet Union and Marxist governments in Latin America. With the worldwide Left now in such kinship with Islam, and with no modern-day Reagan or Thatcher in sight, Pope Benedict XVI certainly has his work cut out for him. If they recognize that America has become polarized, perhaps America’s Catholic bishops will bite the bullet and commit themselves to following in the footsteps of the just-beatified Pope John Paul II…to morally undermine the Left as he morally undermined the Soviet Union.

We will, of course, know more about what Cardinal Turkson refers to as a new ‘vocabulary’ to clarify Catholic teaching on social justice when he delivers his address. For the time being, however, it appears clear that the lack of ‘harmony’ in America may have put the Vatican on notice. Clearly, Catholic American politicos (and many bishops) have strayed off course in “encouraging government welfare handouts” at grave expense to our “relationships” with each other.

Visit Discover the Networks for more on the Religious Left in America


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