The Catholic University of America

Stephen Schneck, director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, was quoted in a National Catholic Reporter story on subsidiarity and solidarity. See below.

Discussion links subsidiarity and solidarity

From: National Catholic Reporter
Date: July 30, 2015
Author: Tom Roberts

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Solidarity is seen as the portion of teaching with a communitarian emphasis and inclination toward large, society-wide solutions. Subsidiarity, on the other hand, is popularly understood as inclining toward the individualist, let-the-locals-take-care-of-things end of the scale.

That separation, however, is a misreading of the Catholic understanding of subsidiarity, said Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America. His remarks came as part of a panel discussion held June 15 during a daylong session on the tensions between extreme individualism, represented especially in libertarian views, and solidarity, its "theological antidote," as the title to one panel described it.

Catholics understand community, he said, "not as so many individuals connected by contracts, but as a corporate whole -- a moral and cultural body that, like any body, is comprised of limbs and parts the differences of which contribute to the good of the whole."

In that scheme, he said, "the ethic that pertains to the unity of the body is called solidarity. The ethic that pertains to the role of the parts is subsidiarity. And the good of the whole by which solidarity and subsidiarity are measured is called, in Catholic social teaching, the 'common good.' "

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