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Social Scientists Conclude Session on Solidarity, Subsidiarity

Academy Links a “3rd Sector” to the Common Good

By Marta Lago

VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- Neither laws nor economic benefits are exclusive factors in motivating organizations or individuals dedicated to the common good, affirmed the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The academy asserted this at the conclusion Tuesday of its 14th plenary session, which focused on “Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together.”

Margaret Archer of Great Britain’s University of Warwick, and Pierpaolo Donati of Italy’s University of Bologna, coordinated the event.

Tuesday in the Vatican press office, accompanied by the chancellor of the academy, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, they discussed some of the main points that came from the five days of discussion.

Archer and Donati noted a current model of social organization primarily based on the roles of the state and the economy. But they called for more attention to be given to the role of a third sector, which they affirmed is also a protagonist in promoting the common good.

In that context, Donati noted, the interests of the market and the regulations of the modern state exercise a certain “dominion” over social groups, associations, methods of cooperation, volunteerism and other “new networks.”

But it is these networks, groups and associations that are oftentimes the source of common goods, the professor stated, goods that are “nevertheless treated badly, or misunderstood or even marginalized by the protagonists of the state and the market.”

“If we ask ourselves how many common goods are produced each day not because of the benefit — the economic interest — not because the law requires it, but because there is an accord between people, because there is interest in mutually interchanging goods, we would see that the greatest part of goods are produced in this way,” he explained. “With everything, our societies are organized essentially over the power of the economy and the state.”

“It is necessary, therefore, to give a lot of attention to this world of civil society that produces common goods,” affirmed Donati.

Selfless protagonists

During the plenary session, the pontifical academy heard the contribution of Michel Bauwens, initiator of the P2P (Peer to Peer) Foundation. His experience relates to the sharing of common goods — for example, knowledge — through the Internet. The case reflects a situation wherein a network of persons share freely and receive freely, without an economic motivation.

This is an example, Donati explained, of the importance of understanding the development of a society that produces common goods.

It is about an “interweaving between subsidiarity and solidarity that should be, yes, horizontal in the sense that it regulates relations between people, but which should also have a vertical dimension,” he added. Donati affirmed that the state — though it has a notable role in the production and preservation of the common good — does not have a monopoly over it.

The professor suggested that current economic theories are insufficient because they “still presupposes a ‘homo economicus’ interested in acting substantially for his benefit.” Even though that theory takes into account “a selfless protagonist,” it considers him a figure of little importance. It thinks of the third sector, Donati added, “as a charitable sector, of beneficence, not as a sector that creates common goods.”

That’s why Donati indicated the necessity of proposing new economic theories and perhaps even a new political theory, citing a tendency toward “a certain return to focusing on the state […] which points again in some way to the strength and the monopoly of the state, something that does not help in the development of the common goods we’ve mentioned.”

Filed under: Social Doctrine, Social Justice

The Splendor of Charity: Cardinal Cordes

“Deus Caritas Est” Entrusted to Pastors
Cardinal Cordes Addresses Bishops of England, Wales

LEEDS, England, MAY 4, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- Here is an excerpt of the April 7 address given by Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, to the spring meeting of the bishops’ council of England and Wales.

The talk titled “‘Deus Caritas Est’: The Splendor of Charity” can be found in its entirety on the ZENIT Web page: www.zenit.org/article-22486?l=english .

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The primary role of the pastors

There is no doubt that “Deus Caritas Est” directs itself to various groups in the Church. Nevertheless, the main burden of responsibility for its implementation in dioceses and parishes is placed squarely on the shoulders of the bishops. It is not only the pastoral realism of the Pope, but also theological reasons that make the ordained pastors the principal target group for the encyclical.

Ever since her foundation, a threefold mission has been entrusted to the Church: She must proclaim redemption through Christ; she must bear witness to this in her good deeds toward humanity; and she must celebrate the salvation offered through Christ in the liturgy.

“Martyria,” “Diakonia” and “Leitourgia” are therefore the three basic functions of the Church that express her deepest nature. In “Deus Caritas Est,” the Pope declares strongly: “The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the sacraments and the word” (No. 22).

Indeed, the three are inextricably linked. Good deeds as the expression of the evangelical love proclaimed in the word and celebrated in the sacraments, most especially the Eucharist, occupy a central place in the evangelizing mission of the Church. This connection may well warrant further reflection, given the declining numbers of indigenous Catholics in our pews. As numerous saints have shown us, most recently Mother Teresa, in the witness of love a seed of belief can be sown in the fallen away, non-Christians and even the most skeptical.

In terms of the mission of “diakonia,” Benedict speaks emphatically in the encyclical of the Bishop’s overriding responsibility. He reminds these of the rite of the sacrament of episcopal ordination, in which the bishop receives, through the imposition of hands, the full authority of the Spirit for the government of the Church. Prior to the act of consecration itself, the candidate must respond to a series of questions posed by the presiding bishop, which, as the Pope writes, “express the essential elements of his office and recall the duties of his future ministry.”

So the candidate is asked to pledge his special responsibility for individual services. He is called to promise “expressly to be, in the Lord’s name, welcoming and merciful to the poor and to all those in need of consolation and assistance.” Of course, this obligation incumbent on the bishop does not prevent him from seeking assistance from others in his charitable mission, but he cannot set aside his ultimate responsibility for this essential service, placing it simply on others’ shoulders.

Neither can those who practice the service of charity, either individually or institutionally, disregard the bishop’s burden of leadership and this ultimate responsibility that belongs to him.

Some Catholic aid agencies actively avoid acknowledging this fact and sometimes bishops themselves fail to exercise their legitimate and necessary oversight, leading to approaches that are predominantly political or economic to the neglect of revealing through love of neighbor the love of the God of Jesus Christ.

The importance that Pope Benedict attaches to this responsibility of the bishops may be further gauged by the gentle criticism he makes in “Deus Caritas Est” of the Code of Canon Law. The encyclical remarks that in the canons on the ministry of the bishop, the Code “does not expressly mention charity as a specific sector of episcopal activity” (No. 32), implying that it lacks precision on this point.

Indeed, we should remain surprised — as does the Pope — that Canon Law devotes many paragraphs to the bishop’s role in “martyria” and “leitourgia,” but nothing regarding “diakonia.” Clearly, “Deus Caritas Est” envisages a need for clarification in this important area.

The question of God

In speaking about the encyclical, it is not seldom that the administrative concern leads many [leaders] of charitable agencies to focus principally or even perhaps exclusively on the second part. Such a focus would be to grossly ignore the fundamental vision of the author.

It is not by accident that Pope Benedict, through this fantastic text about God as the source, lays down the foundation for the incontestable criteria of all charitable love. What is more: clearly, in the cultural context, he would like to establish the strongly felt love of neighbor as a way to bring contemporary man closer again to the love of God.

In his preaching, hardly an occasion goes by that he does not attempt to reach his listeners through proclaiming this love for God, the Father of Jesus Christ. Just a few weeks ago on Palm Sunday, I was in St. Peter’s Square when the Pope made exactly this point in his homily. He spoke of how Jesus entered Jerusalem and cleansed the temple atrium, where the pagans gathered, of the animal vendors and moneychangers who had occupied the place of prayer with their own business.

From this episode, Pope Benedict draws a parallel with the atria of faith today where non-Christians look for an answer to the deepest longings of their hearts. “Is our faith pure and open enough,” he asks, “so that on this basis even the ‘pagans,’ the people who today are seeking and questioning, can glimpse the light of the one God, join in our prayer in the atria of faith, and through their questioning, perhaps, become worshipers themselves? Are we aware of how greed and idolatry affect even our own hearts and way of life?”

And then the Pope turns yet again to Jesus’ saving deeds, good works that infallibly point to God even when everything else seems hopeless. “Immediately after Jesus’ words about the house of prayer for all peoples, the evangelist [Matthew] continues in this way: ‘The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them.’

“To the selling of animals and the business of the moneychangers, Jesus opposes his own healing goodness. This is the true purification of the temple … Jesus comes with the gift of healing. He dedicates himself to those who because of their infirmity are driven to the extremes of their life and to the margin of society. Jesus shows God as he who loves, and his power as the power of love.”

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The Splendor of Charity
Cardinal Cordes on “Deus Caritas Est”

LEEDS, England, MAY 4, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- The text of the April 7 address given by Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, to the spring meeting of the bishops’ council of England and Wales, can be found on the ZENIT Web page: www.zenit.org/article-22486?l=english .

The talk is titled “‘Deus Caritas Est’: The Splendor of Charity.”

Filed under: Caritas, Cor Unum, Social Doctrine

Pope: Trinity Reflected in Solidarity, Subsidiarity


Urges Social Sciences Academy to See Principles’ Link to God

VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- Faith in the Trinity enlightens the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity proposed by Catholic social doctrine, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this Saturday when he addressed participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Their meeting is focused on “Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together.” It began Friday and continues through Tuesday.

“How can solidarity and subsidiarity work together in the pursuit of the common good in a way that not only respects human dignity, but allows it to flourish?” the Holy Father asked. “This is the heart of the matter which concerns you.”

And though certain elements can help to understand these concepts, he said, “the solidarity that binds the human family, and the subsidiary levels reinforcing it from within, must however always be placed within the horizon of the mysterious life of the Triune God, in whom we perceive an ineffable love shared by equal, though nonetheless distinct, Persons.”

He continued: “My friends, I invite you to allow this fundamental truth to permeate your reflections: not only in the sense that the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are undoubtedly enriched by our belief in the Trinity, but particularly in the sense that these principles have the potential to place men and women on the path to discovering their definitive, supernatural destiny.

“The natural human inclination to live in community is confirmed and transformed by the ‘oneness of Spirit,’ which God has bestowed upon his adopted sons and daughters.

“Consequently, the responsibility of Christians to work for peace and justice, their irrevocable commitment to build up the common good, is inseparable from their mission to proclaim the gift of eternal life to which God has called every man and woman.”

Serving all people

Benedict XVI explained that with faith, it is possible to see that “the heavenly and earthly cities interpenetrate and are intrinsically ordered to one another, inasmuch as they both belong to God the Father.”

“At the same time,” he continued, “faith places into sharper focus the due autonomy of earthly affairs, insofar as they are ‘endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order.'”

The Pope affirmed to the pontifical academy that “you can be assured that your discussions will be of service to all people of good will, while simultaneously inspiring Christians to embrace more readily their obligation to enhance solidarity with and among their fellow citizens, and to act upon the principle of subsidiarity by promoting family life, voluntary associations, private initiative, and a public order that facilitates the healthy functioning of society’s most basic communities.”

Horizontal and vertical

The Holy Father further noted that the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are not simply “horizontal.”

“They both have an essentially vertical dimension,” he said. “[T]rue solidarity — though it begins with an acknowledgment of the equal worth of the other — comes to fulfillment only when I willingly place my life at the service of the other. Herein lies the ‘vertical’ dimension of solidarity: I am moved to make myself less than the other so as to minister to his or her needs.”

“Similarly, subsidiarity,” the Pontiff continued, “insofar as it encourages men and women to enter freely into life-giving relationships with those to whom they are most closely connected and upon whom they most immediately depend, and demands of higher authorities respect for these relationships — manifests a ‘vertical’ dimension pointing toward the Creator of the social order.”

“When those responsible for the public good attune themselves to the natural human desire for self-governance based on subsidiarity,” he added, “they leave space for individual responsibility and initiative, but most importantly, they leave space for love, which always remains ‘the most excellent way.”

“As you strive to articulate the ways in which men and women can best promote the common good, I encourage you to survey both the ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ dimensions of solidarity and subsidiarity,” the Pope concluded. “In this way, you will be able to propose more effective ways of resolving the manifold problems besetting mankind at the threshold of the third millennium, while also bearing witness to the primacy of love, which transcends and fulfills justice as it draws mankind into the very life of God.”

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Papal Address to Social Sciences Academy
“The Heavenly and Earthly Cities Interpenetrate”

VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- Here is the text of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday to the participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The meeting is focused on “Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together.” It began Friday and continues through Tuesday.

* * *

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to have this occasion to meet with you as you gather for the fourteenth Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Over the last two decades, the Academy has offered a valuable contribution to the deepening and development of the Church’s social doctrine and its application in the areas of law, economics, politics and the various other social sciences. I thank Professor Margaret Archer for her kind words of greeting, and I express my sincere appreciation to all of you for your commitment to research, dialogue and teaching, so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may continue to shed light on the complex situations arising in a rapidly changing world.

In choosing the theme Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together, you have decided to examine the interrelationships between four fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity and solidarity (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 160-163). These key realities, which emerge from the living contact between the Gospel and concrete social circumstances, offer a framework for viewing and addressing the imperatives facing mankind at the dawn of the twenty-first century, such as reducing inequalities in the distribution of goods, expanding opportunities for education, fostering sustainable growth and development, and protecting the environment.

How can solidarity and subsidiarity work together in the pursuit of the common good in a way that not only respects human dignity, but allows it to flourish? This is the heart of the matter which concerns you. As your preliminary discussions have already revealed, a satisfactory answer can only surface after careful examination of the meaning of the terms (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Chapter 4). Human dignity is the intrinsic value of a person created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by Christ. The totality of social conditions allowing persons to achieve their communal and individual fulfilment is known as the common good . Solidarity refers to the virtue enabling the human family to share fully the treasure of material and spiritual goods, and subsidiarity is the coordination of society’s activities in a way that supports the internal life of the local communities.

Yet definitions are only the beginning. What is more, these definitions are adequately grasped only when linked organically to one another and seen as mutually supportive of one another. We can initially sketch the interconnections between these four principles by placing the dignity of the person at the intersection of two axes: one horizontal, representing “solidarity” and “subsidiarity”, and one vertical, representing the “common good”. This creates a field upon which we can plot the various points of Catholic social teaching that give shape to the common good.

Though this graphic analogy gives us a rudimentary picture of how these fundamental principles imply one another and are necessarily interwoven, we know that the reality is much more complex. Indeed, the unfathomable depths of the human person and mankind’s marvellous capacity for spiritual communion – realities which are fully disclosed only through divine revelation – far exceed the capacity of schematic representation. The solidarity that binds the human family, and the subsidiary levels reinforcing it from within, must however always be placed within the horizon of the mysterious life of the Triune God (cf. Jn 5:26; 6:57), in whom we perceive an ineffable love shared by equal, though nonetheless distinct, persons (cf. Summa Theologiae, I, q. 42).

My friends, I invite you to allow this fundamental truth to permeate your reflections: not only in the sense that the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are undoubtedly enriched by our belief in the Trinity, but particularly in the sense that these principles have the potential to place men and women on the path to discovering their definitive, supernatural destiny. The natural human inclination to live in community is confirmed and transformed by the “oneness of Spirit” which God has bestowed upon his adopted sons and daughters (cf. Eph 4:3; 1 Pet 3:8). Consequently, the responsibility of Christians to work for peace and justice, their irrevocable commitment to build up the common good, is inseparable from their mission to proclaim the gift of eternal life to which God has called every man and woman. In this regard, the tranquillitas ordinis of which Saint Augustine speaks refers to “ all things”: that is to say both “civil peace”, which is a “concord among citizens”, and the “peace of the heavenly city”, which is the “perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God” ( De Civitate Dei, XIX, 13).

The eyes of faith permit us to see that the heavenly and earthly cities interpenetrate and are intrinsically ordered to one another, inasmuch as they both belong to God the Father, who is “above all and through all and in all” ( Eph 4:6). At the same time, faith places into sharper focus the due autonomy of earthly affairs, insofar as they are “endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order” ( Gaudium et Spes, 36). Hence, you can be assured that your discussions will be of service to all people of good will, while simultaneously inspiring Christians to embrace more readily their obligation to enhance solidarity with and among their fellow citizens, and to act upon the principle of subsidiarity by promoting family life, voluntary associations, private initiative, and a public order that facilitates the healthy functioning of society’s most basic communities (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 187).

When we examine the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity in the light of the Gospel, we realize that they are not simply “horizontal”: they both have an essentially vertical dimension. Jesus commands us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (cf. Lk 6:31); to love our neighbour as ourselves (cf. Mat 22:35). These laws are inscribed by the Creator in man’s very nature (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 31). Jesus teaches that this love calls us to lay down our lives for the good of others (cf. Jn 15:12-13). In this sense, true solidarity – though it begins with an acknowledgment of the equal worth of the other – comes to fulfilment only when I willingly place my life at the service of the other (cf. Eph 6:21). Herein lies the “vertical” dimension of solidarity: I am moved to make myself less than the other so as to minister to his or her needs (cf. Jn 13:14-15), just as Jesus “humbled himself” so as to give men and women a share in his divine life with the Father and the Spirit (cf. Phil 2:8; Mat 23:12).

Similarly, subsidiarity – insofar as it encourages men and women to enter freely into life-giving relationships with those to whom they are most closely connected and upon whom they most immediately depend, and demands of higher authorities respect for these relationships – manifests a “vertical” dimension pointing towards the Creator of the social order (cf. Rom 12:16, 18). A society that honours the principle of subsidiarity liberates people from a sense of despondency and hopelessness, granting them the freedom to engage with one another in the spheres of commerce, politics and culture (cf. Quadragesimo Anno, 80). When those responsible for the public good attune themselves to the natural human desire for self-governance based on subsidiarity, they leave space for individual responsibility and initiative, but most importantly, they leave space for love (cf. Rom 13:8; Deus Caritas Est, 28), which always remains “the most excellent way” (cf. 1 Cor 12:31).

In revealing the Father’s love, Jesus has taught us not only how to live as brothers and sisters here on earth; he has shown us that he himself is the way to perfect communion with one another and with God in the world to come, since it is through him that “we have access in one Spirit to the Father” (cf. Eph 2:18). As you strive to articulate the ways in which men and women can best promote the common good, I encourage you to survey both the “vertical” and “horizontal” dimensions of solidarity and subsidiarity. In this way, you will be able to propose more effective ways of resolving the manifold problems besetting mankind at the threshold of the third millennium, while also bearing witness to the primacy of love, which transcends and fulfils justice as it draws mankind into the very life of God (cf. Message for the 2004 World Day of Peace ).

With these sentiments, I assure you of my prayers, and I cordially extend my Apostolic Blessing to you and your loved ones as a pledge of peace and joy in the Risen Lord.

Filed under: Papal Teachings, Social Doctrine, Social Justice

Media Council Note Leads Up to World Communications Day

Prelate: Truth-Seeking Is Path to Communion

VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications is reiterating Benedict XVI’s call for an “info-ethics.”

Archbishop Claudio Celli made this invitation in a commentary distributed by the pontifical council on the Pope’s message for World Communications Day.

The world day will be celebrated this Sunday.

The Holy Father’s message notes that there are many people who now see a need for info-ethics, similar to bioethics in the field of medicine and scientific investigation.

According to Archbishop Celli, Benedict XVI’s words “put us on the alert even more because social communications are profoundly linked to man, and therefore, they invite us to zealously defend the human person in every respect and in everything that man is and is called to be.”

“They are certainly words that encourage us. If the media is a challenge, it is before all else a challenge for human intelligence,” he said. “And the Church is not afraid of intelligence or of reason.”

If fact, Archbishop Celli, contended, “it can be affirmed that one who helps man to know himself and seek the truth encounters Christ.”

Fundamentally positive

The archbishop said the passage from John’s Gospel, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” is “a guide and help for facing the challenge that society directs today to communications media, to its operators and its receptors: the search for truth — which is possible to find — it is the path for communion between persons and peoples.”

Together with the commentary, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications distributed a “Brief Questionnaire on Info-Ethics.”

The statement’s seven questions and answers — which organize excerpts from previous documents — give a look at how the Church views the communications media and the role the Church should have in this field. It also looks at the growing use of the Internet and why there is a need for info-ethics.

“The Church’s approach to the means of social communication is fundamentally positive, encouraging,” the questionnaire affirms. “She does not simply stand in judgment and condemn; rather, she considers these instruments to be not only products of human genius but also great gifts of God and true signs of the times.”

However, the questionnaire continues, citing the Second Vatican Council, “If the media are to be correctly employed, it is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them faithfully in this domain.”

“A community, aware of the influence of the media, should learn to use them for personal and community growth, with the evangelical clarity and inner freedom of those who have learned to know Christ,” the questionnaire affirms.

It adds: “Like education in general, media education requires formation in the exercise of freedom. This is a demanding task. So often freedom is presented as a relentless search for pleasure or new experiences. Yet this is a condemnation not a liberation!

“True freedom could never condemn the individual — especially a child — to an insatiable quest for novelty. In the light of truth, authentic freedom is experienced as a definitive response to God’s ‘yes’ to humanity, calling us to choose, not indiscriminately but deliberately, all that is good, true and beautiful.”

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On the Net:

Benedict XVI’s message: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20080124_42nd-world-communications-day_en.html

Brief Questionnaire on Info-Ethics: www.pccs.it/Documenti/HTML/Eng/GMCS/sussidi/42_gmcs_info_eng.pdf

Filed under: Papal Teachings, Social Doctrine, Social Justice

Globalizing the Common Good

Social Sciences Academy Considers Subsidiarity, Solidarity

VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- The Vatican is considering how the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity can work together in a globalized pursuit of the common good.

Today in the Vatican press office, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences presented its plenary session on “Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together.” The meeting began today and continues through Tuesday.

Participating in the press conference were Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; Margaret Archer of the University of Warwick, England; and Pierpaolo Donati of the University of Bologna, Italy.

The goal of the assembly, explained an English-language note released for the press conference, “is to give new meaning and application to the concept of common good in this age of globalization, which in certain fields is leading to growing inequalities and social injustice, laceration and fragmentation of the social fabric, in short, to the destruction of common goods throughout the world.”

The note continued: “The main hypothesis on which scholars are called to exchange their views is that the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity can, unlike the compromises between socialism and liberalism, mobilize new social, economic and cultural forces of civil society which, within politically shared fundamental values, can generate those common goods on which the future of humanity depends.”

4 principles

During the plenary session, participants will study current radical changes in light of four fundamental principles of Catholic social doctrine: the dignity of the human person, common good, solidarity and subsidiarity.

With this study, they seek “to understand how and in what measure these principles are effectively applied, and to suggest new solutions where they are misconstrued, misunderstood, disobeyed or distorted.”

With this in mind, the pontifical academy plans to examine case studies where the interweaving of these principles has been successful.

The note mentions cases such as the “economy of communion” and the “Food Bank”; shared access to information goods on communication networks, specifically the Internet; subsidiary educational activities in developing countries; and third-sector organizations using the instrument of microcredit for social, economic and human development.

The note concluded by underlining how “the fundamental challenge” facing the assembly is that “once we acknowledge that the great deficit of modernity, which is nevertheless responsible for many social conquests, has been and still is social solidarity — at all levels, from local to global — it is a matter of seeing whether and how this deficit can be overcome by a new way of intending and practicing subsidiarity as a proactive, promotional principle, not only as a defensive, protective one.”

“In short,” the pontifical academy said, “the challenge is for a new combination of subsidiarity and solidarity to become the key to activate those social circuits on which common goods depend, the key to turn globalization into a ‘civilization of the common good.'”

Filed under: Social Doctrine, Social Justice