Fourth Reflection

Supported by Subsidiarity

Subsidiarity comes from the Latin word “subsidium”, “help, reserve“ and is a principle that promotes the development of individual skills and acceptance of one`s own responsibility. Thus all tasks are to be managed self-determined and self-directed as much as possible. The individual person or small group is to do what he/she/they can do at their level. When this isn`t possible or is very difficult, the higher levels of authority such as the state or the respective responsible persons are to support in managing the task.

In 1931, Pope Pius wrote: “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish through their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of the right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do by themselves. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.“ (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, 79)

What personal freedom is given here and what a positive conception of humankind! The individual person is entrusted to have this much strength within her/himself as she/he needs to cope well with her/his tasks and to give her/his input for building up a better world.
Let`s imagine two bowls one put into the other. The inmost shell is the individual person, me. I am filled first. What tasks I am entrusted with, I may and must take into my own hands. Only that which is too much for me, what makes me congested or causes me to fail may overflow intoanother larger bowl. It absorbs what overburdens me.

What else does this mean other than taking my own responsibility seriously, not making excuses for myself, developing my own talents, supporting one another in doing that, and yet be sure that I will be cushioned and experience support when and where I need it.


Just for thinking about:
How do I develop my own talents, and how do I support others in developing theirs?