The subsidiarity
Every human person has the right and the duty to be the lead author of his development but he needs the help of others

The foundation of the principle of subsidiarity lies in the centrality of man in society

Author: Dr. Jorge A. Palma | Source:

The subsidiarity
Every human person has the right and the duty to be the lead author of his development but he needs the help of others 
The foundation of the principle of subsidiarity lies in the centrality of man in society (CA, N. 54). Each human person has the right and the duty to be the lead author of his development (MM, N. 59) But he needs the help of others to carry it out. Therefore, the authority must endeavor to establish living conditions that allow each man and every woman a comprehensive development, in all possible areas, by encouraging and stimulating personal initiatives respectful of the common good; it must coordinate and order these initiatives in the whole of the common good; it must be supplied and supplemented when common needs exceed the possibilities of individuals and intermediate societies. But it should not prevent or supplant the initiative and responsibility of its members. 
A.  Nature
"A higher social structure should not interfere with the internal life of a lower-order social group, depriving of its competencies, but rather must support it if necessary and help it coordinate its action with that of the other social components, with a view to the Common Good "(CIC, N. 1883. CA, N. 48). 
"Just as it is not lawful to remove individuals and transfer to the community what they can do with their effort and initiative, nor is it fair, constituting a serious detriment and disturbance of the social order, to remove the minor communities and Inferior what they can do and offer for themselves, and give it to a higher and higher society, since any action of society, by virtue of its strength and nature, must assist the members of the social body, but not destroy and absorb them "( QA, N. 79). 
"God has not wanted to retain for him only the exercise of all powers. It gives to each creature the functions that it can exert, according to the capacities of its nature. This mode of government must be imitated in social life. God's behavior in the government of the world, which manifests so much respect for human freedom, must inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. These must behave as ministers of divine providence "(CIC, N. 1883-1885). 
The object of this principle is to safeguard the dignity of people. The ultimate cause is the Common Good and not efficiency. The person is the most worthy of creation. Therefore, the development of the person should be encouraged as long as it does not endanger the development of others or the Common Good; and if it cannot do so, intermediate societies or the State of subsidiarity must intervene. 
The sociability of man is manifested in small groups (intermediate societies) and the great society or political Society (State). The companies, by the transmission of the property of free of their members, must have freedom of action. And only when their efforts fail to achieve their goals, the larger society (which for such purposes tends to have more resources) may act in a subsidiary. That is, not definitively absorbing the inferior society and exercising indefinitely such activities, but first, taking charge of the activity for some time (short and determined). 
We're talking about supplying, which is different from replacing. And, secondly, during that time it will have to attend to the development of the individuals so that they can return to take over the activity. That is to say, promote. 
Any activity must be carried out by individuals or minor associations and only when they cannot do it well, a larger association must do so. When the associations intervene the basis is the justice: to give to each one what corresponds. It is just that a smaller society does what it can do well. It is unfair for a larger society to do what a child can do well. It is just that a larger society does what a lesser society cannot do. 
This principle can be broken down into three postulates: 
(1) "The person and the minor communities or social groups must have the necessary autonomy to be able to carry out for themselves the purposes and activities of which they are capable. 
(2) The higher communities must assist the particular initiative of those who operate under their authority, without destroying or absorbing them. 
(3) Higher societies must supply the deficiencies of persons and minor communities, as long as their capacity is insufficient to promote the common good and as long as such a situation persists "(HERVADA, J., Principles of Social Doctrine of the Church, foll. MC, N. 382, Madrid 1984, p. 18).
B. Principle of subsidiarity and its foundation in human freedom 
Subsidiarity should be seen as a complement to solidarity, protects the human person, local communities and "intermediate groups" from the danger of losing their legitimate autonomy. The fair application of this principle by virtue of the dignity of the human person guarantees respect for what is more human in the organization of social life (cf. QA, N. 203; PT, N. 294; LE: AAS 73 (1981) 616; LC, N. 73: AAS 79 (1987) 586), and safeguards the rights of peoples in relations between private societies and universal society. It protects the individual and the intermediate groups against the possible tendency to the "teaching State", "benefactor" or "businessman". It avoids those who send the temptation to think that they know better what is good for their subjects, and not only know it, but they can do better. On the other hand, it stimulates the citizens not to be carried away by the comfort that prefers to expect everything of the authorities, avoids the accumulation of power and respects the necessary flexibility for the true freedom of choice and finally makes possible the solidarity without falling into socialist structures. 
"Individuals, the more helpless they are in a society the more they need the support and care of others, in particular, the intervention of the public authority" (CA, N. 10); This text represents the exact bridge of the principle of solidarity with that of subsidiarity by talking about the support and care and the intervention "in particular of the public authority". According to the concept of authority as the essential constituent of society, subsidiarity is the proper way of living solidarity on the part of the authority. It is the right way to exercise authority as an ethical duty, i.e. as a service, while respecting its limits. 
Let us put the paradigmatic example of the father of the family (from the theological point of view, the real and original paradigm would be God as long as he is Father). The example is good because at least the feeling of solidarity is insured in the majority when it comes to the family institution, given the existential proximity. Consider authoritarian and permissive parents, overprotective ("paternalists") and carefree; where they help and promote their children, or those who substitute and disable them, etc.
The same can be said of any person, organism, institution or intermediate society in respect of their inferiors. The essential nature of subsidiarity is service and aid, promotional aid. 
"The principle of subsidiarity requires the articulation between person and community. According to this principle, every organized society should put men in a position to personally participate in the building of the Community [...] Thus appears the sense of the strange word "subsidiarity": it recognizes the Latin term subsidies, which means help "(SCHOOYANS, M, the dignity of the human person: basic principle of the Social Doctrine of the Church, in the XII Internal Symposium of Theology, Pamplona, April 1991). 
C. Principle of subsidiarity and State 
Every human society has always had because it requires the condition of men, some kind of government that regulates and coordinates the activities of its members. This government has varied with places and times until it reaches very complex forms in the modern State, which has spread its sphere of action enormously. However, it cannot be forgotten that "the sociability of man is not exhausted in the State, but is carried out in various intermediate groups, starting with the family and following the economic, social, political and cultural groups, which, as they come from the same human nature, they have their autonomy, without leaving the realm of the Common Good "(CA, N. 13). 
According to the principle of subsidiarity, the state "has the responsibility to ensure the Common Good and to take care that all spheres of social life, without excluding economic, contribute to promote it, naturally in respect due to the just autonomy of each one of them "(CA, N. 11). The mission of the State is to promote, help and, when necessary, to supply the Citizens' initiative (the latter provisionally, with the idea of promoting the corresponding initiative). 
"This, however, does not authorize to think that [...] the whole solution of the social issue must come from the state. On the contrary, it insists several times on the necessary limits of the intervention of the State and its instrumental character, since the individual, the family, and the society are before him and the State itself exists to protect the rights of that one and these , and not to suffocate them "(CA, N. 11).
"The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It draws the limits of State intervention. It tries to harmonize the relations between individuals and society. It tends to establish a truly international order "(CIC, N. 1885). 
Overprotection by the State (the same as authoritarianism) would end up destroying social responsibility and thus true solidarity. 
"There has been no shortage of excesses and abuses which, especially in the most recent years, have provoked harsh criticism of that welfare State, qualified as a welfare State. Deficiencies and abuses of the same result from an inadequate understanding of the State's duties. The principle of subsidiarity must also be respected in this area "(CA, N. 48). 
It should never be forgotten that the moral duty of solidarity is an earlier budget to the principle of subsidiarity; "Another concern of the State is to monitor and channel the exercise of human rights in the economic sector; but in this field the first responsibility is not of the State, but of each person and of the various groups and associations in which the society is articulated "(MM, N. 55). The State must ensure the expansion of the free initiative of individuals, "safeguarding, however, unbowed the essential rights of the human person. Among these must include the right and the obligation that each person corresponds to be normally the first responsible for their maintenance and that of their family, which implies that economic systems allow and facilitate each citizen the free and useful exercise of production activities "(MM, N. 55). 
When solidarity, responsibility or civic sense does not exist, they are supplemented by mutual distrust between those who hold authority and the inferior ones, which make the straight application of subsidiarity impossible.
D. Principle of subsidiarity and international relations 
The principle of subsidiarity also governs relations between the public authorities of the singular political communities and the public power of the world community (PT, N. 48. In this context, the public power of the community world is understood to be the group of bodies which, with greater or lesser efficacy, are capable of influencing the network of reciprocal relations of nations. After encouraging national governments to create and develop such institutions, the Magisterium has shown that the public powers of the world community must confront and solve economic, social, political and cultural problems that the universal Common Good demands; problems which, due to their magnitude, complexity, and urgency, the public powers of the singular political communities are not in a position to resolve in a proper way (ibid.). Similarly to what happens within a nation, the public powers of the world community are not intended to limit the sphere of action of the public authorities of the singular political communities, and so much less to replace them; they have instead the mission of contributing to the creation at the global level of an environment in which national governments, respective citizens and intermediate bodies can develop their functions, fulfill their duties and exercise their rights more securely ( Ibid.). 
"Just as in each State it is necessary that the relations between the public authority and the citizens, the families and the intermediate groups, be regulated and governed by the principle of the subsidiary action, it is fair that the relations between the public authority the world and the public authorities of each nation are regulated and governed by the same principle. This means that the mission of this world authority is to examine and resolve problems related to the universal Common Good in the economic, social, political or cultural order, since these problems, due to their extreme gravity, extraordinary breadth, and Immediate urgency, they have greater difficulties than the rulers of each nation can successfully resolve. That is to say, it does not correspond to this world authority to limit the sphere of action or to invade the competence of the public authority of each State. On the contrary, the world authority should ensure that around the world an environment is created within which not only the public authorities of each nation but also individuals and intermediate groups, can more safely perform their functions, fulfill their duties and defending their rights "(PT, N. 140-141). 
All of this shows the responsibility of all the nations, especially the most developed, to contribute to the creation and promotion of such supranational structures that can facilitate the development and economic and social progress of the diverse peoples.
E. Family and education 
The State bodies have to live the principle of subsidiarity, particularly in terms of family. The family and society fulfill a complementary role in the defense and promotion of the good of all men and every man. The society and more specifically the state must recognize that the family is "a society that enjoys a right of it's own and paramount and, therefore, about the family are obliged to stick by the principle of subsidiarity. 
By this principle, the State cannot and should not subtract from the families those functions which they can develop well by themselves, either alone or freely associated. The State should rather positively favor and request the fullest of the family-responsible initiative. Convinced that the good of families constitutes an essential and indispensable value of the civil community, the public authorities must do the possible to provide families with all those necessary economic, social, educational, political, cultural to confront all their responsibilities in a human way "(John Paul II, Exhort. Apost. Familiaris Consortio, 22 XI 1981, N. 45). 
This principle finds special application in the field of education since the State must provide families and intermediate societies with the creation and management of educational institutions that are by the training, ethical and religious ideals of the parents. "The public power, to whom it is appropriate to protect and defend the freedoms of the citizens, attending to the distributive justice must seek to distribute the public subsidies so that the parents can choose with true freedom, according to their conscience, schools for their children "(Vatican Council II, Decl. Gravissimum Educationis, N. 6, 40). 
This is a fundamental right, in which the public authority must respect and protect through appropriate laws (cf. FC, N. 22). "It is a great mistake, perhaps the result of the deformed mentality of some, to pretend that the teaching [...] is an exclusive right of the State: first, because this seriously injures the right of the parents and the Church (cf. Pius XI, Litt. Enc. Divini Illius Magisters, 31 XII 1929); and also, because teaching is a sector, like many others of social life, in which citizens have the right to exercise freely their activity, if they wish and with the proper guarantees in order to the Common Good "(San Josemaria Escrivá, Letter, 2 X 1939 , N. 8.). 
F. Erroneous interpretations of the principle of subsidiarity 
Both the liberalism that holds that everything has to be done by individuals, such as Marxism for which everything is to be developed by the State violates this principle.

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