Blithe Spirit

Assorted Jesuits, Jesuit university teachers, and other liberal Catholics DO NOT LIKE Rep. Paul Ryan’s citing Catholic teaching in support of his budget.

Among his sins surely would be his embracing the long-ignored principle of subsidiarity, which says big organizations or governmental entities should butt out of matters better handled by smaller ones. 

In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.

No surprise here: A Jesuit history prof at a large Jesuit university told me 20 years ago that the principle no longer had currency.  If it did, one might add, big government would not be considered the cure-all it is treated as today.

It was Dorothy Day, I believe, who referred ironically to “holy mother the state.”  It’s a good phrase for today’s feckless reverence for big…

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About Jim Bowman
Jim Bowman covered religion 1968-78 for the Chicago Daily News, since then has written books, articles, etc., mostly on corporate history but also on religion (Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968), and more recently on politics (Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters, -- Lulu.com, Kindle). Longtime Oak Park, Illinois, resident, he lives now on Chicago's North Side, where four of his and Winnie's six children live close by.

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