Subsidiarity is really important, whether or not you call it that

If I abdicate my direct responsibilities, I will end up placing a heavier burden on those with indirect responsibilities — forcing them to play a more direct role. If I neglect my indirect responsibilities, I will end up placing a heavier burden on those who bear a more direct responsibility — possibly causing them to fall under the weight of it. [Read more…]

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Ben Carson does not understand subsidiarity

Undefined, undifferentiated pronouns are always the hallmark of someone who doesn’t understand subsidiarity. Define and differentiate those antecedents and you begin to appreciate the inescapable necessity of subsidiarity, the bonds of mutuality and the direct and indirect functions that all have in relationship to all. Ben Carson shows us the alternative to that — which involves teaching babies to change their own diapers. [Read more…]

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Proximity, affinity, and mutuality

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” the epistle says. But anywhere and everywhere are beyond my finite ability to comprehend, to act or to pay attention. Fortunately, the letter continues, and the following sentences point toward something that can help us to move beyond the prejudices of our affinities or the paralysis of our finitude. [Read more…]

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It’s not hypocrisy, it’s a contemptuous distrust

Here we have a choice that — according to the pope himself — can be made for either good or bad reasons. As a spiritual leader, then, the pope has a choice to make about this choice. One possibility would be for him to teach and encourage his followers to make good choices for good reasons. Another possibility would be for him to preclude the possibility of his followers making bad choices by arrogating to himself the right to make this choice on behalf of everyone else. And he chose the second one. That is immoral and unjust. [Read more…]

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And just when I’d grown colder

I ask for help casting the movie based on televangelist Paul Crouch’s FBI file. Plus: affirmative consent, advertising upselling, the Devil’s advocacy, 15 yards for a Muslim Tebow, convertible grace, and subsidiarity — it’s on us. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (9.1)

Peter Goodwin Heltzel and Mary McClintock Fulkerson reflect on Willie James Jennings’ “The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.” Sarah Stillman on how the expanding for-profit justice system is becoming a poor tax. Bryce Covert on how opposition to day care helped to create the religious right. [Read more…]

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Time for the ‘let the churches handle it’ crowd to fish or get off the pot: 1.3 million unemployed lose their lifeline

Many of the people advocating this theory are religious leaders — church people who criticize government for not “allowing” the churches room to care for the poor and the jobless through private charity. Here’s their chance to put their money where their mouth is. Here’s their chance to prove they’ve been speaking truth and not just spouting hateful anti-poor garbage. Let’s see these religious leaders step up and replace federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million families. [Read more…]

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Haiti should not be the model for America’s future

What would it mean to do what they’re suggesting? What would it look like if we took government out of the picture, “liberating” health care, education and assistance for the poor from the hands of government and leaving it entirely up to the free market and to churches and private charities? As it happens, this is not a hypothetical question. We know precisely what this would look like because we have a model of precisely this kind of society: Haiti. [Read more…]

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