The Principle of Subsidiarity

"...the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of the principle of subsidiarity. This implies the legitimacy and indeed the need of giving assistance to the parents, but finds its intrinsic and absolute limit in their prevailing right and their actual capabilities. The principle of subsidiarity is thus at the service of parental love, meeting the good of the family unit" (TMHS, 23).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good" (n. 1883).

Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World states, "By virtue of this principle the law of subsidiarity), the State (or anyone else) cannot and must not take away from families the functions that they can just as well perform on their own or in free associations; instead it must positively favor and encourage as far as possible responsible initiative by families. In the conviction that the good of the family is an indispensable and essential value of the civil (or church) community, the public (or church) authorities must do everything possible to ensure that families have all those aids-economic, social, educational, political and cultural assistance that they need in order to face all their responsibilities in a human way" (Familiaris Consortio, 45).