As the Italians would say, Magari! If only it were as simple as flipping a switch in Rome, and all would be well. Catholicism, however, is a remarkably decentralized system with regard to everything other than doctrine.
In other words, forget about Roma locuta est, causa finita est! Ironically, the recent sexual abuse crises brought a clamor for more control over bishops, on the part of many who would like to see no Vatican control at all. Subsidiarity is a long-standing principle in the Catholic doctrine of social justice. The principle of subsidiarity has also been frequently invoked in the secular sphere, in regard to conduct of state and local governments, corporations, etc. Justice William O. Douglas applied the principle to industries and corporations in the U.
It should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men. The fact that they are not vicious men but respectable and social minded is irrelevant. It is interesting that this secular and ecclesiastical principle also has theological counterparts — if we consider subsidiarity in the larger sense, i.
“Heaven and Everything Else”
Thomas Aquinas, following Gregory the Great and Pseudo-Dionysius in their descriptions of the ordering and interrelationships of the nine choirs of angels, discusses the ways in which the higher orders share insights and coordinate the operations of divine providence with the lower orders. According to Catholic tradition, angels are not only entrusted with the care of each individual human being at birth, but also assigned to parishes, cities, and nations. It happens sometimes that in various dominions, or in various individuals, pros and cons obtain….
One could argue that one of the most significant cases of subsidiarity in creation was biological evolution, in which, not leaving everything to chance, the Creator artistically coordinated the inborn tendencies of all creatures, freely expressed according to their natures, over billions of years, to bring about the creation of Adam.
In the modern era, the development of Catholic social doctrine, including the principle of subsidiarity itself, seems to be the result of such a groundswell. The fact that contraception, abortion, gay marriage, etc. We get a distinct image of the kind of modern man or woman whom Lieberman hopes to influence. Two problems seem to plague this person.
No Fear Shakespeare: Hamlet: Act 2 Scene 2 Page 21
One is enslavement to the gadgetry of modern communications. The second, to some extent tied to the first, is the importance of building deep, satisfying family relations—and fear of failure in this area.
It is an achievement all the more admirable because he is a leader with many demands on his attention. Even non-Jews, he suggests, might benefit from living close enough to walk to their houses of worship, as Jews must do on the Sabbath.
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Nonetheless, one can raise three skeptical questions. First, as we all know, the day-of-rest ideals of domestic and communal togetherness do not appeal to all individuals, families, or communities. For the Jew, the laws of Sabbath must be obeyed, and the social practices that form around them are hard to avoid, even by those who are not attracted to or enchanted by them. We all know this, but we do not always factor in the gap between the ideal and the reality, a gap that more often than not is overcome only by the power of obligation rather than good intentions.
Second, at least in my experience, the beauty of the Sabbath and its restrictions grow with familiarity and habit. The songs, the food, the rhythm sustain us to the degree that we take them for granted. In truth, I did not feel quite this way fifty years ago: A lifetime of observance molds patterns of meaning and pleasure.
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It is not sufficient to adopt the Sabbath as one passing therapy among others. The day is an end in itself, not the means to other ends such as attaining inner peace or building strong relationships.
- “Heaven and Everything Else”.
- “Heaven and Everything Else” by Shalom Carmy | Articles | First Things!
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Discussions of the traditional Jewish Sabbath interest people these days, many of them non-Jews who confront the problems to which Lieberman alludes. They believe that something in the Sabbath idea and Sabbath reality can help them live more authentically in personal and social conditions that are difficult, and indeed often hostile to our best aspirations.
I am encouraged by such interest, especially when one does not edit out the burdensome facts. Of this I am certain: Recovering our intimate relation with God, building community with family and friends, and freeing ourselves from dependence on mechanical connectedness and informational flooding require patience, persistence, frequent inconvenience, occasional suffering, and the consciousness of being commanded. Close Login. Web Exclusives First Thoughts.
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