Is Paul Ryan's application of the Catholic principle of subsidiarity to proposed cuts in 
the US budget really CATHOLIC?

Kevin Clarke writes & speaks about Catholic issues. 
  • Currently the senior editor & chief correspondent of America Magazine.
  • Author of "Oscar Romero: Love Must Win Out" (Liturgical Press). 
  • Past editor and contributor to Salt of the Earth magazine. 
  • Former senior editor, columnist & web content manager for U.S. Catholic magazine &
  • He continues to serve as the “Margin Notes” columnist for U.S. Catholic.
  • Clarke has frequently been honored by the Associated Church Press and the Catholic Press Association for his opinion and feature writing and has been recognized by Catholic Relief Services for his reporting on international issues. 
  • In addition to America, SOTE and U.S. Catholic, his work has appeared in the The Washington Post,, Sojourners, The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Reader
Kevin Clarke
Senior Editor & Chief Correspondent
America Magazine
They cast a cold eye on most social programs, viewing them as too costly and burdensome for the taxpayer. Their rationale for this approach is that promoting people's self reliance must be the paramount policy consideration, that citizens must be encouraged to develop a modern version of the frontier mentality by finding ways to fend for themselves. From this perspective, poor people should look to local community and church organizations - not government - for support.
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On Sunday, Oct 16, 2016, Kevin Clarke presented an intriguing look at "Ryan Economics & Catholicism". Are Paul Ryan's US budget cuts based on the Catholic principle of subsidiarity really CATHOLIC? Conservatives frequently point to the Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity to support their arguments for limiting the power of big government, their worst bugbear. The decentralization of political power is at the heart of understanding this principle; advocates for subsidiarity claim that societal decisions ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest and least centralized authority. 
Paul Ryan, the House Republican leader, a practicing Catholic, has pointed to this principle to justify major cutbacks by the federal government for programs that help the most vulnerable members of society. In his budget, he proposes to reduce funding for every federal program for the poor, moving the responsibility to local government or, better still, to community or charitable organizations.
  Kevin Clarke spoke about a different Catholic understanding of subsidiarity, highlighting the primacy of promoting the common good in economic policies and stressing the central importance of a preferential option for the poor in all budgetary matters.

For a written copy of this presentation, please click here.