In a series of guest blogs on the National Catholic Register web site, Benjamin Wiker has been clearing up some key points of Catholic Social Teaching. In this one, he tackles the principle of solidarity. “Whereas the principle of subsidiarity is generally ignored,” he says, “the principle of solidarity is generally misunderstood.”
Solidarity, in emphasizing the concern for the poor, is often taken to imply the Church’s hearty affirmation of socialism and/or the welfare state. That is as much a mistake, as to assume that the Church’s affirmation of private property and economic initiative implies the Church’s hearty affirmation of liberal capitalism.
Solidarity does not equal socialism. To state the obvious — no mean achievement these days — the Church wouldn’t support a view of solidarity that violated subsidiarity, any more than she would affirm a view of “rights” that included the “right” to abortion.
So if solidarity isn’t socialism, what is it? To find out, read the whole article.