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Subsidiarity

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It is impossible to promote the dignity of the person without showing concern for the family, groups, associations, and local realities -- in short, for those economic, social, cultural, recreational, professional and political communities to which people spontaneously give life and which make it possible for them to achieve effective social growth.vi The family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected. Supporting families should be a priority for economic and social policies. How our society is organized—in economics and politics, in law and public policy—affects the well-being of individuals and of society. Every person and association has a right and a duty to participate in shaping society to promote the well-being of individuals and the common good.

The principle of subsidiarity reminds us that larger institutions in society should not overwhelm or interfere with smaller or local institutions; yet larger institutions have essential responsibilities when the more local institutions cannot adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs, and advance the common good. vii


vii Centesimus Annus, no. 48; Dignitatis Humanae, nos. 4-6

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