Catechism of the Catholic Church

460 Part Three 1881 Each community is defined by its purpose and conse­ quently obeys specific rules; but “the human person . . .  is and ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions.” 4 1882 Certain societies, such as the family and the state, corre­ spond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him. To promote the participation of the greatest number in the life of a society, the creation of voluntary associations and institutions must be encouraged “on both national and international levels, which relate to economic and social goals, to cultural and recrea­ tional activities, to sport, to various professions, and to political affairs.” 5 This “ socialization ” also expresses the natural tendency for human beings to associate with one another for the sake of attain­ ing objectives that exceed individual capacities. It develops the qualities of the person, especially the sense of initiative and respon­ sibility, and helps guarantee his rights. 6 1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive interven­ tion by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. 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.” 7 1884 God has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence. 1885 The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of col­ lectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmo­ nizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order. 4 GS 25 § 1. 5 John XXIII, MM 60. 6 Cf. GS 25 § 2; CA 12. 7 CA 48 § 4; cf. Pius XI, Quadragesimo anno I, 184-186. 1929 1913 2431 307 302