Articles

Subsidiarity post-covid

Subsidiarity post-covid

“[I]t is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.” (Quadragesimo anno, 79).

In the current crisis, there is much talk of “policy reset”. Some of that talk seems strange. We have the most centralised health service in the Western world and it has not obviously performed better than healthcare services in other countries. The NHS has also moved infected people out of hospitals and into care homes with disastrous consequences. Despite that, reliable sources in the UK government seem to be suggesting that, following the crisis, there will be a move to centralise political control of the NHS further and also that the NHS will take control of social care from local authorities.

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Liberty in Education and Catholic Social Teaching

Liberty in Education and Catholic Social Teaching

The provision of public services by the government has always raised concerns about the respect for individual liberty. And in the case of education, this issue gets even more relevant. For being a vehicle of transmission of knowledge, education contributes not only to tackle ignorance and to increase the level of literacy of the population, but also to create and promote a common set of values and behaviour patterns. In this post we analyse the perspective of Catholic social teaching on the provision of education by the government.

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Government debt – a vacuum in Catholic social thought?

Until Debt tear us apart

The UK government has borrowed huge amounts of money to try to deal with the covid-19 crisis. Catholic social teaching and thought discusses the question of personal debt and poor-country government debt a great deal but, oddly, there is no systematic treatment of government debt more generally. Yet there are several ways in which government borrowing might be thought problematic. This post will deal with just one aspect of the problem – distributive justice.

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Statues – should they stay or should they go?

Statues - should they stay or should they go

In the late 1970s I lived in rooms in Oriel College, Oxford, a few metres from the infamous statue of Cecil Rhodes in the city’s High Street. I don’t recall the statue, or the smaller ones also on the wall (including Cardinal William Allen) ever being discussed. Rhodes was only at Oriel for one term in 1873, leaving a lot of money to the college and to the university, partly for the scholarships bearing his name. What does Catholic Social Teaching have to say about the statue’s future, and that of similar monuments?

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Elinor Ostrom and Catholic social thought

Elinor Ostrom

In this post, Philip Booth discusses how the language we use in debates can get in the way of agreement and how Catholics interested in environmental issues should study the work of Elinor Ostrom for inspiration.

In the last blogpost on this site, I wrote about the importance of private property rights for environmental conservation. But there is more to this debate. And sometimes semantics gets in the way of reaching a common understanding on these issues. My garden, for example, is private property and nobody would doubt that. However, a community of monks might care for their (possibly very large) grounds, farm, gardens, bee hives, and so on by holding it in common – though they still hold it privately in common. Indeed, property titles can be quite complex. Under English law, there will sometimes be restrictive covenants, nested leaseholder and freeholder arrangements and property held under trust (including by charities such as the National Trust) and many of these devices will be designed to ensure good outcomes when it comes to sustainability.

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