Pacem In Terris 65-66: Harmony Between Public Authority’s Two Forms of Intervention

One serious drawback of the modern lobbying system::

65. The common welfare further demands that in their efforts to co-ordinate and protect, and their efforts to promote, the rights of citizens, the civil authorities preserve a delicate balance. An excessive concern for the rights of any particular individuals or groups might well result in the principal advantages of the State being in effect monopolized by these citizens. Or again, the absurd situation can arise where the civil authorities, while taking measures to protect the rights of citizens, themselves stand in the way of the full exercise of these rights. “For this principle must always be retained: that however extensive and far-reaching the influence of the State on the economy may be, it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom, while effectively guaranteeing the protection of everyone’s essential, personal rights.” (John XXIII’s encyclical letter Mater et Magistra, AAS 53 (1961) 415)

66. And the same principle must be adopted by civil authorities in their various efforts to facilitate the exercise of rights and performance of duties in every department of social life.

Applying the important question: When is help not helpful? Discerning parents know it. Skilled teachers practice it. The key intervention here is not to “give” someone something, but rather to facilitate a person’s or group’s ability to “augment” the experience of being more fully human.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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