Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Pope John Paul II. As I was reflecting on the life and teachings of this great saint, I found myself pondering his wisdom on the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity.
If you are new to this idea, let me share with you a beautiful explanation from our Kolbe Academy Handbook: “The principle of subsidiarity states that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization that can be done as well or better by a smaller and simpler organization. It is the goal of Kolbe Academy Homeschool to encourage every home-schooling family to be independent, self-reliant, and totally confident in the education of their children in the home. Kolbe Academy understands and appreciates that parents, in making the decision to homeschool, have chosen to embrace that responsibility.”
In Catechesi tradendae (1979) John Paul II says that education must be focused on “the search for a society with greater solidarity and fraternity, the fight for justice and the building of peace.” Parents who educate their children at home, then, have the duty to teach principles of social justice and promotion of the common good. They must remain linked in solidarity with the broader church and society and endeavor to promote the general welfare and the improvement of society in whatever way they can (Kenneth Garcia, University of Notre Dame).
Together, the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity provide a means for teaching our children to be virtuous and compassionate people. As John Paul II once said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” What a challenging, yet beautiful calling!