The human person must be the principle, subject and end of all social institutions



Any human society is a group of persons bound together by a principle of unity that goes beyond any individual member. A society is at once both spiritual and visible. It endures through time: it has a history and traditions, and it prepares for the future. One rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which we are a part and respect those in authority who have charge over the common good.


Of course each community has its own purposes and thus its own rules, but the Church teaches that the human person ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions. 

So, for example, money should not be the subject of society nor its end. If we hear a politician suggest that wealth creation is the goal of public policy then we should hesitate supporting them. Wealth creation isn’t bad per se, as long as it is a means only to the good of human persons. 

We should also be careful about supporting politicians whose policies seem to suggest that the state is more important than the human person (extreme socialism or communism is a form of this). And a further danger can be seen in promoting an ideology above the good of persons (e.g. some environmentalists promote population strategies which are at the expense of human persons).

So the principle of all human community is the human person, and its subject and its end.

Fr Ian

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