Human beings are social, and how we live together affects the dignity of the individual and the progress of our society. All persons are entitled to participate in community, and in decisions that affect their lives, and cannot be excluded for any reason.
The characteristic implication of subsidiarity is participation, which is expressed essentially in a series of activities by means of which the citizen, either as an individual or in association with others, whether directly or through representation, contributes to the cultural, economic, political and social life of a civil community to which he belongs. Participation is a duty to be fulfilled consciously by all, with responsibility and a view to the common good.
- Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No 189
Example in action:
Development and Peace is itself a member-driven, democratic organization. Members across Canada form Diocesan Councils who present resolutions at provincial meetings and elect from among themselves the National Council, which is the organization’s governing body. Abroad, we support grassroots organizations that work to empower communities. Some of our partners help local communities form cooperatives and unions, others educate communities about their legal rights where there is lack of access or judicial process, empowering communities to be the agents of their own development. Be it in long-term social change programs or emergency and reconstruction activities, the communities we work with are active participants in identifying their needs, proposing solutions, and implementing new ways of working. Participation can be lengthy, but it guarantees ownership of the process and of the results, and helps ensure sustainability.