What is more important, society or the individual?
In God’s sight every individual matters in the first place as a person and only then as a social being.
Society can never be more important than the individual person. Men may never be means to a societal end. Nevertheless, social institutions such as the State and the family are necessary for the individual; they even correspond to his nature.
How can the individual be integrated into society in such a way that he nevertheless can develop freely?
The individual can develop freely in society if the “principle of subsidiarity” is observed.
The principle of subsidiarity, which was developed as part of Catholic Social Teaching, states: What individuals can accomplish by their own initiative and efforts should not be taken from them by a higher authority. A greater and higher social institution must not take over the duties of a subordinate organization and deprive it of its competence. Its purpose, rather, is to intervene in a subsidiary fashion (thus offering help) when individuals or smaller institutions find that a task is beyond them.