FROM THE ACTON INSITITUTE (excerpts):
One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.
This is why Pope John Paul II took the social assistance state to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.
In spite of this clear warning, the United States Catholic Bishops remain staunch defenders of a statist approach to social problems. They have publicly criticized recent congressional efforts to reform the welfare system by decentralizing it and removing its perverse incentives. Their opposition to the Clinton Administrations health care plan was based solely upon its inclusion of abortion funding. They had no fundamental objection to a takeover of the health care industry by the federal government.
Thank you, that is excellent information to have on hand