This is first in a short series of reruns of old columns which I wrote many years ago, as the fictional Professor Theophilus, in an online magazine for Christian college students.  Several people have been kind enough to say that my Ask Theophilus columns kept them sane in those days.


The usual reason offered for subsidiarity – but I am getting ahead of myself.  What is subsidiarity?  And why should you care?

Let me distinguish between the subsidiarist worldview and the subsidiarist rule.


In the classical view, a law should be changed, not whenever we can think of an improvement, but only when the improvement is great enough to offset the harm of change in itself.

A graduate student I once taught found this view baffling.  What could be bad about change?  Life changes.  That’s how it is.  That’s good.


First egg:  Progressive education

An advertisement for a private school in our neighborhood association newsletter reads as follows (remember, this is Austin):

No grades.

No homework.

No teachers.

Apply now.

Rolling admissions.

I notice that it doesn’t include “No tuition.”



Neuroscience sometimes explains the how of a fact we shouldn't have needed neuroscientists to tell us.  Often, though, the significance of the how is misunderstood.



This will sound nuts -- then again, maybe not?  I thought you could shine some light here if you have a moment or two.


I don’t like to write about things the hierarchy does badly, for fear of adding to the scandal by drawing attention to them.  It hardly seems possible any longer for Fiducia Supplicans to receive more attention than it already has, so in a small way, let me break my rule.  Once.  I hope.


C.S. Lewis didn’t write this as a New Year’s reflection, but it works.

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self -- all