Date of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Type


Degree Name

MADI Diplomacy & International Relations




Civil law, Common law, European law, Law, Religion Law


This article seeks to justify an examination of subsidiarity's development within Catholicism. Due to the fact that the European Union ["EU"] codified subsidiarity via the Treaty of Maastricht, subsidiarity is now a part of EU law. Although seemingly intended to resolve questions concerning the proper allocation of powers, its codification has generated substantial debate concerning the proper meaning(s) (if any) and/or application(s) of subsidiarity within the EU. Due to the facts that 1) the EU's legal traditions are heavily influenced by both the civil and common law traditions, 2) both of these traditions advocate the use of established jurisprudential methodologies to interpret ambiguities, and 3) subsidiarity can reasonably be classified as ambiguous within EU law, utilizing these methods can foreseeably generate insight into subsidiarity's meaning. Furthermore, an examination of these methods arguably authorizes civil and/or common law jurists to investigate the ecclesiological development of subsidiarity even if the term itself is not deemed ambiguous. A cursory examination of 1) (at least some of) these jurisprudential methodologies, 2) the development of subsidiarity within Catholicism, and 3) the development of subsidiarity within the EU appears to reveal several material similarities and no material dissimilarities. As a consequence, this article concludes that a more detailed examination of subsidiarity's development within Catholicism may potentially resolve pending questions about its application(s) and/or meaning(s) within EU law.