Dependency Is Necessary For Perfection

March 31, 2014

Mother and child on Soufflot street. Painting by Joaquin Pallares y Allustante

Mother and child on Soufflot street. Painting by Joaquin Pallares y Allustante

[D]ependency is an important part of our personal development since we cannot perfect ourselves alone. We depend on community—especially the family, intermediary associations, and the Christian State—to supply our deficiencies and thus reach the perfection of our essentially social nature. So important is community that Heinrich A. Rommen emphatically writes, “Any kind of seclusion from the fullness of community life ultimately means for the individual a personal loss, a self-mutilation, an atrophy, a defect in self-realization.”*


Thus, we are by nature dependent. As medieval English writer Ralph of Acton notes, “When God could have made all men strong, wise, and rich, He was unwilling to do so. He wished instead that these men should be strong, those weak; these wise, those foolish; these rich and those poor. For if all were strong, wise and wealthy, one would not be in need of the other.”**


* Heinrich A. Rommen, The State in Catholic Though: A Treatise in Political Philosophy (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1947), 136-7.

** G. R. Owst, Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England: A Neglected Chapter in the History of English Letters & of the English People, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1961), 561.


John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 285.


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