The Catholic Church has a rich set of social teachings. These documents help us address, in the light of faith, issues that include poverty, war, work, life, and care for the earth.

“Subsidiarity” is a core principle of these teachings. Subsidiarity has two equally important parts. Firstly, it requires us to address an issue at the most local level possible before reaching to higher levels for a solution. Secondly, subsidiarity tells us that the issue needs to be tackled at a level that resolves it adequately.

Today in Oregon, homelessness is a pressing issue. The homeless are victims of “an economy that kills.” Many are camped on our streets. Others remain hidden. The problem requires a sustained intervention at the local government level. Charities continue to be important but are inadequate on their own.

One such effort is the recent Measure 26-210, which asked the people of the Portland metro area to impose a modest tax on higher earning persons to address homelessness. Catholic Charities’ decision to advocate in support of this measure was a laudable example of the church’s social teaching in action. It is exactly what subsidiarity demands.

It is heartening to see that the good people of Portland have in the recent election generously supported this measure.

John O’Donoghue

Eugene