Laudato Si 156-157: The Principle of the Common Good

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Section IV of Chapter Four offers a brief exploration of the Common Good. Today’s post and one tomorrow should be enough. Let’s start:

156. Human ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good, a central and unifying principle of social ethics. The common good is “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfilment”.[Gaudium et Spes 26]

The common good does not bury individuals, but must be grounded in a basic posture of respect for the human person.

157. Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person as such, endowed with basic and inalienable rights ordered to his or her integral development.

Don’t forget about human groups of various sizes:

It has also to do with the overall welfare of society and the development of a variety of intermediate groups, applying the principle of subsidiarity. Outstanding among those groups is the family, as the basic cell of society. Finally, the common good calls for social peace, the stability and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice; whenever this is violated, violence always ensues. Society as a whole, and the state in particular, are obliged to defend and promote the common good.

Violence may arise from inequities, but not all violence is based on this. There is an important distinction.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Laudato Si 156-157: The Principle of the Common Good

  1. Liam says:

    In unrelated news:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2015/bishops-elect-msgr-brian-bransfield-as-general-secretary-of-usccb.cfm

    The first item is significant, and word is that it will likely contribute to more churn of USCCB staff.

    • Todd says:

      You mean firings and hirings? Is there something more to his story? At a glance, he seems like a competent theologian to me.

      • Liam says:

        My sense is more voluntary than involuntary. If you’re wondering why the USCCB seems resistant to Pope Francis, it’s apparently because there’s been a shift of key staff, which it seems this will deepen.

  2. Todd says:

    Understood. I’m not really looking for resistance to Pope Francis among bishops. I’m far enough down the chain that it’s mostly irrelevant. The Holy Father is attractive to seekers and believers, and those are the people I work with. I’ve also known a few people who have embraced today what they would not have suffered a few years ago. Expediency? Continuing conversion? Not sure it matters.

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