Common good thinking is gaining ground
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Hello again from Together for the Common Good.
'Common Good' thinking is gaining ground - we'll highlight the essentials here for you, plus you'll find more signposts via our @T4CG Twitter stream and much more in the Resources pages of our website - gathered for you to explore.
Alison Gelder, Director of Housing Justice, draws on Catholic and Anglican social thought to explore 'A Theology of Welfare' and asks 'is the dissolution of the welfare state a problem for us as Christians? Are we right to be outraged at the negative connotations that have become attached to ‘welfare’?' Meanwhile, Paul Donovan urges the Justice and Peace movement to build alliances and be clear what economic decisions mean for the human person. Read what they have to say in our Opinion pieces.
Although the mainstream news media gave it little attention, probably the most significant publication of the last few days has been Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis. An 84-page document, written in his own down-to-earth style, amounts to an official platform for his papacy and marks a seismic shift in the history of the Catholic Church. In it he calls unfettered capitalism "a new tyranny" and advocates the common good, criticising the global economic system and the "idolatry of money", beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare".
Essential viewing from the recent Church Urban Fund conference 'Tackling poverty together': Lord Glasman sets out the politics of the common good here - he explains how this is being done in practice now, citing examples such as the establishment of the new Bank of Salford. There is also video of Archbishop Justin Welby in his keynote address here saying 'Christians cannot escape participating in politics because seeking justice and the common good are ‘absolutely central’ to their faith.'
We have a dissenting voice: in the T4CG Blog there is a challenge to advocates of the common good from Greg Smith, Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the William Temple Foundation who, from an evangelical perspective, asks 'is a theology of 'the common good' adequate to meet the radical changes of our time?' Meanwhile John Ellison of the St Vincent de Paul Society, proposes that faith-based organisations' networks could mirror the Citizens Advice Bureaux system in flagging up the evidence of social policy issues. What's your view? click here to join the discussion.
Our research process continues until the end of this year - do get in touch if you would like to contribute before it closes, and our case study collection continues to grow - do you have a story to share? The latest addition to our portfolio is about the joint chaplaincy for the Greenwich peninsula - an inspirational model of collaboration in practice, where a multi faith team of workplace chaplains serves a community of 70,000 people. Find out more here.
Have you seen these videos? Inequality in America is a powerful device showing the wealth gap in the United States and similarly, this Inequality in Britain video shows wealth distribution in Britain - what we think it is, what we think it should be, and what it actually is.
If you want to understand the specific definition of the 'common good' we've gathered some pointers for you in the Catholic Social Thought section - you'll find this and much more in our Resources pages.
What are we up to? We are continuing our research until the end of the year - findings will be written up in the early spring and we are considering how these will be most usefully disseminated - if you have ideas, please talk to us. We are continuing, on a pro bono basis, to gather materials to share with you on our website and staying in touch with you via this newsletter and Twitter. Our book is now in the planning stages and we are consulting on possible further activity - watch this space!
We are always pleased to hear from you, so don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like to contribute - after all, we're working Together for the Common Good.
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Together for the Common Good is guided by a Steering Group: Tim Livesey, Revd Dr Peter McGrail, Rt Revd Stephen Platten (Chair), Professor Hilary Russell, Revd Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, Jenny Sinclair.
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