Common Good Thinking
WHAT IS THE COMMON GOOD?
The Common Good is an ancient idea resonating across many traditions. But it's more than an idea. This is our definition:
"The Common Good is the shared life of a society in which everyone can flourish - as we act together in different ways that all contribute towards that goal, enabled by social conditions that mean every single person can participate. We create these conditions and pursue that goal by working together across our differences, each of us taking responsibility, according to our calling and ability."
The Common Good is something we build together - it fosters community spirit and strengthens the bonds of social trust. See the picture and learn more by clicking on the links and icons below.
The Common Good is for everyone. Our understanding is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and reflected in Scripture, for example, Jeremiah 29.7:
Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you - pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
The Common Good is a rigorous, coherent and practical approach. Read more below to understand better how it can help each of us play our part in God’s great creative participation - to rebuild community in a shared story of hope.
EXPLORE THE COMMON GOOD PRINCIPLES
At the heart of Common Good Thinking is a coherent framework of principles to put into practice in our every day lives. If you click the icons below you will learn a little about each principle.
The Common Good is the shared life of a society in which everyone can flourish - as we act together in different ways that all contribute towards that goal, enabled by social conditions that mean every single person can participate.
We create these conditions and pursue that goal by working together across our differences, each of us taking responsibility according to our calling and ability.
The Common Good is built as people participate freely in the shared activities that generate it.
It is not a utopian ideal and cannot, by definition, be imposed.
Every person is worthy of respect simply by virtue of being human.
All human beings are of equal worth in the eyes of God.
Work is more than just a way
to make a living – it is good for our humanity, because through work we participate in God’s great creative plan.
People matter more than things: each human life has value, from the youngest to the oldest, from the weakest to the strongest.
We have a right and a duty to participate and take up our proper responsibilities, working with others.
We are called to build relationships where there is mistrust, suspicion or estrangement, especially when we encounter people with whom we disagree.
Responsibility is taken at the most appropriate level and decisions should always be taken closest to where they will have their effect. A central authority should only do tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level - so that all fulfil their unique roles.
We are social beings designed to be interconnected by relationships of mutual concern and support. Solidarity is a determination to work for the good of all and of each individual - all are responsible for all.
The Earth was here before us and was given to us - our common home. It is God's dominion, but entrusted to us, and it is our shared responsibility to be good stewards of everything we have received – nature, one another, resources, gifts and talents.
There is to be a preferential option for those who are poor or vulnerable, so we say “Come and join in…we need you!” If the strong are separated from the weak, the strong become impoverished, since being fully human means living together, sharing a common life.
THE COMMON GOOD AND CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
Common Good Thinking draws from across the Christian traditions and Scripture, and in particular from the body of thinking known as Catholic Social Teaching. But what is it all about?
If you want to explore further, take a look at some helpful books and documents...
Explore the source material
The original documents that make up the body of Catholic Social Teaching are a significant resource...