The Catholic Church came up with a distinctive document referred to as “The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church”, which serves as an instrument to encourage and steer the Church faithful undergoing moral and pastoral tests daily. The document is unparalleled in the history of the Church and it is categorized into five sections. This document is very important for social ministry leaders to have both at the parish and diocesan level. Further, the document is essential for Catholic faithful in religious education, institutions, youths and individuals in young adult ministry. The section of the document titled “The Principle of the Common Good” is summarized in a clear and independent manner, identifying and providing well-defined responses to the text.
Summary of “The Principle of the Common Good”
Every social life element of the faithful in the Catholic Church should be associated to this principle to achieve its complete meaning. The principle is established from fairness, dignity and unity of every individual. The basic implication of this principle specifies the general and collective social conditions that enable individuals or groups to completely and easily accomplish their fulfillment in an enhanced way. The principle does not entail the collective goods of every element of social entity; instead, the common good belongs to all people because of its indivisible nature. In addition, the principle can be achieved, attained, enhanced and safeguarded only collectively. The common good is a representation of the proper actions of a society just like an individual’s moral accomplishments are realized in undertaking that which is good. The moral good represented by this principle is comprehended as the community and societal aspect of common good.
The principle further states that the common good should be understood as the good of the individual and the entire humanity. The society can attain common good only when it desires and proposes to serve humanity at all levels as its basic aim. Humans cannot realize fulfillment at personal levels despite living with and for others. Individuals should not only reside with others at different social life levels but also should seek for good continually in terms of truth and meaning, both in ideas and practice. The social life expressions cannot escape the personal common good issues because common good is a primary aspect of human significance as well as the genuine reason for primary existence. The social life expressions take place on various levels, such as family, transitional social associations and nations among others.
According to the principle, the common good requirements rely on social conditions of every historical period, associated strongly with respect for and essential encouragement of an individual and his or her basic rights. The requirements for common good demand a total and absolute commitment to peace, effective juridical system and environmental protection. Additional commitments include commitment to basic human rights and provision of important services to humanity. The principle asserts that each country or state has an obligation toward genuine global cooperation for common good of all people as well as the coming generations. As a result, the principle entails the entire society depending on various possibilities in contributing toward its development and attainment. Common good ought to be practiced and accomplished in its entirety because it represents uppermost human instincts (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace 353). In pursuit for common good, humanity is permitted to enjoy social life conditions as a result of these actions.
State has a responsibility to achieve common good because it forms part of the roles of political authority existence. This can be achieved by various governments through harmonizing divergent interest from different sectors with justice demands. Society’s common good has significance in reference to accomplishing definitive good of humanity.
Personal Response to the Text
Faithful individuals within the society have the capacity to accomplish common good. Individuals collectively make up the society, implying the society also can realize common good as stated by the principle (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace 346). Humans must not necessarily leave with one another at different social life levels to practice common good. The aspects of common good can be practiced daily by an individual, adding up to societal moral actions. It is extremely challenging and difficult for humans to acquire the common good as required by the principle, because of the need for continual capacity and effort to seek good for other individuals just like personal good.
Various periods in life require different actions, which constitute common good. Nevertheless, it is true that actions accomplished in reference to common good in such situations always must represent or portray reverence for and enhancement of basic human rights in the society. Human have the capacity and the need to promote peace within the society (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace).
A functional society appropriate for humanity should have in place effective judicial system, organized state power, protect the environment they reside in and offer primary services to each individual. In the absence of these services and human commitment to acquire them, the society would be an unbearable place for peaceful human existence. Without the support from states and nations, individuals cannot succeed in accomplishing or providing these essential services. Consequently, it is proper that nations contribute and cooperate with its citizens and other nations in attaining and offering the services that would imply common good to its people and future generations (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace).
If some members of the society disregard involvement in developing and attaining common good, it would be difficult for the society and its individuals to realize their desired goals. A collective effort from all members would make it easier to achieve a common good. Nonetheless, achieving social justice through breaching the inequality and disparity across the globe is a tall order to achieve. Besides, harmonizing the diversities in various sections within the society is a challenging task for governments (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace).
The society and humanity in general have a responsibility to be good to each person in the society because it is a way of commitment to accomplish the ideals of common good. Under this principle, each individual across the world is obligated to be good to all. The social life conditions provided by Almighty God are for every human being to enjoy and are not limited to only some individuals. The ultimate aim of this principle is to guide the behavior of the faithful in their daily occurrences.