The family, the common good and government

St. Mary’s University continued its series of events on the Common Good, working with Caritas Social Action Network, the Centre for Social Justice and Together for the Common Good. The first event in the series can be watched at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23N5rqHn7FI and the second event on The Common Good and the Family will be available from the youtube channel shortly. Below is Cristine Odone’s contribution to the second event.

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The meaning of the common good and social justice

What is the common good? The definition that is used in almost all discussion in Catholic circles in the English-speaking world is taken from paragraph 26 of Gaudium et spes which was a document arising from the Second Vatican Council. The common good was defined as “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”. This is also the definition that is used in the English language translation of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

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Mother Teresa as a leader – what can today’s political leaders learn?

Mother Teresa

At a time when the public and the media are examining the moral compass of politicians and other public leaders, for example through the lobbying revelations of the current government, it is helpful to reflect upon what today’s political leaders can learn from leaders of the past. One such, although surprising, choice of leader to reflect upon is Mother Teresa. She is an interesting choice as she contradicts many of the common traits of today’s political leaders.   

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Competition and co-operation – they are not alternatives

If you ask most people – perhaps Christians especially – what the opposite of competition is, they will suggest it is co-operation. So often you hear the phrase “co-operation not competition”. But co-operation is not the opposite of competition. Monopoly is the opposite of competition. I do wonder if any of the people who call for co-operation rather than competition have ever tried to run a businesses without co-operating with others: it would not be a success.

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No salvation in fiscal policy

Yesterday, I ended a presentation to sixth-formers by commenting that nobody would want to be Rishi Sunak. Of course, in the strict sense that is not true – indeed, many of the people to whom I was talking might well have had ambitions to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. What I meant was that the Chancellor was facing the most difficult combination of circumstances of anybody in his position since the mid-1970s.

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Citizenship and Education

In this post I explore citizenship education through the lens of Catholic teaching on education. I also make reference to Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on citizenship. I show that there is such a thing as a Christian ‘idea’ of citizenship. This might not sit comfortably in a society which seeks to marginalise (intentionally or unintentionally), the Christian voice.

Citizenship, education and religion 

How citizenship education in the Catholic school is both understood and taught makes it a crucial feature of the contemporary educational scene.

 

Citizenship education flows from a political or civic desire to build community cohesion – universally deemed a ‘good thing’. How to promote, far less achieve, this in a multi-cultural society remains problematic.

 

For some, citizenship education is a ‘secular’ version of religious education: values emerge, it seems, from reason alone without a concomitant contribution from revealed religion. Although religious belief and practice should be fundamental parts of citizenship education, contemporary articulations of citizenship education minimise discussion of the difficult issues arising from religious faith or identity. Nonetheless, the number of children of all faiths and none who are educated in Catholic schools should place the Catholic school not at the margins but at the heart of citizenship education.

 

Religions, of course, are an expression of diversity. This leads to the following question: is contemporary education a means of monopolising thought and values within a conceptual framework which purports to be inclusive but, intentionally or otherwise, fails in this objective?

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The Real ‘Patria Grande’: Africa’s 55

As 2020 ended Pope Francis’s Fratelli tutti called with passion for the world to discover the energy to rediscover ‘lost dreams’. Building on his experience in Buenos Aires and his creation of a Pontifical Commission for Latin America to bring that region into the heart of the Roman Curia, he specifically suggested that a symbol of such a dream was a ‘patria grande’. The idea of ‘patria grande’, of course, has a long history in the Americas: part rallying cry of Simon Bolivar, part lament at the division of what had been ‘Spanish America’ and part radical social and economic project. Like many visions at scale it is fed by multiple sources.

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Covid and human dignity

human Dignity

This post by Edward Hadas is part of a longer article on covid, lockdowns and Catholic social teaching published by Together for the Common Good

Much has been written about the medical aspects of Covid-19. Some attention has been paid to the effectiveness of the lockdowns ordered to combat the disease. Much less interest has been shown in evaluating the gamut of their non-medical effects. “Lockdown” refers to any collection of severe and fairly long-lasting governmental restrictions on the normal activities of human beings. This article is a critical study of what these lockdowns have done from the perspective of the first principle of Catholic social teaching – the promotion of human dignity.

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