These days, the vocabulary of the common good is liberally deployed in political, religious and charity sectors. But too often, the term is misapplied and misunderstood. When used to promote utilitarian or utopian ideas, it can provide cover for coercive ideologies that do more harm than good. Such ideas are antithetical to the conception of common good in the Christian, Jewish and Aristotelean traditions, which are underpinned by fundamental human principles such as love, reciprocity, relationship, freedom and mutual respect. Given this background, a coalition of Christian-inspired organisations active in the public square are putting together a series of events to explore the meaning of the common good and the role of the family, society and government in its promotion.
The first event will explore how the common good in its true sense relates to a settled pluralism of identities and interests, the shared life of a society to which everyone freely contributes and is able to flourish and reach fulfilment. It will also explore how important that is given the background of current political discourse. This event will be chaired by Ruth Kelly and feature three discussants Professor Phillip Booth (St Mary’s University, Twickenham), Jenny Sinclair (Together for the Common Good), Dr Sam Bruce (Centre for Social Justice).
This is the first of four events in the series: ‘The Common Good: what does it mean for families, society and government’ produced in partnership between Together for the Common Good, The Centre for Social Justice, Caritas Social Action Network and the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University Twickenham. The series is sponsored by CCLA, one of the UK’s largest ethical fund managers, home of the Catholic Investment Fund.