This term appears vague to many but simply stated, it refers to what is shared freely among others or what is good for all or a majority of members of a defined community. This could be a new cultural, institutional or material initiative that improves society, the global reality and the well-being of people. Theoretically, the common good described in Catholic Social Teaching is “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and easily”.
We are drawn to conclude then that something that fits the norms of “the common good” therefore must not exclude anyone nor create a rivalry within a group or system.
The list of Catholics who have been excluded because of their decisions or actions is a list too long to even create or let’s look at the power rivalries that have been a consistent part of their culture that positions have rigidified.
Apparently, then the job is ours to promote the common good and what does that mean in practice? With recommendations surfacing for changing the vision of the Church of the future, we will have a near infinite number of opportunities to help create a new reality. We can help people to care for themselves and not look to Fr. X to do the job. We are in charge of our own salvation and need to care for ourselves and make better lifestyle choices that improve the whole of society. Pope Francis has opened up such opportunities as there are an immense number of social conditions that enable the human race to flourish and live a healthy, compassionate and engaged life ensuring that the work we do helps one person, then two and then an exponential number. In itself, such thinking can create human dignity in action and when that occurs, a society will change to acting in solidarity with one another.
A perfect manual to follow would indeed be Scripture.
This past section might benefit with the tree imagery because if we look at the roots each could represent the New Evangelization as a way of working together for a common cause: listening, right relationships, living in community, understanding lived experiences, and working toward the common good all fit this image.