Life in Christ
Do not live entirely isolated, having retreated into your
selves, as if you were already justified, but gather instead to
seek the common good together.
By common good is to be understood “the sum total of
social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as indi
viduals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”
common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from
each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority.
It consists of
three essential elements:
First, the common good presupposes
respect for the person
as such. In the name of the common good, public authorities are
bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the hu
man person. Society should permit each of its members to fulfill
his vocation. In particular, the common good resides in the condi
tions for the exercise of the natural freedoms indispensable for the
development of the human vocation, such as “the right to act
according to a sound norm of conscience and to safeguard . . .
privacy, and rightful freedom also in matters of religion.”
Second, the common good requires the
of the group itself. Development is the epitome of all
social duties. Certainly, it is the proper function of authority to
arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between various
particular interests; but it should make accessible to each what is
needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work,
education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish
a family, and so on.
Finally, the common good requires
that is, the stabil
ity and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should
ensure by morally acceptable means the
of society and its
members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and
Each human community possesses a common good which
permits it to be recognized as such; it is in the
that its most complete realization is found. It is the role of the state
to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its
citizens, and intermediate bodies.
4, 10: PG 2, 734.
26 § 1; cf.
74 § 1.
26 § 2.
26 § 2.