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Life in Christ

465

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.

25

1906

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.”

26

The

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:

1907

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.”

27

1908

Second, the common good requires the

social well-being

and

development

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.

28

1909

Finally, the common good requires

peace,

that is, the stabil­

ity and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should

ensure by morally acceptable means the

security

of society and its

members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and

collective defence.

1910

Each human community possesses a common good which

permits it to be recognized as such; it is in the

political community

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.

25

Ep. Barnabae,

4, 10: PG 2, 734.

26

GS

26 § 1; cf.

GS

74 § 1.

27

GS

26 § 2.

28 Cf.

GS

26 § 2.

1929

2106

2441

2304

2310

2244