individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and
more easily” (
26 § 1).
The common good consists of three essential ele
ments: respect for and promotion of the fundamental
rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of
the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace
and security of the group and of its members.
The dignity of the human person requires the pursuit
of the common good. Everyone should be concerned
to create and support institutions that improve the
conditions of human life.
It is the role of the state to defend and promote the
common good of civil society. The common good of
the whole human family calls for an organization of
society on the international level.
Society ensures social justice when it provides the condi
tions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their
due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is
linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.
Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the tran
scendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate end
of society, which is ordered to him:
What is at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose
defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the
Creator, and to whom the men andwomen at everymoment
of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.
Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights
that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to so
ciety and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral
35 John Paul II,