Taking the Common Good seriously

By Justine Silcock, Archdiocesan Justice & Peace Commission

The Common Good was the focus of a live Zoom event with Christine Allen, director of CAFOD, on 10 October.

Arranged by the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission, this presentation was a follow-up to discussions begun at the annual assembly in August which centred on a response to the Covid pandemic based on Revelation 21:5 – ‘See, I am making all things new’. In her talk titled 'Prepare the Future: Taking the Common Good Seriously’, Christine developed on themes she had discussed as an invited speaker at the assembly as she reflected on the Common Good as a fundamental principle of Catholic Social Teaching rooted in Scripture, which recent popes have reminded us is for the good of each and all.

Pope Benedict, in ‘Caritas in veritate’ (#7, 2009), said: 'Beside the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good.' For his part, Pope Francis said in ‘Evangelii gaudium’ (#235, 2013): ‘The whole is greater than the part, but is also greater than the sum of its parts … We can work on a small scale, in our own neighbourhood, but with a larger perspective.'

Christine went on to talk about ‘Fratelli tutti’, Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical, issued only a week before, noting that this was not just directed to us as individuals but was also aimed at political systems, highlighting the opportunities for the creation of a fairer society that had come about because of the pandemic.

The presentation also included ways in which we can do this on a personal, family, local, national or global level. And with it coinciding with CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day weekend, Christine was also able to share with us what actions CAFOD have been involved with throughout the world, in reaction to the suffering caused by the pandemic.

Attendees then discussed and suggested actions, on individual and collective levels, before a final question and answer session with Christine. Her talk and Q&A session are available to view on the Liverpool Justice & Peace YouTube channel.

It was very encouraging to see how we can make differences, starting in small ways by thinking about our own responsibility and considering actions on a local scale such as twinning a bin or planting a community orchard, as well as reaching out further afield. Inspired by Christine’s infectious enthusiasm, these actions will form the basis for our J&P Interactive Advent Calendar to enable us all to think about what we can do during Advent and beyond. This will be on our website, jp.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk, from 1 December as well as on our Facebook page jpliverpooljp.

We are very grateful to Christine for her time and her energy and we assure her of our continued support and prayers. Our next event will be a series of Four Reflections on ‘Fratelli tutti’ given by Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald during Advent. These will be made available on YouTube.  We hope to see you there.