Care for the Common Good

 

Opening Prayer

O God, who gave one origin

to all peoples

and willed to gather from them one family for yourself,

fill all heart, we pray, with the fire of your love

and kindle in them a desire

for the just advancement of their neighbor,

that, through the good things which you richly

bestow upon all,

each human person may be brought to perfection,

every division may be removed,

and equity and justice may be established in

human society.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the

Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen

(collect from prayers “For the Progress of Peoples”;

Excerpts from the English translation of

The Roman Missal © 2010,

International Commission on

English in the Liturgy Corporation.

All rights reserved.)

 

Scripture

Tuesday of the 1st Week of Advent Isaiah 11:1-10

 

 

Additional Resources for Session Leader:
Catholic Catechism
The Authorities in Civil Society 2234-2257;

Human Solidarity 1939-1948;

The Common Good 1905-1927;

Universal Destination of Goods 2401-2406;

Respect for Persons and Their Goods 2407-2418;

Social Doctrine of the Church 2419-2425;
Economic Activity and Social Justice 2426-2436;

Justice and Solidarity Among Nations   2437-2442;

Love for the Poor 2243-2463;

Totalitarianism/Authoritarianism: 48; 51; 91; 92; 191; 352; 407; 417; 567

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Political Authority 393-405;

Political Community at the Services of Civil Society 417-420

Principle of the Common Good 164-170

Universal Destination of Goods 171-184

Principle of Subsidiarity 185-188

Principle of Solidarity 192-196

The Economic Life 323-376

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cathechesis Videos

What are our responsibilities to one another in society? What is the role of government in society? What is our role as people of faith in the building of society? Is there a particular government or economy that the Catholic Church promotes? The answers to these questions are not always as straightforward as we’d like.

The Church does not endorse any particular form of government or economic program; however, She does recognize the positive attributes of various forms of social, political and economic structures as well as identifies areas of concerns and recommends. She does this by promoting fundamental principles which must be considered when engaging in or developing  various political systems and ideologies.

The Church speaks to many different political and economic programs, including communism, socialism, capitalism, libertarianism, totalitarianism, nationalism, authoritarianism, democracy, and distributive economics, etc..

There are times when she does outright condemn certain political/economic programs such as in the cases of communism,  Nazism, “exaggerated nationalism”, totalitarianism, among others.

We are called to study the extensive teachings of the Church on our roles and responsibilities as people of faith to the common good, the role of government, the shortcomings of parties/ideologies/programs/policies, and how we are called to participate in the building up of society.

Pope Francis excerpt from Address to Congress – Role of Government

 

Pope Francis Ted Talk “Why the only future worth building includes everyone

Reflection Questions

Grades 7-12

  1. According to the Catholic Church, as expressed by Pope Francis, what is the “chief aim” of politics and government?
  2. Where should priorities of government be? To whom should receive the most attention and whose needs take priority?
  3. The pope speaks of neighbors. Who is your neighbor? Which neighbors must we make sure are taken care of?
  4. Pope Francis speaks of a “revolution of tenderness”, how might that look in practical terms for government and economics?

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. What is the “chief aim” of politics and government?
  2. Communism and Socialism subvert the individual person for the sake of the “whole” while, according to Pope Francis,  libertarian individualism “denies the validity of the common good because on the one hand it supposes that the very idea of “common” implies the constriction of at least some individuals, and the other that the notion of “good” deprives freedom of its essence.” These examples are not the only such cases where the individual person and the common good seem to be in conflict within political and economic structures. According to the Catholic Church, is there a real conflict between the individual person and the common good?
  3. What Catholic principle does Pope Francis mention in his Ted Talk that helps us to overcome the seeming conflict between the individual person and the common good?
  4. The pope speaks of neighbors. Who is your neighbor? Which neighbors must we make sure are taken care of?

Faithsharing groups/Private study

  1. Consider the partisan political climate of the United States, how might the pope’s words offer us a path forward to ensuring the care for the common good?
  2. Pope Francis says: “A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you.” How might you be one who brings hope in times of division and strife in society?
  3. What does a “revolution of tenderness” look like to you?
  4. Pope Francis speaks of a “revolution of tenderness”, how might that look in practical terms for government and economics?

 

Witness Video

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is one saint who offers a profound example for engaging in the social and political life of his community. He lived during a time of fascism in Italy and was not only openly anti-fascist but demonstrated publicly against the fascists. Though dedicated to the poor, sharing his wealth with the poor and vulnerable he actively engaged in the public square advocating for various government policies that would serve the common good. He is quoted as saying “Charity is not enough, we need social change.”

Grades 7-12

  1. Blessed Pierre Giorgio Frassati was active in his faith. In what ways did he live the Catholic faith daily?
  2. What example can we learn from Frassati when it comes to issues in our own country today?
  3. How might you participate in building up a more just society?

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. Blessed Pierre Giorgio Frassati was not only active in direct service to the poor but was also active in political advocacy. He is known for saying: “Charity is not enough, we need social change.” Does your parish community promote active participation in the political (non-partisan) sphere of society?
  2. Do you know of resources available to help guide members according to the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding specific issues (immigration, abortion, healthcare, the death penalty, etc.) and policies that are proposed in the local, state and federal government?

Faith-sharing Groups/Parishioners

  1. What is something that you take away from the story of Blessed Pierre Giorgio Frassati?
  2. Have you ever participated in political advocacy?
  3. As Catholics we are not only called to participate in the political (non-partisan) sphere of public life but to do so in accordance with the Catholic faith. How might you get involved in political engagement?

Action Steps

Grades 7-12

  1. Dig a little deeper and watch the Catholic Social Teaching Videos “Rights and Responsibilities” and “Call to Family, Community and Participation” Created by Catholic Relief Services
  2. Become better informed on legislative advocacy and specific policies by highlighting the USCCB’s “Action Center”CRS’s “Catholics Confront Global Poverty Action Center”Justice For Immigrants “Action Center“; The Iowa Catholic Conference “Action Center”; and Human Life Action Center
  3. Refrain from using harsh or demeaning language when referring to politicians, the press, fellow citizens, immigrants, and every other human person.
  4. Read “Caritas in Veritate” and reflect on the ways in which Pope Benedict XVI speaks about inequality as well as how we (the individual as well as society and government) should respond to such things.

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. Dig a little deeper and watch the Catholic Social Teaching Videos “Rights and Responsibilities” and “Call to Family, Community and Participation” Created by Catholic Relief Services
  2. Read the document “Instruction on Christian Liberation and Freedom“. Discuss what ways the parish might carry out some of the principles contained within it.
  3. Become better informed and facilitate parishioners on participating in the political/economic structures around them through legislative advocacy and specific policies by signing up for action alerts at: USCCB’s “Action Center”; CRS’s “Catholics Confront Global Poverty Action Center”; Justice For Immigrants “Action Center“; The Iowa Catholic Conference “Action Center”; and Human Life Action Center

Faith-sharing groups/Parishioners

  1. Dig a little deeper and watch the Catholic Social Teaching Videos “Rights and Responsibilities” and “Call to Family, Community and Participation” Created by Catholic Relief Services
  2. Refrain from using harsh or demeaning language when referring to politicians, the press, fellow citizens, immigrants, and every other human person.
  3. Read the document “Instruction on Christian Liberation and Freedom“. Discuss what ways that you might carry out some of the principles contained within it when engaging in political action and dialogue.
  4. Become better informed on legislative advocacy and specific policies by signing up for action alerts at: USCCB’s “Action Center”CRS’s “Catholics Confront Global Poverty Action Center”Justice For Immigrants “Action Center“; The Iowa Catholic Conference “Action Center”; and Human Life Action Center

Closing Prayer

Act of Love Prayer

O my God,
I love you with my whole heart
and above all things,
because You are infinitely good and perfect;
and I love my neighbor as myself
for love of You.
Grant that I may love You more and more in this life,
and in the next for all eternity.