“COMMON GOOD, ECONOMY AND POLITICS”
By: (Pablo A. Blanco Gonzalez)
“The common good (…) does not simply brighten the inside of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter; it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope…” (Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei nº 51).
An eminently social dimension of Evangelization emerges from a preferential option for the weak and needy (whose most visible face is the Poor), inspiring all actions towards the common good of mankind.
Common good is not the sum of the assets of each of the members of society; it is an indivisible good, which can only be achieved, enhanced and protected with the collaboration of all, through the activity that unfolds Man in Creation.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in its nº 164 enriches this aspect ensuring that from dignity, unity and equality of all people derives, firstly, the principle of the common good, which should cover all aspects of social life to find fullness of meaning.
Based on this definition, two dimensions of Man activity should be inspired by common good – because of their potential -, these are: Economy and Politics.
Pope Francis, in nº 203 of Evangellii Gaudium’s exhortation point that “… The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all Economic policies. At times, however, they seem to be a mere addendum imported from without in order to fill out a political discourse lacking in perspectives or plans for true and integral development …” and “… Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good. We need to be convinced that charity… is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)…” (EG 205).
Moreover Pope Francis assimilates an Economy that excludes as an economy that kills in a real sense “… Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills…” (EG 53).
He denounces the instrumentalization of Man, when human beings are considered themselves as consumer goods “… to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”…” (EG 53).
Thus economic activity – with all current imbalances – highlights the serious lack of anthropological orientation, the dictatorship of an Economy without face, without a truly human perspective, reducing human beings to one need: consumption (cfr. EG 55).
Therefore, “… How many words prove irksome to this system! It is irksome when the question of ethics is raised, when global solidarity is invoked, when the distribution of goods is mentioned, when reference is made to protecting workers and defending the dignity of the powerless, when allusion is made to a God who demands a commitment to justice…” (EG 203).
How does Politics can contribute in this regard! What a need of a genuine political and fraternal dialogue, that effectively east to heal the deep roots – and not the appearance – of the evils of our world! There’s much need for politicians that really feel the suffering of society, of people, of the Poor! “… I am convinced that from an openness to transcendence may form a new political and economic mentality that would help overcome the absolute dichotomy between the economy and the common social good …” (EG 205).
This requires reassuming the social commitment as constitutive of our Christian being, as opposed to the comfortable indifference, a consequence of this unjust global system created to support a selfish lifestyle that excludes others, “… a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own…” (EG 54).
The comfortable indifference empty our lives and our words of all meaning, a broader sense of life; this does not allow truly to serve the common good, multiply and become more accessible to all, the goods of this world (cfr. EG 206). Urge therefore to develop the social dimension of our lives, to configure it from responsible citizenship participation, understood as a moral obligation.
As Paul VI said, “… When we fight poverty and oppose the unfair conditions of the present, we are not just promoting human well-being; we are also furthering man’s spiritual and moral development, and hence we are benefiting the whole human race. For peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men…” (PP 76).
Notes from www.vatican.va: Evangellii Gaudium (EG) – Populorum Progressio (PP) – Lumen Fidei (LF) – Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (CSDC).