We must all consider the good of others, and the good of the whole human family, in organizing our society – economically, politically, and legally. Human Dignity can only be realized and protected through our relationship with society-at-large. We must love our neighbour, locally and globally, and prioritize the good of the human family over commercial interests.
God intended the Earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should be in abundance for all in like manner.
- Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 69
The demands of the common good… concern above all the commitment to peace, the organization of the State’s powers, a sound juridical system, the protection of the environment, and the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation, basic health care, the freedom of communication and expression, and the protection of religious freedom. Nor must one forget the contribution that every nation is required in duty to make towards a true worldwide cooperation for the common good of the whole of humanity and for future generations also.
- Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 166
Example in action:
Development and Peace supports organizations that are seeking the good of the whole community, rather than any individual or company. Since 2003, Development and Peace has supported and advocated for publicly owned water sources both at home and abroad. Traditionally, water was shared between local farmers, but there has been increasing pressure placed on countries by the World Bank and other international bodies to privatize the management of natural resources such as water. In Indonesia, one of Development and Peace’s partners promotes community-based water management, and works to strengthen public control and access to clean water in rural and urban areas. Their major advocacy focus is on water as a human right. Here in Canada, where we have access to safe drinking water and filtration systems, Development and Peace has advocated for “Bottled-Water Free” zones, and in 2003 members visited municipal governments presenting them with a Water Declaration of 5 principles that recognizes people before profit, access to water as a basic human right and water as a common good – not a resource to be exploited for individual or corporate gain.