Building the Common Good is not a Side Project

Heidi Schlumpf writes:

The common good means “we belong to each other,” said Meghan J. Clark, associate professor of moral theology at St. John’s University in New York and a faculty expert for the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations.

“That’s not just something we’re supposed to do, but how we’re supposed to be and profoundly a matter of who we are as children of God,” she said.

She also noted that the “Imago Dei” (the idea that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God) can also be expanded as the “Imago Trīnitāte,” in which human dignity is relational and salvation is about “being human together,” even being saved together.

The question then becomes, “How are we imaging God in the world, not just as individuals but together?”…

“This call to build the common good is something we understand in Catholicism as at the very heart of our theology, not just this side project for those who are kind of ‘into’ social justice.”

Speaker Nichole Flores, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, shared how her own experience of motherhood solidified her commitment to solidarity around the unjust separation of migrant families, noting that too often, society relegates parenthood to the private sphere “at our peril.”

For Flores, the birth of her son, Roberto, and his need to spend several days in a neonatal intensive care unit gave her a new perspective on other families’ suffering.

“We began to see their struggle as our struggle. We began to see their joy as our joy. We began to see their babies as our babies. We began to see their families as our families,” Flores said.

This implies a moral obligation of solidarity, which is “the most challenging virtue of our time,” she said, citing the U.S. bishops’ document “A Place at the Table.”