Daily Archives: October 23, 2006

The Common Good

I am working on a commissioned article on Mater et Magistra, and it has been an enlightening experience. It proves once again that one should always go to the primary sources. Reading it has clarified a few deficiencies in my own understanding of Catholic social teaching, but mostly it has confirmed things I already knew.
Many of those who defend the use of “tainted” vaccines tout the Church’s teachings on “the common good.” However, in Mater et Magistra, Bl. John XXIII makes very clear that the “common good” can never be achieved at the expense of human dignity or basic moral laws. Protection of human life must come first, then the upholding of human dignity, which requires protection of the family as an institution (hence, subsidiarity). These must take priority; “the common good” and “solidarity” can never be achieved if these values are sacrificed.