The concept of the common good, while long a tenet of our faith, has had a bright spotlight in the three years that Pope Francis has led the Catholic Church. His words and actions symbolize the common good – a concept that rejects individualism and focuses on the interdependence of humanity and our planet.
In the Catholic tradition, the classic definition of the common good is a set of conditions that allows each and every member of a community to flourish. This, in turn, depends on an understanding of the nature and dignity of the person, and in the Catholic view each person is an image of God with the capacity to reason, choose freely, love and live in community.
Thus, a “common good education” seeks to cultivate respect, understanding and empathy for others. Such an education also seeks to equip students to understand and appreciate the common good of society and to encourage a lifelong commitment to protect and enhance the common good at every opportunity.
– University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan