I recently participated in a panel discussion, part of a Business Ethics Conference sponsored by DePaul University, on religious charisms and the Common Good, with Dominican & Jesuit colleagues. I was drawn by the topic—the Common Good, a concept seemingly lost these days, perhaps too utopian for many, yet without a shared concern for all members of a society it’s hard to imagine much improvement.
I presented five ideas gleaned from St Vincent’s legacy. I invite you to read this with your own Vincentian creativity: what elements from our charism would you have presented to discuss the Common Good?
My five were the following:
My conclusion was that we sorely need a new social contract, an implicit agreement among members of society to cooperate for social benefits, one that guarantees for everyone equality of opportunity, human and civil rights, and basic social protections. To put it simply, no child should be penalized for being born into poverty.
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for People and the Planet posits 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and to reach them, to make them reality, without leaving anyone behind, would build the Common Good and a new Social Contract.
How we treat the world’s impoverished, the last and least among us, is the best judge of society and of ourselves as Christians and followers of the Vincentian charism.
NGO representative of the CM to the UN