Friday, November 2, 2007

Catholic Public Activism Must Become More Focused on Common Good

This story from the Catholic News Service:

Catholics involved in the public square must above all follow the principles of the common good, though that's a countercultural approach in both politics and contemporary American life, said the chairman of the department of politics at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Speaking Oct. 30 to a gathering of the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Stephen Schneck, who also heads the university's Life Cycle Institute, a public policy research program, outlined a five-step agenda for bringing a "common good agenda" to American public policy. "The foundation for Catholic thinking about politics, governance and policy is the idea of the common good," Schneck said. But that's "a hard notion for contemporary Americans to understand."

And the momentum in American politics "is one accelerating (away) from anything like the common good," he said. "Let's remember that ours is a politics where citizens are encouraged - after a terrorist attack - to go shopping. Where even military service is sometimes privatized."


Apparently Stephen Schneck hopes to awaken the sleeping political Catholic giant to help them understand that there is more to being 'pro-life' than bombing abortion clinics and pasting photos of fetuses on billboards. I have been arguing that very point on this blog for a long time. I also think, if my intuition serves me well, that the Catholic fundamentalist is more likely to be persuaded to think more broadly about a mission of 'common good' than Protestant fundamentalists. Catholic social teaching is much more ingrained in the Catholic parishioner.

Already we have seen in some recent polling that the traditional support of the GOP by fundamentalist Catholics is waning. I only hope that this trend continues through the election of November '08 so that we can get this nation into a more helping role in the world instead of the Bush killing role in the world. I think the Catholic vote will swing to the more tolerant, more peaceful Democrat side.

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