An Uncommon Search for the Common Good – Joan Chittister

Teilhard de Chardin

Speaking at the University of Noter Dame’s Centre for Social Concerns, on the 50 Anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris issued in 1963 as a call to “Universal Peace in Truth, Justice and Liberty” Sister Joan describes the “Common Good” as the Holy Grail of politics. She divines the common good as “a vision of public virtue which engages the individual citizen, energizes the government, shapes the public system, and points the public direction in all its policies, all its institutions, and all its legislative intents.”  

Fear of diversity has relegated the notion of the common good to the status of an endangered species.  Str. Joan points to Pacem in Terris’ insistence that nationality is trumped by one’s global citizenship and responsibilities and warns that pathological individualism threatens our ability to articulate a vision of the common good.  She reminds us of the core of our Abrahamic traditions to discover what we hold in common as a seedbed for the reemergence of our desire for the common good in what Chittister describes as a Constitution of the Good Community”.  

Sister Joan’s lecture begins at about the 12 minute mark.

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