July 2006 - Volume 10, Issue 12

Editorial – Common Good

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photograph of a gas canMany years ago in the study of theology and philosophy, there was one phrase commonly repeated. It was the phrase the "common good". In other words, what was going to serve the vast majority of people when ever a major decision was to be made. That phrase, the "common good", seems to have been put on the back burner of many people's lives when it comes to taking care of the majority. For example, when you look in Washington at our Congress or our Senate talking about immigration laws, you wonder if some of them ever heard the expression the "common good". Just think of this, one President after another over many years has said we must not continue our dependence on Mid-East oil. Not one President has done anything significant to avoid the fact we are paying over $3.00 for a gallon of gas. What happened to the "common good"?

Every one knows there is not going to be a perfect answer to this problem of immigration. But if the Congress and the Senate came forth with a decision that considered the "common good" of all involved, then they would be doing the right thing according to proper theology and proper philosophy. If their decision is made because of coercion brought by special interest or lobbyist or individual groups that pressurize the members of Congress or the members of the Senate, if those decisions are brought forth because of intimidation then the "common good" will never be served. Each one is elected to give accountability to its constituency so that when they go back to their homes they can in true conscious say, "I voted for the 'common good' of all the people and I was not pressurized or intimidated by any polarizing group".

The "common good" has to be served. If you go back to the days following Katrina, it is very easy to recognize that many of those people in positions of authority were concerned about their jobs, about their classification, but really when you analyze it, the interest of the poor victims of Katrina still have not been served. What accountability do they give? Accountability is one of those lost words in our way of life. When ever something is wrong, the blame games generally starts whether it is in Washington, in our home, or our own lives. What we have forgotten over the years is that God has given us five, two or one talent. Each one of those talents is to be used to give honor and glory to God. If we appear before God and say "well, I did not vote for the 'common good' because of the pressure that was against me or a lobbyist or the threat of losing my job", and we know we did not vote our conscience, I surely believe that God is not going to be very proud of us.

When you look at our culture, the Enrons, the Adelphia, the World Coms, it is a classic example of places where those in power forgot the "common good". How any of those leaders could justify the fact that thousands of people lost their jobs and pensions because those on the top were not accountable and even today don't consider that they have to make an accountable report to anyone. In the long run in our society what matters is how we develop our conscience. Our conscience is a dictate of our judgment. It tells us when we do a thing that is right and when we do something it tells us it is wrong. There is no school in any major university that is teaching anyone how to develop a solid and sound conscience. It has to start at home. It has to start in your relationship with God. It has to start in your relationship with Christ. And that means implementing the teaching of God and the teachings of Christ so that no matter what hour you are called you know you can give the right accounting to the God who gave you the talents that you have.

Excuses, using the blame game techniques, those do not work in the society that God wants us to be part of, namely the kingdom of Heaven. If you are truly accountable while on earth to what God has taught and what Christ has asked, you will have no accountability problems in the kingdom of Heaven.