Catholic Social Teaching: The Common Good
What is Catholic Social Teaching?
Catholic Social Teaching (or CST) is a modern tradition composed of official Church statements on social, political, economic and environmental issues concerned with protecting the dignity and well-being of all persons; promoting just relations within societies; and informing ethical choices that serve in the preservation of the natural world.
What is “the common good”?
The concept of the common good has a long history dating back to ancient Greek philosophy, but in essence its definition is brief. The common good refers to:
“The sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.”
(Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium Et Spes, Pope Paul VI, 1965)
People have access to their own fulfillment when they have the provisions needed for safe and healthy living - food, shelter, and clothing - but also quality education and meaningful jobs, affordable healthcare and trusted childcare.
When all have access to the common good, then all can participate in the common good, creating fair and just relations between individuals.
To learn more about CST, visit Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis: https://www.cctwincities.org/education-advocacy/catholic-social-teaching/
Niagara University and Catholic Social Teaching
Inspired by the works of St. Vincent de Paul and committed to meeting the needs of the 21st century, Niagara University is engaged in research, teaching and service to make a positive impact on the greater society. Niagara's mission is not limited to any one sector of the university. Our pledge is to guide the development of the mind, body, and spirit of all students at the University, and every single person who works here has a part in that. Three current key social initiatives at NU include:
“Approximately 1,200 of NU’s NYS students received TAP during the 2015-16 school year, totaling nearly $2,700,000. And 28 percent of our undergraduate students on the Monteagle Ridge campus are PELL eligible, meaning that they come from households that are the most financially challenged.” http://news.niagara.edu/niagara-university-is-a-steadfast-proponent-of-affordable-accessible-higher-education/
100% of Niagara University's students are involved with some sort of outreach to the poor and marginalized, most of which is organized and executed through our IMPACT program (formerly Learn and Serve Niagara). IMPACT is a measured approach to instilling in NU students a model of collective impact that creates systemic change through project-based experiential learning. It is a comprehensive and individualized service program that places more emphasis on professional and personal growth versus a model that highlights hours of service: https://www.niagara.edu/impact/
- RACISM, DIVERSITY, EQUITY
Racism is a pernicious, complex problem. Universities often talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, access and opportunity too often without applying their strengths. Niagara University's Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality and Mission will uphold the Vincentian mission in our effort to combat racisim, and to promote diversity and inclusion on our campus through reflective, targeted research, scholarship, and public engagement: http://news.niagara.edu/niagara-university-establishes-ostapenko-center-for-race-equality-and-mission/
The Niagara University Office of Multicultural Affairs seeks to engage the Niagara community through events and programming which will highlight and celebrate diversity, multiculturalism and inclusion in order to help support students in an effort to maximize their college experience and empower them to achieve success both academically and personally: https://www.niagara.edu/ma/
Through the University's Big Eagles Little Eagles program, NU students serve as individual mentors to students from Niagara Falls High School, fostering the Vincentian mission among young people as they transition from high school to college: https://www.niagara.edu/nu-mentorship-program/
In an encyclical entitled “Laudato si,” dated May 24, 2015, Pope Francis denounces global consumerism and unsustainable development which lead to environmental degradation and the ultimate destruction of our planet. Stressing that this is a moral cause, Francis calls on all the world’s Catholics to join the fight against climate change in order to protect the Earth and everyone on it. Niagara University is committed to incorporating sustainability into our campus life. Sustainability is the ability of current generations to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs: https://www.niagara.edu/nu-sustainability-facts/
Question for Reflection
Everyone who works at Niagara University has the potential to influence our students: in your opinion, what can you do to help our students flourish at NU and in their lives beyond the University? Let us know!