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On successful completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  1. Describe coherently in writing the principles of Catholic Social Thought (CST), and through a personal written commentary on each one, explain how the concepts of 'self' and 'community' are interrelated.
  2. Analyse and evaluate the principles of CST in order to write an argument that shows how issues relating to the dignity of the human person and the realisation of the common good may be addressed by you in your professional practice (ie. the degree program you are studying) now and in the future.

Each unit in your course contributes in some way to the development of the ACU Graduate Attributes which you should demonstrate by the time you complete your course. You can view the ACU GraduateAttributes for all courses. All Australian universities have their expected Graduate Attributes – ACU’s Graduate Attributes have a greater emphasis on ethical behaviour and community responsibility than those of many other universities. All of your units will enable you to develop some attributes.

On successful completion of this unit, you should have developed your ability to:

GA1 demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 recognise your responsibility to the common good, the environment and society

GA4 think critically and reflectively

GA7 work both autonomously and collaboratively

GA8 locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information

GA 9 demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media

Topics will include:

  • The Good Life and the Golden Rule
  • I am because we are; individual and society
  • The history and principles of Catholic social thought
  • Human flourishing and the common good
  • The common good
  • Case study - Challenges to the common good – freedoms and the common good
  • Advocacy: personal and professional challenges of Catholic social teaching

List of issues

  • unaffordable health care
  • health/wellbeing as a human right (violations)
  • nonqualified commentators/advisors giving advice on people’s health
  • the “lethality” of loneliness (and isolation)
  • failing to “close the gap”
  • cuts in government funding for education
  • unaffordable education
  • the task of education (overcoming racism, ageism or sexism)
  • excessive profits (business contexts)
  • alienation on social media networks
  • criminal “youth gangs”
  • plastic in the (human) food chain

What will distinguish the better work?

The assessments are essentially the same as any other task that requires you to submit a piece of scholarly work. While the mode of presentation may be a little different, the scholarly requirements of your

Work remain the same. Keep in mind that better assessments:

  • will demonstrate a good grasp of the issues and arguments in the set readings;
  • will be characterised by clear, careful and critical analysis of those issues and arguments;
  • will use the literature to support and defend their argument; and
  • will be effective methods of communicating your thoughts in order to engage the reader in your argument.

Developing ACU Graduate Attributes

Catholic social thought insists on the interdependency between an individual and the society. These thoughts call for people to take responsibility for themselves and their neighbours. Precisely, the Catholic social teachings are founded on the golden rule which directs individuals to treat others as they would wish to be treated. In practice, no one wants to be treated hostilely. Likewise, the golden rule compels individuals to extend this humane treatment to others. Importantly, the Catholic social thought is also guided by the tenet of the dignity of the human person.

The Catholic Church has several principles that guide its social thoughts. However, this paper focuses only on three of these principles. These three principles are the dignity of the human person, the common good and promotion of peace. This analysis explores the stipulations of these three principles and expounds on how they help us understand the interrelationship between “self” and “community”. According to Brady (2008), the Catholic social tradition takes Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 22: 37-39 on the love for God and neighbours seriously. All of the nine principles of the Catholic social thought borrows from this commandment.

Catholic social teachings insist on the sacredness of human life. The Catholic Church asserts that the “dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society” (Brady, 2008, p. 11).  According to the principle of the dignity of the human person, every human life is precious and worthy than material things. In the biblical creation story, humans were the only creation that God created with his hands and in his likeness (Genesis 1:26-31). In this respect, the protection of human life is mandatory both at the individual and collective level.  

Consequently, this principle calls for the abolishment of practices that undermine the dignity of the human person such as abortion, cloning, war, terrorism, and death sentence. Moreover, it challenges all members of the society to be protectors of human life through actions such as feeding the hungry and helping the sick. Like the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 who acknowledged the dignity of the injured person and cared for him, all people are challenged to engage in acts that preserve human life.

As a result, this tenet challenges individuals to care for the life of other people in the same way they care for their lives. This perspective illustrates the interrelationship that exists between “self” and “community”. According to this principle, an individual should not engage in actions that endanger the life of others. Equally, the society should is encouraged to combat activities that threaten the lives of individuals such as war. Consequently, when a person values his or her life, they will protect the life of other people. When everyone embraces the concept of the dignity of the human person, atrocities such as oppression, war, and extra-judicial killings will be non-existing.

The prosperity of an individual and the entire society is based on the principle of common good. Humans are social beings that cannot survive in isolation. The principle of common good describes the interdependency that exists between an individual and the society. According to this principle, the “self” is a function of the community. According to Benestad (2011), the precept of the common good reminds all humans that they are responsible for the wellbeing of each other. As Benestad (2011) expounds, common good obliges the human fraternity to work and advocate for social conditions that ensure that all individuals and groups within the society meet their needs and attains their potential.

Topics in the paper

The principle of common good is closely related to the Ubuntu philosophy. According to Obioha and Nyaphisi (2016), the Ubuntu philosophy reiterates on the social attributes of humans. According to this philosophy, humans cannot live in seclusion. The society, community or group in which people reside in shape their character as well the quality of their lives. As a result of this dependence, the quality of life and prosperity that one attains is tied to the attributes of the society.

Common good calls for equality and inclusion in resource use. It is vital to note that the common good advocated in the Catholic social thoughts is different from the one used in economics. In economics, the common good is mostly used when referring to the needs of the majority. However, in Catholic social thoughts, common good relates to addressing the rights and desires of every individual and group in the society. As earlier stated, the attainment of the common good is the responsibility of every citizen as well as the institutions formulated to create order in the society such as the government. Common good appeals for inclusiveness in the achievement of social progression. As a result, this tenet insists that it is impossible to isolate the “self” from the community.

Therefore, the common good perspective calls for all member of the society to implement effective measures to ensure that vices such as economic disparities are combated. For instance, the increasing gap between the rich and poor in the contemporary society contradicts the principle of common good. Such inequalities prove that there are people who have isolated themselves from society to satisfy their interests which is against the concept of togetherness and interdependence between “self” and “community” advocated by the tenet of the common good.

Peace is an integral factor in ensuring that people live a good and quality life. Historians and philosophers point out that peace does not mean the absence of war. Instead, it refers to the situation where all people live with dignity and in harmony with one another. According to the Catholic social thoughts, peace exists in societies where people are in the right relationship with each other and with God. In such settings, every person respects the dignity of the human person of each other and embraces the tenet of the common good. Consequently, the principle of promotion of peace appeals for all people in the world to serve as vessels of peace.

Peace starts at an individual level then extended towards others. This stance is vital in understanding the relationship between “self” and “community”.  When members of the society serve as vessels of peace, advocate for the common good and respect the dignity of the human person, true peace is achieved. According to Schlag (2017), Catholic social teachings insist that peace cannot be attained without social justice. Tension and subsequent war in most parts of the world erupt due to social injustices such as oppression and biased distribution resources. Peace starts with an individual and then spreads to the entire society. As a result, when peace is lacking in a society, each person should ask themselves if they have played their role as agents of peace appropriately.

Conclusion

The principles of Catholic social thoughts discussed in this article attest that it is impossible to isolate the “self” from “community. These two aspects exist in a mutual relationship with each other. Precisely, the characteristics of the “self” determine the features of the community. Equally, the attributes of the “community” define the type of life that individuals live. In this respect, the discussed principles confirm that the “self” define the “community” and vice-versa. Consequently, all individuals are called to be agents of social unity and peace.

Reference List

Benestad, B. J., 2011. Church, State, and Society: An Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine. Washington D.C: The Catholic University of America Press.

Brady, B. V., 2008. Essential Catholic Social Thought. New York: Orbis Books.

Obioha, E. E. & Nyaphisi, M. B., 2018. Leveraging on self-help and African Ubuntu through community home-based health care alternative system in Lesotho. Journal of Gender, Information and Development in Africa (JGIDA), 7(1), pp. 85-103.

Schlag, M., ed., 2017. Handbook of Catholic Social Thought. Washington D.D: CUA Press.

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My Assignment Help (2021) Exploring Catholic Social Thought: Principles Of Dignity, Common Good, And Peace In Essay. [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/uncc100-self-and-community-exploring-the-anatomy-of-modern-society/essential-catholic-social-thought.html
[Accessed 23 June 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Exploring Catholic Social Thought: Principles Of Dignity, Common Good, And Peace In Essay.' (My Assignment Help, 2021) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/uncc100-self-and-community-exploring-the-anatomy-of-modern-society/essential-catholic-social-thought.html> accessed 23 June 2024.

My Assignment Help. Exploring Catholic Social Thought: Principles Of Dignity, Common Good, And Peace In Essay. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 23 June 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/uncc100-self-and-community-exploring-the-anatomy-of-modern-society/essential-catholic-social-thought.html.

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