Politics in the United States, especially in an election year, often seems to be a contest of competing special interests. “What’s in it for me?” has replaced “What’s good for the country?” Partisan polarization has replaced the search for solutions to our deepest problems. But rather than dwelling on the problems, A Nation for All shows a better way—a politics and culture dedicated to seeking the common good.
“Common good” is a phrase now used frequently by politicians and commentators from across the political spectrum. But what does it mean? Where did it come from? And how does it relate to our current political and social debates? Chris Korzen of Catholics United and Alexia Kelley of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good offer a primer on the origins and relevance of the concept, both for those already familiar with it and those for whom it is new.
The book begins with three foundational chapters. First comes a discussion of the philosophical and theological origins of the phrase, from Aristotle to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The authors summarize Catholic social teaching, highlighting key themes, popes, and principles. From Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labor) in 1891 to Pope Benedict XVI’s Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) in 2006, the church has consistently taught the dignity of the human person and the obligation of societies and governments to see that what benefits each individual also benefits everyone. The third chapter contains a succinct overview of the relationship between church and state in the Catholic tradition.