‘The Common Good and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching’ 25 Years On
In 1996, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales published a teaching document entitled The Common Good and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching.
This aimed to help guide Catholics and others in the months leading to the May 1997 General Election. It rapidly attracted attention and had to be reprinted; Catholic and other parishes organised study courses on it in the months after it came out; the bishops were also attacked in the tabloid press for interfering in politics. The document was the first substantial teaching document on Catholic Social Teaching issued by the bishops of this country; they have followed it up with shorter publications before all the general elections since 1997, and it played a very big part in helping Catholics and others learn more about moral theology.
To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary, St Mary’s University is organising a study day on Wednesday 26 January 2022. The speakers are journalist Clifford Longley and Dr Pat Jones, who were both involved in drafting the original document; Jon Cruddas, Member of Parliament for Dagenham; Professor Francis Davis; Raymond Friel, Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN); Revd Dr Ashley Beck, Programme Lead of the MA programme in Catholic Social Teaching at St Mary’s University, and Rt Revd Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and Chair of the Department of Social Justice of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Public tickets from St Mary’s University are £25 to attend in person, or £10 to watch by Zoom.
Picture: Detail of the window in Southwark Catholic Cathedral that commemorates Pope St John Paul II’s visit in 1982, during which he celebrated the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Credit – Fr Lawrence Lew (source).