NETWORK, A National Social Justice Lobby
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Pax Christi USA
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Center of Concern
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
Ignatian Solidarity Network
US Catholic Mission Association
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Oblates of St. Francis De Sales
Franciscan Mission Service
Franciscan Action Network
Catholics United
Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice
Lane Center for Catholic Studies & Social Thought, University of San Francisco

About the Principles of the Common Good

Background for the Principles of the Common Good
Breakout Sessions Statements
Download Convention Documents

Background for the Principles of the Common Good

When they gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, our nation’s founders sought to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Today, We the People, must do all we can to create a more perfect union focused on the common good. Two thousand Catholics and other people of faith have gathered in over 40 states to develop a Platform for the Common Good that articulates shared principles about building a culture of life, promoting economic justice and peace, establishing foreign policy rooted in global solidarity and caring for God’s creation. The Platform was ratified on July 12 in Philadelphia during the Convention for the Common Good.

Breakout Sessions Statements

Economy Breakout Session:

Statement:     We are a global community, blessed with a rich diversity of people and nature. Yet our current global economic model does not serve the common good, and is not ecologically sustainable. We believe in a global economic system that truly recognizes all people as equal partners; where civil society, governments, and corporations collaborate and are held accountable in creating healthy and sustainable communities where each person’s basic rights are met and protected.

Question:     How are you going to be a leader in Congress in developing a legislative agenda that evaluates and reforms US foreign and domestic policies, the UN, and international financial institutions towards this vision?

Ecology Breakout Session:

Statement:     Restoring health and vitality to the planet is an immediate necessity, and fundamental to the common good of all people and life on this planet. We will hold our leaders accountable to address the urgent needs of our Earth and its intertwined communities—human and non-human—by ensuring the purity and abundance of our food, water, and energy.

Question:     It is clear that our environment has been sacrificed for the benefit of corporations. What should Congress do instead to make protection of our Earth and the common good a top priority?

Immigration Breakout Session:

Statement:     As an immigrant nation, we believe people have a right to migrate. And immigrants have always been essential contributors to the economic, social, political, cultural, and religious fabric of this nation. Efforts to criminalize and marginalize immigrants destroy that fabric, and undermine the common good.

Question:     How do you propose to address the current immigration crisis that has resulted from US foreign and economic policies and to eliminate abuses in enforcement and detention creating a comprehensive and humane solution?

Health Care Breakout Session:

Statement:     We believe, on the basis of Catholic social teaching, that healthcare is a basic human right. The current state of healthcare in the United States constitutes social sin. This social sin must be eradicated through broad and deep engagement of the public conscience. We need to define and implement strategic structural tools for this change.

Question:     There are clear obstacles including special interest advocacy by pharmaceutical and insurance companies that undermine healthcare reform. What additional obstacles prevent change? What are your strategies to overcome all the obstacles, and what can we do to shift the power balance and implement change?

War & Peace Breakout Session:

Statement:     As Catholics, we recommend that the U.S.—as a good global citizen working for the global common good—develop an ethical U.S. foreign policy that emphasizes conflict resolution through multilateral diplomacy instead of unilateral U.S. military action. In making decisions on how we wage war and promote peace, we challenge Congress to:

  • Recognize that the majority of U.S. citizens are opposed to the war in Iraq, and that there is a cost of war, particularly its disproportionate effects on persons who are poor.
  • Take financial responsibility in promoting healing and support for traumatized veterans and Iraqi refugees.
  • Take back Congress’s constitutional obligation to oversee the President’s waging of war.

Therefore, we call on you to remember that the U.S., as a world leader, has a duty to build peace.

Question:     How will Congress exercise its constitutional role regarding Iraq, including the Status of Forces Agreement and the Iraq hydro-carbon law, to ensure they substantially benefit the Iraqi people and are in the long-term interest of the common good and not the special interest of oil companies and big business?

Download Convention Documents

  • Download the Platform for the Common Good (pdf format)
  • Platform Summary (pdf format)
  • Platform en Espanol(pdf format)
  • Platform Summary en Espanol (pdf format)
  • Trade and the Global Common Good
    • Trade Deficit Chart
    • NAFTA Memo
    • Mexico Trade
    • H. R. 169, the “Balancing Trade Act of 2007”
    • H. RES. 336