Ecology and the Common Good: Sustainability and Catholic Social Teaching

Journal of Catholic Social Thought 4 (2):403-436 (2007)
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In recent years official Roman Catholic documents have addressed the ecological crisis from the perspective of Catholic social teaching. This expansion of Catholic social thought addresses the social and ecological question. This paper links environmental and human ecology with the concept of sustainability and proposes an interpretation of the common good and a definition of sustainability within Catholic social teaching. Our treatment of sustainability and Catholic social teaching includes: an analysis of the ecological processes that sustain nature; insights from human ecology, and an examination of models of sustainability as a foundation for re-structuring society to promote the common good. The paper provides a summary of the historical expansion of the common good within modern Catholic social thought, and concludes with an ecological interpretation of the common good and a definition of sustainability within the Catholic understanding of justice.
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