“cooperation with people who have very different first principles”

V. Bradley Lewis:

The [Second Vatican] Council, along with the 1965 pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, and, just as important, its Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, defined this common good as the “sum total of conditions by which individuals and groups can more fully and easily achieve their perfection.”

This formulation is not individualistic: It comprises both individuals and groups. Nor is it in any way neutral as to the end of human life: It assumes a Catholic view of perfection, a life of moral and intellectual virtue culminating in unity with God. But its focus on the conditions of virtue entails a recognition that the state cannot itself achieve these goals and that modern societies include many persons who do not share the Catholic view. Though there is no hint of relativism, there is a recognition that modern societies are pluralistic and that the basic work of civic life must include cooperation with people who have very different first principles.

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