Building on the principle that the family is the fundamental structure for the ‘human ecology,’ Catholic tradition also teaches us that “by his innermost nature man is a social being, and unless he relates himself to others, he can neither live nor develop his potential.” (Gaudium et Spes)
As such, tradition also teaches us that we are to seek authentic human development, through mutual cooperation, where every individual is able to become the ‘principal architect of his/her own economic and social development,’ and where economic decisions are made accountable to the common good (USCCB).
In The Human Community, Bishop William E. Lori explains how we are all to seek the common good by “living up to our vocations and by being loyal and engaged citizens.” He explains how the Church has taken up and refined the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity in the interest of the human person, and how these two principles are the basis for attaining genuine social justice.
A perfect example of individuals helping each other and seeking the common good can be seen in Mayra’s Story. Her story has been featured as part of Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl program, and it gives witness to the fact that when people answer that call to family, community and participation, lives are changed.
In this day and age it may be hard to understand why we are called to seek the common good and to participate. The modern world’s definition of success is tailored towards individuals, and it can lead us to believe that such success can sometimes come at the expense of others. Father Nathaniel Haslam explains to us, though, why this definition goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church and why we must stay true to our teachings and respond correctly to that call to seek the common good and to participate.
Fr Nathaniel Haslam, LC was ordained Christmas 2010 with the Legionaries of Christ and moved to Texas the following summer. He is an RPI graduate (Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Minor in Mechanical Engineering), worked for Xerox and was aspiring to create his own Fortune 500 Company before God called him to the priesthood. During his years in Rome, he was the founder and executive director of the college leadership study abroad programs at the Universita Europea di Roma. While there, he also helped organize and coordinate the first ever Vatican Executive Summit (June 2011) held in the Vatican Gardens. During this historic event, over 50 top CEOs and international business executives discussed the financial crisis and business ethics in the light of Pope Benedict’s landmark document, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in the Truth). Now in the US, Fr Nathaniel is the National Business Ethics Advisor for the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as Houston chaplain for the Lumen Institute for business and cultural leaders. He assists Texas business leaders and young professionals through personal coaching and advising in the areas of faith, character (integrity, stewardship, prudential decision making, perseverance) and leadership so as to have a ‘Business Plan for Life’ and not just their company. He also advises small to large Fortune 500 companies in the creation and application of business ethics policies. He also serves as the Local Director and Board Chair for the Regnum Christi Movement in Houston and regularly helps at St John Vianney and Prince of Peace parishes.