Wednesday, March 15, 2017


In her formal, consistent and emphatic teaching on the inherent rationale of temporal goods – material assets, developmental resource, temporal gains – the Church has a Social Doctrine, a key principle of which is the universal right to use the goods of the earth squarely based on the principle of the “Universal Destination of Goods” (cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004, ISBN 88-209-7651-X).  In other words, no one is altogether excluded from having temporal goods for the well-being of his/her person – body and spirit which together means human life.  In the same way, no one in his/her right mind could in any way claim that he/she is the sole beneficiary of the material goods the world over.  Thus rests the fundamental meaning of the “Common Good” – an asset that should ultimately benefit all and that should not in fact exclude anyone from the good it brings about.

The truth is that even private property of someone does not really lose its imprint of commonality the moment his neighbors have the dire need to benefit therefrom somehow, someway – together with its private owner.  This is in no way meant to praise indolence.  It only proclaims the superior truth that it is humanity as a whole that is the universal destination and beneficiary of temporal goods, i.e., neither one family nor one Country but all peoples the world over – irrespective of race, color and creed.

The meaning of the “Universal Destination of Temporal Goods” is wherefore squarely founded on the following truths:  One, that it is Divinity that made all the goods of the earth – above it, on it, inside it – with their actual as well as multi-potential built-in benefits.  Two, that it is also Divinity that placed humanity on earth to live herein as well as to live therefrom through their actual and potential beneficial features from the sky, the sea and the soil.  Three, that the two previously said basic truths are intimately paired such that to separate one from the other is nothing less than against the will and design of Divinity for the good and welfare of humanity.  So is it that when people even but dare to separate the said pairing – Divinity and humanity – they are the very ones who eventually suffer for such fatal error and consequent devious practices potentially productive of social anger, unrest if not deadly revenge.

In other words, earthly goods should be fairly shared in the light of equity and in the spirit of charity.  Again:  The whole earth – its assets, resources, and potentials – is for the whole of humanity, for the fruition and sustenance of all its members.  No man, woman, or child can live and continue living without temporal or material goods whereby he/she grows, lives, and associates  with others in accord with his/her nature as a social being.  The following basic truths are thus worth remembering:  One, every human person has the natural (innate) right to use earthly goods for his/her maintenance, growth, and development.  Two, the ingrained right of every human person to use and benefit from the earthly goods is beyond any legal system to cancel or altogether deny.  Three, all other rights however, such as the right to private property, the right to free trade and the like, remain subordinate to the nature and meaning of the “Universal Destination of  Temporal goods”.