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Can We Forge a More Just Society for the Common Good?

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Tatenda Zenenga

CIT - 202- GG

Professor K. Mebane

May 1st 2016

Can we forge a More Just Society For the Common Good?

        For over 2000 years, the Catholic Intellectual Tradition has asked the question; how can we forge a more just society for the common good? Given the complexity of life and the people who live it everyday, there isn’t a simple, clear cut answer to this question, but in studying the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the authors and readings we examine, we help gain a better understanding of what it means to forge a more just society for the common good. In studying the CIT this semester three authors stood out and really helped to understand and answer this question, they are; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Benedict XVI, and the Apostle Paul.

        On April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a very important open letter in response to eight white Alabama clergymen who wrote a letter to Dr. King opposing his methods during the civil rights movement. In his letter he wrote, “" I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” This passage from the letter is so vitally important to understanding how it is that we can forge a more just society. Dr. King addresses a huge issue that we still face in society today of people being bystanders and not participating and stepping up in times of difficulty. The line “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” simply means that when there is injustice or wrong in one area or place, as a society we cannot sit by idly and do nothing. There is a sort of ripple effect where if we know that there is injustice and we choose to do nothing, it spreads. Like Dr. King says “we are aught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” means that we all are here on this earth together, whether we like it or not we all have the same fate and we must look out for one another. Martin Luther King helps us to understand that in order to forge a more just society for the common good, we must look out for everyone in the society, we can’t afford to treat one another as outsiders, and we can’t appease those who treat others unfairly and unjust because in the long run it affects us all. The new generation needs to take a step back from their selfish ways and focus on their neighbors as the second great commandment says, “Love thy neighbor as yourself.”


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