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Chapter 5: The Goods Which Fulfill Persons

Appendix 1: Vatican II’s indication of the human goods

Vatican II teaches that the laity has a special role in the kingship of Jesus. By his obedience he becomes the Lord of creation, subjecting everything to himself (see Phil 2.6–11). He passes on this power to his disciples so that they might both share in their own redemption and lead others to his kingdom:

  For the Lord desires to spread his kingdom by the laity too—a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. In that kingdom, creation itself will be liberated from its slavery to corruption into the glory of the freedom of the children of God (cf. Rom 8.21). Clearly, a great promise, a great mandate is given to the disciples: For “all these are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3.23).
  The faithful, therefore, must recognize the inmost nature and the value of the whole of creation, and its ordination toward the praise of God. They ought to help one another toward a holier life in their secular occupations too, so that the world may be imbued with the Spirit of Christ and more effectively attain its destiny in justice, love, and peace. The laity hold the chief role in the universal fulfillment of this task. (LG 36; translation supplied)
This passage refers to some of the principal human goods which I identify: truth and life, holiness, justice, love, and peace. (I omit grace, for this is the divine good shared by human persons insofar as they participate in divine life, rather than a properly human good.)

It should not be supposed that the Council—or the Preface of the Feast of Christ the King to which the Council refers—means to provide an analytic list of the goods of human persons. For our purposes, such a list is necessary. Also, because the Council is at pains to insist that the worldly goods of human persons, which are the proper concern of the laity, are intrinsic and not incidental to Christian life, it does not here make another point important in what follows: that human friendship with God and human life—and all the other goods of human persons—are alike in being fulfillments of human persons to be pursued and protected in this life and contributed to fulfillment in Jesus. But Vatican II does make this point elsewhere (cf. GS 39), and it will be developed at length in chapters nineteen through thirty-four.